Only Five Minutes

So you’ve just seen this come up, why don’t you take a quick read? It’ll only take you five minutes. The Banksiae rose needs pulling out of the eaves again, it’ll only take five minutes. The rose on the arch needs tying in, it’ll only take five minutes. While you got five minutes, it’s a good time to plant out some of the foxgloves.

It’s funny how most of the little jobs are about five minutes long, but there seem to be hundreds of them and that’s what’s been taking my time almost all this month as spring repeatedly tries to grab control of the weather from winter’s cold, dead hands. The myriad little jobs around that garden: prune this, tidy that, clear this, feed that, plant this, weed that, have felt like weeks of hurry and bluster with not a huge amount to show for it. The experience is like death by a thousand horticultural paper cuts.

Prune and tie in climbing roses

Ticking these little things off the list lets me have a clear go at the project for this summer, which is sorting out the area around the Landing Pad. I hope to start on this just as soon as the rain clears and I don’t need to take a boat to reach the bottom of the garden. In the meantime, I can feel smug with the satisfaction of having done all those little jobs. The nagging voice in my head has been quieter, the areas of the garden that were neglected last year have been tended-to, look better and I’ve even had time to sort out the small area underneath the front study containing an overgrown pyracantha and ailing box. It was something that’s been on my list for a while and as I had five minutes, it caught the glare of my attention. Before you could say, “a spoon full of sugar”, it had been clipped, tidied, weeded, levelled and a whole host of other things to sort it out. It just took a whole series of “five minutes”.

Remove the dead fern leaves

I’m setting myself up for a good summer run at the new areas in the garden by getting rid of the distractions now that might cause me to sidetrack later. I’m also vaguely hoping that by getting ahead now, I might have more time to relax later on when the weather is really good; I can but hope. These five minute jobs are a key part of the whole “creating a garden” theme and cover the sometimes boring and tedious work of maintaining the areas that have been “done”, lest they fall back into wildness again.

Bring yet more pots out of the greenhouse and lay out for the summer

Meanwhile, despite the very wet weather we’ve been having, the garden has been trying to get on with the business of spring. The Camellias are flowering, buds are busting and leaves are unfurling. For once I actually feel ahead of the garden, but it’s not going to stay that way for long. With warmer, sunnier weather around the corner and the garden topped to bursting with rain water, it will race to catch up and with all these jobs I’ve caught up with, I might have five minutes to marvel at it before I’m onto the business of restoring another area of the garden.

10 Comments


  1. A well spent 5 minutes Sunil! Your garden is going to be magnificent this year. We all try to get ahead of the curve with our chores, but in the end, they speed past us. It is all part of gardening.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn, I often watch the list of gardening jobs speed past me around about mid-summer, when the garden tips out of control. I don’t think it suffers for it though and I can get on with the projects and plans that I want to have done for the end of the season instead of fussing over the little things.

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  2. I can turn 5 minutes into hours in a blink. But 5 minutes in the garden is always well spent. My new garden needs years of five minutes. Yours will stunning, without a doubt!

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    1. Hello Tammy, sometimes, I only have five minutes to spare in the garden and I spend half of that time wondering what I should do among the countless list of five minute jobs that I ought to do!

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  3. If you read my latest blog post, you will see I ws cursing the Romans for importing Ground Elder (although I suppose that will never be as bad as the Victorians importing Japanese Knot Weed!).
    So a five minute job for me turned into an hour or so but I felt so much better about it when I had done the area I wanted to. It’s sunny today, and the forecast is for good weather all week down here, so like you I will be doing several 5 minute stuff. Enjoy!

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    1. Hello Mrs Mac, that’s the other danger isn’t it? – that a five minute job will create a whole load of others. I’ve only come across the odd isolated plant of ground elder i the garden so far and even then, I’m not sure if it was imported with all the compost and manure that has been added. Nettles have arrived that way to so I need to keep on top of the weeding with a five minute job here and there before it does become hours!

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    1. Thanks, Jason. There are a whole load of ferns along this wall (and through the rest of the garden) that are doing the same thing. They went in so small but now their crowns are getting sizeable.

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  4. Sunil, these last five minutes have been a total pleasure for me. Camellias are also blooming nicely here, just give me five till I go and deadhead them.

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    1. Hello Alistair, that’s great, why don’t you take five minutes as a reward to have a sit down and enjoy them…. …OK, that’s quite long enough, onto the next job!

      Reply

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