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The hard graft is done in the garden

The hard graft is done in the garden

The urging is over, the hard graft is done. Thank heavens that the very qualities that make this time of year in the garden so glorious require almost no human effort.

Early autumn is the perfect time for back-patting and congratulations as the softening late summer sun renders, Rumplestiltskin-like, all stems into gold. Those twining, binding weeds that only a month ago might have caused the ever-critical gardener sharp pangs of guilt are happily hidden under the floriferous seas of late flowering perennials.

Now is the time to let the grass grow, and not only under our metaphorical feet but everywhere in reality. The edges of the lawn, although long and lush, are quite hidden under the flopping stems of late flowering plants and shrubs in their rich autumnal hues. What we can’t see surely isn’t going to hurt.

The default position of such readily available horticultural advice is the dishing out of endless exhortation – dig, prune, divide, feed, water, pinch out, snip. weed and scarify. It’s exhausting. On and on we are urged, week in week out, but, truly, sometimes less is more.

The temptation is so often to impose order. To primp and tweak, to pull seedlings. To control spread. But, as we so often find on returning from holiday, a little disorder can lead to joyful surprises. Turn a blind eye for a couple of weeks and, come spring, aubretia and forget-me-nots will be filling bare earth between the daffodils and tulips.

In next to no time you’ll be clearing the leaves but for now, doing nothing isn’t lazy. If you have a garden relax and sit in it.  

Adapted from the editorial in Country Life, September 25th 2019

By Chris Willey
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