Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Abundance, Chaos and Being able to let go

Abundance, chaos and being able to let go  (July 2010, revised) 

For a lenient gardener like me it is not easy to decide when abundance changes into disorder or chaos. You know that moment when a strawberry suddenly becomes too dark-red, tastes musty and almost bitter?
My garden seems to have reached this point: everything overflows, it becomes too much. The plants begin to shove each other away. Start to strangle themselves. So I grasp my garden scissors and thin out the jungle. Old man's beard simply does not belong into my wrought-iron rose obelisk. And the wild dog rose neither - her sister may stay in the juniper hedge, but in the obelisk she shall not tread on the silky robes of the more elegant rose Ladies.
How come that for 16 yearsI  believed that Vita Sackville-West, in whose garden many plants foam over the borders, was a person who wasn't fussy in the garden? I thought I was a lenient soulmate when I removed the ground elder not instantly. To my surprise I now have to read in "Even More for Your Garden" (1958) that she liked the ground under her plants "flawlessly neat and clean". I almost felt fooled when I read: "To sum up, what have I said? That I like a tidy garden innocent of ugly or invasive weeds." 
                                                Where is my hoe?? Out into the garden, where the ground is still a little bit wet!! Murmuring "neat and tidy" under my breath like a mantra - and the ground elder stares at me in dread...
Conclusion: in the garden I have a problem with 'letting go', as the Buddhists say: I part only reluctantly. But it is necessary. Sometimes the same applies to human beings. Sometimes you have to liberate yourself from a very needy person, who never understands your (more or less) clear hints for a decent breathing space: that person entwines around you more and more, strangles you with pessimism and hysteria - a field bindweed of the worst sort. But when you feel that it threatens to kill your roots you finally have to be able to cut yourself free.
Then you'll flourish, bear buds and blossoms and feel overwhelmingly full of energy again.


  1. This has been my summer of strawberries. My favorite food for months has been sliced strawberries, feta cheese, fresh mint, olive oil and cracked pepper with a cup of vanilla almond tea.

  2. Dear Suze,
    mmmh - this sounds so delicious! The mixture of (almost) sweet strawberries with more salty cheese - I can imagine that! Have you ever tried to heat strawberries in a pan, put a tiny weeny bit of balsamico vinegar on them - and pepper? Sounds weird, but this hot mixture to vanilla icecream: good!

  3. Britta sounds like an equivalent to Chilli Chocolate!

  4. Which I like: dark, sweet and hot!

  5. One must have order in which to flourish.
    (On a separate note, our strawberries are long finished)

  6. Dear Janet,
    I wholly agree! I saw strawberries in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show - flawless (but under a roof). On the market they still sell strawberries from the Berlin region, and I look longingly at a certain (expensive) offer at Manufaktum: Mieze Schindler and other very old sorts - next year I will try them on the balcony (the blackbird perks up her ears :-)

  7. A good friend of mine once solved the problem of needy-weedy-ness by inviting her hysterical friend over to help her with some unpleasant chore, cleaning out the basement or something like it, whenever Ms. Hysteria's visits or phone calls became unbearable. It seemed to resolve the neediness and the constant griping. I wish it were that easy to rid oneself of real weeds, to make them wish to leave the scene.

  8. Dear Walk2write,
    this is evidently a great tactic to solve the problem! I can imagine its outcome - the whiner will look for another (more willing) ear, and less 'demanding' friends :-)
    With real weeds: difficult, really difficult... (I tried it with young ground elder as sort of spinach - delicious, and in some way it resembled your friend's method: as soon as the ground elder got the impression that it was useful, it started to draw back (but only as a 'sleeper', I have to confess)