4 October 2016

Gardens - experience the experience

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. 



  1. I love this post. I love being in the garden - it does wonders for the soul. It certainly teaches you patience and whole new level of respect for Mother Nature. I believe the resurgence of the home vegie patch is an indication that people are craving the desire to slow down and reconnect with our earth. The bonus is it saves money too!

  2. Like you, my garden make me happy, Rhonda. I love to be outside, working in the garden, in the quiet of the morning or late afternoon. I love to grow things, to watch flowers open up, to observe our little native bees as they go about their work and to see all the other creatures that visit too. At the moment, our resident blue-tongued lizard comes out each morning to warm itself in the sun and it feels such a joy to have this beautiful creature feel at home here. I love the smell of the herbs we grow and the blossoms and the rain. Most of all though, I love to harvest and eat what we grow! Meg

  3. This phrase.....When you sink your hands into the soil, you could be a million miles away from the cult of consumption......will keep me going for weeks. Thank you.

  4. Rhonda your post reminds me of Wordsworth's line "Getting and spending we lay waste our powers". In modern times we have blindly given our hearts away to the cult of consumption when we live in a time when there was more opportunity than in past times to become a generative, highly literate and beneficent society.

  5. Beautiful post. Going out to the garden now!

  6. I enjoy seeing pictures of your garden. Your magpie looks different to those we have in England. This a picture of ours from the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/European_Magpie

  7. I can really relate to your words Rhonda now that I've started spending more time in the garden. I've noticed that even a brief time in our little veggie patch makes a difference to how I feel afterwards. Once I start I notice my senses become stronger. I can smell the soil, hear the wind, birds etc. It really brings me back to the now.

    Such an exciting day for you both today too with the arrival of Gracie.

  8. I am still working full-time with a long commute of necessity so I only have a very small veggie plot but I enjoy it. I am hoping to retire in 3 years and have the luxury of making a beautiful garden (and maybe a puppy!!!) As I live in the French alps we don't have the long growing seasons that you do of course so I am always bursting to get out there when spring comes. Your garden is beautiful and I SO envy your bush house! Anna

  9. I love this post too -- it was such a nice, relaxing read. My husband is sick with Cancer and under going chemo. I feel pretty stressed and tired right now. I work full time from home (daycare - 50 hours a week), plus care for the house, take care of my husband, and help take care of my two children who live with us. I love all your posts and being able to see the other side of the world from me!

    1. I hope your husband regains his health, Meme. Take care of yourself too. xx

    2. Thank you Rhonda --- and my post should have "two GRANDchildren that live with us"

  10. Beautiful post Rhonda. Exactly how I fell about gardening as well.

  11. Hi Rhonda, I love my garden but I love even more watching the variety of birds that come and go in my garden, they bring me great joy, best wishes from Judi

  12. A beautiful post, a beautiful garden.
    I have just spent the morning over at the allotment, but working in the community garden. Harvested arms full of silver beet (chard) to put on the share table. Working my way, harvesting, through a bed of tiny cherry tomatoes is a good way to slow down. Think you've picked all the red ones, stand up, and there is another little bunch so off you go again. A wonderful harvest, another one for the share table.

  13. Your garden is a bountiful blessing in so many ways! I mostly garden on my deck now, but it is a joy! And so is your blog which I've been reading for years.

  14. Such a wonderful post, dear Rhonda... Your photos are lovely and your gardens are always so luscious.. I have enjoyed the garden experience this summer but am now dreading winter. The berries are so plentiful this fall and the old timers always said it meant a bad winter... And you will be enjoying your summer... xo

  15. Hi Rhonda, I'm constantly amazed how a gardening session lifts my spirits and makes me happy. I come inside feeling so much more positive and able to cope with what's ahead. I really feel like it's a form of meditation as seems to stop my mind racing and I seem to be able to just 'switch off'. What a wonderful gift!
    Thanks so much for all your wonderful posts,
    Anna (Blue Mountains, NSW)


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