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Georgia Whyte

Georgia Whyte

August 15, 2013

So I have a confession to make. I have fallen off the wagon. Two, in fact: the blogging one and the gardening one. The last few months have been very busy (says everyone, always) and I can only guess the early darkness and subzero temperatures (okay, maybe not quite subzero) have put spending time in the garden in the too hard basket. As fun as it is watering the garden by fairylight in your dressing gown, I have lately been preferring to watch David Attenborough from the comfort of my cosy bed.

Georgia's gardenWhich has then put me in a spiral of ‘I haven’t done it for so long I wouldn’t know where to start’ and ‘I don’t have time to do a big overhaul’ and, voila!, garden procrastination takes a hold.

However, pondering this the other night (as David Attenborough soothed me with his dulcet tones) I wondered why I am so perfectionistic about the garden when I’m not necessarily about my other hobbies. I’m knitting a scarf this winter – it will probably never be finished but that doesn’t bother me one iota because I enjoy doing it. Sometimes I spend hours making handmade cards – sometimes I buy one from the shop because I can’t be bothered. I have many half finished projects up my sleeve and none of them make me feel even slightly guilty – because for me it is the process rather than the product that’s important.

Georgia's garden5So why is it that I seem to be caught up in the “product” of gardening as a hobby? Why am I so concerned that my garden be beautiful or productive when it shouldn’t matter as long as I’m enjoying it?

I have a feeling this is a trap many people fall into. Someone buys them a houseplant, they get busy, forget to water it and it dies. They label themselves a black thumb and give up on gardening for good. I always miss the “recommended planting time” for the flowers and veggies I want to grow – so I put it off for another season, and another. Gardening becomes something I am going to “learn to do” or “get good at” when I have the time (perhaps when I retire in 2068).

Georgia's garden2And while I’m by no means supporting killing plants for the sake of it – or buying plants and not looking after them – I think we need to be a little easier on ourselves. I am fighting my garden procrastination condition one day at a time – if I have ten minutes the plants get watered, if I have twenty a weed or two get pulled. If I have half an hour I do the best of all – sit with a cup of tea and simply admire the fact that there are more green things in my courtyard than there was before.

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Catherine Stewart
7 years ago

It’s not just beginner gardeners who fall off the wagon! Often I find when I’ve been writing and thinking gardens for days on end I can look out at my own and think ‘I am so over this’. But then a few days later, you find yourself out there and pull out a weed, and then see that the freesias are starting to flower – and the next thing you know is 2 hours have passed and you’ve had the best time. Gardening should always feel good, not like housework.

Julie Thomson
7 years ago

Absolutely true. Keeping projects small and do-able is the secret, I think. Big, labour-intensive gardening jobs are always there, but can overwhelm and make a “where do I start?” feeling sink in.
I think your courtyard efforts are great, Georgia, and if you compare what it looks like now to a year ago, you can feel the satisfaction. It will suck you in as you spend a bit of time every day or second day and before you know it, all else falls by the wayside and your horizons spread and spread …

Georgia Whyte
Georgia Whyte
7 years ago

Thank you for the encouragement, it’s good to know it’s not just me! This beautiful weather is definitely helping.

Julie Thomson
7 years ago

I am having the same stalled feeling about my gardening blog, so it’s human nature to wax and wane …..look at all the diets abandoned after first flush. Keep on keeping on and the pleasure will return.