The feeling of the garden

18 May 2009

A wonderful balance is reached in Autumn and Spring when the weather is neither hot nor cold, the harsh bright light of summer takes on a more gentle glow and being outside is not only a joy, it's essential. Autumn is my favourite season. It is that one time of year when my optimism is at its peak, the grass is greener, flowers bloom, vegetables are set to grow and I see the colder months ahead and smile at the thought of it.

I often take photographs in our garden to show what kind a place we have here. Much of the outside work is done by Hanno and it's a credit to him that it's productive and breathtakingly beautiful. But the beauty recorded in those photos is nothing like the feeling of the place. Seeing it in a photo and experiencing it first hand cannot be compared. A photo will not show the myriad of birds that fly in and out, it will not allow you to experience the gentle breeze or to soak up the feeling of being right here, right now. There is a family of kookaburras living here and they dart in and out constantly. I hear, but never see, whip birds calling from the rainforest. The scent of honeysuckle and roses entice me to walk further into the garden, there are spots of bright coloured New Guinea impatiens next to the sober magnolias, and next to the drive way, red hot pokers stand tall in the sun like guardians.

In the back garden, where food production is our main concern, worms, hidden away in their bathtub farm, devour all manner of kitchen scraps and paper, seedlings slowly grow for planting in the garden, water drips into catchment tanks, vegetables vines curl around trellises, carrots and turnips peak out from the soil, bees buzz, sedge frogs jump inside cabbage heads and fruit ripens. It is certainly a grand sight, but the feeling of it, well, that is something else.

Walking around our garden reminds me, with certainty, that I am part of the natural world. I am not above it, I cannot remove myself from it, I am part of it and it is part of me. There is so much out there that I don't understand - the wind blowing the trees in just one part of the garden, the never-ending cycles of life, lichen growing on rotting tree stumps, and what did come first, the chicken or the egg? But I'm not worried about my ignorance, I still enjoy what I am privileged to see, feel and do here.

Our garden is being readied for a family wedding next month. Hopefully grandbabies will be toddling around this garden one day, there will be kids playing with dogs in the backyard again, Christmas lunches will spill over into the backyard for a game of cricket, and new life will bring new meaning to this garden. I hope the cycles of life of my family will be connected with this land for many years to come so that a woman who I don't know now will remember back to this time when our family first settled here. It is a wonderful thought that my family will live here for many years to come, but this land and the feeling of the gardens, makes me think the best of everything.

I wish I had 330 parcels to send out to you all but there can be only two winners. Congratulations to Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden and LashyLashla. Please send me an email with your postal address. Thank you, and thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments.