Friday, June 13, 2014

Taking care of the Temple and Cultivating a New Approach.......

I have come to the conclusion that it is time to take it a bit easier on my Temple.  As a gardener, I can do it ALL.  Sling mulch bags, till new beds, rake all the leaves from my yard and my friends yards, and then put them in the new compost area, flip the older compost, plant new additions to any garden with lightening speed, etc.  As a Gardener, I am invincible....or at least I was last year.  This year, I have certainly noticed a difference and am ready to adapt new policies and procedures as it pertains to gardening.

Yep this is hard for me to accept.  I am a go getter and have always been this type of person - since childhood.  I always appreciated a helping hand but then did it myself anyway.  That is the Speight in me - a touch of stubborn, hard working and can do it all....or at least I could at one time.  I get this honestly of course, my Great Great Grandmother helped lay bricks for the Church...and I hear she was not a bystander serving lemonade....she actually helped lay bricks for St. Johns Holiness Church in Snow Hill, North Carolina.  Big Momma was a farmer and helped her husband, John Henry in the daily operations of the land they lived on.  I love hearing my Dad share stories about his adventures with Big Momma and Grandpa and how sad he was to leave the farm as his parents migrated up North.  As we know, back then, people did what they had to do - including leaving the familiar - to feed their families and make ends meet.  With 11 children to feed, my grandparents came to DC and created a better life for themselves and their children, starting on M Street in Georgetown and ending up on Capitol Hill.  Big Momma and Grandpa kept my dad until his parents settled in and then they came right back to get him.  They wanted all of their children with them as they started their new life.  What a journey that had to have been.  They also appreciated the help - but then did it themselves anyway.......I believe I get this can do mentality and touch of stubbornness honestly.

This garden season, those 2 cubic mulch bags seemed a bit heavier than usual - even when they are bone dry.....this was my first sign.  The unfamiliar feeling in my knees and the subtle aching in my lower back was the sure fire sign I needed to come to the reality that "things are a changin"....(in my best southern accent).  My private denial was getting the best of me when I caught myself paying attention to other gardeners that I collaborate with.  "Girl you better be careful lifting all that mulch" or  " All that stooping and weeding ...doesn't that hurt your back? Girl, you better slow down....."  I had to quietly admit, that perhaps they were right. Why even at the last Master Gardener meeting, the Coordinator mentioned a handout on proper gardening techniques for aging gardeners, I caught myself thinking "send her an email first thing tomorrow morning....". I cannot believe that I am admitting this - but tis true......I am an AG - Aging Gardener....UGH!!!

I recently read an article in Great Garden Design "A Lifetime of Lessons" by Daryl Beyers.  Mr. Beyer interviewed Sydney Eddison.  Her garden evolved from intense plantings that required a considerable amount of maintenance to adding shrubs.  The shrubs were allowed to mature amongst the perennials and add a sense of low maintenance maturity to her landscape.  Mrs. Eddison is an AG.  Her gardens are simply beautiful, age appropriately planted and maintained. 

Whether I want to accept it or not is not the question.  The question is How do I better take care of the Temple as I continue down this new path?  I know I will not give up, that is for sure.  I will educate myself on how to best preserve The Temple so that I can continue creating the beauty that I need to surround me and others who appreciate it.  I also purchased a book entitled "Stand Up and Garden: The No Digging, No Tilling, No Stooping Approach To Growing Vegetables and Herbs" by Mary Moss-Sprague.  I cannot wait to use this information as I rework my shade garden and install the pond. While I know that there will be minimally a few times that I must bend, stoop and perhaps till a few times as I perform these new projects, I will keep in the back of my mind my new found status - Teresa Speight, AG

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