Posts Tagged ‘Christine Walkden’

Saturday, 2 March 2019

At home

The weather had a springlike warmth. My mission: to sift and empty bin four so that I can start turning compost again. The bins were so full that the latest batch of work debris overflowed onto the lawn.

First, though, I decided to set up a new plant bench and found that a big board, salvaged from the dump and propped up against the arbor, had fallen over and smashed off a third of the stems of a Euonymus ‘Green Spire’, a pretty basic plant to replace if one lives in the city, but one that is not available around here. Even though the thought had crossed my mind at dusk two days ago that the board was in a bad spot, I had not moved it. Since Allan had put it there, I took the opportunity to go into the house holding the branches, with a sad look, only to find that he had gone to the post office.

I made some cuttings from the broken off stems. The board is now a plant bench. Allan heard all about it when he got home, with less drama than the immediate reaction.

On to the compost….

Bin four gave me this much good sifted compost:

…and this much rough and even rougher material:

The bottom of bin four, before it got a new layer of newspaper to keep horsetail from coming through:

The mess that had been too much for the bins:

I mixed those ferns and ornamental grass debris with the old not quite broken down compost. The Toy worked brilliantly to chop up the fresh material into smaller pieces that will compost faster. Although it is not a tool that makes a painful noise, I did worry about being a noisy neighbor, especially when I started to run some tough stems through our little chipper, The Pencil Sharpener.

I was quite pleased with myself for getting over my dislike of using the chipper and was finding it quite fun until smoke started coming out of the top. Allan later found material wrapped around the blades. Turns out that corn stalks (left over from Halloween) are too fibrous to chip well. I had stopped in time to save the machine from damage and, as always, am grateful to live with a machine assembler and fixer.

Before rescuing The Pencil Sharpener, Allan had mowed our lawn, the Nora House lawn…

…and the J’s lawn (shown before):

In other news, I finished a book late last night.

Virginia Ironside wrote that great pet loss book, Goodbye, Dear Friend, and the delightful Marie Sharp novels. This book about aging was written when she was just a year older than me.

Here is the part that amused me most. I hesitate to share it in case anyone who reads it never comes to my garden again. But….it does apply to those times in the winter when I desperately want a week or two of non peopling. It will take a whole summer of dealing with public gardening to get to that point again.

I do think about retirement. It would be idyllic:

It is sorely tempting, yet I feel that doing public gardens gives my life meaning and purpose and earns me a place of value in the world.

In the evening, I found and watched four episodes of Christine’s Garden, starring Christine Walkden.

I’m shattered that I can only find four of the 12 episodes! I love her so!

She is downright poetic as she talks about nature.

Her darling neighbor Reg, who lives “next door but two”:

He brings her a pie baked by his wife, Pat, made with plums from his tree that she pruned for him.

I grieve that Reg has died sometime after season two.

Christine’s friend, Louise, “next door but one”, brings her some eggs:

Louise works in the pub just down the road.

In the evening, Louise and Pat and Reg and Christine have a garden dinner with some veg from Reg’s and Christine’s garden.

…till after dark…

I want this. Those few longtime readers of this blog know that gardening neighbors is my ultimate dream, and back when I thought I had that dream, I was happily a much more social person. I just need a neighbor like Christine who won’t judge me for being me. Did I say how much I love her? Why can’t I have a Christine?

My notes from the shows:

They show her going to work as a jobbing gardener and preparing to give lectures to garden clubs. She also guides garden tours and teaches a class.

She is just my age, born the same year and two weeks apart. Her house is her first house, in a neighborhood where planes fly low overhead.

Christine: “I make my living getting my hands dirty gardening for other folk.

I wouldn’t want a permanent job to save my life.

I’ve blossomed beyond belief since I took that vast leap into the chasm of being self employed.”

She goes to a former longtime job to tidy up the garden. The garden owners have both died.

She says, “Once a person dies, the soul of a garden dies There’s still a feeling of [their souls] here in their garden but it’s not the same.” (You can watch that episode starting here.)

For her neighbor Reg, “next door but two,” she helps in his garden “for tea and macaroons. His door is always open. Reg and Pat share my garden and I share theirs. No one has any expectations of each other. We just go in and we share.”

Both Reg and Christine have good veg gardens.

Christine: “I can eat my way around any garden, especially our veg. Veg with lashings of butter. You don’t get to my size without lashings of butter. Vegetables. I love growing them, I love eating them and I just love them.”

“I’ve never once been bored in a garden. Boring? You’ve not learnt to look.”

She speaks of the financial difficulties of being self employed and of how some people won’t pay enough, even though “I trained full time for seven years, as long as a doctor.”

After helping Louise buy and plant three trees, she says, “Three trees for sixty quid that’ll last a lifetime. By gum, mother nature is good value.”

“I love gardening. I eat it, sleep it, drink it, dream it.”

Tonight I intend to order the book that goes with the show and dream of a world where Christine is my neighbor.

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