Know About a Year of Progress in the Garden

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The other day I posted the photo above, a photo of the garden as it was at the time. I have recently been oscillating between the satisfaction of the progress of the garden and the Frustration of time and the feeling of being back. Or if it’s not that it’s a nagging dissatisfaction, that it hasn’t gone far enough and that it’s not enough… again. And then I find the joy of a new flowering bulb appearing, the fresh appearance of the soil after the rain and the relief of having finally laid a new layer of mulch, and I come back satisfied.

It was this change of ambivalence that prevented me from pressing the publish button for a Minute before moving on and leaving the image live. Despite my own insecurities and /or insecurities, I am no better at houses and gardens and I have never aspired to them. We leave this to those who are better suited for this. I deliberately rejected this path as a gardener and I thwarted this role as a gardening writer for all sorts of reasons, the most fundamental being that I am not. As a result, I feel compelled to show my gardens as they are, as endless projects that have not yet been completed. I don’t stage them for photos or wait for the last Moment of “creation”, because in truth that Moment will never come.

My gardens are workspaces where I grow food, test plants, experiment and satisfy my botanical whims. The moment when the garden feels ready is the moment when I dig everything out and start over. As for the Design, I know that growing in groups of three or five is more aesthetic, but I tend to grow only one of the many things because that’s either all I need or because I save space for something else I need OMG Yes please! I’m going to start gardening on the “right track” when I leave urban life and move (ever) to this multi-acre farm.

The garden at the end of April 2011. exactly one year. All we had at the time was a compost bin that we built from a futon frame left by former inhabitants. There was also the spot on the right that we had dug a few months earlier for the green onions and a few others for the garlic that I had covered with straw. There is also the pear tree that we moved to the back of the garden and a small area to the left that I randomly dug when we moved in to winterize my Japanese Maple and a few other perennials. Everything else was as it was when we arrived.

Shortly after posting this photo, I looked at old photos to remember where the garden was exactly a year ago. Thank god for photographic documentation, because when it comes to my work, my memory is not always as friendly as the truth. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Last year, there was no garden at the time. We had just returned from Thailand, we were at full speed again during the production of the last book, and I had to learn to sleep like a thirty-something again (I know, I’m harping on this, but my God, I’ll never forget this experience) while trying to sleep so that I could talk in front of the camera for a demo recording. I’ve never had this sleep and I swear that a year after, I’m still catching up.

Somewhere in there, I managed to sneak out in time to gradually dig up the yard, Using a shovel and all the remaining forces that I had left in my body. As I said, I am standing on the fence above the tillers and I was stubbornly determined to do it without a machine. When I have the whole picture in my head and I look at the photographic evidence and I see how far the garden has come in a year with a non-existent budget and the work of only two people… I can’t believe it.

Is this garden featured at Better Homes & Gardens? Probably not, but since that was never the goal, it’s not exactly a standard worth sticking to. Is this something we can be proud of? Is it enough? Damn it, yes!

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