The zen of weeding

One-half of the front garden, post-weeding. Actually: is one ever finished weeding?

When I was growing up at the Manse, we had a large vegetable garden beside the house and, later, another even bigger plot across the street beside the home of Will and Isabelle Holmes, after they grew too elderly to keep a garden themselves. Weeding the garden was a regular chore, and I was never at all fond of it – though I was very fond indeed of the big ripe tomatoes and the sweet corn and the lovely freshly dug baby potatoes that came out of those gardens. As an adult, I have demonstrated an utter lack of skill with gardening, and I know next to nothing about how to do it properly. The fact that I’ve lived for almost 20 years in places with no land, a balcony at best, means that I haven’t had to fuss much with anything other than geraniums, which even I can’t kill, and pots of herbs.

But now that I am a part-time inhabitant of the Manse once again, the Garden Question looms. For sure Raymond and I will have a nice big vegetable garden eventually; I wrote about my hopes and dreams for that here. But it will have to wait until we are able to be in residence a lot of the time through the gardening season. For now, there’s just the extant perennial garden by the front steps to think about.

This garden did not exist in my childhood, and even if it had it wouldn’t have lasted long, what with all the resident and neighbourhood children and dogs bombing around the yard all the time. But some green-thumbed parishioners at St. Andrew’s United Church were thoughtful enough to create a really nice little garden there, and keep it up. Now that everything’s blooming, it looks really nice. And I didn’t have to lift a finger to make it happen!

The garden with piles of weeded greenery in front, before the post-weeding cleanup.

But I do have to lift a finger to keep it up. When Raymond and I were last in Queensborough, I was kind of horrified by how much tall grass had sprung up among the plants that actually belong in the garden. And there were also baby trees trying to take root, and dandelions, and milkweeds, and assorted other intruders.

So I got started at the weeding, and soon discovered that it is a very satisfying task. It’s a quiet operation, and you can think about life and the meaning of same while you’re doing it. You can feel increasingly pleased with yourself as you keep an eye on the growing pile of wilting greenery that you’ve yanked out. And it’s kind of addictive. You can go through a whole section and think you’ve got all the weeds, but a second inspection will inevitably turn up more that need to be pulled, and a third still more, and so on. You’re never done. It’s kind of like infinity. Or the universe. Or eternity. Or something.

4 thoughts on “The zen of weeding

  1. Katherine – I always know how time flies by how longs it’s been since I’ve had the time to sit quietly and read through your recents posts. It’s been two weeks since I’ve been on the blog, but today seems the perfect day (rainy and dreary). There’s a possibility, however, that you may never even see my entry!! I, like you, also have an utter lack of skill when it comes to gardening. But having been retired over a year now, I felt I had to try it this year. With the help of my very good friend, Sheila, we planted some flowers in my garden island in the front of my house. Mostly flowers that attract butterflies, as you know how much I love them. I must say that I spend an awful lot of time looking out my window to watch the flowers grow, and always with a smile on my face. I have also purchased several varieties of herbs (onions, chives, rosemary, oregano, dill, basil…and let’s not forget catnip!) and they reside on my back deck and I am enjoying cooking with them (another new passion of mine since retiring). The herbs are thriving. I can’t say the same, however, for the pot of daisies I planted — Bob bought them for me for Mother’s Day (my favorite flowers). I potted them and placed them by my back steps and they looked beautiful…for less than a month. They have all died, and I’m not sure if they were supposed to, or if I killed them. Maybe they got too much water from all the rain — who knows?? Additionally, I have no idea if the plants I planted in my garden will grow back every year, or what to do with the herbs when the cold weather comes (if they are still alive), but I know that I am having fun with these new interests of mine and that’s all that matters. Oh, and did I mention we bought a tomato plant?? I’ll let you know if that bears any fruit!!

    • Of course I would see your entry, Jeannie! Believe me, I read (and appreciate) all comments. I think it’s terrific that you’ve developed an interest in gardening, and I very much hope that the tomato plant is doing well – because there is absolutely nothing better than just-picked homegrown tomatoes. (Check out the song of that name – Homegrown Tomatoes – by the magnificent Guy Clark. “Only two things that money can’t buy/And that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”) I’m also tickled to hear you’re growing herbs. They are so undemanding – just give them lots of sun and a bit of water – and it’s so great to be able to go out and pick some fresh parley or thyme or rosemary to add to whatever you might be cooking. I always try bringing my herbs indoors for the winter, but they never last long – though I don’t have a terribly sunny place to put them. They also draw the attentions of the cats, which is unhelpful to healthy herbs!

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