On my way to fetch the hose-pipe from the side alley, I stop to address the sunflowers with a few well-chosen words of encouragement. These three plants belong (nominally at least) to my three (Not So Very Little) Welsh
Boys and, as of the day before, had been wilting a little in the fierce sunshine.
“But look at you now!” I tell them, “Isn't it amazing what
a drenching with water can do? You're doing just splendidly!”
At which point I become aware of gales of laughter from our neighbours who, being engaged in
unravelling their own hosepipe in their side alley, which abuts ours (I’m sure you can work this out without a diagram. Can't you?) have overheard my conversation with the sunflowers.
I am unabashed - mostly because our neighbours are Ace Gardeners who will surely understand the importance of Communication With Plants. Besides, the particular sunflowers in question are but six inches off the top of the fence which
divides our back gardens so in no time at all they will be poking sunny heads above it for our neighbours’ delight as much as mine.
Almost every morning
when I draw my bedroom curtains I see Jackie Next Door (she shares my name as well as my love of growing things, though her fingers are greener than mine) wandering lovingly around her beautiful garden. I'm not being nosey, honest, but I do love to see her
on her early morning meander. She reminds me of my dear Dad who used to say that he was “off to check on the estate” as he set off each day to explore his small, but well-kept back and front gardens.
Earlier this week, in a hospital waiting room, hoping that our neurologist - regular readers will remember I have christened him Mr BowTie for obvious sartorial reasons - wouldn't leave us till last to be seen, I picked up
a copy of Gardeners World to while away the hours. It was the February edition which meant that it was far too late to follow its advice about “essential jobs in the garden this month” but it was nevertheless an enjoyable read. Mr B said why didn't
I pop it in my bag and take it home with me, if I was finding it so very interesting. I was horrified. Mr B is clearly developing Criminal Tendencies in his old age.
Anyway, the point of all this - ah, yes, you are undoubtedly thrilled to discover that there is a point to today’s Daily Blog, this not always being the case - is that the article on the very last page of Gardeners World was written by the Venerable
Alan Titchmarsh, Bede of Flower Beds, on the subject of Mindfulness.
Mr Titchmarsh was pondering on the experience of one of his friends who attended a course
on Mindfulness where he was required to hold a raisin in the palm of his hand and contemplate it - and nothing else - for twenty minutes. What a waste of time, Mr T said (and I agreed, sitting there in the hospital waiting room, wasting precious time) when
he could have been practising Mindfulness simply by wandering around a garden.
You know it makes sense. Open the doors onto the garden and step outside.
It helps if the sun is shining but it isn't compulsory. You can always tell a gardener because, when it rains, he or she will pronounce, sagely, “It’s good for the garden!” If you wish to look purposeful you could carry a small trowel (weeds
for the uprooting of) or a pair of secateurs (overgrowing bushes for the trimming of) but, once again, this is not essential. You may consider wearing appropriate footwear in case you find yourself taking a detour into the rose bed to do a bit of judicious
dead-heading - mostly I forget about this, hence the small collection of muddy shoes gathered outside the patio doors where I removed them before stepping back into the house. (No, it was the muddy shoes I removed, not the patio doors, don't be ridiculous.)
Mostly I advise you to simply wander, like Jackie Next Door, enjoying the feeling of being At One With Nature.
Forget about raisins, or any other kind of dried
fruit for that matter.
Mindfulness is a Meander Round The Garden.