Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What's a Good Garden Day?

If the main task at hand is to sow directly into the soil, then a good garden day would be one without any wind.  If you are sensitive to cold or heat, then a mild day is a good garden day.  If you want to be at peace in the garden, and you have a truck depot behind your garden like I do, then each and every weekend when the depot is closed are good garden days.

If your hose sprung a surprise leak on a summer Sunday when most shops are closed in France, then a rainy Sunday is a good garden day. If your straw hat gets blown off repeatedly on a windy, blistering hot day, a good garden day is when you find a ribbon at the back of some drawer so you can tie the hat onto your head and prevent yourself dying from heatstroke.

The Usual Suspects

A good garden day is when the meutrier (killer) shed still has not collapsed on you as you flirt with possible disaster by entering it to fetch something.  An equally good garden day is when the dilapidated top of the cold frame decided to come crashing down while you were peacefully having your lunch.

A good garden day is when you just get stung by two wasps instead of a whole swarm, so it is still possible for you to limp back into the house while rubbing your rump as you carefully avoid direct eye contact with Monsieur M.  When first starting out on a tight budget two and a half years ago and not able to buy some of the pricier tools, having generous, helpful neighbours made every day a good garden day, especially if they offer to mow your weedy lawn like Monsieur M did. 

Because I could just afford grass shears, I would get down on my knees and go full out artisanale (labour done by hand) on our weed patch, oops, lawn.  After weeks of watching this nonsense and listening to hours of over-the-fence discussions with Madame M regarding better manual tools than mere shears--a scythe was considered--and probably at the same time envisioning lopped-off toes, Monsieur M said rather abruptly but with a gentle firmness, I will mow your lawn.  Since I nodded my head so vigorously in agreement, it remaining attached to my shoulders and not rolling down the garden path made a good day even better.

My previous mower

A good garden day is while you are frantically thinking how you will ever buy enough ground covers to combat the thistles, nettles, dandelions, bindweed, and dock engulfing the garden, you spy a smiling Madame M dangling a huge shopping bag filled with cuttings of Dianthus, one of your most beloved, evergreen, low-growing, flowering plants, given to her by a friend who lives dans la campagne--the very same country friend who in autumn deluges us with grapes, chestnuts, and walnuts.  It is not just any beloved Dianthus, but the fabled Mrs. Sinkins of the astounding fragrance.

Mrs. Sinkins reving up for a fantastically fragrant flower display

In other words, just having a garden along with a flexible, receptive attitude makes each day a good one.  Bien sûr, good neighbours also help, not to mention Dayo.

Burnished gold on burnished gold:  Dayo guarding oak leaves in a large leaf bag