Tackling the beast

The garden has been, to say the least, neglected. Andy and I moved here over four years ago in November 2012 and less than three months later, he was gone. As you can imagine, the last thing on my mind was keeping the lawn down or sowing hopeful seeds, as I used to. The bitter loneliness of planning a long yearned for garden, without the person you had once intended to do it with, would have been too much to bear. And pointless.

That didn't stop well meaning people advising me to get out there and tackle it ('it will make you feel better') or from giving me kindly meant plants which never got potted out. I think the best gift you can do give to someone in deep mourning and shock is simply to be with them, should they want it. But for some people, this may be the hardest thing to do. And so you get a geranium, which eventually dies as well.

I can't say that my old love of gardening gradually returned. To be honest, for the first year or so I was on a  different planet and just getting on with whatever I had to do to keep my mind intact and to try to scrape a living. That last bit remains true and I still don't have much spare time. However, since meeting Joe and having someone to share it with, I have felt what you might call a few green shoots stirring within me. 

So during one of my recent at-home stays, Brian-next-door and I got to grips with it. It was a little like Sleeping Beauty's Castle, without the castle. There was a monster vine - or creeper - which had run rampant everywhere, despite being the one thing I have occasionally cut back. 

Not to mention the ivy, which has had free run. But last year the robins nested in it's deep green depths and  we found their old nest, so it served some purpose. Brian tackled the vine, but the behemoth ivy was mine. I went to battle. 

And Brian decimated the creeper. Or vine. Or whatever it was. And all the cuttings were carefully trimmed down to several inches, so that they would fit in the compost bags.

In a corner, we found the mother-lode. It still has to be dealt with.

Brian began dismantling the decrepit old dog kennel once it was free from the jungle of creeper, and the garden really began to open up. Hopefully one day we will be able to turn this side of the garden into a raised vegetable bed. All the spare bits have been carefully stored by Brian,  'just in case they may be useful later'.

And after many hours with the loppers and secateurs,  I cleared most of the ivy. Except for the huge trunks and roots, which also have to be dealt with soon. Look, you can see the cottage!

It has been very therapeutic, which is why, of course, people initially urged me to do it. But I had to do it in my own time, and when there was a reason to do it. Thankfully, unlike myself, Joe enjoys mowing the lawn.


Karren said...

Hooray for the time, strength and energy to garden. Looks like some long awaited sunshine in your life, in many ways. I wish you lots of delicious things to grow and grub around in.

Gerry Snape said...

...and blessed with a wonderful neighbour...a bonus..take time to enjoy as the seasons turn.....xx

Mac n' Janet said...

Your neighbor is a treasure! Healing does take time and each of us does it in our own way. Glad the garden is making you happy.

Frances said...

Gretel, seeing these outdoor scenes of you and Brian conquering the vines and ivy and whatever else had been taking root where your future garden will grow...well, it's got me energized, too.

I do hope to be able to meet Brian some day. His generosity and wisdom and skill surely have made him the perfect neighbor. I loved his wanting to keep those dog kennel materials just in case. The mother-lode tangle of tangles is a marvel,

How beautiful is that green field stretching into the distance.

I'm guessing that you and Joe are going to enjoy making a garden together.

Let me stop this comment now, before it really does run on and take root like those vines you've conquered. xo

Frances Tyrrell said...

That is an impressive block of clearance, my muscles almost ache with sympathy. Vines are tough and the roots persistent. How very nice to have such a helpful neighbour pitch in with you. All in your own time, as you say. Gardens need to lie fallow from time to time and so do hearts.
Very best wishes on your engagement. That is happy news and we rejoice with you.

Charlotte said...

Ahh, lawns. We bought a beautiful push along mower for our patch. Since buying it I have developed a deep love of moss, daisies and dandelions. The mower is still beautiful and very, very clean. Good luck Joe :P

Unknown said...

I think I'm in love with Brian :)

Vintage Jane said...

I could do with a 'Brian' too! So glad you have managed to clear so much and feel re-energised. It will be great to enjoy sitting outside when the warmer weather arrives ... M x

Jess said...

Your Brian-next-door is such a gem! I feel very emotional reading this post, I'm so happy that you're tackling the garden, it's almost symbolic of the tiny fragile stirrings of new beginnings isn't it? That's a fantastic view you have over the garden fence by the way!
Jess xx

the veg artist said...

A garden will wait until you are ready. Yes, some parts will overgrow, posts and fences will rot, but potential never does. Enjoy!

Lin said...

I love Brian. I need a Brian over here.

Some things you cannot do until you are ready. I'm glad you are doing some of the things you had planned on a while back.

I like mowing the lawn....there is something therapeutic in them there lines.

Darla said...

It's lovely and so much growth and beauty come from them. My your own inner garden awaken to beauty, peace and firm roots of renewed strenght.