I have something to confess. On Sunday, alone in my jungled yard for the first time in a while, I got out my shiny long-armed loppers, indulged my choppy inclinations and cut back a mountain-load of branches and bushes, with nil preparation and minimal restraint. Some may consider this an act of thoughtless impulse. I prefer to describe it as more an act of "brash spontaneity" (I had to look up a thesaurus for a friendlier synonym).
And I'm not afraid to admit there was a complete absence of plan or foresight... or even reason in some cases. I just gave in to my overwhelming urge and lopped branches off any overhanging tree or domineering large shrub I could get these dirty little hands on. I even climbed to the highest step on the ladder to recklessly cut back the overhanging bushels of the giant gum. "They love a little trim back" I confidently decided, having done no research whatsoever on the matter.
I took to the oversized money tree succulent with the zealousness of someone facing a plague of triffids. And commanded it into submission with the axe.
I grunted like a man as I sliced through the spiny branches of the fruitless fruit tree. Then I hurtled them through the air onto the growing pile of tree limbs, dead and/or recently alive.
I released the dark corner of the vegie patch by cutting back it's shadowy overhang. And the vegies instantly basked in the autumn sun glory.
And herein lies the lesson, gentle reader. I am about to embark on a course in horticulture, studying Latin names for plants, learning how to propagate like a professional, determining soil structure and examining the culture and history of gardens in Australia - all of which I am thoroughly excited about. It's a full-time step into a whole new universe, where I'm beginning again as a learner. Gardens are complex little places. And there is a lot for this little apprentice to understand. So while I embark on this methodical, cerebral learning process, I also chose to indulge in just a little punk gardening (or 'chopping shit up' as I like to tell my housemates, usually with shiny loppers in hand).
Aside from expelling any murderous inclinations you might have, punk gardening allows the punk (or the gardener) to forget everything they ever learnt and simply give in to the urge. There's no rule, no particular system to follow or guidebook to read up on first. No referral to an "expert" or extensive planning beforehand. Foresight is not involved. Just the deep satisfaction of slicing through big branches of plant and deciding to do it in the minute before. That's it.
I'm not advocating this process in all garden endeavours. Don't misunderstand these words as an invitation to never research or ponder again. All gardens need a plan. All gardens need consideration of species, sub-species, climates and micro-climates. I'm the first to admit that knowing how a thing like soil works is more fascinating than anything you'll read in the Saturday papers. Getting your hands around a lump of clay to assess it's elasticity before you plant is a great exercise to practise. Patience, deliberate planning and steady pace are undeniably the modus operandi in any green space. But every now and then, there's no harm in satisfying those urges to simply do, without long-term consideration, but instead, impulse.
When there's no-one looking, its good to take a break from being a patient gardener and instead, be a gardening punk.