Sunday, 30 June 2013

Reviewing my thoughts about weeding....

In my garden: Once upon a time there were 'weeds' and then there were 'proper plants'. There was a distinct boundary. Weeds came out, the rest stayed put. Gardening was reasonably orderly, well, as orderly as my garden was ever likely to be, 'orderly jumble' then. But that was before I came to five hectares in France. 

Five hectares is a lot of land when one does not have proper implements to work the land with. Not to worry, we have managed. The land around the house is normally kept under control with a lawnmower, the fields are taken care of by the animals, and last year I achieved a reasonable amount of tidiness by learning to use the scythe on the bits which were too hard going for the mower. 

Then the wetness of 2013 arrived. It was not possible to use the mower, and not much scything was done. Everything, therefore, got went into a mad riot of growth. And crikey, what an utterly lovely jumble we are now surrounded in. Flowers in profusion, grasses almost shoulder high, all wild, nothing planned, just as nature intended. 

Which is just as well, because I think that it has saved our bees. When we bought the hive and swarm, I wanted to also purchase a block of sugar to put into the hive to help the little beings along while they established a larder in their new domain, but the man said no, that it would not be necessary, so I didn't. Then the weeks and weeks of wet and cold weather arrived, with occasional gaps of sun and warmth which enabled the bees to get out and about to forage, so it could be seen that they were struggling on.

And now the weather is more settled, and wow, we are surrounded by a wilderness of wild flowers of all types because we were not able to cut that grass, which has resulted in the bees having plenty of food right on their doorstep. 

So, out in the veg patch, and weeding the rows of newly sprouting veggies. Was pulling everything up which was not a vegetable. Ah, but then some bees started working on a little patch of flowering weeds which I was just about to pull up. So now, I not only have to weed the veggie seedlings, I also have to weed the weeds. What I mean is, that I have to be selective about what I allow to grow in close proximity to the seedlings so that their life is not squashed out of them by the more vigorous wild plants, but then I thin out the non flowering weeds, leaving the wild flowers to flourish. 

I wanted my veg patch to be nice and tidy, with neat rows or organised veggies. That is not now going to happen. The veg patch is also going to become a riotous jumble as well. Ah well, the bees need their flowers, and actually, it all looks very pretty, providing one removes oneself from thinking that everything needs to be controlled and tidy. 

And it would seem that this requirement to leave everything alone, so that the bees can  have plenty of flowers to forage on, is giving me a different perspective on gardening. Instead of trying to control nature, I am enjoying the passion of nature. 

Message to self: When bringing a watering can into the house so that it can be filled with waste water from the sink, do remember to check that there are no occupants already in that watering can. Should there be an unnoticed occupant, then one might be receiving of a fright when one is filling up the watering can.

Message to self: Do not keep getting into a fret about the state of the hands and fingernails. You must say goodbye to pristine hands. You are, after all, becoming a smallholder, and as such, must accept that you are not ever going to keep as 'immaculate' as you once were.

Of course all this jumble will have to be cut down eventually so that a new jumble can grow next year, but for now, the bees and us enjoy. It is the simple things that give the most pleasure, that is what we are coming to understand.


Tommo said...

Must admit I'm no fan of manicured lawns and orderly flower beds. Much prefer 'wild' gardens, perhaps with a bit of trimming here and there. And, as you say, so do the bees and their chums. Slugs and snails are 'no-nos' though!

Jean said...

The twists and turns of nature are fascinating. The soggy weather has been disastrous for some things but turned out to be good for the bees.
Your wild flowers are lovely.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have to agree with selective weeding. I have one bed which I pretty much allow to do its own thing and it is always full of bugs of all kinds. Hopefully in turn for this bed they pollinate the plants a round which are a little tidier :-) Have a good day Diane

Leon and Sue Sims said...

Vera - you are the essential earth mother.

Niall & Antoinette said...

We've not been able to mow as we want to either with the result that the greenery -- can't really call it grass -- is rioting all over the place and we have loads of butterflies.
The bees [not ours] are sticking to our large lime tree which hums quite loudly all day long :-)

Vera said...

Tommo, ah, someone of like mind! Not too bad with slugs and snails at the moment, thanks to the work of the chickens! Hope you got that bike...

Jean, no matter what the weather does, some things will benefit somehow. I guess one has to remember that when one is having a grumble!

Diane, now that is a good method of gardening...leave some parts of the garden to go jumbly and leave others to be tidier. I think I am heading in that direction!

Leon and Sue, I can't tell you how much of a compliment that is to me!

Niall and Antoinette, I love the sound of bees busy about their business! Ah, butterflies! Saw some lovely ones today, unfortunately they were sitting on the veg seedlings in the veg patch!