By Andrea Pavee
Every day as I pound through the byways of my neighbourhood, I have been fortunate to have made a bevy of friends from all walks of life.
The initial, tentative calls of “Good morning” and “Have a nice day!” have blossomed into firm, fast friendships, with lengthier conversations, where we catch up on the news and views of the daily happenings around and about – something which I look forward to.
Those along the way share the same interest as I do – walking as exercise for good physical and mental health. Some though, are avid gardeners, ever ready to part with cuttings, plants, fruit and vegetables, while peppering our chats with generous dollops of thoughtful advice.
One of them, for purposes of privacy, is named N, who having lived here his entire life is a daily morning fixture.
He lives in a house with a small patch of garden in the front. Although he has a bigger plot out back, it rests on a very steep hill, where even simple gardening chores prove physically challenging.
Having recently retired, he spends his mornings tending his garden and the surrounds where passers-by can enjoy the many, different coloured blooms, lovingly planted and tended by him.’
With a small patch of garden out front, he has had to be very economical with his choices of plants. Nevertheless, his garden is always immaculately neat and tidy.
Earlier this year, I noticed he planted a great number of sunflowers whose blooms were big, bold, bright and beautiful. Since sunflowers can grow quite high, he placed them at the verge of the road in from of his home.
I was so entranced with them, I used to stop by and admire them every day. And I was not alone.
A few weeks later, I noticed he had moved some pots to his neighbour’s home, and then a little later, I saw him loading more of these huge flowers into another friend’s car. I learned that he had given most of his sunflowers away to anyone who was keen – for free!
By chance I happened to pass him by one morning and as I called out a greeting, I remarked about his sunflowers.
Unbelievably, he told me he had one more left at home and, if I was keen, I could have it – for free! Wow! Christmas in July!
He told me that although they look lovely, they were too high maintenance to his liking.
Sunflowers love the sun and drink plenty of water. Unless it rains, you need to water them at least twice a day. And they drink deeply.
In the end, I took a huge sunflower and a scattering of sunflower seeds.
Today, I have 4 sunflowers growing in my garden, each of them well placed in individual pots.
N taught me to be generous and that it is better to give than to hoard.
He also taught me how to manage a minimalist garden. From time to time, he will uproot some of his plants, and instead of just chucking them out, he passes them over to anyone keen to rehome them – green recycling at its best!
With the constant changing of plants, his garden always looks fresh, green and new. Additionally, the activity helps him upgrade his gardening know-how as he learns how to tend to new plants.
Gardening can be done by anyone, at any time, and wherever you are.
Have a small garden? You can do it. Where you cannot spread your blooms across your landscape, go vertical!
Gardening is a great way to exercise, both mentally and physically. Do not wait for retirement to enjoy this great good. You can set a time each day to commit yourself to some garden work, even if only for 15 minutes.
Tired of the same view? Change the landscape with new plants. Gift the uprooted plants (as long as they are healthy), to anyone keen. Plants make wonderful gifts and are so versatile, you can gift them for any occasion.
Christmas is coming…..
Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 2 December 2021