Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A mulch of money

After I wrote the last post, I emailed it to my family, sat back, and waited for congratulations. They did arrive eventually, but the first reply was not what I expected 'you spent 40K and don't even have walls', she said.

Ouch. 'I wanted it very much' , I replied. And then I thought about it.

The photo that started this chain of thought
 My reply must have seemed arrogant It probably was.
I definitely do not regret the toilet. It gives me great pleasure, it feeds my garden, it has removed a lot of tension over water, and I get a major kick just dreaming of all I will do with the compost. I would do it all over again, and happily.
But that conversation got me to thinking about my spending on the garden. Is it too much? How does one estimate whether spending on a hobby is justifiable?
This amazing display, all gifted by a friend from her extras
 As far as possible, I am a DIY person. The 'make do or do without' philosophy is entrenched in me, or so I thought. But now I wonder.
I don't spend on frills. My garden has no tchotkes, none of the fancy gear that is considered indispensable. My bird table  is a plank wedged into a tree. I propagate my plants. I handwater using a can and a pipe.
But the list of what I consider 'not-frills' is increasing. I spend a lot on labour. I got the patio-wall resurfaced, the veg garden fenced in, the upper fields ploughed. When Mian goes to the States at Christmas, he always goes accompanied by a list of seeds. Not all of them survive.
My seed stash. Part bought, part collected. Mian doubled this stash with his annual spring gift
 I now am in contact with a supplier of bulbs in Kalimpong and 'treated myself' to an embarrassingly luxurious order last fall.
Part of my luxurious bulb order- on the resurfaced patio wall
 I want a golden azalea, I have decided. I want a proper rose arch, not my current jugad one. I want a proper path down to the house. I want garden furniture to sit in. I want. I want.
The 'jugaad' rose arch I want to replace

But the rose couldn't care less. Definitely a 'want' and not a 'need'
And there are two things running through my head now. One is from a book  I am currently reading, which says that gardeners who don't have creative capabilities try to cover up deficiencies with 'a mulch of money'. And the other is what a friend had told me once, when we were discussing the concepts of 'high maintenance' women. 'You are the worst of both worlds' she said. 'You look low maintenance, but are high maintenance'

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