Around mid-July, I start to run out of steam when it comes to my garden. The gardening appetite and inspiration that comes on me like a tidal wave in early March is a distant memory. Now the days are hotter and dryer, leaving some of my plants looking tired and most definitely making me tired and lazy. And still, the weeds keep growing.
I have found a few ways to sustain myself (and my garden!) through these lazy, hazy days of summer.
- Set a little time aside each day (or every few days). If I commit to working outside for half an hour a few days a week, my mind and body feel less daunted by the work I see. I know I'm getting things done, and I don't need to schedule an entire morning or afternoon to catch up on maintenance.
- Do a little at a time. In a similar vein to the previous tip, I usually choose a small section of the garden to focus on each time I'm outside. This is especially helpful for weeding! I have a really large section of full-sun garden at the side of my house. The plants there are happy, but so are the weeds, and it takes all the willpower I can muster to tackle the job. I pick away at it in small sections. This way, I can see my progress and have a sense of accomplishment without wearing myself to frustration. This is also a good approach to watering plants (especially if you water by hand).
- Be cool. Maybe this goes without saying, but it's easier to work outside during a cooler time of the day, like morning or evening. After breakfast or after supper.
- Do what you like. I enjoy some gardening chores more than others. I love tending to the plants: harvesting, pruning, deadheading and general fussing. Weeding and watering are not my favourite things to do. Amid the drudgery of the chores I don't like, I always make sure I do a few tasks I enjoy because they're fun and they make the other chores more bearable.
- Indulge your senses. Gardens are for joy: the joy we take in working them and the joy we take in seeing, smelling and touching the life they bear. When you work outside, take time to stand back and feast your eyes on the beauty, bury your nose in a rose and run your fingers across the textures of leaves.