We’re a good couple of weeks into autumn now and I haven’t started working on my draft for this season at all (I’m writing a ‘through the seasons’ series of books based on my mahi (work) and thoughts as I garden). The seasonal timeframe has worked well as a natural deadline. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I have started new drafts over the last few years, and then left them hanging or deleted them in fear of someone else actually reading them. Writing with the seasons, however, I have now finished drafts for both spring and summer.
The garden itself is very much a work in progress. I suppose in some ways it always will be: continually editing and refining; learning new ways of gardening; adapting our methods as our priorities shift. Right now, we’re still establishing sections & boundaries (garden rooms) and figuring out what’s sustainable. It’s another reason I put off writing about the garden for so long – if the garden isn’t ‘finished’ then is it really worth writing about?
But when we were first looking at houses, and gardens, based in a rental in the city, I was already dreaming about what our garden could look like. I had a reasonably conventional idea of what I’d like, but:
- didn’t want lawn if I could help it
- loved the idea of meandering, meditative pathways
- definitely wanted lots of birds
- had a strong visual of Miss Honey’s wildflower garden in Matilda
- was increasingly influenced by food forests
At that time, I craved a book that reflected where I was at in the gardening journey, a story that dove into what it’s like to start a garden yourself in a way that cares for climate and biodiversity, and what those early steps looked and felt like. I had recently read Wilding by Isabella Tree on fellow author, Kirsten McKenzie‘s, recommendation and loved being able to dig into Tree’s thought process and learning curve as she discovered more and more about what was possible. It was set on a large farm, though, and had there been a garden-sized version of that memoir I would’ve been head over heels (NB: I see Isabella Tree has recently published a book on re-wilding smaller spaces – super excited to see this!).
I blame my lack of writing on my lack of gardening. There isn’t much to write about when one isn’t doing the mahi! I’ve been picking berries – we’ve got wild brambles which helpfully sowed themselves in a part of the garden I hadn’t planted anything in yet (i.e. less mahi for me), and raspberries that I grew from canes gifted by an ex-colleague. They took a couple of years to get going and now I can reliably pick a handful every day. They’re sweeter and milder than their wild counterparts, and I’ll sometimes pick my day’s handful and eat them as a snack while I garden.
So perhaps, now that it’s almost evening time, I should get outside and do some gardening – so I can come back inside and do some writing! It only took all day and a blog post to work that one out…