Okay, less than half-way through the alphabet and this daily post challenge is going suspiciously easily. Two week’s worth of posts to the A-Z challenge in two days, scheduled to be published daily when the coordinated challenge begins on April 1st? Just last month I was in Co Down looking at dwarf irises, charmed by the nursery’s shop because it had three very well-thought out strands to its business: the nursery, the café and the indoor shop that catered to gardeners off-season. It reminded me of some equally serene gardening emporia that I’ve loved closer to home, so if you’re coming to work or play in Dublin, Ireland soon, this seaside village is worth a gardening fan’s look. Just outside the main gates of Malahide castle there’s a nursery with a great selection of plants, wholesome food and because it’s so close to the castle grounds, you can choose to eat there or in the new café in the castle complex. If you’re ‘semi-retired’ like me it’s a wonderful place to get your bearings and centre yourself on what you expect from your garden.
Ceci n’est pas une pomme 🙂 My garden has to be simplified because neither I nor Himself set out to be gardeners. I’m a journalist, he’s a musician. Daily posts to the internet are to haul me up to speed on a new platform that changes what it presents to me almost daily. It’s a complicated enough task. So René Magritte’s concept of ‘the treachery of images’ and Ceci n’est pas une pomme (this is not an apple), is to convey the idea of keeping set time boundaries on tasks. This garden became a little over-complicated when I had to spend a lot of time here as a carer for an Alzheimers’ patient and it became an absorbing occupational therapy that provided a release from the rest of the stuff happening at that time. Skimming over ‘the rest of the stuff’ is a necessary euphemism because it has reverted to being where I live and can only fit into the ‘after work’ hours of the day. Even when you prefer euphorbias to euphemisms (see what I did there? spurge! euphoria! geddit? 🙂 ), eu’ve gotta keep it real clear and simple. So, what time can you spend doing the tasks yourself and, if it’s not a lot of time, then strip it down to its minimum drain on your pursuit of fulfillment. You could start, as I have with this example of Malahide castle grounds, by taking a stroll around a park, or any OPW-maintained estate grounds and admire their uses of color, texture and scale from plants and trees, to what they’ve allocated to open ground for playing fields, and forested areas for a sense of attuning with nature. The OPW, Office of Public Works, like the parks department of the county councils, is one of the vehicles for training and employing gardeners on a grand scale, but your little garden could do the Carol King/James Taylor/Fugees thing and take your soul if you let it. So don’t you let it. Instead of planting, pruning, or distilling them for their essential oils, take time out just to smell the roses. Then, to save you from decades of heartache that involves clambering through the thorns to get to the velvety petals, read about them and practically every other cultivated flower in a Cico Books publication that was reissued in February this year called The Secret Language of Flowers. Written by Samantha Grey, its charming illustrations and explanations of the symbolism of particular blooms could add yet another resonance to your choices.