Thursday, 21 June 2012

Failure.. or a different sort of success?

I love gardening and usually have a very productive organic vegetable plot. However, earlier this year I didn't get on top of the weeding and only managed to deal with about a third of the garden where I planted some potatoes, beans, onions, garlic and salad. The veg I did plant is growing happily, the borage and himalayan purple poppies have self seeded and are appearing in strange places. Some potatoes are appearing unexpectedly so I must have missed a few when I dug them up last year. The currants, gooseberries and raspberries are laden with ripening fruit but I haven't done anything to them!

Bistort and Buttercups

Like most parts of the country the weather has alternated between hot and sunny and torrential rain and so the bits of the garden I didn't weed have gone absolutely beserk. The wild grasses are about 5 feet high, the nettles and wildflowers are prolific and it is far too late to try and get on top of this unruly garden now. I was a bit frustrated that there won't be as much produce as I would have liked but now I've just decided to let nature take over. I have weeded around the veg and cut down a few nettles so I don't get stung on my way to the washing line but there is something quite amazing about how quickly the garden has gone so wild.


My apparent failure in trying to control the weeds has actually turned out to be extremely beneficial in other ways. There are many more buttercups, bistort, cornflowers, daisies, lemon balm, wild thyme and cornflowers than I would have liked.. but the garden is teeming with insects, bees and butterflies so it's actually been a huge success in attracting the wildlife. As there are more insects and wildflowers I have also seen many more birds in the garden than usual, especially green and gold finches.


The whole business with the garden reminded me of a poem about the joy and triumph in failure by Pete Armstrong. I know Pete through a local mindfulness meditation group, he has a website with the wonderful title Holy Bloke Many of his poems are on the website and some collections are also available to download.

Don’t keep your failures to yourself
Don’t keep your failures to yourself:
you and they will get lonely.
Share them with those who will listen,
then you and they can transform into joy.
Enjoy your failures as they appear:
like waves approaching the shore,
emerging perfectly formed from the sea;
like the moon emerging from behind a cloud,
illuminating a golden road across the sea.
Celebrate the perfection of your failures
as heartily as your more mundane triumphs,
and then you will double and redouble
the joy you bring into the world.

If you like that then you might be interested in Pete's book  The Commitment of the Lark: Poems for Looking Deeply
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