Early Morning Pottering

I’d like to tell you about an unexpected, early-morning gardening moment I had the other day. It was almost magical – in the way some days in the garden feel when you’re a child.

Thinking about that morning in my garden, as I’d turned off the light the night before, I hadn’t made any plans to leap out of bed at dawn to fit in an hour of gardening before work. And yet when I woke up the next day I remember feeling a little ‘floaty’ so that I’m not at all surprised that I found myself wandering outside, coffee in hand.

Admittedly it was summer here in Australia, and the light and air that morning were best described as delicious. And somehow when the weather is this good, maybe we all feel like rushing outside to gobble up more than our fair share?

Anyway, there I was, on the path to the pool and I did what all gardeners do – I spotted a weed.  So I set down my now-empty coffee cup and dealt with it…then another, and another. I reached out to deadhead a few spent daisies and then doubled back to grab my secateurs to take off a few wayward sprays of my Flower Carpet Pink Splash roses.  Then I watered a few pots on the pool terrace because we’d been told it was going to be a hot day, and while I was doing that, I made a mental note of what needed doing in the pool…


To us gardeners, this is a typical description of what we love to do – we potter.   We start here and we end up over there, and in between we tend and tweak and the result is always much greater than the effort made. (If you don’t believe me, sweep the kitchen floor then sweep the patio paving. Looking back at both, tell me which one gives you more pleasure?)

But back to my early-morning pottering. I’d done a bit of this, a bit of that. I’d barely creased my pants or muddied my work shoes. But somehow time had stood still and my soul had sighed with happiness and strengthened. I had managed to have a very nice time where I’d have thought there was no time.

So I urge you to listen to your garden and step outside when it beckons – whatever the time of day, (though I still wonder if there isn’t something a little magical about the morning…)


3 Responses to Early Morning Pottering

  1. Graciebelle January 8, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    i wasn’t familiar with the word Pottering but loved this blog post so I did a little research and learned that pottering is a term used frequently in the UK and Australia meaning: “To potter, to be gently active doing various things in an almost aimless manner.” Here in the US we often refer to this as puttering but I love the term pottering because when I’m puttering, it’s primarily in the garden, potting and pruning and such. Thanks for this thoughtful piece and for teaching me a new phrase!

  2. Free2bme January 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Anthony – you just described most of my days! Whether it’s outside “pottering” — as you say — in my garden – or inside my house — I always seem to get sidetracked on my way to do some household task — and before i know it I’m sorting things in the laundry room when i really was on my way to do something else. Glad to know I’m not the only one doing that.

  3. Del Thomas January 10, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    I can relate so well with your story, I might go outside to empty the teapot and then see a weed or two and suddenly an hour may have passed while I am ‘pottering’ …it is one of the great delights of gardening…I lived for a short while in an apartment and I felt empty when I awoke, looked outside and could not potter…there was nowhere to potter…Ah..!…to be back in my own garden and to share the delights of picking a few flowers or veggies are treasured moments, I am sure it would change the world into a better place if many more people, especially young urbanites were able to do that..to know the joy of nurturing and growing their own flowers and food… we who can do that are so very fortunate.

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