14 Nov How Emily and Ark helped me appreciate Winter…
I’m round my friend Emily’s, she’s cooked dinner and generally being lovely, I’m doing the washing up (I’m good like that) and I spot this book on the window sill over the sink.
The Art of Mindful Gardening
by Ark Redwood
A potted history*… I had grown rocket on my window sill in flats around East London, but until we bought this house I’d never really properly grown anything. I’m going to go out there and say that gardeners have a better understanding of the seasons than non-gardening people, and I had a lot to learn.
It’s fair to say, the first Winter with my new garden hit me hard. I’d look out the window and there would be nothing. Nothing to eat and nothing to do, so I vowed to sow more winter veg next year and heavily dreamt of spring.
So on Emily’s recommendation I bought this book and flipped straight to winter.
A couple of things Ark says about winter.
What winter means for the land…
“I cherish the winter, for its simplicity as animals and plants withdraw into themselves, either by hibernation in nest and burrow, or by shrinking into the gnomic world of roots. The land is then enabled to pause within its paucity.”
What winter means for us…
“This is the time to be still, and to reflect; it is the yin of the year. Instead of the mad rush around the garden within which we are whirled during the hectic days of spring and summer, winter offers us the opportunity to slow down, to walk with ease and unhurried intent.”
I generally do things quite quickly if I can. I can make a whole lasagne in the same time it takes my mum to peel a butternut squash. I was starting to slow down in the garden before I read this book, the garden had already taught me to take my time, to not think of the garden as a list of things to rush through, but of a really special way to spend my time.
So as Ark said, I should relish the calm and cold of winter, enjoy the peace and the gardens need for nothing.
This book is not for people that want pictures or lots of deets on how to grow whatnot, it’s for words and wisdom like this on slugs and bugs…
“As we know, there are a myriad of creatures, seen and unseen, for which the garden is a home. We must learn to respect this, and not lord it over these so-called lesser creatures just because we happen to be in possession of a more complex consciousness.”
So stop lording it over your snail friends and
take your time.
* One of the guys at my work was going to an event about gin, he was told he would get a tour of the distillery and a potted history for £15 ~ he thought he was getting a tour and a free plant.