(by a not-very-good-gardener)
So in an attempt to get the garden looking more al-fresco friendly for the summer (?) I finally pulled on my gardening gloves, grabbed my crate of dusty gardening equipment and braved the semi -jungle outside. I had spent ages staring at it, knowing I should tackle it, but putting it off and putting it off and putting it off. And there begins the first of a series of career change metaphors for this piece.
1. The longer you leave it the worse it is
We all KNOW when works not working. We KNOW we should do something about it. But all the usual reasons keep us putting it off – it feeling too difficult, not knowing what to do, worrying about the financial impact etc etc etc. Before we know it a few months/years have gone by and we’re still stuck contemplating what to do. The thing is the longer we leave it the more entrenched we become. Suddenly instead of being a newly qualified unhappy lawyer, you’re a very experienced unhappy lawyer who doesn’t feel he/she can do anything else. Not only that, but the mortgages get larger, the kids arrive, our parents need us etc etc etc. Next thing we know we feel so entangled, the thicket so deep, we don’t think we can ever get out. This is not to say we can’t, it’s just more of a challenge.
2. It feels daunting at the start (but good to finally tackle it)
It can feel overwhelming. This wilderness in front of you. Where on earth to begin. Thing is you just start somewhere. Pruning a tree back so you can get more sun, or clearing a path. Weed by weed or with a strimmer for the more determined and impatient (like me). It feels SO good to be finally taking control, to be tackling something that’s been on your mind for so long. Next thing you stand back and it’s looking better, it’s taking shape. You feel pleased with yourself, more satisfied. It’s the NOT DOING anything about it that drives us the most crazy.
3. A bit of nourishment can turnaround the most weary of plants
I’m completely ashamed to say this as do consider myself a deeply kind person who cares about the planet… but there were a couple of plants in my garden on their last legs (don’t call the RSPCP on me.) I tried to correct my wrongs immediately, maybe overdid it a bit, with extra fertilisers, the best compost, Evian, lavish apologies etc etc etc. Anyway within ONE WEEK the plant that was reduced to a mere twig is FLOURISHING. The turnaround is extraordinary, miraculous even. So for those of you who are drying up inside, dying inside even with the jobs you do, arid with boredom, losing your soul – you just need feeding. And a job that FEEDS you, that gives you the stuff that makes you feel vital and alive can turn you around from de-energised to vibrant in an instant.
4. Know when you need re-potting
We all outgrow things. But sometimes we stay long after we should. And what happens when we stay too long? We STOP growing. We get bored, feel unchallenged, stagnant. But we still stay. It takes alot to get up and get out especially when so many other needs are met – like security and comfort etc etc. But it doesn’t feel good and we feel constrained and hemmed in and same-same. For me it’s always a hell of a hassle to re-pot a plant but I was on Full Mission Plant by now and nothing was going to stop me. I was shamed again as I eased the plant out of the pot – the roots had literally hit a wall, bunched up around the pot edge with nowhere to go. In to a larger, new, fresher home – lots of space and ta da! You all know what happens next…
5. Your environment is key
A well intentioned friend of mine had told me that hydrangeas need full sun. Since I always bow to anyone else’s gardening knowledge (mine being wafer-like) I moved my hydrangeas into the sunniest spot in the garden. I did have a doubt as they seemed to be doing ok in the shade, but even so I complied. For those of you who are into gardening – if you’re still reading and haven’t left in horror- you’ll know that this is NOT the optimum condition for hydrangeas. They proceeded to generally not do very well; they were OK but not great. So I looked it up and found out that they infact what’s perfect for them is lots of shade with and a bit of sun, the complete opposite. I moved them to a perfect spot and they are loving it, looking lush and shiny and thanking me graciously with flowers despite my behaviour. It’s like this with work. You can get by in a place that’s not really you, but you’ll never really flourish, never feel really happy, never shine. Then when you do, wow! …
(as a side metaphor on this point, sometimes your well intentioned friends and family really DON’T know best and infact may not really know the real you at all)
In summary, tackle it, find your spot, know when you to move on (if you do) and you’ll be a fine example of glorious human foliage.
Right, back to the garden then!