Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth

22Feb09

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.

The Enkindled Spring, D H Lawrence

Another day of gardening . . . . I finished the big clearout of the junk that had piled up beside the shed, and found a little area with potential . . .

Possibly, I am the only person who looks at this little scrap of wasteland and thinks ‘A-ha – magic spot for a fairy-den’, but I can see that it would work with a woven living hut – I’m thinking lilac rather than the conventional willow or hazel, because I already have lilac there, and just think of when it blossoms . . . . – and the ground carpeted in moss and with ferns and other woodland lovelies.

Of course, the compost bin will have to move, but that’s no great shakes.

So that will be my project for this year, I think. Which is good, because that means that the Great Lawn Battle can go into ceasefire for another year. We have a constant tussle, t’o-m & I, regarding the lawn. I think it’s a waste of space, and that the effort needed to maintain the thing far outweighs its benefits. He sees it as a necessary recreational element in the garden. We’re more or less in equilibrium on it – he does the heavy work, and I nibble away at the edges, guerilla fashion, coralling small areas around the edges into other uses. After spending a good part of today raking leaves & scarifying the wretched thing, I’d like to get rid of it all. Of course, I can see that with the children needing the space to rush about in, it will stay with us in some shape or form for the foreseeable future, but its days are numbered, mark my words . . .

One of the fascinating things is that, without any prompting, the children have already subjected the new area to a thorough exploration, and it is now opened ground for games and a new route for expeditions. In itself, that is well worth the effort of hoiking out all the old rubbish.

That clearout and scarifying the lawn took up most of the day, but I prefer to spend more time and get things done properly, than to rush through it just for the sake of ticking things off the to-do list.

And because gardening frees up my mind to do other things whilst my body is occupied in manual labour, I remembered how gardening helped me out of the big pity-party I threw myself when I was diagnosed with Aspergers . . . back then, I couldn’t see any benefits or advantages to it at all, I just saw a big fat label sitting on my social incompetencies confirming the view I held of myself as a total freak. Only by excavating and rebuilding a derelict garden did I come to realise that the obsessive detailing, systematising and compulsion to stick out a task until it’s done to perfection was actually a great strength, something that differentiated me from others (who got bored and abandoned the job) and that I could use to my advantage.

This came back to me whilst I was hand-weeding the miniscule weed seedlings springing up in the brassica beds. Anyone other than me would have picked off the bigger ones and left it at that, but I had to make sure I got every last one of the little swine. And found it interesting, comparing this year’s crop of weeds with last year’s.

We have three perennial nuisances in this garden: brambles, dandelions and bindweed. I know I will never eradicate either, so it will always be war. What is interesting is that we have a different ‘new’ weed invading en masse each year. In the first year, meadow buttercups – everywhere, until I rooted them all out. The year after – nettles. The year after that – willowherb. We still get the odd one or two strays of each, but nothing like the epidemics we faced in their ‘year’ of tyranny. This year, it looks like it’s going to be vetch – I have pulled monstrous handfuls of the little swine out already. I’m hoping I’ve got to it early enough, though I suspect that this is just the first wave.

Anyhow, with the sprinkling of early colonisers wiped out, and the beds given a light hoeing over (very heavy clay soil here, and though I’ve been improving it year on year, it’s still unworkable at this time of year), the brassicas are all looking very happy and healthy, though I noticed that something’s been snacking on the larger leaves. Will need to investigate that and put a stop to it.

This early in the year, it can only be slugs and snails. In part, I know I bring it on myself, because I persist in viewing the fallen leaves as a mulch to keep the worst of the frost off the tender early shoots so leave them on the flower beds, but I equally know that those same leaves are a nice cosy winternest for the dreaded pesties. A bit of a catch-22 situation, but I have a solution: nematodes.

Slimy things of my garden: you better run, because there will be nowhere to hide.

I have only got one bed left to weed and clear down in the back garden, and then I need to sort out the front garden. Now there’s a place that tempts me . . . our gravelled drive is the devil itself to weed, and I appall myself by dreaming of taking a blowtorch to the weeds and obliterating them for good and all. But we don’t do things like that round here, so I’ll be down on my knees picking them out one by one again this year. Sigh.

But on the up side, I planted some cauliflower seeds this evening. More to come tomorrow . . .

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One Response to “Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth”

  1. 1 Mike

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!


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