August is the time to let the garden look after you

Torbay Weekly

One reason I enjoy being around the garden is that, for once, I feel I am in control of something that’s genuine as opposed to virtual.

It’s also an area free from the stresses that come with various screeches and beeps from nearby devices that we seemingly can't live without.

These sudden and intrusive sounds in the garden are replaced by the constant hum of bees or the dull flapping of beating wings when my neighbour’s pigeons execute a well organised flypast inches overhead.

It seems complete sense to replace one set of sounds for another where we can.

Rightly, much is made of wellbeing or mental health and how we need to look after ourselves, that our internal worlds are paramount to that.

Having a little hour or even ten minutes can make a huge difference to us, especially if it’s a regular habit.

I'm not advocating sprinting down there in wellies, with a coat over your head in January, but certainly at more temperate times of year like right now.

While there is so much work in the garden, and this seems to be a permanent state, it is so important to bathe in the sights and sounds of the garden from time to time.

Doing this with a mug of tea or even something stronger, adds the emphasis on pottering or relaxation.

In my mind ‘pottering’ means doing not very much in the garden in a concerted effort to lower our heart rate.

Somewhere in that description should also be pretending to look busy, which is an art form.

I can never hit the right note with pottering and either end up busying myself or the opposite end of the scale in appearing blatantly horizontal.

At this time of the year, all the plants we’ve grown are screaming for our attention, and are either a riot of colour or groaning with produce.

Taking some time to smell the roses or sweet peas is a gardener's perk and it’s only fair that we should step back and admire the picture.

Now is exactly the right time to do that, if you ask me.

The days are sensitively and slowly getting shorter while the temperatures are making me think I might soon need to reach for one of my many fleeces.

It's for this reason we need to be prioritising smelling the tobacco plants in the late evening sun or eating home-grown tomatoes outdoors fresh from the vine.

Just sitting for a while and indulging all our senses in what mid-August has to offer.

After all, it's only here once a year and not for very long either.

August is here for a good time, not a long time.

Recently, I took a short video while walking along one of the flower beds at home.

When I watched it later, I noticed so many different bird sounds that I hadn't noticed when I was out there.

Next time I'm going to be more determined to hear bird sounds and all those other sights and smells we only notice when we slow down.

Slowing down in the garden takes practice, given the myriad of tasks facing us all.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who stops the wheelbarrow for a bit of random hand weeding or turning dead-heading a single rose into an hour’s task.

There is a phrase that states 'if you look after your garden, your garden will look after you’.

Now is exactly the time to let the garden look after you.

Sit down and not only admire your artistic and agricultural endeavours, but listen to what is happening above and beyond the garden.

Those with a determined older relative will, of course, know only too well that being looked after can only happen if you let it.