Saturday, 28 June 2008

Cherry orchard


Since it has become clear that we are moving I’ve lost interest in my garden. I only became passionate about gardening a few years ago. Once upon a time I grew vegetables, as we had always done when I was a child; this is what land was for, even a tiny patch that landlords would allow us to have in summer houses was used for agriculture. Herbs, carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins, to add to the meagre diet available in local stores. Here in my garden, I have even tried potatoes, but gave up after a year. I took care of the red and black currants that came with the house, made apple sauce and plum jam, started strawberry beds and gathered platefuls of raspberries for desert. I planted two cherry trees when the youngest children were born. All this was purposeful. Some roses came with the garden too, but they eventually died of neglect. I trimmed lilac bushes every now and then. I welcomed snowdrops and small crocuses appearing always in the same places in March. It reminded me of the cycle of life.

But some years ago I realized that I had to slow down. Instead of going to five conferences, writing ten articles and a dozen reviews, I tended my garden all summer. I was ready to plant purposeless flowers and decorative bushes. I planned my flower beds according to all rules: mixing and matching colours, seeing that a new flower would bloom when the previous withered. I planted tulip bulbs in autumn, knowing that they would come up next spring and make me glad. I knew I had to be patient since some bushes would not bloom until a few years later. And that the pear and plum trees I planted for my grandchildren would probably not bear fruit for many years. I also bought a few tons of gravel, laid large pebbles around flower beds, weeded under the lilac bushes and the hedge to let new stems come up. I had several projects that would take years.

Now I weed the beds half-heartedly, since I won’t even see the autumn flowers. I trim the hedge so that it looks decent. But I can’t make myself pretend and plant more bushes and annuals; top dress the lawn, lay out more stones, cut grass with nail scissors (that’s what Staffan says I usually do). I can’t look at the fruit trees. Somebody has told me, presumably to cheer me up, that new house owners cut down fruit trees to build car ports and swimming pools. It is even possible, this somebody says, that the new owner pulls down the house and divides the garden into small lots.

I feel I am living in The Cherry Orchard.

1 comment:

Lopachink Petia said...

Hela 'Ryssland är vår trädgård" säger Tjechov i Körsbärsträdgården.
Hela Cambridge (och -shire) är vår trädgård.
Lopacin, Petia.