Monday, 5 November 2012

Wood grief

Trees don't just fall down on their own. 

Even if they're dead, which one of mine has been for a few years.

This came as quite a shock. You see, in the past its stupified state hasn't stopped it being a cat's playground

Nor a Christmas tree

But apparently, the new neighbours above (who on the first day of building work opened their window, which just happened to be by the tree (see above), and may have had a branch or two in the way) said 'we were wondering if it was dead, it must have just fallen down'.

Now granted, it is not the most elegant or mighty of trees, but on seeing it toppled I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. Gardens aren't supposed to make you feel that. It was at that point I realised that it wasn't just the lost tree that upset me, it was the detachment, the neglect and the failure to garden at all this summer that hurt most. It was as if the garden was kicking me in the nuts saying 'Oi just because you're hapless, doesn't excuse your lack of effort. I can only do so much on my own, now get your sorry backside out here and get involved or there will be more horti-tragedy to handle'

It's not like it was a conscious choice not to garden. Instead, that inevitable creep of responsibility to feed myself through a regular salary, along with commitments to family, friends and sport is what did it for the grass.

I've had fun, I can't deny. A cracking weekend in Edinburgh, where sadly my camera failed me but I still got to indulge in the rather lovely Botanical Gardens.

I got to row along the stunning Avon Gorge (I promise you I'm the one in the front of the 3), and no amount of rain and cold weather dampened our spirits.

I won a medal. Not gold, but still.

But as with many, work is what finished me off. Relentless pressure and several trips to Fleetwood and Tynemouth have stopped me even picking my rotting raspberries and ripening pears. Before the violins are tuned up though please don't get me wrong, I'm fortunate to have my job and I made the most of any moment to savour the quiet beauty of faded resorts.

I took a windswept walk past the old outdoor swimming pool near Cullercoats and Whitely Bay (one for the closet Dire Straits fans out there). 

Meanwhile, having spent most of the last 2 years dropping in on Fleetwood the town had become familiar and is not without its charm... 

...not, however, a patch on the Blackpool Illuminations, which when driven through stir up the child like wonder of the fairground. Sadly they don't quite have the same effect in the light:


But all the while, the garden withered. I'd failed to furnish her with any crops this year, and I'd allowed nature to make her own decisions, the sadness very much a selfish one.  Last weekend I escaped from the tree carnage, unable to face the clear up and went to my favourite avenue of proper trees, which were drenched in Autumn sunshine:

And of course after such a restorative walk, my grief was put into perspective. Gardens never die, they simply move on. There is hope and having just taken a 3 week break from the office to recapture my gardening, writing and creative spirit, I seriously hope I can catch up. Some clearing and pruning, planning and opportunistic planting perhaps? Thankfully the garden is showing signs of life:

One note of caution...

Don't be deceived by that medal. I'm in trouble. It is such a mess there is one mighty gallop ahead

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The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.