Thursday, 28 May 2015

Celebrating the weeds...

A little while ago I added a comment on blog post I was reading because she was saying that her allotment was getting too much for her...weeds do not wait for a busy working mum...and the only thing that kept her going was her little boy who was sweetly enthusiastic about growing things. I added a comment as many others did to offer support and to let her know she wasn't alone. That's one lovely thing about the blogging world which I am gives you the opportunity to be nice to strangers, and hopefully make them feel a little better if they sound like they need it (and sometimes even if they don't).

Anyway, my words of support to her came back to slap me across the face when I got the chance to spend a day on my own allotment this week, my heart sank as low as the weeds were high when I saw it...small boy was not with me to make me smile. I haven't had the chance to get to it as much as I would like/need to recently and the weeds have had a party in my absence, invited all their friends and generally behaved like teenagers in an empty house...badly!
I sat and stared at it for along time trying to find my love for it and the energy to start to tackle it. Then I noticed that the grasses that had grown were actually quite pretty, not unlike the ones I'm growing from seed at home. There were buttercups in flower that the bees were going mad for...purple flowers which I must look up in my wildflower book amongst the nettles, bindweed, docks and thistles (oh yes I have a lovely full range). My kale and purple sprouting broccoli have gone to flower and the butterflies were lining up, I'm loath to pull it up yet, I will wait til the butterflies are finished. It looks wild and untamed in parts and the more I looked the more I actually started to like what I saw.

I have the perfect allotment neighbours on one side of me, their plot is immaculate I have no idea how they do it..perhaps sneaky night time weeding when no one is around. I was deeply envious of their perfect raised beds (allotments can bring out the strangest things in you!) I was really concerned that my plot would be a worry to them, though I do try to keep the edges clear so there is a 'weed' barrier. Whilst I was looking at my plot...I looked across to theirs and for once I didn't feel that usual envy (or guilt), or the childish feeling of 'they are better at this than me'...I just saw a different idea. They obviously like a very ordered space...I like gentle chaos and I am going to stop beating myself up for it! I will never have a completely weed free allotment, I don't want one...if weeds are only flowers in the wrong place then my weeds will be in the right place and not be considered to be weeds at all:)  I would rather a patch of nettles than bare soil probably as much as nature does, as long as I don't accidentally touch them!

My raised beds will be weeded, my veg and fruit cared for as best I can, but around them I will let the buttercups flower. I'm doing it for the bees and quite honestly for myself too, waging war against nature is not why I got an allotment in the first place there is room for all of us I think. I need to learn to think differently in order for it not to feel too overwhelming, remember that I am not in any part of my life a perfection freak (friends and family are now crying with laughter at the thought) and my allotment is no exception. I am quite new to this allotment game and have a lot to learn, perhaps I am being naive and it will come back to bite me, perhaps not:) I know I must keep on top of the bindweed at least and that my asparagus will not live happily with anything sprouting up around its delicate roots, but as for the long grass that has magically appeared everywhere, well I'm hoping that the toads and frogs from the nearby ponds will thank me for it and in return will deal with the slugs and snails for me;) Perhaps I can get nature to help me a bit, if I help it...that's the theory anyway, it's called, 'It will all be fine, even if you let the weeds live!'

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Comments are always welcome, nice kind ones at least! Any advice for a complete novice would also be gratefully received:) Thanks.