The Gordon Gnohm

Play along at home, read Future Farmer in The Braidwood Bugle every Wednesday. 

Gardening is for Dreamers

“To plant a garden is to dream of tomorrow”- Audrey Hepburn

This is a very popular misquote, shared all over the internet. Audrey actually said, “believe in tomorrow”, but I prefer to dream. 

To Believe in tomorrow is to accept that it will be.

To Dream of tomorrow is to create a new future.

Being called a dreamer is a derogatory term in the 21st century. Modern folks have forgotten how to dream, how to really dream. I don’t mean dreaming of a better job or a new TV, I’m talking about big dreams of better futures. 

The best future for me is to grow my own tucker and interact with my ecosystem as creatively as I can. I dream of reducing my efforts as a I grow by delivering a beautiful engaging space to hang out in all year round.

I am a dreamer. I love to dream. I chase butterflies, birds, bees and I love to lay on the grass to watch the clouds roll by. I also like to hang out with my trees and imagine a future with them. 

It started with Bonsai, having conversations with my trees over a coffee, careful not to prune the wrong branch, and always dreaming to see their inner beauty and how they might look in 10 or 20 years. 

Dream Plantings

I see a lot of trees that have been planted without a dream, you’ve probably seen them too. Trees planted under power lines, requiring endless pruning work and sometimes creating a very weird tree. There was no dreamer present at planting, just a pragmatic fellow that planted the tree. A dreamer would’ve looked up and been able to see the mature tree growing into the powerlines and promptly changed the position.

Planting a tree is a big deal, it’ll be there a while and deserves your consideration. Spend some time placing your tree. Slow down and dream of what will happen when the tree reaches maturity. Planting a tree next to a house without considering the mature tree will cause grief for foundations, gutters, maintenance and future owners. 

Regardless, I still see folks planting tiny seedling trees up against their home, under powerlines and too close to fences and driveways. If only they had a dream for the future. 

Big Dreams

My philosophy is to dream big, then I build on that dream every year. Making it bigger makes me look crazy at times, but it also brings me closer to success. I find it much easier to chase big dreams, and it’s better than not dreaming at all. 

Every time I make my dream bigger, I get closer to achieving greatness. Not because the big dream is achievable, but because achieving one small piece is usually more than the original dream. 

It takes a dreamer to create a home, it takes a dreamer to start a business and it certainly takes a dreamer to create a garden. Anyone can put plants in the ground, but it takes a special soul to dream a garden ecosystem into being. 

I have big dreams to be sure, and those big dreams have got me this far, so I don’t think I’ll stop. To dream is to stay mentally agile. Following the well trodden path will only get you to accepted norms. What if a totally new problem appears? 

A New Approach

A dreamer can approach a new problem with creativity and confidence, applying our dream nature to the new puzzle with joy and wonder. This freedom of mind allows for innovative thinking to provide new solutions. Working to eliminate future issues and opening pathways to bigger dreams. 

A dreamer can stand in front of new garden space and start to see the possibilities. If that dreamer applies landscape design principles, the possibilities present themselves. Look deeper into the structure of functional spaces, and the framework for a beautiful, abundant, thriving ecosystem can be created.

It can be a daunting task to dream big if you are surrounded by Naysayers. Don’t fear, they are here to help you on your journey just like everyone else. And with a few successes under your belt, you might convert a Naysayer close to you.

This Week

It’s been a bleak few weeks in our garden, but the lettuce still grows on. In fact, the Parsnips, Beets and Carrots are slowly growing too. The Parsnips being the fastest of the slow. Brassicas are growing, but the later plantings are moving slower than the rest, a bit more sun and they’ll be off again. Leeks, Onions and Garlic are doing very well.

The first Snowpea of winter is here. The vines are flowering at only 40-60cm long and have just started tangling around trees, stakes and fences spiralling upward. Broadbeans are growing well, I have planted them again with the dream that I will plant corn amongst them in early spring for frost protection. A non dreamer would not bother, they will wear the well trodden path and wait until its safe from frost, but when is that? 

Freak late and early frosts are standard in our Unpredictable Highland Climate and it’s not unheard of to experience sleet, hail or snow in summer. There is no safe time to plant only safer times. Do the maths on when you want to eat a crop, work back from there and dream of ways to make it happen naturally.

I want corn in early summer, so I dream of ways to make it so. Like all summer crops, I want them early, not at end of summer when the early frosts are sure to test the garden. 

If you play it safe and plant late to avoid the frost, and you didn’t plant a winter veggie garden because it’s too cold, your hungry period will now extend for more than 6 months. 8 months without tucker from your garden will mean you need another source of food as you wait for your precious summer crops.

It’s cold up here, but it’s not permafrost. Frozen ground may happen in paddocks, but it is unlikely around your home or garden. A pile of subsoil, no life, no mulch is 2C. Nearby, my garden soil temp is currently 10C after rolling frosts and little sun. Dream big dreams and eat your tucker all year round. 

Stay Awesome.

The Gordon Gnohm

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