Lessons from the ‘No-Work’ Garden

It’s Friday.  Antics from the garden this week.
I came across an amazing book which has, on the one hand, revolutionised my life and on the other has given my family, friends, colleagues and neighbours hours of amusement at my expense.  It is called ‘The no-work garden’ by Bob Flowerdew, a well known gardening broadcaster.  I was particularly attracted by the cover photograph of a hammock bathed in sunshine swinging lazily amongst beautiful flowers. ‘I could be in that hammock, that could be my garden’, I though as I handed over the cash to buy the passport to my dreams.
As usual things aren’t quite that simple.  Why I ever thought all I had to do was buy a hammock and the gardening would happen as I dozed in the sunshine, listening to the blackbird chirruping in the hedge, gin and tonic in hand, is beyond me! 
It rapidly became clear as I signed up to the ‘no work’ ethos, that in order to achieve this state of gardening nirvana I would have to put in a huge effort.  To such an extent that in order to get in some extra hours I’ve started night gardening using a head torch to see what I’m doing in the vegetable patch. My local reputation is going downhill rapidly.  I’ve noticed villagers nudge each other when I’m in the Co-op.  As I pass, I overhear comments like – “that’s the one, the ‘no-work gardener’”.
I admit that I haven’t quite cracked it yet, but there are lessons which transfer to all activity:
  1. Don’t do things just because that’s how they are usually done. There might well be a better, ‘less work’ way.
  2. Make sure you have all the tools to do the job with you before you start it saves time rather than going back to the shed for them later.
  3. Find highly productive activity which takes very little effort (like grow fruit).
  4. Forget the highly groomed lawn; grow a wild flower meadow. High maintenance vs low maintenance.
  5. Design the garden in such a way that it keeps work to a minimum.
  6. No-work is a mindset which makes you question whether what you are doing is productive. 
  7. Setting up a no-work operation is initially hard work with but will eventually bring results.

Meanwhile, the hammock is in a cupboard gathering dust. I also have to pretend I’m eccentric when I’m in the Co-op in order to justify my behaviour, but the end is in sight.  Soon, the no-work garden will be mine!

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