Unexpected things

 Dear garden maker,

I'm sorry it has been so long, I've been trying out retirement and making more art. Life throws up many unexpected things, though to be honest we probably should expect them.

I realise how much we wish to avoid the not so nice aspects of being human. I know I try and avoid the messy stuff. A bit like presenting our gardens, or lives, or art on social media, it is mostly upbeat and appears successful. But real life is far from perfect. Perhaps this is why I like weedy gardens.

Over tidy gardens make me feel uncomfortable.

I am beginning to appreciate our native plants/weeds, simply because they want to grow and thrive, which has to be a good thing. So I have encouraged knapweed, hemp agrimony, self heal, sanguisorba, helleborine orchids, marsh orchids and others, and the results have a wild beauty and robustness. They survive on the thinnest of soils over coal waste.

But it is a garden, and so it gets edited. I believe that's what gardening is essentially, a form of human and non human editing. Disease edits, so do insects, squirrels, rats, voles, snails, slugs the weather and the puppies ! We select using our hearts and eyes.

Talking of hearts, mine nearly died a few weeks ago. One of the unexpected things that can happen to us as our bodies get older. The garden and my body age and change. One day this particular editor will no longer impact this small bit of land in this way. But I'm enjoying it while I can.

I continue to respond to the land both by editing this space and by making artwork. It's all I can do to encourage the return of insects and wildlife. 

'The beautiful, terrible evidence that we have lived'

Paul x


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