The seventh of August roughly marks the mid-point of summer. The season is half over and how has your garden fared? This period can be extrapolated to the year. Mid-points are a good time to take stock. Enough time has passed to give a decent assessment on any project and enough time remains to catch up, do over or start to do. Its a good place to pause and take stock.
Unlike end of season or year end reviews, when its too late to change or rectify, a mid-point review gives one a chance to remedy or recharge. Like a benediction if you will – its a moment to invoke some guidance and wisdom to bless a project’s progress.
I had promised myself this year that I’d cut myself some slack and not get upset about neglected weeding and other chores. I’ve done well thus far. Mostly because taking it easy comes very naturally to me. However, despite the weeds having grown happily, matters have been just fine with my lessened vigilance. It was time well spent connecting with friends over lemonade and salads of freshly picked greens. The tall stack of beckoning books got a bit shorter while my literary appetite was increasingly satisfied. Creative output was given a freedom that only a relaxation of rules and agendas could achieve. I learned to identify the call of barred owls and taught someone how to compost. I spent hours in pursuit of photographing hummingbirds and harvested enough basil to make several batches of pesto which now rest in the freezer till called upon to perk up winter feasts. Loaves of delicious zucchini bread were made and given to friends or frozen for posterity while scoops of ice-cream were indulged daily. Night skies were gazed at and unfamiliar constellations identified right in step with discovering that a splash of lime juice in a 1:3 mix of St. Germain elderflower liqueur and club soda with lots of ice makes for a rather addictive summer drink.
Yet, advances were made in the garden – the foundation of the greenhouse was rebuilt, I designed a chandelier to be suspended from a tree and am now putting it together, plans to improve the meadow and checkerboard garden were drawn up, the watering system for the vertical garden was made more efficient, replacements for the lost apple trees in the espalier fence have been ordered, likewise, the bulbs for fall planting, ideas to make the perennial beds more attractive are under consideration and every now and then, the weeds have been given attention.
What about failures or lapses? I’ve realized that the front perennial beds do not look great in summer because of my reluctance to water any plants in the ground. Going on the conviction that they must be able to cope without help has not always been the best. When the weather has proven extreme, they do indeed need some kindness in the form of water. I have been negligent in keeping the walkway free of weeds and as a result, it looks shabby. For the rest of the season, this must be taken care of every couple of weeks. In the potager, several salad greens have bolted because they have not been harvested in timely fashion. That is wasteful. In future, I must either pick the leaves often or not plant as manygreens. Lastly, several plants need to be repositioned to make room for new introductions – this is not quite a lapse on my part but has come about due to an idea I have for the checkerboard garden. The to-do list keeps growing in any season.
Overall, I think the mid-point review has been useful and I’m not at all dis[leased. I’m just not sure if this is due to reasonable diligence or general low standards.
How have you come through?
(c)2014 Shobha Vanchiswar