Friday, November 04, 2005

Ephemeral gardening

Our temporary stay here in the village is longer than expected. I find it affects my motivation in the garden. You can do quite a lot quite quickly if you have the time and the money. And since we should be moving on to our own place any time now, (I do believe it, I do!), I have had a pretty ambiguous attitude to the wonderful space I have to play at gardening in. Yesterday though, I discovered ephemeral gardening. I'm happy to admit this has been stimulated by my recent evening trawls through my gardening magazines. After all that was the idea of buying them and trawling through them again. So with some vague images of Japanese gardens and Andy Goldsworthy stuff in mind, I went out to rediscover one of my ideas that got a bit left behind when I did my back in at the beginning of September.

The idea was to use one large oval area to create our own poor attempts at art, with one outcome for me being practice at working with dry stone construction. I've uncovered quite a few of these on our (rented) bits of turf, and thought it would be fun to improve their condition, (I'm not sure I could claim to have restored them exactly). So I planned to build a dry stone tower with a flag pole in it that we could hang stuff on from time to time. I piled up some material to work with, and laid the base layer and then it all got away from me. But I went out there yesterday, cut the grass down with a hand scythe, (green aerobics in action), and then decided to take a 'walkers' cairn' approach, rather than a dry-stone wall approach. So you could say it's a step away from lobbing them in a pile. That's what I did, and I am pleased. I also think I learned a bit about the materials by feeling and seeing the difference between the pile of stones and the cairn. There's a nice journey there that I'll be taking the next steps on.

But the great thing for me was what I did next. I started raking the grass up, but then pulled it into a circle around the cairn, so that it now looks like an earthworks around a castle, (well it does squinting into the setting sun, with a following wind). Given the wind we've had recently, the whole earthworks thing could be gone in an hour or so, but what the hell, it's an ephemeral garden. I can do something else tomorrow.

And all of a sudden, my garden has all sorts of other possibilities that i probably wouldn't have done if it was our own turf and I was only thinking long-term. Boy have I got plans. And of course the great thing is that when we do get our own place, (soon, soon), I can still do this!

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Some might say it's sad, but you know what? I don't give a fork, or a rake or anything else. And when it's stopped raining, if the wind hasn't blown it all away, I'll get a shot of it for posterity.

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