As part of our marital contract Mike and I agreed that I garden and don’t iron and he irons, if absolutely necessary and never, ever gardens. The only exception to this is watering the tomatoes when I am away, because no water, no delicious yellow sungold sweeties.
The garden therefore is my province. I’m not very knowledgeable, but if I can’t spend time pottering out there then I begin to get the same sort of withdrawal symptoms I suffer when circumstances mean that I can’t write.
I need to be able to do both. I need to be out there pruning and weeding, just as I edit a story or a novel. I transplant things from one place to another. As I do with pieces that need cutting but are too good to delete, so are put into separate file. I create spaces. I have a lawned garden, a wild garden with trees and a pond and a fruit patch. They are all very different as are the worlds I create in my books and stories.
Also, very significantly, gardening, like writing is open ended. There’s always something more to do. It’s true there comes a point when a book has to printed, but then there’s another story waiting to be written.
When pushed for time, when the rain is pouring down and the grass is reaching ankle length, when a story has been rejected, e mails demand to be answered and a house to be cleaned, I think, how good it would be to Stop. I could concrete over the garden, or move somewhere with nothing but a back yard, give away the computer and do what?