A client of mine was explaining to me that her HOA gives out pink slips to residents whose yards are not quite up to standard. I wondered whose standard? I was also very grateful that I don’t live in her neighborhood or have an HOA to contend with because I would probably be able to wallpaper with the number of pink slips that would be issued to me.
My yard is currently a mess. And if you drove by, you would see that I am equally messy. Yes, I am a freak of nature…a woman who loves to get dirty…you know, the dirt kind of dirty! And when you are literally dripping sweat (errr…perspiring) and channeling (quite physically) your inner Pig Pen, then blogging is hard to do. The little bits of dirt are really hard on a keyboard! 😉
It started early this spring with the dumping of 70 cubic yards of mulch on my driveway. (that story here) It then progressed to a construction site, building decks, pergolas, and trellises. (those stories here and here) And now I am locked in a battle with the Bermuda grass. (Actually, it is a war and there are and will be many battles involved.) So I am pretty sure that I won’t be receiving the Yard of the Month award anytime soon. (Besides, awards are overrated…right?)
I show this to you for two reasons. First I find great comfort in seeing other people’s messes…errrrr…progress. It makes me feel good to know I am not the only one who makes messes. Messes are just part of real life.
Which leads me to the next reason…we live in a world of perfection (falsely so) and instant gratification followed by all kinds of pressure and stress to be–or appear to be–something we aren’t. There is probably no industry more locked into this crazy notion than the landscaping industry. (except maybe the fashion industry) It is all a show. Large crews sweep in and within days “create” these very showy landscapes. And that’s just it…these are just for show. The man-behind-the-curtain, Wizard of Oz showy kind of thing.
On the other hand, gardens take time and loving tender care. I am a gardener…not a landscaper. What’s the difference you ask? A landscape is what happens when that crew comes in, rolls out the turf, installs those shrubs, and tops it all off with that nice, neat mulch. Then once a week they mow and blow.
A garden…well a garden is sacred. It is a small piece of heaven on earth. It takes time…usually a lifetime. It is messy and beautiful all at once. It feeds the soul, the body, and the critters that visit. It is a daily experiment in a natural science laboratory and grocery store all rolled up into one package. It is life itself. But most importantly, it—is— slow.
I practice Slow Gardening…a term coined by Felder Rushing. It is as close to religion as I get. Thus the reason why my yard space is not yet a garden. I’m working on it. I’m working on it! Gardening is not an instant gratification activity. Parts of gardening can evoke feelings of instant gratification (think weeding) but mostly it is slow and savory. It’s weird, but I got this little head rush the other day as I was separating soil from some weed roots only to find a big, fat worm wriggling around. Ahhh…love those worms!
Slow gardening is a philosophy for gardening that we should apply to our everyday lives. I’m pretty sure living this philosophy would solve all the problems in our world. Slow down, allow time to be creative, seek joy in everyday tasks, and share and celebrate your successes. Now go out there and get dirty!