Thursday, April 05, 2012

Big Decisions, Little Decisions

Spring is a very busy period for most gardeners, with plants waking up from their winter dormancy and putting out fresh new growth, as well as gardeners 'waking up' too with the warmer weather and longer daylight hours. The growing season starts and its exciting times ahead for gardeners, finally we can all get stuck in outdoors again after a long wait during the colder months.

Suddenly the garden becomes a flurry of activity again. But is it also a case of so much to do, so little time; and also all things happening at the same time?

I find that this is the case every spring, year in and year out. So many things that needs to be done, so many possibilities, hence so many things to think about. My mind is always buzzing at this time of the year with so many things to decide upon. And not just one aspect mind you, like on plants, but lots of other things to like:

What colour of paint should I use on this furniture?

Should I purchase vine weevil nematodes now or later?

What colour scheme should I use this year in this area?

Should I repot some of my Agaves now or should I prioritise the Colocasias?

What plant should I put in this spot? And will it do well here?

Which nursery should I visit first this month? What about next month?

A palm or a banana? Or perhaps a tree fern?

etc. etc.

Decisions, decisions, both big and small. And seemingly all needing to be made at the same time.

It gets more complicated if you are a gardener and a garden maker, rather than just a plant collector. You don't just have to think about the plants, but paint colour and hard landscaping decisions amongst others.

The list can be endless, and for that reason I stopped making lists of things to be done as I inevitably keep adding to the list almost as soon as I tick some of them off, even adding more than what I take off.

Should I or should I not?? Hmmmm...
So I just keep a sensible mental list, with the more vital and time sensitive tasks kept at the top of course as some things would need more priority over the other. Like a wall that needs painting that has a deciduous climber growing on it, you only have narrow window of opportunity to paint when it's warm enough to paint but also just before the climber leafs out. As once the climber leafs out it'll be much harder to paint the wall, and frustrating to splash paint on the newly emerged leaves. So you have to prioritise that over painting the garden furniture perhaps (even if visitors are due in a few weeks or so).
It can be daunting at times, and whenever I find myself being daunted by it all I just zone out and do things in the garden that are calming and relaxing without requiring too much thought.

And I sometimes just pause in the midst of it all and be grateful that there are so many things to think about. I should never let myself be stressed for in essence they are all sweet dilemmas. And that having so many choices is privilege that must be appreciated and not taken for granted.

Smile, it's only spring. And we waited months for this. And doing lots now will pay dividends, hoping that with all the work and decisions made now would mean a much easy going summer, with more time for relaxing and unwinding....

In theory that is!

Gardeners and garden makers will always find something to do and to think about. It's just that some months are more intense than others.

But that's the way it is, and its wonderful!

Mark :-)


  1. In answer to your question about vine weevil megatoads--us them weekly and weakly.
    As for which colour on garden furniture-I rather like the silver natural colour obtained by doing sweet fanny adams.
    'Tis indeed a wonderful time for the garden but only 6 months from Autumn:-)

  2. Color scheme for the house? We have a lot of color. One per wall, some walls with two colors.
    Your post suddenly makes me happy that I don't have a "garden" but just a lot of potted plants. So much easier to move around depending on where the sun rises and sets, where the shade is, etc. It also helps that our driver loves gardening and so I sometimes come home to see that he has finished some of my work for me.

  3. Mental list for me too. And trying to concentrate on one task at a time rather than being swamped (and panicked) by all that there is to do and that I haven't done.

  4. Such a good post and one I will try to recall from time to time. I'm afraid you'll hear a little of my complaining side on my blog post tomorrow, I hadn't yet had you remind me that it's all good. Thank you.

  5. I'm with Dave, multi-tasking is definitely not the way to go. I have to convince myself to pick a task and finish it, before thinking about anything else - in life, work & gardening.

  6. I keep a mental list also, as you say, always changing and growing. One never knows what will come up to affect the list. If the top couple of items get done, I feel OK. Recently I was going to clean up the herb bed but discovered that bluebirds have moved into the birdhouse in the center of it. The birdhouse was put there purely for decorative purposes. Only a few feet from the patio and house, I didn't think birds would be comfortable there. I was wrong! Now the weeds are growing along with the baby birds! It's going to be a big job by the time the birds move out. Note to self: Get the herb bed in order earlier next year!

  7. I agree with what Loree said, a great post to read and re-read when you feel overwhelmed by all the decisions that beg to be made. We *are* lucky to have found something to be passionate about. It's easy to get bogged down by details and not see the big picture, but as you said so eloquently, it's a privilege to even have so many choices.

  8. Yikes Don, don't remind me of autumn yet (although it is autumn in Oz now). My main thing about the nematodes is how expensive they are and quite a boring purchase but then again it does protect the plants and part of their maintenance.

    Hi Bom, it's nice to have different colour schemes on different parts of the house and garden. Wish we had someone helping us but as a small private garden it's just the two of us (for now) :)

    David, mental lists for most of the time are sufficient although I still sometimes find myself jotting down especially if I'm organising myself for the day.

    You're welcome Loree, I'm sure your blog post will still be a pleasant read as usual :)

    b-a-g, that's a good dictum in life, to finish one task entirely before leaping to the other.

    Hi Debs, that must have been a pleasant surprise to see the bird box being occupied by blue birds especially you only put it there for decorative purposes. You can finally sort the bed out once the chicks have grown, and yes get that bed sorted earlier next year :)

    Thanks Gerhard :) Having so many choices can be daunting at times but every so often it's worth pausing and appreciating that it is indeed a privilege to be appreciated.

  9. I'm not the only schizophrenic spring gardener? lol :)

    I am determined to do a calendar or to dos this year...given that my daffs didnt bloom (need to fertilize)....but this year I will blame it on the rain. I would also like a index of my plants and seed collection...but that is wishful thinking...Microsoft one note is fabulous for collecting ideas, websites, etc. I've given up on blogsites that track every inch of movement of your plants :)....

    Speaking of painting....I did have my front door redone...I had decided it should be blue, and after all my careful work last year, it had all sorts of ripples after getting too I finally happened to run into a young man who needed some work, and he and his brother painted my door to sheer perfection and now I can feel like I contributed to employment, got a pretty door, and let go of my disappointment of my own work !!! Learning to let go :)

    /Motor mouth!

    My ambitions well exceed my actions...but alot of it does come together! Now I am on holiday, so I have to have a friend water all my seedlings of seedlings and plantings gets a little chaotic! But experimentation outweighs complacency!!!!! I still make lists...but rarely utilize just sorts my brain a bit and helps me prioritize...but when I am out there, I am the master multitasker! procrastination is over...must plant and plan for seedling survival!!!

  10. Hi motormouth (love your name!)! Sounds like you are actually very organised which is great to hear :) The repainted door souns good and must look very smart now. Multi tasking is a talent and some people are better at it than other and if you are it is to a great advantage. Enjoy your holiday and as soon as you get I can imagine you'll be raring to sort your seeds out. Looking forward to your updates for the coming growing season :)


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