Yesterday was the first day we’d had the warmth and the opportunity to get back to into the garden. It was a day of clearing up from the winter weather and getting ready for Spring. Wayward tools were gathered together again, planters moved around so that we can see the new bulbs growing through, paths swept and jet washed and duck runs cleaned up and sorted out.
I spent some time neatening up my flower beds and the pots that fill various corners of our land. Now that the birds have had their fill from the seed heads I cut back the dead stalks from last years growth and looked for signs of this year’s new life.
Some plants right now, without the echo of last year’s glory, are just root balls and so there is nothing above the surface. I’ve learnt not to give up on them because in time, growth will come and they’ll flourish once again.
It can be tempting to leave last year’s remnants in place so there’s at least something to be seen but the goodness from last year is now stored in those roots ready for the right time and it will grow. This way the plant doesn’t invest in something that hasn’t got life in it anymore.
As I was working I was thinking about what we can learn from nature.
We may have seen great growth last year and it can be tempting to hold on to the memory longer than we should. There comes a point where we need to trust that what we learnt in that growing season is now part of us. This way we can move on to healthy new growth for the season we find ourselves in.
Pruning can feel uncomfortable and seem counter-intuitive but it creates a space for new things and new fruit to flourish.
Some plants already have the beginnings of this year’s growth peeping through. That fresh green colour of newly unfurling leaves never gets old for me! We’re still just in February though so these little signs of new life found themselves covered in a healthy layer of leaf mulch.
Why when we’re so desperate for signs of life after a cold winter cover it up again? Because there are still frosts forecast and these new shoots are vulnerable and need protected so they can grow healthy and strong all year.
Sometimes when we see new growth we want to run before we’ve learnt to walk with it. New growth can be fragile and takes time to get established. Protecting and nurturing those early signs of life is a way of playing the long game and making sure that they’ll grow strong enough for the whole season ahead.
So yesterday was a time of pruning and protecting in the garden and perhaps also in my hopes for this year too.
Puddle and Angelina were delighted to 'help' us as we worked!
And we were great entertainment for these little ladies!