My garden is a bit messy

It’s like a jungle. I planned it very organized, in 1×1 meter (3ft) squares. I’m not alone in this garden: nature, wind, sun, rain also take care of it. Some animals as well: birds, ants, bees, rabbits, a frog, a large family of mouses. I relinquish control after a while and every year it becomes  a jungle again. I enjoy it.

In my work, I’m obsessed by keeping things super organized.  I can spend an hour to fix a badly named file, rearrange sources so that display nicely. My coding style is super rigorous, everything is commented, minimalist. I think I’m kind of a perfectionist. The good thing is that with software it pays to be careful with details. You spend less time maintaining code, it becomes more and more clear and it makes more sense.

My garden is the counterposed of my work. I love to take my breaks in front of it. That where I drink my coffee. My mind empties from the intricacies of javascript, Twitter. My eyes fill with real colors at a good distance. I feel I’m becoming a human again, the animal kind of.

It’s also that by nature I’m pretty messy, I’ve been told. Software design is like Maths or Legos. It starts like clay or random shapes and ends up perfect, well structured. It’s very forgiving with iterations, redesigns. It takes a lot of concentration, though. I think in many cases and with writing added I’m putting on a lot of pressure.

Gardening, which implies working dirt and elements with one’s hands is the place where my messy nature can express itself fully. Plants don’t like mistakes. Forget to water them it’s done, they don’t come back as before.


From the other side it’s more ruled, one can recognize lines of cabbages.

So I’m really happy when my garden is messy. I arranged a bean shape for it to start with. Not a single straight side.  It’s surrounded by grass and the largest vegetables continue their growth outside of it. Wildflowers invite themselves in. I don’t weed a lot because everything is so much one in another I can’t say what is weed or wanted. I never learned to recognize them when they are small. There are also plenty of very useful weeds like blue Borago (nice flowers), Symphytum or last year seeds coming back (I’m doing the seeds myself).

My PKM practice in regard of gardening and plants is quite lousy as well. I have several books, with nice pictures but little time to read them. I started a personal Kneaver for personal stuff but I use it mostly for cuisine. Cuisine is halfway between gardening and working. I tend to follow recipes meticulously the first time and start improvising after. Most seeds I just plant them, add water. Again there must be spaces where letting go rules.





With Legos or software, I like to combine things or ideas to see what could come out of it. With the garden, it’s the same. I place some plants next to others to create combination of effects. Zucchini will provide shelter to tomatoes roots, young salads stay in the shadow of large plants to reach maturity one after the other. This tinkering is also part of my PKM process. learning by experimenting, combining, trying.

Many of my neighbors are either agricultors  or deal with agriculture or went in an agriculture school. They can tell what I planted when there are only 2 leaves, handy when I forget. When they see my garden they laugh. They try to explain to me that it needs potassium, phosphorus or nitrate. I reply with colors, Twitter, xAPI. they give up quickly. We laugh. One should laugh.

I say: Let me be a lousy gardener, I’m too serious a worker. I need a place where rules don’t rule. That’s my piece of nature: the garden.


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  • Simon Ensor

    Now. I am getting a better picture Bruno. This strikes me as fertile grounds for hybridanation…

    • BrunoWinck

      I feel I could be more flexible during my work time and allow more hybridation there as well. There is always a balance to strike.