Gardens - experience the experience

4 October 2016
One of the things I love about gardens is how different they all are. Even those that look the same have different elements that make them unique. Our garden used to be different to what it is now. We used to have a fairly large productive garden but as we aged, the garden got smaller. Now we grow all our herbs and some of our fruit and vegetables. Doing that we still keep our hand in, what we grow is organic, we save a bit of money and we enjoy it.

Many birds visit our garden every day. This fellow is a native miner, below he is on top of the tank trying to relieve our friendly magpie of a worm she just caught.

 I confess I'm a creature of habit. This is one of the flowers I always grow in spring - columbine (granny's bonnet).  That, along with roses, alyssum, cosmos and violas are always there in the cooler months. This year I added a swag of Dutch iris after Tricia "found" some seeds in spent flowers on her walk last year.

When you sink your hands into the soil, you could be a million miles away from the cult of consumption we've established on the planet in recent years. Most of what you touch in a garden is natural and most of what you're doing is hoping to create beauty, produce food and live true to your understanding of self-reliance. If you spend time in a garden and experience what it is and how it feels, you'll usually come away feeling an inner peace you didn't have earlier in the day. Over the past 50 years I think we've tended to trade our peace for more time at work, or out in the world doing whatever it is we do. I'm not pointing the finger, I did it too. But now I think it's important to make time for the small quiet times because they have the potential to restore balance and help us develop the strength to keep going. There is a very thin line between making time to be in your garden and putting it off for another day. It's easy to put it off and think that other things are more important. But I encourage you to think carefully about giving yourself those brief periods of solitude because you'll gain so much by being in the garden - walking and thinking, or just sitting, looking and breathing deeply.

This is the interior of my bush house. It's where I pot plants, plant seeds, tend ailing plants and keep tender plants over summer. Lucky I took this photo because I just saw a polystyrene box under the bench that I use for rubbish. I'll have to move that before we bring our puppy home tomorrow.

These flowering cactus are on the outside of the bush house.

Mint growing in an antique enamel baby bath and a pot of oregano. Both these herbs grow better in partial shade here.
Tomato seedlings above with borage, common thyme and more oregano.  Below are trays of radishes, lettuce, bok choi and nasturtiums.  I'll keep growing these tomatoes in pots for another three weeks and when they start flowering, I'll plant them out in the garden.

The slowness of gardens might help slow you down, and for me, that's one of the many benefits of gardening. I used to be extremely impatient. I wanted everything NOW. I've grown out of that and I'm much more accepting of a natural pace for most things. I think I was helped in that acceptance because I was watching plants grow and nothing, nothing at all, made them grow faster. The reverse has happened to seasons. When I was young, the seasons I experienced moved at snail pace, now it's all much faster. Years go faster, weeks seem like days, days fly by.

Gardens aren't only for growing food or flowers, they're also a bustling ecosystem contained within a  quiet haven where you can sit or walk and enjoy the plants and the sense of peace they bring.  When you garden, you, the gardener, make exactly the garden you want. So be bold, throw caution to the wind, make your wildest dreams germinate in your soil. Your garden may fill an acre or be contained in a few pots but whatever it is, tend it, observe, breathe it in, appreciate it, look around and then slow down and experience the experience.