Saturday 20 April 2013

Count Your Blessings

This week has been dominated by bad news – the bombings at the Boston Marathon, the terrible explosion in Texas and now an earthquake in China. Sometimes it's hard to understand the reality of such events. Reports and pictures on the television and across the Internet just seem to distance me both mentality and geographically. It almost seems a case of, 'I am not there, how can I weep?'.

I ventured out into the garden today as it has been the first day this year that it hasn't been freezing cold, snowing, raining or blowing a hooley. Some things were overgown while the weather had taken its toll on others. When I started to look around I realised how lucky I was to be outside and worrying about the state of the garden. The problem of life's problems is that they are all in context. How can a person be fretting about the amount of weeding that needs doing in the garden while at the same time other peoples' lives have been devastated? We can only deal with what we have to deal with at that time.

So I got on with the jobs that needed doing. Thinking about things that I can't change obviously isn't going to change those things so it's back to the mundane stuff. I have two hydrangeas in the garden. One is white the other is pink. Both were already in the garden when we moved in. I know nothing much about gardening but occasionally remember snippets of advice about plants. My Father told me not to dead-head hydrangeas until the last frost had been as they help to protect the new shoots. Although I'm not sure this has passed yet I couldn't bear the sight of the brown skeleton petals any more so they had to go.

I go through passing phrases of herbs. This is mainly down to what survives and what dies in the garden. The snow has not been kind this year and I believe this used to be thriving chive plant. No wonder I've turned to the dried variety.

Rosemary is a robust herb. Once its roots are in the ground it's not going anywhere. Last month the garden was under snow so heavy some plants were pinned to the ground. Not the rosemary though and I sent my husband out to retrieve a few sprigs to put in some lamb burgers. Now it has flowers on and its strength continues.

Hidden behind some aquilegias was the rhubarb. What a joy to see some real food in the garden in April – and no effort required. The sight of it also comes with the thrill of knowing how happy I will be to see everyone scoff down a portion of rhubarb crumble after a Sunday roast dinner.

When we first moved here conifers dominated one side of the garden. They blocked the view and the light as well as zapping the life out of other plants with its thirst for water. I suggested to my husband we (as in he) cut them down. To fill the gap one plant we put in was a forsythia. I know its name because today I saw the original name tag at the bottom of the plant. All I know is that it has beautiful and plentiful small yellow flowers. From daffodils to sunflowers a yellow flower cannot fail to cheer me up.

One job that desperately needed doing was putting up the Wendy house. We wanted to buy one for the kids last year but found them to be too expensive. Last year a family friend moved away and when she came to visit in November she asked me if I wanted their Wendy house as it was still in the garden of their house which they had rented out. Of course we did! It's been sitting in pieces on the patio since then. While we miss our friend she has left us with a memory of her characteristic generosity. Now when I look at it I will think of her. The kids spent the rest of the afternoon running in and out of it, squealing in delight. For all of this I know I can only count my blessings.

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