Gardening in South Africa – To build or to plant

To build or to plant.

'In his or her life, each person can take one of two attitudes:
To build or to plant.
Builders may take years over their tasks, but one day they will finish what they are doing.
Then they will stop, hemmed in by their own walls.
Life becomes meaningless once the building is finished.
Those who plant suffer the storms and the seasons and rarely rest.
Unlike a building, a garden never stops growing.
And by its constant demands on the gardener's attentions, it makes the gardener's life a great adventure.'
By Brida from Paulo Coelho's book LIFE.

On a personal level, this quote hit true notes of course, but I have to giggle at how easy it is for me not to get 'àhemmed in by their own walls' when my daughter and wallet refuse me that luxury. But it also speaks for my garden who suffer flooding winters or dry, hot and windy summers. Summer is already casting its sepia tones and I can see where the shady areas are due to my pets' (sandy and bare) siesta- zones. The demanding aspect of my garden is a sore note though as we're supposedly entering the hottest summer since 1998. This sweltering heat plus drought plus our enthusiastic Cape Doctor takes any amount of moisture and eats it for breakfast. So we revert to more compost, more mulching and most importantly more shade trees. Fortunately with these additions come more birds and friendly insects - helping me with my garden's demands and providing adventure, of only to my daughter that chases anything that runs away. We have also now befriended a praying mantis that shares my basin and knows my dental history better than my dentist. My garden is a friend that rewards me when it gets TLC, have its seasonal biorhythms of ups and downs and will get my attention through acting out of control or with depression - leaving you always knowing exactly where you stand, but never in a dull way. And offering me a wonderful space for eating outside or just having that much-desired sun-downer at the end of a long day. Of which there will be more and more now over the Christmas period. Did this year fly past or what! May all our readers let their hair down for an Indian head-massage or two, and have a fantastic season in the company of loved ones around festive.

All the best,
The Gardening Eden Team

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