Make the most of what you've got in front of you

14 November 2022


I believed we should all make the most of what we've got. If you haven't got what your family or friends have and you envy them, it's wasted time and emotion; you can't change it, you can only change yourself. Look at what you DO have and then make plans to make a beautiful life built around what you've already got right in front of you.

You probably know that Hanno and I have been gardeners for a long time, probably about 40 years. We started off small and taught ourselves by reading books and observing what happened in our various gardens. I also asked neighbour-gardeners what they were planting and how to do things that pushed the envelope a bit, like growing fruit, nuts, potatoes and garlic. It's all pretty easy after the first harvests have been gathered but it always take time, effort and persistence. I've loved all my gardens. It was a way of being outside in the fresh air surrounded by nature, birds and wildlife. The vegetables and flowers were a wonderful bonus!



This is where I sit every day. I have a radio, mosquito coils, books, Kindle and Gracie to keep me company.


My work bench with the Black Cherry tomato and chives. They'll be potted in the next day or two.


Here is the new fountain - I bought this new pot because Gracie kept drinking from the smaller pot, even though she had a bowl of water there,  and I had to keep filling it up.


This capsicum/pepper is called Sweet Mama. I usually buy two capsicums a week. I like them in coleslaw, salads and pickled vegetables, so growing my own gives me the freshest and the cheapest.


You can see the Roma tomatoes peeking through here.  They've been growing for about 3 weeks, they were on the verge of flowering when I potted them.



Angelonias and lavender.


This is a Digiplexis called Berry Canary. It's a foxglove.

When Hanno got sick at the end of last year, I walked away from my garden and didn't return until after he died. It was so overgrown that it made me realise then and there that I couldn't continue it. Back then I felt weak and defeated but gardens have a way of getting under your skin. After sitting on the front verandah and thinking about my future life, I just couldn't imagine it without a garden being there somewhere. 

What I did have to take into account was my brain tumour and my age. I have a non-malignant meningioma and I'll be 75 next birthday, so starting a new garden wasn't as easy as it once was. I already had a few things growing in containers and they were easier for me because bending down and standing up again makes me lose my balance. So I decided I'd make a container garden of flowers and a bit of food and I'd put it right beside where I sit so I could see it, tend it and love it every single day. And it would be next to my three bins - rubbish, recycling and garden waste. How convenient and the real gift was that it brought beauty to that area that had always been the bin corner.



This is along the neighbour's fence. It's next to the bins at the garage entrance. Here I have the Montville Rose, gaura, parsley, another Digiplexis and The Fairy rose in the big pot surrounded by recently planted alyssum.


Yes, there they are ... the bins. I'm sure it's not everyone's idea of a good spot for planting but my down to earth heart loves it.

In the food selection I have, one determinate Roma miniature tomato called Little Napoli as well as an indeterminate heirloom tomato called Black Cherry. I haven't planted that out yet because I'll have to rig up a support on the trellis. Already planted are onion chives, Italian parsley, capsicum/pepper Sweet Mama, rainbow chard (in shade of the bush house), a foxglove that regrew from last year, a digiplexis which also regrew, a new digiplexis called Berry Canary, a gaura called Sparkle Pink which is mostly white 🙄, yarrow, Japanese anemone, penstemons grown from cuttings, and lavender. There are also four potted roses - The Fairy which is a miniature shrub rose with masses of small pink double flowers and repeat flowering, the Montville Rose/Duchesse de Brabant - an old French heirloom, and two standards - Mary Rose and Munstead Wood - both heirlooms and brought from the back garden and now potted. Mary Rose and Munstead Wood are standing at the middle entrance to the verandah, you've seen them before in the last post.


And here is my shadow. She knows when I want to take a a photo of her and she turns her head. I waited but she kept looking away. LOL

I won't go on too much about it, I have the photos here so you can see for yourself. It won't be everyone's cup of tea but it's not everyone garden, it's a garden for my wellbeing and I feel grateful to have it. It will give me something to work on, it gives me flowers to look at and it's relaxing. I like how it connects to the fernery garden we already had on the verandah and the whole thing makes a lovely entrance to my home.




This is a Federation Daisy that I'll pot soon.

Thank you for the delightful comments you leave. I don't spend a lot of time on the computer now so I don't reply to all comments but I read every one of them and I feel grateful that you take the time. I'm continuing my busy schedule here with decluttering, helping my family, reading, cleaning, cooking, gardening and being Gracie's best friend. In the next couple of days I'll start my next post in which I'll write about how I clean my house now. It's changed a lot to what I used to do, it's faster, takes less energy and is all done with steam or homemade cleaners. So until then, enjoy what you do - stay cool or warm, depending on where you are and be kind to each other. xx

59 comments

  1. Just shows what a beautiful garden you can create with pots Rhonda. I look forward to your next post on how you now clean your home. I tested positive for covid on Sunday so I haven't had a chance to plant my petunia seedlings as I had planned. Hopefully soon I will have the energy.. Take care x

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  2. I'm sorry to read you have Covid, Roslyn. Take care.

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  3. Gardens give so much to us. Not only food and beauty, it gives us a reason to get outside everyday, peace and tranquillity and it’s great for mental health. Gardens are priceless

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  4. Thank you Rhonda. I so enjoy all your posts. Michelle x

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  5. What a lovely garden , it’ll give you so much pleasure, and be easier for you to manage . My husband is a year younger than you Rhonda , he too has a benign meningioma. They just monitor it , no treatment as such , so far no problems ! I so admire your quiet strength, and your patience, in planning how you want to move forward with the changes in your life . Keep well xx

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    1. Mine is monitored too. Fingers crossed for both of us. xx

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  6. This is so lovely to hear, Rhonda. I look forward to seeing how your container garden grows throughout the year. My container garden is also near my bins! We only have a small yard (I’m in the north of England) but it gives me so much pleasure to tend to the pots each day. Xx

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  7. Your garden is just right ❤️😊

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  8. I love your container garden! I live near Boston, MA, USA and I've been adding more containers to my garden in recent years. They are somewhat high maintenance but in a good way, in that they make me get out and interact with my garden more regularly. Watering with my watering can and deadheading flowers both seem like such gentle, contemplative tasks.

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  9. It's a lovely garden, especially because it works so well for you. Waking up to 27 degrees F this morning, it's funny to see your tomatoes and peppers growing. I know you are coming into summer soon and will be enjoying all of your wonderful summer treats. Always look forward to your posts. Blessings...

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  10. Beautiful flowers. Due to arthritic knees I had stopped much gardening. You have inspired me to have a few pots this spring.

    I look forward to your cleaning post. We do have to adjust as we age.

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  11. Your plants all look very healthy and loved Rhonda!
    I have gardened for 40 yrs too and am constantly learning. During our long Melbourne lockdowns I started growing my veggies and flowers from seed bought on line...so much cheaper and so satisfying. It has also challenged me to find new recipes when I have a glut of a particular vegetable....tonight we had a lentil and pumpkin curry from the freezer, made from last summer's pumpkin. My freezer has a stash of roasted tomato pasta sauce as well as pesto from the basil glut! I spend time every day in the garden and far less time buying food. It always gives me a thrill when a tiny seed germinates and I always sow too many and have seedlings for friends and family. Your blog is wonderful and a great encouragement for those who choose to think for themselves and not waste their money on uneccessary products...bravo!

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    1. Hi Anne
      I'm glad you were able to use your lockdown periods to learn how to grow your own veggies from seeds. Can I ask where you plant your seeds - do you plant them in big pots or in garden beds? We have such a big garden but I prefer veggies in pots as they are easier to manage.

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    2. Hello,
      I start most seeds in small pots (on trays) inside, as we have plenty of North facing windows that catch the winter sun and this allows me to get them started really early. I usually plant 2-3 seeds per pot. When they have their first true leaves, I pot them up into individual pots, using the same 8cm pots or larger ones for pumpkins. These all go outside to harden off as the weather improves, then are planted out into garden beds when I trust the weather! I have raised beds and prefer these as I have not had much success with veggies in pots. I mulch them really thickly with straw, so even if we are away for a week they can cope without water. I direct sow carrots, beetroot, snow peas or beans into garden beds, but find it's a battle with birds, slugs and snails when the seedlings are tiny!

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  12. Rhonda, I grow all my herbs, tomatoes and a lot of decorative plants in pots, to fit in with where I am at this stage of my life. I am looking forward to your next post about how you clean now, always looking for ways to make life easier!

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  13. Your blogs are always inspiring. I've been gardening since 1975 although in different places. We've lived in this house for 28 years and have quite a bit of garden area. My daughter, who lives with us, does most of the gardenening now but I do all the preserving. It's fall here in Northern California so our days are shorter and getting colder.

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  14. Thank you so much for this post. I am 66 and have never gardened but have become increasingly interested in a small garden. We live in the desert in Arizona so anything I grow will have to be super protected from insects, birds, rabbits, chipmunks etc etc…basically I will have to have screens completely around anything I don’t want eaten. Your photos today solved my problem. I will use my back patio and stay close to the house. And start small. Thank you, the task had seemed daunting before. Now I will aim small and close. Hilogene in Az

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  15. I absolutely love it! And, it shows you're healing from loss. I live in a townhome and the gardens are considered "common area" and are maintained by the Association, so no gardening there for me. But I, like you, I find my joy in container gardening on my deck -- tomatoes (either Roma or cherry), peppers, chives, and I've tried cucumbers and snap peas, both unsuccessfully. In my deck railing flower boxes, flowers go on the outer half, and I plant basil, oregano, parsley, and other herbs on the inner side, so they're easy to harvest while standing at the railing. Good to provide that little something extra grown fresh and not from the grocer. Keep it going!

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  16. Everything looks really nice.

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  17. I love seeing all that you do. I still have to adjust my mind when I look at the pictures of your garden...I'm in the northern hemisphere, so my garden is going to sleep now. We had summer, it stopped abruptly and then for about two weeks we had fall, then a couple of days of snow. I didn't even get a chance to winterize everything! I am new at gardening, (I'm 69 yrs.old) and on a steep learning curve. I bought a greenhouse kit when they came on sale. It will go up in the Spring, weather and someone to help permitting.
    You always encourage me to try new things and give me wonderful advice about living clean and enjoying all that I have. Thank you so much Rhonda!.

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  18. It's a beautiful little garden area, Rhonda. And good on you for going through with it and keeping it up and running whilst you are going through so much. Health problems are not fun; and you have had quite a lot to endure lately. I hope it continues to give you joy and peace. Thanks for the post!

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  19. What a lovely garden and a wonderful adaptation to your needs. I wondered about putting wooden shelves attached to the fence at your working height. If you put all the lighter smaller plots on it you wouldn't have to bend down and up again?

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  20. It's all lovely, Rhonda, and customized for you. I always look forward to your posts and glean wisdom from them. Thank you.

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  21. I love all your beautiful pictures. I need to always remind myself to love what I have.

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  22. Another thoughtful post, thank you Rhonda. My husband and I have had a difficult few years but reading you posts has helped me to see hope and beauty in what is around us. Your garden is looking lovely and your adjustments will enable you to enjoy it in the years to come.

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  23. Anne in Upstate NYNovember 15, 2022 9:08 am

    Thank you for sharing all the beautiful colors of your garden. It’s a nice contrast to the snow we had today.
    I am new to vegetable gardening at 62. I had plants in pots on my deck this summer with varied results. I wondered if you started the vegetables from seed, or bought starter plants? Also do you have any favorite books/resources you found helpful?
    Thanks Rhonda, it’s so good to read your blogs again.

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    1. Hello Anne. Most of these plants are from starter plants or cuttings I've taken from my own plants. I have a couple of flowers I'm growing from seed - they're unusual flowers that aren't usually available in the shops. I don't have any gardening books, it's all in my head now. I do like watching Gardeners World - the BBC TV program which has just finished for the season. It will restart in March next year. Good luck with your garden. xx

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  24. Your potted garden looks lovely and obviously gives you pleasure, Rhonda. I have begun pot planting this year as the soil is too wet for planting in the garden. Another season, another trialling of methods.

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  25. Your garden is really lovely! I visited Israel a few years ago and container gardens were everywhere and just so beautiful! I was inspired and now I'm inspired again seeing what you've done. Thank you for sharing your photos and thoughts.

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  26. Hi, dear Rhonda! How are you? Thank you so much for this post. You have no idea how much you helped me, I’m 25 girl trying to understand my place in this world and I’ve been struggling with this feeling of waiting to everything be perfect or right so I can finally be where/how I can be happy in the way I imagined. But in this way of living I’m not actually living right now and enjoying and learning of this life. So I took as a sign this post. A sign that I can be happy right now with what I have and where I am. thank you, dear Rhonda, for bringing light and happiness for my days since I discovered your blog!

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    1. Hi Isabella. I'm so pleased the post helped you look at things, another way. Yes you can be happy right now and you can learn and prepare for what comes later while you're enjoying life. Good luck. xx

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  27. Your garden is so beautiful. That's very creative how you put it along the fence, in pots. Everything looks so green and lush. Your flowers always look so happy and loved.

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  28. Well I've always thought that a person shouldn't get hung up on magazine pics of gardens and all the "rules" about colors, heights, textures.complementary bloom times etc.. Those "rules" maybe make sense for professional landscapers and they do make for a lovely show but when you get right down to it a garden should be about what makes the gardener happy and satisfied. I say if you love pansies and dandelions well plant as many as you want----it's your garden and you should do whatever you want to do with it. Gardens should be an expression of the gardener as to what they want in their garden and what they can manage to take care of. I really think that all these rules about gardening (other than basic soil preparation and planting things in the right place where they can flourish) make the whole operation sound too complicated and deters a lot of people from even considering it as an option.

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  29. We got our first snow of the season today in Minnesota. Three inches of dandelion fluff like snow. It will be a long while before any outdoor gardening will be happening. I am enjoying seeing your lovely gardening pictures.

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  30. Thank you for the peek at what you are doing in the garden, Rhonda - I felt like we were strolling around together. I certainly understand your need to have a garden and the pleasure it gives you. My gardening skills have always been a bit hit and miss over the years, but I keep on anyway. After a cancer diagnosis many years ago, I felt if I could just keep growing something, everything would be okay and here I am 22 years later! I especially love flowers - they have a way of lifting your mood don't they? Take care, Margaret

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  31. Your pots look wonderful Rhonda. I too am doing a lot more in pots, or at least trialling. You always hear the saying about gardening being therapeutic..and it just is. I have tomato plants in pots atm still under cover as we get another cold blast from the south. It may warm up eventually. The pumpkin seeds have sprouted at least, the silverbeet is going wild and my experiment with onions and garlic a bit iffy! But that's okay. I just like trying and having a go and enjoying the process. Hope the week ahead is good for you x

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  32. It all looks lovely! It reminds me that just like there are seasons each year, there are also seasons of life and we adapt based on the circumstances at the time. My Grandmother lived on her own until almost 100 years and passed at almost 102 years. She was constantly evolving her gardens and her day to day tasks based on her needs and her ability. As I cross into the 50+ age range I am reminded to move with the seasons of the year and the seasons of life! Thank you for the reminder!

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  33. What an inspiring post, Rhonda. Gardens can offer such wonderful therapy and I love the way you have adapted yourself and your garden to allow it to provide what you need. I often compare my garden to that of others but you have reminded me that this is a waste of energy. I accept that I am on a journey of learning and whatever my garden may look like I still love it and it gives back so much. Can't wait to hear about your cleaning routine! x

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  34. Everything is lovely, Rhonda. I especially love your solar fountain in the pot. I have that same fountain and love listening to the soft sound of running water. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I count a new post from you as a special treat! Tell Gracie hello for me!

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  35. Oh ! I was thinking of getting one of those fountains ..are you pleased with yours ? I love all your pretty pots and hanging ferns . So pretty .

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    1. Yes Daisy, I'm pleased with it. This is the second one I've bought - get the more expensive one ($20 instead of $10), they are better.

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  36. Your garden is looking lovely, and I really like your little fountain, the sound of water is so soothing. I really like the pots you have located in groups. There are so many lovely pots you can buy too. Aggie does the same when I point the camera at her, Tuk just goes crazy and so does Maisie. Hagrid our guardian livestock dog is probably the most compliant when it comes to getting a decent photo. It's like they know! xx

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  37. I always enjoy your posts and it's a special treat. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

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  38. Hi Rhonda, your potted garden looks peaceful and practical. I love the cool green of the ferns. I have a big garden, but I still like pots. Several years ago during the drought when gardening was depressing, pot plants kept my spirits up. There was not enough water for the garden, but there was enough for the pots and to see them flourishing gave me such a sense of hope and optimism. Keep doing whatever makes you happy! Margot xx.

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  39. Gardening is great therapy so to make things work for you in this time of your life is great. Gives you a chance to be outside with fresh air and pretty flowers and a few herbs and veggies. Well done Rhonda. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  40. Your set-up looks ideal! A lovely, inspiring, manageable garden. Thank you for sharing. I've learnt so much from your blog over the years!

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  41. Bringing beauty to the bin area - love it! Great post Rhonda!

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  42. I too am changing my garden to accommodate my aging joints. Like you, I can't imagine my life without a garden. And like you, the fresh veggies are a plus in my mind. :) So I'm adding more raised beds with a sprinkling of in-ground planting for taller things such as corn & tomatoes. Thank you for sharing photos of your garden with us, I so enjoy reading about your days! ~TxH~

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  43. Hello Rhonda, your garden looks inviting, can imagine you sitting there reading or thinking with Gracie looking after you. It is very satisfying to watch something grow whether if be vegetables or pretty flowers. xx

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  44. I think your new container garden is lovely. It's not only pretty, but it feeds you physically and also emotionally. :)

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  45. So funny about Gracie turning her head when you go to take a picture. Your container garden is so pretty and then practical at the same time with peppers and other veg. Thank you for this lovely post - yes, use what we have and be content with it.

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  46. Dear Rhonda, what a lovely garden as we all know gardens are ever changing and I think yours is just perfect. I do hope sitting and looking at your garden brings you peace and joy , I wish you good health and may you be surrounded with love and kindness .

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  47. What a great post. I totally agree about doing what works for you, and making the most of what we have, right here , right now. No-one knows what is right for another person, it is so important to do what is right for You. If we all did everything the same it would be a very boring world. Your flowers will give you a lift every time you use the bins from now on. I think that is wonderful. I'm going to put some pots by my own bins now too. Xxx

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  48. Love your posts! I have that little daisy growing and have never known it's name - Federation Daisy. I will take some cuttings for family, and now be able to tell them what it's called. Thank you!

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    1. It's a Federation Daisy called Sunday Best. It's a real charmer.

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  49. All of our gardening is on our deck right outside our back door now as we have aged and we can see it from our kitchen windows as well. It gives us some vegetables and herbs and flowers and just brings us joy every summer. i'm glad you have your little garden, too.

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  50. Thank you for taking the time to write this lovely post Rhonda. I’ve read it. a few times now and it’s made me pause and re-think a couple of things. Id also like to say I think this is a perfect garden.

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  51. I love this post! I’ve finally decided that I just have too much shade where I live and I need to work with it rather than keep trying what I always do and it not work. This year I’m going to do a few tomatoes in pots and grow flowers instead of being frustrated and wasting money on other things. Thanks for the encouragement to continue to adjust to my season and place!

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