Nina Simone belts, “Save me, somebody save me” through my headphones and even though I know she is singing about a love gone wrong, not gardening, for just a moment I think she is singing about me. This could be my current theme song.
You see, I might be drowning. In plants. And gardening. And plants that must be planted. And gardens that must be gardened. And a spring that is more like a dry, hot summer, and tomatoes that are making fruit faster than I can get them in the ground.
In a word, this gardening season is manic. SOS.
I’m not sleeping well these days and I seem to be grinding my teeth at night. And yet I am enjoying myself. The ship feels like it is sinking but I am going down smiling. I don’t really want to be saved, although some time off from work, life, cooking, cleaning, and basic daily hygiene would provide the extra time I require to really get caught up.
The other day a friend emailed about all of the plants she just acquired, lamenting where she was gonna put them all. I nodded in agreement but didn’t return her email. Who has time for email when there are trays of seedlings waiting in cue that need to get in the soil?
I’ve come to the conclusion that we gardeners (some of us anyways) enjoy the chaos, just a little bit. We love the frenzied, manic pace of the spring planting. We love that it gives us something to bitch about. “The chaos“, we moan, “I shall never be freed from this chaos!” And we aren’t, until the winter when the gardens are finally put to bed (or as good as) and we find ourselves twiddling our thumbs and lamenting the boredom and suffering of the off season. “It’s too cold,” we cry, “When will this persecution end?”
Yet somehow, all of this begins with a desire to create a calm, tranquil green space — a mania that leads to a serenity of sorts. Not that I ever stop and sit still in my garden spaces long enough to reach that kind of inner calm. There is always something to do; I enjoy the doing. Like photography, gardening is meditation in motion for me. And it achieves what sitting still meditation, tai chi (which actually made me very angry), and yoga have never been able to achieve.
There is a logic in here that I can’t quite get to. Perhaps it will come to me later today while I’m potting up the tray of new herbs I brought home yesterday or planting the bean seeds that are over-soaking as I write this. Do not forget the beans!
p.s. The photo (above) is of a bunch of pots I have sitting in the partial shade side of my roof garden. That space against the wall is reserved for plants that can’t stand the punishing heat of full sun portions of the roof, or that are being hardened off. I’ve posted a larger photo with notes over here.