It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. In the meantime, life marches on, chiming changes all around us – some good, some not so welcome.

During moments of contemplation, I’ve come to see anew the beauty my courtyard garden holds for the very fact of being ‘contained’. The walls surrounding my secret little oasis are effective barriers to the outside world. They also serve to contain what lies within. A contained space means a manageable space to me.

Begonias and ferns

The same idea of ‘containment’ reflects life for many of us in these uncertain times. As governments strive to contain the COVID19 virus, countries close their borders and insist on ‘social distancing’ or quarantining – a means of isolating as many people as possible from infection.

I have practised the containment strategy in my courtyard garden. And yes, it works. Recent extreme climate conditions have tested normally hardy plants. Too much water, or not enough. Too much heat for weeks on end. And then my irrigation failed while I was away – disaster for many of my potted plants.

My impatiens flowered spectacularly all summer then suddenly wilted and rotted at the stems. Whatever the cause, it seemed to be contagious, affecting neighbouring plants. However, with a little thought, heavy pruning and some quarantining, I’ve managed to contain the damage, limit what could have been an unmitigated disaster.

But containment doesn’t have to mean total isolation for my garden any more than it does for populations or individuals. On the contrary, I can propagate or bring in new plants when old ones fail, just as we can remain connected to each other, albeit virtually, in our technological age.

Experiencing less ‘busy’ and less ‘hurry’, gifts me with time to reconnect with myself and what is important to me. Kind of like pressing the pause button, allowing for some breathing space.

While that’s a comfort, I want to reveal the ‘so easy to overlook’ silver lining. In challenging times we tend to become short sighted, focused entirely on the problem and not the opportunities it offers. It’s not enough to merely survive a crisis. We must thrive in spite of it. We must learn, innovate and collaborate our way through the challenges. Most of all, I remind myself to remain kind. Anything less is not called living.

In adversity lies opportunity

Paraphrasing Albert Einstein

Thank you for reading to the end. And thank you to those faithful readers for giving me a gentle nudge – you know who you are. I’m off to praise my garden now for its resilience and the life lessons it offers me every day.

The fishpond and resident green tree frog

20 responses to “Contained

    • Thanks Ann. I agree about using this blip in our lives to re engage with what’s important to us. That’s not to dismiss the terrible loss and pain many are experiencing. I am one of the lucky ones so far.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. How lovely to hear from you and your tiny garden. Those Begonias and ferns are fabulous together. I may have to copy the idea 😊 I’m hoping that we all come through this as better people, though I have no doubt that some will seek to profiteer from the disaster.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jude I see a huge upsurge of kindness amid the craziness. We’ve been through terrible fires this summer followed by floods (not me personally). What I saw restored my faith in humanity. Get out into your garden! I love that combination of rex begonia and haresfoot fern too.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah, here you are again, Robyn! I’m grateful we were able to email each other, but thrilled you’re back with your inspirations from your courtyard garden with a touch of summer as I begin to clean out my garden for our spring up here. ~ Jo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Jo, thanks for the gentle nudge to post again. 🙂 It was lovely to connect on a more intimate level. I like the way you’re preparing for spring. It’s exciting anticipating new growth. I went to our local plant supplier yesterday to find the place humming. People were buying food seedlings and vegetable seeds. One women was using a wipe to pick up things. It’s all a bit unsettling. I indulged myself with a beautiful begonia rex – silver and burgundy leaves – but also more practical veggies and herbs. I’ll be over to read your latest post soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Robyn. I am delighted to have your blog back..a little nudge or two can bring great rewards!! The concept of containment is so relevant for us all and planning for seemingly less structured time is offering me the opportunity to spend much more gentle time in the autumn garden in preparation for encroaching winter. Thank you most sincerely for your inspiration. I look forward to the next dose of wisdom from you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Robyn, you’ve done me a great favour in actual fact, not to mention how humble I feel having someone think me wise ☺️. I’ve been touched by the feedback and thank you sincerely. I’m glad you’ve had time to reconnect with your garden. Gardens are a great source of solace. Hope all is well at your place. X

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello! I’m so happy to see you back. I haven’t been around for quite awhile myself due to major problems accessing my WP site. Hopefully, as of today, it has been fixed. I was so sorry to hear about your lovely garden but know that you will soon nurse it back to health. Charley and I are hunkered down here in South County and are appreciating the quiet time we have together. We are cooking, doing household projects, reading, writing, laughing – making the best of this quiet respite we’ve been given. I’ll keep checking in to see how you are doing and thanks for your wonderful words of wisdom (and Einstein’s, too).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Clare, my dear friend! It’s been so long since we spoke. I did visit your site and noted your long absence too. Glad you’ve sorted the WP problems. All is well with me considering the state of the world at present. I’m pleased to see you and Charlie are being sensible and staying in. Me too. The isolation has given me me opportunity to write, read, garden and art. Like you, I’m catching up on chores and cooking to stock up my freezer. I’m still able to get out into nature. I had a lovely walk along the river today. So good for the soul. I do envy you having Charlie to laugh and debrief with. My kids and friends are great communicators but it isn’t quite the same. But it is what it is and I’m grateful for being one of the lucky ones. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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