I grew up in the countryside where having a garden and being outdoorsy was nothing out of the ordinary. I always enjoyed being outside – I love the feeling when I walk barefoot through the grass for the first time each year. I enjoy reading a good book in the garden. And I love the smell of cut grass right after mowing the lawn. When we were children, my parents tried to motivate us to do some gardening work by giving us a bit more pocket money for weeding the garden. But I only remember doing that once. And maybe that garden was lucky that I did not do anything – I really do not have green fingers.
More than once people told me that they had wanted to give me some plants as gifts but went for chocolate instead. (I think it is a great choice.) The only plants which survived in my apartments have been orchids – do not ask me why, I do not know, they must be the most resistant plants ever. Everything else fades away once it meets me obviously. Last year, I decided to “beautify” our balcony with lavender. It sounded nice – something colourful, with a nice scent which would make me feel like being in Southern France while working. Something which can survive dry Provencal summers sounded foolproof. Fast forward one year, out of 16 lavender plants, five have survived. And yes, I did not forget to water them and there was enough fertilizer. Maybe I should have talked to them?
After travelling for several weeks, I recently came back to lush greenery in Austria. It had been raining most of the time I was gone and the plants had benefitted from that. One thing which also benefitted was my garden – he (and yes, I think the garden is a “he”) was obviously so upset about me leaving that he decided to voice his protest by growing a “wilderness” of grass and flowers which had reached almost half a meter by the time I came back. It looked quite rough (and I was almost a bit ashamed of the way it looked, but what was I supposed to do?). In addition to the wilderness, one thing which did not benefit from the rain was the “living” Christmas tree. Well, we wanted something more sustainable and despite most of the advice we got, we gave it a try. He (again, I think that tree is male) did not take being moved outside too well. He stuck out from the lush greenery behind him – because he had turned bright orange! (I thought dead trees just turn brown, this one is funky orange. Maybe that is his personality…) Furthermore, the pot where I had a tomato plant last year has been turned into some kind of “construction site” for a squirrel or another animals which dug out all the soil and left it next to the pot.
After some rainy days, I finally was able to mow the lawn today. The process of cutting it was actually easier than I had expected. But what made my life miserable was the swarm of mosquitoes which followed me around. I got bitten in so many places – I can only remember one time it was as bad and that was in Hong Kong when I visited my friend, the racoon, at the Botanical and Zoological Gardens. 15 minutes in those gardens and I got bitten in places I did not even know existed. Well, until today. When I was crawling on the floor to cut out the long grass between the redcurrants, I knew that I would regret it soon. (And for all of those asking: no, I have not planted redcurrants, they have been there for ages.)
I left part of the “wilderness” and planted some wild flowers – my mum got me some “flower seed bombs” which I only needed to throw in the places I wanted them. That was easy, let’s see if that really works out. I am good at many things, but gardening is not one of them. I do understand why some people may find it therapeutic. When I cut the hibiscus tree after the winter, I did find it meditative (a bit at least). Maybe I need practice? Maybe I will get better over time? Or maybe I need what my Persian friends calls “an oriental garden” – a terrace with some plant pots. Let’s see how the flower meadow project goes, I will keep you posted.