It can put the fear into some and send others into adrenalin-fuelled excitement. And if you went to boarding school, probably both.
I have stepped out into the garden with increasing despair this month, aching for a free day to tend to every aspect of the garden which I spent all of March and April building up.
Yet as the long easter celebrations faded in the memory I could see I was losing a grip on things. The sun shone, plants grew and snails appeared. And as the winds picked up and I allowed myself to be blown this way and that by non-gardening commitments. With every weekend booked up, I relied on my Monday-Friday. But weeknights I would come home tired and hungry hoping that all I needed was fuel before I could emerge into the garden to make the most of the lighter evenings.
Sadly I burnt out most days. And the impact on the garden is, to me, more than just disappointment. I feel I've failed my veg.
|Rotting beetroot leaves, strangled by red onion|
|Peas - meant to grow up the cane have attached themselves to peas in a pot, surrounded by patio weeds|
|The remaining dwarf beans, little growth and leaves devoured by who knows what. Debris all around too.|
All this in the week of that holy grail of gardening - the Chelsea flower show. I have particular views on west London's horticultural orgy that I'm in two minds about sharing. Maybe for a later post. But right now, the gulf between a gold medalist's manicured perfection and my weather beaten, hand bitten cuticles couldn't be greater.
Quite frankly, it all comes down to discipline. No matter how tired you are, or what the weather is, to achieve greatness with your marrow, melons or gooseberries you need to stick to pampering them daily.
I reckon that if you work out what tasks to do over the weeks ahead, manage the small everyday tasks and clear your diary for at least one decent stint a week, you can probably stay in control. As with training for a marathon, small runs all week and a big run at the weekend will sort you out, so too gardening. Both come with rewards. Both can be done in ridiculous outfits.
Finally, today I have a few hours to spare. Unfortunately, it's because we lost our qualifying race at a regatta this morning and I've returned home tail between my legs without a trophy again. But where better to reset, deal with the windy conditions admirably and reeeelax (that sentence dedicated to Fraser who thinks I'll run out of rowing terms to use on this blog very soon).