In December, everything in the garden, just like the days and weeks before Christmas, seems to speed up.
This month, I check the tomatoes every couple of days and apply another soft tie further up the stake. There are lots of tomatoes now. This year I have grown two varieties from seed I collected last year. One of them is an heirloom tomato, which we call Discombe, brought back from Italy by a New Zealand soldier at the end of WW2. It is a big beefsteak style tomato with tons of flavour. Delicious with a balsamic dressing and basil ...yum!
Suddenly, it's Solstice .... every year, I find it hard to get my head around that it is already mid summer when the warm weather has only just really begun. I don't want to think about the days getting shorter just yet!
Every other day the sweet peas need picking. Their subtle sweetness holds memories of gardening with my granny ... such warm memories flowers can give us.
It's December and everywhere we are bombarded with messages to buy, buy, buy. Our precious grandchildren are so impressionable to this blatant advertising.
I have been telling our beautiful five year old granddaughters that Christmas is about connection, relationships and giving joy (rather than getting presents!)
Terence and I had a delightful opportunity to 'walk our talk' recently when we offered to help some new friends create a small garden outside their apartment.
Off we went with our spade, fork and a bag of seagrass mulch.
It was such fun to help - hey! it's always fun to assist someone at the garden centre! We returned home with some bags of garden compost, loads of flower and vegetable seedlings.
The planting didn't take long. The whole experience was joy-filled, all round.
I felt so pleased and grateful that I was able to pass along some of my knowledge, gleaned unconsciously from my mum and grandmother about what to plant where and how to care for each plants' needs.
The very next day we got an email from our friends to say
"first thing we did was make a cup of tea and go out back and admire what you both created for us. The garden already has brought us joy this morning."
and then a few days later .....
"... the cucumber and zucchini are incredible. They are like aliens. Growing so fast!"
What better gift to give than the gift of loving plants and growing them?
Gardening, like life, is essentially about trust, surrender and accepting whatever comes ...
This year we have had little rust on the leeks and beans, so different from last year ...
Two years ago, we had an amazing pear crop; this year we have had lots of leaf growth but the fruit are small and not export quality, that's for sure!
Whatever we get to eat is a bonus. The real benefit of the garden is the soul nourishment it provides us with ...
The garden is an outlet for my creativity
It is a place to seek refuge and release stress and tension
It is a place to teach my granddaughters about caring for the earth and making rich compost out of scraps and waste.
It is a place where I can love a tiny parcel of this beautiful planet earth.
What an amazing process: I garden and not only is my soul nourished but I also get to eat delicious, organic, fresh-as fruit and vegetables. It doesn't come better than this!