The garden is becoming wild, with yellows, greys and browns emerging
from amongst the green that was once so dense. The sparser cover serves
to help ripen the pumpkins before frosts set in.
first plantings of carrots are becoming more and more riddled with the
little brown tunnels of carrot-fly larvae. My parsnips, planted a little
earlier, are developing rust spots.
I'm not worried, though.
They've been in the ground a long time - if I'd had my A in G I'd have
lifted and clamped them but I have neither the room nor, it seems, the
organisational abilities at the moment. :-) It reminds me next year to
try companion planting the carrots with alliums, or making a low netting
fence to foil the flies on the wing.
The point is, at this time
of year the gentle decay of the garden is normal, entirely natural. We
can influence this, using various methods to protect our plants and draw
out their growing seasons, but ultimately we are all still subject to
nature. This has been on my mind a lot recently, with Ellerslie once
again blooming in Hagley Park. I didn't go this year. Mostly this is
because I (once again) failed to be organised enough to book an early
cheap ticket, but now I'm not in the mood to go because I am deeply
dissatisfied with the perfect image of gardening presented at such
shows. Non-gardeners or inexperienced gardeners see these artificial
little utopias and fleetingly strive to recreate them in their own
gardens, in their naivete wasting money on expensive methods and an
Building a garden is not like decorating a
room. Gardens are constantly changing, guided by us but ultimately
escaping our grasp. There is a period in late spring when they are
luscious and "perfect," still neat enough to convince us briefly that we
are in control. But they will follow their natural course of life and
death and this is not failure. I watch my garden pale and sink
with a certain sadness but also a satisfaction and sense of rightness -
my garden is not a static display, to be clear-felled and expensively
replaced when it no longer meets an Ellerslie-like standard of
perfection. It is nature shaped by a human hand (which is a part of
nature, not apart from it), providing for me while following its own
rhythm of decay and replenishment.
I think its is partly our own
fear of the decay part of the cycle (combined with greed) which has got
us to the terrible place we find ourselves in as far as our food
production goes. We want to maximise the growth, the perfection, the
profit while denying the decay and replenishment that is essential if
the cycle is to continue sustainably.
I've run out of train of
thought for now but I think that while this path is taking me somewhere a
little out-of-kilter with the mainstream (okay, a lot out-of-kilter),
now, even in the fall, it feels like the right way to go.