Award winning landscape designer and author, Xanthe White, has been Daltons brand ambassador for over ten years. She has plenty of gardening experience and knowledge to impart to home gardeners and professionals alike. Here Xanthe shares her passion for gardening, along with tips, advice and gardening secrets even the most weathered gardener may not know.
The heart of Spring
Every year passes quicker. We all know this. It seems like spring hurtles towards us faster and faster every year and I write the same pieces about good intentions and slowing down. The flowers are beautiful, but when it comes down to it, they are beautiful to us really because of what they tell us in store and because of what they promise. And what in the modern world, does spring and summer really bring us as we all work longer and use the busy, busy “B” word to define our daily lives more and more. What do busy people need? There is only one answer and that is time.
Time to stop the constant noise of business and remember what it is to be alive and that is the promise of spring; that our days will be longer, that we won’t get home in darkness and when we get home, the doors to the garden can stay open as air warms. I’m convinced it really matters less what we do in the garden, but rather that we do it for the pleasure of being in the dirt and in the sun. Whether it's the vegetable garden where we turn our toil to feed ourselves and our families with the richness of home grown food, or the pleasure of a garden full of flowers that can fill our houses and be spread out to friends whenever there is a need. Or the pleasure of guardianship, returning waterways to a healthy state, stabilising crumbling hills with future forests and taking care of unique pieces of flora that are vulnerable to pests and weeds. All these tasks can help us get away from the meaningless treadmill of the B word. I’ve gone so far as banning it from by vocabulary altogether, as somehow it dilutes the pleasure of each task that sits in front of us. Instead, like my garden, my life is full and abundant - a journey not a destination. It's allowed to sometimes be messy and dreary and other times it has moments of perfection when the angle of light falls upon it so it glows like an Instagram snap of life.
As gardeners, we should savour those moments of perfect light, but no more than we do the warm ache of our bones after weeding for too many hours, or the cold burning into our fingers when we start in the early hours. Because the perfect garden cannot be measured by a picture, nor is it made by sitting and exclaiming its beauty. It’s the toil and time spent listening and thinking and planning. So, this spring I’m grateful for the time it brings to my day that lets me venture outside to pull away the weeds that are creeping in around the edges, and to notice the earth that is blackening with richness after a winter of weathered leaves. And be grateful for the scent of flowers and colours of their petals that have pulled me back to my hands and knees to labour again.