The process of reclaiming my outside space after weeks away takes a strong stomach and a sharp pair of pruners; and though I have both, I’m nowhere near finished with the carnage and bloodshed. Truth be told, I have been wandering around in a bit of a daze, gobsmacked by the rampant growth of weeds and invasive vines contrasting sharply with the puny habits of plants I naively thought might possess a bit of backbone.
Still, these are the moments in life that separate the men from the boys. I can either cry and wait for the first frost to wipe out those who threaten my sovereignty, or each and every day I can take a few steps further towards the military dictatorship that has always characterized this peaceful, insurgent-free land.
Reclamation by stages is made easier because of the structure of my garden. For better or worse, it is separated into many different sections – sections that those with a HGTV show and fat book contracts would term ‘garden rooms.’ This is a great way to garden for three reasons:
1) When you’ve killed yourself in a six hour marathon of weeding, pruning and maintaining a ‘room,’ you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in a section that has a beginning and an end – in short, its own character.
2) Just as we all tend to do inside the house, you can take all the rubbish from one room and pile it in another, and then close the door. That door can remain closed for years, or at least until your in-laws come to visit.
3) The garden is visually enlarged as one’s eye travels from space to space – seeking hidden corners and unexpected surprises around the next bend. Thus a tiny garden is a tiny garden only on paper.
However, it is equally a terrible way to garden for three other reasons: