Coming to the End of the Line

There’s been yet another week or two of dry, sometimes fine, sometimes hot, weather. It’s allowed me to spend almost every day digging away at the final border in the garden. There were some days where I didn’t and that’s because I was recovering from previous days’ work.

It’s been a case of three hours digging in the morning and three or four in the afternoon, on days off. I only did the afternoon hours when I had work (I work part-time). It amounts to a serious number of hours turning over soil, barrowing compost and manure, tilling it over, mixing it all in and so on.

I’ve been rather driven in getting this final border done as it marks an important milestone – namely that after this final border, there are no other large borders to dig – in fact, there is no space left in the garden to dig any more. I’ve now achieved the 50% border, 50% grass ratio that I think looks best. I wouldn’t put another border in even if I had the choice.

There’s a kind of finality that I’m feeling at the moment along with the sense of achievement and a level of exhaustion. While the border is far from complete (there’s still a path to put in as well as a watering system), there are only a certain number of jobs left before things move on to “maintenance mode”. It’s like I can see the so-called “finish-line” just up ahead and I’ve only just realised quite how close it is.

The finish line represents the end of the “big jobs” in the garden. Here, a “big job” is one that might take most of a season, or even multiple years to do. They’re not jobs that can be done in a few weeks, these are months-long and looking down at my list, I’m on the verge of crossing off the last one and have discovered there actually aren’t any more.

No-one is ever “finished” gardening, but after years of having projects that span seasons and multiple years, suddenly reaching the end of the list is like coming to the edge of a cliff. Sure, there’s Fruit Avenue that I’m replanting and a few other areas where I’ll move some things around, but that’s a matter of a few warm afternoons of work, not months of hard graft.

I’m also closer to my goal of being able to open the garden as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). In a very recent inspection by local NGS representatives, the re-levelled patio was deemed safe for visitors and an opening year of 2023 was agreed – 2023 gives some time for the plants in the final border to grow and establish before being put on show.

Ultimately, I’m relieved to be coming to the end of the heavy work, I’m hoping that I’ll have more time to enjoy the garden and not be thinking about how many tonnes of material I need for the next project. I’m also very excited that I have 40+ square metres of blank canvas to plant. The young plants on the patio staging are also very excited about that as well.

The completion of the this border is surprisingly bittersweet. It’s the largest border in the garden, the keystone to all the others and it’s the final one I’ll do here. I’m both happy and sad to be able to say that.

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