Thursday, 9 June 2016

Mindful gardening

It was Bank Holiday weekend so I spent some time gardening. Of course I did, it's what we do on Bank Holidays, but with physical frailties, how to do this safely. I am always conscious that, unlike Mum, Ganna and Connie my bones aren't yet fragile, but I still need to be careful with any sort of excercise outside the usual walking to and fro!

Doing Pilates regularly, and Tai Chi occasionally help me to minimise damage from tweaks and strains. Both draw your focus in to how the body moves;  make you aware of which muscles should be working and which should be supporting; where your weight and balance are. I try to bring this awareness into gardening particularly, because it's easy to do myself a mischief, so here's how I try and make it work .....

Mindful weeding and digging .....

Push the small hand fork into the soil, just to the fork's depth, then a wiggle waggle carefully in a criss cross pattern to loosen things. Do this over a small area, making sure not to extend beyond the natural reach. Then down to hands and knees and, bit by bit, work the loosened soil with a hand fork, pulling out the weeds and their roots, apologising to worms if you accidentally bring them to the surface and tucking them back into a bit of soil you're not digging. Work each small area, changing the task frequently to use different muscle groups, so: fork in soil, push down with foot, wiggle waggle, repeat several times, down to hands and knees, sift, lift, discard, apologise to the beetles, repeat. Do for no longer than 30 minutes, preferably 20 then rest. 

This is about what I can manage in half an hour.


which is a start, but also a bit daunting in the context of what's left, the bed where the old dears live. I cleared and replanted it last year, but it has got a bit uppity while my back was turned. No wonder the old dears grumble.


I was amused a couple of weekends ago by a friend who, hearing I was digging, declared that I must be better. I never feel that "better" is an option. Managing, and sometimes not quite managing is closer to the truth. The last thing I want is to sound self pitying, but it's hard to be real about this stuff without it looking like a whinge or being mawkish! The truth is, I wake up almost every morning exhausted, usually in some pain, but still feel lucky to be where I am and with the people I belong to. Life is good and the world is beautiful, rain or shine

So, here's another recent project; the little bed next to the well just outside the sitting room, which I look out on from my chair. The flowering currant has finished, the hydrangea just coming into leaf and some rather oversized bergenia which were threatening to engulf the Japanese lady have been moved to a more appropriate spot, much to her relief.


The whole area has been weeded and replanted. My good soul did the digging and planting, once I had finished dithering about deciding where things should go. Little delicate woodland plants, much more in keeping with the size and situation of the bed.

The cherub expresssed a preference,


the chaps had had their say


and our wild canine visitor had made her suggestions.


Later on she brought the new kid on the block along to give his/her opinion as well. More interested in what tasty morsels the birds might have left I think.


Oh, and I really am thrilled with my new galoshes! They've got sparkles, and I'm still far too much of a child not to love them


1 comment:

  1. Gardening is work- I've been digging too :) but when all that work gives you some beautiful results, it's well worth the effort :) Beautifully written :)

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