A new realism

A New Year is here and I’ve renewed my no-self-denial form of resolutions in an effort to make something positive out of what is an exceptionally wet month. The rain has however meant that our bike shed has a fine growth of slime mould, which fascinate me. These organisms can alter their existence from that of an individual single cell, to a differentiated multicellular being capable of reproduction. Beasts like this complicate thinking around the definition of what it means to be ‘alive’, as do viruses and phages. It must be tricky being a philosopher.
Back to the resolutions though. Keeping things for best is a perennial problem for me, particularly when it comes to wine glasses, clothes, notebooks and even tea-towels. I know this is stupid and each year have to remind myself there is no point having nice things if I don’t use them; this may mean they get a bit battered, but that is better than never enjoying them. It’s not normally something I am aware of in the garden, but I am guilty of reserving my Felco secateurs for hard wood plants that I feel deserve it. So this year I’ll use sharp blades on everything because I know it makes sense.
And I’m going to try to wear gloves more, it doesn’t look very good turning up for work with hands raw from scrubbing and nails scraped and broken from weeding in the gravel. I was brought up to think that gloves were for the type of genteel lady gardener who drifts around with their snips and a trug and has someone else to do the heavy work. But Alys with a why recommended Ethel Gloves in the Guardian before Christmas as being hard-wearing and washable, and if they are good enough for her they are good enough for me.
And finally some change in the way I think about this garden diary. As I said to a friend about the photos, there is sometimes beauty, but not a lot of truth here as I edit out failures and weeds. But I’m still new in my garden and whilst things get established I need to stop changing so much and sit back a bit. So each month I plan to take a picture from roughly the same position and in 12 months time review the seasons and the plants and see what worked for me and what didn’t. I’ll put them here so I can see the failures too and I’ll choose a favourite plant to go alongside so I don’t feel too downcast by how dreach it can look in the colder months.


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