Garden Bliss in Spring

Chop, chop, goes the blade as I bravely and vigorously chop back the long and strong buddleia branches that tower over me. Reducing these godly limbs to fit the compost is some fete, pausing as I go to save the best, minus their side shoots, with the intent of giving them a new purpose as stalking stakes to support the weight of next Summer’s heavy harvest.

Part of me wonders yearly if I’m not being too hard in this sharp pruning of this butterfly bush, but experience reminds me how giant-like this fervent grower will become by mid-Summer, as it will inevitably attempt to overthrow its’ more delicate neighbouring plants, even encroaching quite profusely into the sitting area, where Summer guests often duck and twist to avoid being prodded by its’ protruding purple blossom.

Like the bees and the butterflies, I too want to be out where the sun shines. In early Spring, only the far end of the garden gets touched by the sun, resulting in me focusing my attention mainly there too, until day by day, the sun slowly touches more corners of the garden, bringing with it light and warmth and waking both the plants and me out of our Winter slumber.

Like a pig in mud, I feel as I slowly help the garden to strip back its Winter jacket and prepare the soil for a new season’s growth. I dig deep into the all but forgotten compost heap, to stir up and fork over, in the hope of finding luscious dark black soil at the bottom. And yes, under the recently added tops layers of clippings, is indeed a soil so rich the birds sing its praises. There’s something hugely satisfying about this transformed new earth coming from the regular additions of garden and kitchen waste, reminding me how miraculous the earth is in transforming. While the rich new earth readies itself to feed new growth and this wonderous cycle continues.

The dried out remains of last year’s growth stand pale and crisp, like skeletons of their former selves, as I strain to remember what they looked like in the prime of their time. Chop, chop, goes the blade as I remove these dried forms, with the hope that this drastic clear up that underground the magic of new growth is unfolding, soon to peak its infant heads through the bared earth. And as the season progresses that I will be reacquainted with old flowering friends, who survived the Winter slumbers and have returned to bring joy and bliss to all.

And while I wait in anticipation for the sign of new growth, I can pause in reflection of last years’ garden successes and failures and return to the dream board, browsing for ideas and inspiration with how this year’s garden will be different from the last, knowing the beloved garden never stays still, requiring regular modifications, nurturing and above all love and attention. And so the time has come to embrace a new season of growth and wonder and garden bliss in Spring.

February 2021

Olivia O’Keeffe