The sun is rising and with the good weather I felt like going into the garden, as I’m sure half the nation did. Since moving into our own house almost a year ago, I’ve been proud to finally have my own garden.
Garden is something special, it is a patch of land that is yours to bend to your will and shape in your own little woods.
I’m not Monty Don but I took inspiration from this great gardener to create something beautiful. With the purchase of a lawn mower last year, I took to the greens and mowed them back to some normalcy after a few months of neglect.
There is something hypnotic about the lines and rows in the act of mowing the lawn, in the symphony of cutting that centers the mind. I drive and drive and driving is orderly. The grass that seemed so stubborn is born. In mowing the lawn we can exercise a will over chaos and find reverie in the accomplished action.
There are flowers to plant, plant and bloom, but it is pleasant work, work that lets you know you are alive. Despite the fact that I am a farmer, there is something particularly beautiful about being immersed in the earth. In the earth we can get to know ourselves. If we dig down, we find layer upon layer of meaning.
All around me I hear the sound of mowing and digging, and there is something new in every blooming thing. With the lawn trimmed and trimmed, I turned my attention to the plants.
You need beauty in a garden and as I got in the car I felt that beauty is what this country needs now after two years of deprivation. It seems that this summer is the first real summer since 2019 to find the beauty that life has denied us through this pandemic.
I went to Boyle in Co Roscommon and went to Ardcarne Garden Centre. There I met the world again. Young and old were happy that the sun was back and that winter was coming to an end.
I took my trolley and rolled through the center in search of beauty. The philosopher John O’Donohue said that beauty is a calling – it is above all what we are called to this earth.
I picked bushes and flowers, shrubs and herbs. I let my instincts guide me and found that the native bee enjoys potted plants. The bees couldn’t steer me wrong.
I took a handful of plants and flowers with me as my wife had a commission to create a space that would delight and enchant us. They were to be the plants of our summer, the summer when we returned home.
I found a camellia a Viburnum Tinus and a Vinca Minor – a purple flowering little thing that delighted me. It was, according to the note, a fast-growing sprawler growing around a garden.
There are great gardens all over the world and the Mediterranean world holds wonders that we northern Europeans can only dream of.
As I picked my plants, I thought of the wondrous gardens of Rome, of the silent, unseen hours that served to make this city’s soil rich and real.
At the checkout, an English woman advised me that the plants I chose needed acidic soil and a special potting soil. I bought the soil and the plant food. I had the dream of summer in my head and only thought about the evenings we would spend among the plants.
It was a long drive home, but the car was full of summer, a season of joy. I created a garden my father could be proud of, a garden to have a barbecue in.
What is a summer if not the dream of a meeting, a meeting of people in the midst of true beauty.
John O’Donohue was delighted with Clare, his home region. I rejoice in Longford, my home, with its drumlin country, with its hedges full of life.
I have the rush of summer in me and even though the woman in the shop warned me that March can be a deceptive month, I picked my plants anyway. Frost may still come, but I’m ready for frost. I’m ready for the late spring frosts.
When I got home, I unpacked my flowers and shrubs. I had bought terracotta vases to keep my wonders in and as I packed and unpacked I thought there was no place I’d rather be. I’ve lived by the water, I’ve lived in cities, I’ve trekked through deserts and frozen tundra. All this in 35 years, but now I’ve made my own garden.
In the potting soil, in the peat mix, I laid my claim to this season. This is the summer we’ve longed for, the summer we’ve been denied for two years.
As if to signal my choice, a horde of bees and wasps made their way to my products. They told me at that moment that they had been denied nectar, that my garden was a green desert.
As I sat outside in the garden to write, the flowers spoke to me of an undisturbed world where nature had moved on while we dealt with pandemics, war and other things.
Nature, the Creator Spirit as Native Americans called it, has its own mind and way of knowing. In plants, in green I rest now.
It’s something real, something special. I hope you can share in this joy. I really do.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/with-a-dream-of-summer-im-planting-some-seeds-and-staking-my-claim-to-the-season-41508902.html With a dream of summer, I plant some seeds and stake my claim on the season