Gardening …to start with …

There are many dangerous places on earth, but if you have to single out the three most dangerous places, it could be a garden centre in spring, living on any place in South Africa, and a minefield somewhere in Afghanistan. Between these three, from my point of view, a garden centre in spring is the most dangerous place on earth. No doubt about that.

Now, focus on the following picture. Apart from the Western Cape which is a winter rainfall area, the rest of South Africa is covered in a Winter jacket. It is dry, the grass is yellow, trees stand naked without any leaves if they are not evergreen, veld fires took their toll on the landscape, dust is everywhere when the wind is blowing and so I can continue. The picture is bleak and depressing. Soup, sherry, and an electric blanket don't do it for us anymore. We don’t see the beauty of branches against a crystal blue sky. Or the vibrant colors of aloes in full bloom.

Nobody experiences even a bit of inspiration to do something in the garden in Winter.

And then, one day, we wake up and it is the 1st of September. Traditionally the coldest day of Winter, but maybe we are lucky and it is a nice, sunny day. Spring has arrived. Frosty mornings and nights are almost forgotten. But that is all one can say about early Spring because there are still no sprouts or buds on the trees and flowering shrubs. It is as if everything still awaits a sudden and sneaky cold front from the deep south.

But it is a Saturday. You have decided that today is the day you are going to get something done in the garden. You take a shower, get dressed, and make sure your bank cards are in your purse. Then you get in the car and set off to your favourite garden centre with the highest of high expectations. The garden calls, no, it pines for excessive patches of colour to get you out of your Winter depression. Your eyes shine in expectation. In your imagination, you can see the possibilities. You become a person with a mission.

When you walk through the entrance gates it is like a bomb exploding. Unbelievable, bright, and vibrant colours are all around you. Strong fragrances fill the air. The sound of running water from water features, strategically placed, comes from all directions. Hanging baskets filled with Petunias, Pantsys, Diascia and many more are hanging all around you. Everything is lush green and in full bloom. It is enough to make you totally reckless. It feels as if you develop a fever. You become short of breath. Everything stuns you. You want this and that and the pot on display for that dull spot under the Karee tree plus extra seedlings and compost and fertilizer and pebbles, and, and ...

Fortunately, banking cards are very patient provided you don’t exceed your daily and account limits.

Do you now understand why I say that a garden centre in Spring is the most dangerous place on earth?

Gardening is not a job. A job is something you do from 8 to 5. Gardening is for fun. It is for pleasure. It makes you relax. It is therapy. This is why gardening is not a job.

Enjoy your garden until next time.

Herman du Plessis