Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Planting Prayers

More from Mrs Grounded Gardener .....

We were kindly given 2 plants at Christmas, carefully chosen by our good friends Janet and Fiona (a Spimmia and a red Azalea). We’ve had them under wraps in the conservatory, carefully watering and tending to them as they patiently wait their turn. Today was the day and out they went to the front garden for careful planting around where I think I remember planting some bulbs. Let’s see what happens there! I took time to tease out the roots and dug them into deep planting holes.  I hope they take root soon and don’t suffer from any extreme weather that’s still to hit the UK. I am offering up suitable pleas to the gardening god that they soon take hold and thrive in their new homes.


Red Azalea

Come on little Azalea in the shadow of our delicate Fuschia plant, grow grow!

Mrs Grounded Gardener

Water, water, everywhere…

The deluge of rain we’ve endured over the 6 weeks has ensured a full water butt 24/7.  Great for filling up the watering can for the indoor plants that are drinking up the non-chlorinated, natural water and looking all the more robust and healthy for it. Not so great for our terrace when the butt overflows, as it has done on a regular basis.

Monday, 27 January 2014

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece”, Claude Monet.

More from Mrs Grounded Gardener.........

Last Saturday, I awoke to a beautifully clear morning and an overwhelming urge to get out into our little garden “tout de suite”. It was time to get back to creating our very own masterpiece. After the never-ending rain of the past 6 weeks, it was finally a good day to get out there and tackle the overgrown raised veg plots we had inherited from the garden’s previous owners, in readiness for planting in the Spring. We have six raised boxes, four of which we intend to keep and grow vegetables in. The remaining two are to be dismantled in the Spring with a view to being replaced with a garden bench to catch the late evening sun.

Anyway, I found the necessary tools for the job in our gardening box: gardening gloves, small fork, trowel, garden waste bag and a bucket. Donned what have now become my “gardening jeans” (I truly never thought I’d own a gardening wardrobe having previously - incorrectly – stated gardening to be the dullest job in the world..how wrong I was), my trusty Barbour wellies, now with new wellie socks (a Christmas gift from ‘the parentage’) and other various warm/wet weather gear and headed outside to do battle.

En route to the veg plots, I was happy to spy the first shoots of our bulbs planted back in Nov, starting to appear (see below). Much excitement! Snow, frost and any other extreme weather conditions aside, we can hopefully look forward to plenty of daffodils, hyacinths, narcissi and tulips in a few weeks’ time. What a sight that will be.

I think these are our first daffs peeking through (above). Spring is coming!

Not sure what these are (above), possibly bluebells? Something we have inherited. Along with the weeds and ivy here that need to come out. A job for Spring.

Back to the veg plots. So, I spent a good few hours rooting around and digging out masses of old veg, decaying roots, strawberry plants (obviously now past their best and unlikely to bear fruit).  The small fork provided the best leverage on stubborn weeds and roots. It felt great to get stuck in, to be working with the earth, outside in the cold winter sun, doing something GOOD. I spend a great deal of my time during the week under the harsh glare of a computer screen and office strip lighting. Being in touch with nature at the weekends is just the best antidote. And it counts as exercise, I’m sure of it!

The soil seems in good condition though curiously was liberally peppered with stones, small pieces of old tiles, small rocks. I have to admit to tossing these out behind the boxes as I came across them though I did wonder if they serve a purpose I am unaware of, possibly to provide drainage? Must read up on that J

The end result: 3 boxes cleared, 1 to go.

The tangled chaos of the strawberries will be tackled next weekend, weather permitting.  We’re also hoping to spread some manure out on all 4 plots to start feeding the soil ready for planting in March. Again, I’ve often seen those signs by the side of the road ‘FREE MANURE’ and wondered ‘what on earth would anyone want with free manure?’ Now I know. 

We’re big fans of beetroot so this is definitely in our top 5 veg to grow. Closely followed by potatoes (my husband is Irish, this is non-negotiable), squash, broccoli and cabbage. Kale may well make it in there, too if we have enough space. How much space does all this stuff take? Hmm… tbc.

Mrs Grounded Gardener

A belated word - Christmas 2013

There is more than one Grounded Gardener in our household. To follow, my wife, Mrs Grounded Gardener, recounts her recent travails in our garden and her growing passion for gardening and ‘getting in touch with the earth quality’.

A belated word - Christmas 2013

Well, it may now be almost February but just last month, we celebrated having our first ever Christmas wreath up on our front door for our first Christmas in our new home. Alas, not a homemade contribution but a beautiful wreath purchased from www.pollyfields.co.uk a family-run business in north Devon. I chose this style for it’s simplicity and abundant use of preserved oranges which add beautiful colour, and the pine cones and star anise which smelt divine. I was so pleased how the colours worked with the red pop of our door. This gorgeous wreath provided a warm festive welcome to all our friends and family who visited and kept it’s Christmas scent throughout the festive period. And do you know something..to my surprise, it wasn’t ‘liberated’ from it’s proud position by any light fingered opportunists! How refreshing. We do live in London you know J Now safely wrapped up and stored away, we’re looking forward to using it again next Christmas.

Mrs Grounded Gardener

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Dog is GOD spelt backwards

My parents in law came to stay over Christmas and they brought their adorable seven year old Golden Retriever who is named Sasha.  I have known her since she was a puppy and have seen her enjoy different places and spaces. It was such a shame that we had so much rain over the festive period as the garden was so muddy. However, it made me realise how combining gardening with the enjoyment of animals can be so smoothing to the psyche.  Someone once said that dog is actually GOD spelt backwards :)  for dogs can teach us so much about the power of the now, being present and unconditional love.  They don't seem to stress about the future or dwell on the past.

I do not mean to refer to God as an external agency but more as a more subtle realm of consciousness where I access a sacred place that I may call my essence.

Dog walking also reminded me how social it can be as invariably you get chatting to other dog walkers as you wander around green spaces even in cold and sometimes impersonal big cities. The spontaneity and wonderment of discovery can be fun especially as Sasha is essentially a country dog with all the sniffs and smells of the city to uncover.

Being with dogs can be very grounding. Psychodynamic theory has contributed to the holistic and integrative psychotherapeutic practitioner some useful tools such as working with the transference, free association, dream analysis (‘the royal road to the unconscious’, Freud, 1905 p111), observing slips of the tongue, projective identification, projection and boundary (frame) management. However, being with dogs can inform you so much of where you are yourself in relation to unconditional love, patience and compassion.

This article explains the benefits of getting in touch with the elements in order to stay present. I believe that dogs can help us stay there.