Gardening and Seller’s Remorse

DSC_6905I’m no housekeeper, germs and dust are essential components of a healthy immune system, but I spend hours gardening.

Weeding, watering, sharp clippers, planting and harvesting – pure zen.

I don’t form strong attachments to houses, but it’s a wrench every time I leave a garden. We have to sell, it’s what we do to survive if we don’t want 9 to 5 drone-hood, but when people view the house I’m torn between wanting them to love it and make an offer, and dreading that they will do just that.

On days that I water, a pair of sunbirds follow me around from section to section, Bob the tortoise rustles away in his foliage, and the resident Hoopoe aerates the lawn with his long, sharp beak.

Bees and butterflies dodge the spray as they waft between flowers, big spiders sit in webs, small lizards glint in the sun.

A garden is not just about re-sale value or about me, it’s a hidden world, an eco-system for a chain of critters. If, by the end of my life, all I leave behind is a string of self-seeding, indigenous gardens. . . well, that ain’t bad.

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6 Responses to “Gardening and Seller’s Remorse”


  1. 1 shoreacres August 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Well. Now I know why I’m so healthy 😉 I love my dust.

    And how right you are that gardens – both planned and unplanned, as in vacant lots filled with wildflowers and so-called “weeds” -are valuable if not critical ecosystems.

    In the aftermath of Ike, anyone around here who didn’t already understand that got a crash course on interdependence. Because it was a water event more than a wind event, with 15-20′ of salt water innundating everything, even places that weren’t swept out to sea were terribly damaged. Trees and plants and grasses died, and the insects disappeared.

    Once the insects were gone, birds were gone. Fish disappeared, and with them the herons and egrets. It was a weather-induced version of Rachel Carson’s silent spring.

    I’ll never forget the experience of sitting here after weeks of eerie, nearly complete silence, and hearing the cry of a first night heron.

    Keep planting those gardens.

    • 2 Jeannine August 24, 2009 at 7:16 am

      It’s horrifying how quickly it can all be earased, how one action has endless awful reactions. It’s also amazing and wonderful that it can turn around and regenerate in a relitively short time.
      I love your experience of that first cry, like something being newly born!

  2. 3 oh August 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    this is so lovely, so telling. And you’re so doing the right thing, working and playing in the garden rather than chasing down (eternal) dust in the house. I hear ya’. I love this entry. The amazement of what happens in any little eco-system is too oft ignored.
    Do tell more about what grows there…I am clueless, thinking it must be somehow exotic, certainly different from here in the (USA’s) Midwest. Lots of prairie grasses here, natural and gorgeous and we’ve developed quite a stand of yellow leaf bamboo and sunflowers, annuals, too and our perserverent morning glories (thought to be annuals, but always come back to shade and beautify our fences.

    Always curious, though, about what’s growing elsewhere.

    • 4 Jeannine August 24, 2009 at 7:10 am

      Hey oh!
      Sedgefield falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the richest, smallest and most threatened floral kingdoms on earth. It’s the smallest of the six plant kingdoms, covering only 0.04% of the world’s surface. Despite its tiny size the Cape Floral Kingdom is by far the richest in variety, with 8 600 species, of which 68% occur nowhere else in the world.

      The village is in the centre of what is known as the Garden Route, a part of the earth which is simply spectacular. Wild, lonely beaches, indigenous forests, lakes, lagoons and meandering rivers – the area has one of South Africa’s richest botanical treasures: a unique kind of flora, called fynbos, which consists mainly of ericas and proteas endemic in this area.

      With a Mediterranean Maritime climate Sedgefield has abundant rain brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian ocean. It’s incredibly fertile with startling masses of plumbago, cape honeysuckle and bougainvillea tumbling along the side of the road.

      My herb garden is rampant with lavender, basil, fennel and the compost heap sprouts nasturtiums overnight. An idiot can have a great garden here, just as well for an ex-city girl like me.

  3. 5 Mike March 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I personally distinguish between clean dirt and dirty dirt. Clean dirt is dust, spiders’ web, mud from the garden and so on. it stays where it is for days on end. Dirty dirt is what dogs and small humans are inclined to produce. It gets cleared up pretty quickly. I find web pretty useful for keeping mosquitoes at bay.

    • 6 Jeannine March 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      LOL! Clean dirt! I’m going to steal that. I completely get what you are saying. With two small humans living here I might have to expand the parameters somewhat – surely some of what they generate can be filed under the ‘stays for days’ section.


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