When I went on that horticultural tour of the Japanese garden at the zoo last week, I optimistically asked the gardener if there was a modern, 21st century invention that would magically help the home gardener tidy up the leaves, twigs etc without having to get on hands and (ageing) knees. No such luck! His answer was that they used one of those most un-zen-like blowers as well as, yes, getting down on hands and knees.
There used to be a self sown tree in our stone courtyard. In its healthy days the tree had a wonderful lollypop shape that gave us privacy and shade in summer, but was extremely messy, even to the point of spreading around purple berries that discolored the path to the front door. When it gave its last hurrah last March and we removed it, it was the start of a tidier courtyard, but I still needed to do the finetuning that a stone courtyard requires.
So yesterday, inspired by the beautifully maintained garden in the zoo, I made a start at tidying up the debris the tree had left behind, including a zillion seedlings that had started poking their heads through the stones. I think that tree knew it was not long for this world and produced a bumper crop of seeds. Rather admirable really, but out they came. I fell into a quiet rhythmn, maybe zen-like, and it didn't seem to take long at all. Then a final rake-over, and I could look at it with pleasure. This morning when I went out for the newspaper, I stopped to pick up a few more twigs and seedlings, and it was a lovely thing to do in the fresh smelling air of early morning. Will I continue that? Only time will tell.
Mel made this bamboo fence in the traditional manner, tying together the bamboo with rope. These photos were all taken of our front garden. (Mel has just confessed that the rope hides the screws he used!)