Give yourself a break

scratch ‘n’ sniff cardoon flowerIt was really really good to get away. It always is. It’s not that I don’t love my work — you know I do! — Rather, it’s that after a little while in the blaze of summer, gardening starts to feel like a job. Taking a break reminds me that I really need to slow down and drink it all in to thoroughly enjoy it. After all, we garden because we love to, right? Sure it’s laborious sometimes and dirty but that is all part of the fun – at least until it starts to feel like work with a capital W. Over the weekend I met a Little Compton gardener who showed me around her garden and apologized for its “messiness”. But she also explained that she’s come to be able to actually relax in her garden – her hammock might even hold her in a nap now and again. I’ve got to say that that garden was one of the prettiest “messes” I’ve seen and I really envy her “work” ethic. It’s important to keep up with the weeding but we also need to stop and smell the cardoons. (Truly! – Have you ever leaned in for a sniff? Sweet honey but mind the bees…) At home I have decided to try to enjoy my “mess” without feeling frantic and here I am smiling again even as I help Ann deadhead the stinging eryngium. Do you ever need to take a vacation from gardening?

Ann deadheading eryngium - a labor of love!

It also takes being away from it to really see what the garden is and how it’s grown. The first thing I noticed at Blithewold was how big and beautiful everything had gotten in just one week. Just like last year, the Stapelia opened for my return!

Stapelia gigantea

And the rain brought a chill to the air and long sleeves out of the closet.

Rainy Rose Garden Monday (I miss Lilah!)

Savoy cabbageAnd the cabbages are fully cabbaged. at least 12′ tall - maybe 15′!And the sunflowers are stratospheric.

At home I noticed other things like giant weeds and a decided lack of late season color. I’m glad I was able to get away from my garden long enough to see it with fresh eyes and I’m glad that I’m relaxed enough now to think it’s a thing of beauty anyway! What do you notice about your garden after you’ve been away from it?