Monday, August 29, 2005

Clearing A Sparrow Grass

I drove 786 kilometers over two days and on arriving at my destination found that what I wanted to do more than anything was pull weeds.

I haven't had a decent garden since I moved away from the Tron about 7 years ago. I made a few frustrated attempts in my first couple of Wellington homes but plants stunted by wind burn and clinging to near vertical slopes of clay and rock required much hard work and investment for little pleasure and satisfaction and was ultimately not sustainable for a working single mother. I gave up and started collecting hand-me-down house plants.

Then when I moved to my rural paradise in the winterless north my landlady was not very keen on me putting in a garden, and frankly that seemed like it was going to be a lot of hard work on my own to start out on top of swampy kikuyu grass. So I lavished my gardening energies on a window box type thing hanging on the fence, planting herbs and salad greens which have been languishing a bit through the season that Northlanders call winter.

But here I am on the Kapiti coast, staying with a friend who has a massive vegetable garden. When I arrived, the asparagus tips started poking out of the ground (two months early) and I expressed my appreciation of this miracle by offering to weed the bed. My friend loaned me some gardening gloves which fit me like, well, you know what. (I've always thought that gardening gloves were supposed to be too big and awkwardly uncomfortable. Apparently not.) Doing my best not crush the asparagus crowns I set to.

What's not to love about weeding when the soil is soft and deep and dark? When the weeds are small and part willingly from the earth? When you have perfectly fitted gloves to protect you from the stinging nettles and there doesn't seem to be any oxalis or thistle to worry about? When you are helping to ensure an abundant crop of asparagus? ...Bliss...

(Then I did the celery, which was also satisfying. And now I'm looking forward to the heaped up rows of Maori potatoes and garlic.)

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