On a day when all manner of people turned out to publicly and conspicuously commemorate ANZAC Day, marching, singing, praying, dressing up in uniform, waving flags, wearing medals, beating drums, playing trumpets, bagpipes and horns, then gathering noisily with family and regiment mates in watering-holes from Gallipoli to Goondiwindi to Greymouth, I dug deep to gather my thoughts of war and the fallen in my garden. Continue reading
You can always pick gardeners on holidays. They have these funny habits they indulge when they are away from their familiar terrain. I speak both of my own behaviour and from watching fellow flora enthusiasts. Continue reading
LOVED a touching little book on gardening I read recently, titled Philosophy in the Garden by Melbourne philosopher and writer Damon Young, which explores the intimate relationship between authors and their gardens. It is not a how-to book on what, when and how to grow. It is a joyful look at how the great writers, thinkers and philosophers including Aristotle, Marcel Proust, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson and George Orwell found life for their ideas in gardens, be it parks, their back yard or pot plants. The garden for them was variously a retreat, a place of solitude and an inspiration. Continue reading
I HAVE a cup that reminds me to smile and be thankful every day. It has a quote from philosopher Cicero across it, saying: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need ”. It’s true. I do have everything. I have a beautiful space to walk and play in and books in abundance to enjoy, re read and share. But therein lies the rub. The two are in conflict.
Nothing quite defines the Christmas tragics like the decision to fake it or cut it. Talking Christmas trees here. And for years I was in the curled-lip ”as if”’ camp when asked if our tree was one that stored away from year to year. “You mean an ARTIFICIAL tree? ”I’d sneer when it was suggested I’d have anything but the real McCoy – pine-smelling, needle dropping and misshapen though they were. Continue reading
I thought our jacaranda tree in the front garden was gorgeous before it rained last night. The downpour has stripped much of the intense purple blossom from the limbs and covered the ground below in a thick, almost iridescent carpet. Now it is truly a vision. It dazzles me every time I look out the window. I daresay even a painter would have trouble reproducing this colour. Continue reading
WHERE do gardens go when their owners die or move house? Where does the love and energy that went into planning, building and nurturing it all end up? Does it stay in the soil or live on in the plants themselves? Is it “our” garden by geographic location, or by the trees, shrubs and flowers that thrive under our prudent watch – so when we depart, stewardship transfers completely, obliterating what went before? Continue reading
Humbling experience last week when a commercial strawberry grower in the neighbourhood invited us to come and pick our hearts out for a morning before he destroyed his crop. The strawberry harvest has been a bumper this year, so there’s a glut, hence low prices make them uneconomical for our neighbour to pick and send to market. All that planting, tending, watering, watching, growing and blooming – for nothing. Continue reading