Garden Blog - Blog Post

A Subtle Return


First of all, I’m sorry if you’ve worried while I’ve been away from here for the last several months. I got into a cycle where the longer I stayed away from the blog and didn’t post, the easier it was to simply ignore it. There also wasn’t much to write about that was different to my usual gardening maintenance chores that I’ve done in previous years. I didn’t want to end up repeating the same stuff about:

  • Clearing the patio
  • Putting the large terracotta pots into the shed
  • Packing the greenhouse with plants to protect
  • Bringing the Strelitzia inside
  • Dismantling the patio pot collection

All of which all boils down to “winter preparation”. It hardly makes for gripping reading.

After the previous post where we just broke ground on the new (and largest) border, I did no further work in the garden apart from the absolute minimum maintenance. At one point I actually questioned and began regretting over why I decided to garden so intensively, with large borders still to make, other borders crammed with weeds and plants that need attention and just the general yearly-repeating work that it all needs to look passable.

We’re now in 2020 and so I can say that “last year” was not great in many areas. Without going into details, shortly after the previous post, various events forced the full glare of my attention directly onto the things that were causing me stress, anxiety and illness and I found I could no longer ignore them and indeed did not want to ignore them anymore.

The result was that in the New Year I changed to a new role that will be less stressful. I also changed to working part time. This will free up a huge amount of time for me to focus more on the things outside work that I enjoy, such as baking, gardening, gaming and perhaps even re-learning the piano. I can see this working as a positive feedback cycle that will leave me with more time, less stress and more enthusiasm about being in the office as well as being outside.

It’s only the second week of this new arrangement and it’s strange. I’m writing this on a Monday afternoon, a time when I would normally be beavering away in the office. My brain hasn’t quite absorbed the change and while the kitchen is immaculate, the washing is all done, along with the ironing, the house is tidied; there’s a feeling of limbo that comes from having a “time vacuum”, when suddenly there are an extra two and a half days to fill with whatever you want. It’s the “whatever you want” part that is taking time process. Needless to say that some of this was spent outside and I’ve already made a good start on the winter clean-up.

I’m cautiously optimistic this year that with the major re-balancing of the way I spend my time, I will enjoy all the things I do much more. It’s already started with a return to the garden and the beginning of the winter clear-up, which is the subtle shift from preparing the garden for winter, to preparing the garden for the coming growing season.

For once in what seems like a long time, I’m looking forward to what’s coming ahead, as opposed to dreading it.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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susan maclean 14/01/2020 - 9:55 am

Oh Sunil…… what a wise decision you made. The workplace can be an intensive area to spend a lot of time in, and if you enjoy it, well, good for you. But if you don’t, there is a wearing down process that is not noticed at first…….
That spare time you got? Well, some years ago I was forced (via major surgery) to spend three months at home, with strict instructions to go to bed every afternoon for an hour. Silly instruction for someone like me! but I did it, felt better for it, and indeed that break set me up for enforced (not by me!!) retirement six months later. I never looked back. I do the garden, I read a lot, I do all sorts of things. Yes, I do whatever I want now and enjoy life a lot. Your health, mental as well as physical, is the most important thing of all, and gardening is a wonderfully helpful hobby in that regard. I find that whilst gardening, I am totally “empty-headed” about everything else. I can see from the pics that you have started the process! I look forward to more posts and am so glad to see you back.

Sunil 20/01/2020 - 10:19 am

Hello Mrs Mac, I definitely felt worn down by the time I decided to change my hours and you’re right, it was such a slow process that I didn’t notice it until things came to a head. I’m glad you’re well after your major surgery and I can only aspire to spend and enjoy my extra time the way you do. I’m definitely a long way from it yet as I’m still in the “fall out” period but as things calm down (though not necessarily in the garden), I hope I can enjoy a new “normal” that doesn’t involve me running to keep up, rushing from one thing to the next and feeling like I’m constantly behind.

Jean 17/01/2020 - 1:27 am

Sunil, Good luck with your re-balancing. I was just commenting today in my retirement blog on the parallels between cutting back trees in a woodland and cutting back on the demands of work in our lives. Both open up space that lets in light and encourages new growth. In my case, opening up space in my life also lets in joy.

Sunil 20/01/2020 - 10:16 am

Hello Jean, it’s going to take me time to get used to having more time (as it were). I’ve currently filled it with catching up on chores and getting a bit more done in the garden. I think it will take a while before things settle down and I have a routine of sorts (one that I enjoy). The one thing I do know is that there is currently no shortage of things to fill the extra time with.

gardeninacity 17/01/2020 - 1:58 am

Welcome back, Sunil! Sounds like you have made some sensible changes. I hope life gets more rewarding for you.

Sunil 20/01/2020 - 10:13 am

Thanks, Jason. I’m still settling into the new schedule and I’m trying to pick up better habits, be more organised and generally more on top of things than I was previously able to. It’s still early days yet though!


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