After a busy but enjoyable Easter weekend, I’ve given myself permission to abscond to the garden for today.  It’s been a productive morning – not always the case when gardening, but I’m pleased with what I’ve managed.  Granted, there is still plenty to do, and I haven’t even touched the front garden, which fills me with quiet dread when I think about what needs doing.

Much digging and tugging needed for the major project this morning – transplanting a shrub out of a pot into the ground. Which sounds straightforward, but not when the roots have rooted through the pot. What’s worse it was on a piece of flat stone so instead of simply growing down through the holes in the pot, they’d gone sideways, splayed out in immovable stiffness.

There was no chance I was going to get the plant out of the pot with any of its major roots intact.

So, I had to get the pot out of the plant. Using a hammer. Whack. The terracotta fractured and I was able to remove it piece by piece, with a degree of reluctance (I had hoped to reclaim the pot). I now have lots of terracotta shards to use for drainage, I suppose.

Of course, removing the plant from the pot was only one side of the procedure; the other was digging the hole in the ground. We have very dense, clay-like soil – on top.  But go down deep and it gets stony – really stony. The spade clanked irritably against the obstacles. Nothing for it – I grabbed the fork instead, driving the prongs between the stones, shaking the earth loose.

Sometimes I think I come at life with a spade and forget to use the fork first. I slam against obstacles with the dull blade and grow more and more frustrated. The fork takes a more careful route – teasing out the earth.  It still requires a lot of strength and persistence, but it gets through where the spade cannot. Sometimes the tool we assume will make the best job, achieve it the most quickly, is simply ineffective.

Such were the thoughts meandering through my mind as I dug – or forked.

Of course, when you slam up against solid rock there’s not a lot you can do with either spade or fork.

I suggest, in that scenario, picking somewhere else to dig…

And sometimes, in order to free the roots, you may need to break the pot.

Fork image from Amazon – not the fork in question!

3 thoughts on “digging

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