Two years ago, near the end of an April filled with worry and weeds and battles with sore joints and perfectionism, I wrote myself a letter to be read every April 1 thereafter.
It was a good letter, with good advice. (I am a wise woman, if only I would listen to myself...) The only problem is that April 1 is too late to be reminded about how not to work myself into a state over the garden. So, in the interests of positive mental health, physical well being and balance in the garden, here is The Letter a few weeks early.
It's your self here, with a few words of wisdom and advice for the month ahead. April may be a month of cherry blossoms, sunshine and gentle spring showers - in some other universe, maybe, not yours. Honey, you need to hike up your pants and lace up your boots because the month ahead is going to test you.
The weeds in your garden will outnumber the flowers by two or three orders of magnitude. Don't worry. This is normal. It was the same last year and it will be the same next year. When you look at the whole garden it will seem overwhelming, but please remember that every time you get started on the weeding it goes much faster than you expected, and you end up thinking "That wasn't so bad..." If you're really desperate, you can remember the year you were so keen on the weeding you mistook baby poppies for dandelions and pulled them all out. That would be a good excuse for taking it easy.
The grass will grow 3-4 inches every night while you are sleeping, but it will keep raining so you won't be able to mow it. Don't worry. This is happening to everyone. Instead of fretting, think of the romance of lush green pastures and remember that as soon as the hot weather hits the grass will go back to sleep.
Your muscles will hurt. Don't worry. This is a normal by-product of a lazy winter. You will get stronger every day - just remember to take breaks and change tasks every so often so you use a different set of muscles. And please, please, pay attention to that little voice inside your head that whispers "Maybe you've done enough for today..."
There will probably be lots of jobs that just don't get done. For example, how does anyone in this climate find three consecutive rain-free days to apply dormant spray to fruit trees before they leaf out? Don't worry. This is normal. So maybe you didn't get to the pruning early enough, and maybe that ramshackle raised bed didn't get rebuilt before you had to fill it with onion seedlings. The onions will still grow, and the beautiful old apple trees will produce fruit like they have been doing for many years.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed, please make yourself a cup of tea and remember April only has 30 days.
May will be much better, and it has 31.
With much love-