Considering the state of the ground my garden started in, I decided to be less hard on myself and claim that my garden is a success so far. If you have not read my previous stories about the garden, in short, it is heavy dry clay soil, where one area was old lawn and the other forty-year-old yucca plants. I mention this to inspire others who may think there are special skills required to garden or the perfect setting, climate, and location. If I can garden in this harsh Australian rural climate and grow quite stunning roses at times, albeit with close attention to detail, then anyone can.
“Gardening is the greatest tonic and therapy a human being can have. Even if you have only a tiny piece of earth, you can create something beautiful, which we all have a great need for. If we begin by respecting plants, it’s inevitable we’ll respect people.”Audrey Hepburn
“A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one’s personal history and that of one’s friends, interwoven with one’s tastes, preferences and character, and constitutes a sort of unwritten, but withal manifest, autobiography. Show me your garden, provided it be your own, and I will tell you what you are like.”
– Alfred Austin
Setting out to make a garden is personal. Our gardens are our own little Eden, our own patch of paradise. They can never be compared from one to the other because we all have different situations, land availability, space and time constrictions, and, of course, different tastes, garden interests and preferences on style, layout plant choices and the like.
My next-door neighbour in an apartment block in Sydney has a tiny balcony that is a perfect garden, full of a variety of plants, a comfy chair, a beautiful view and calming statues, all in a tiny space for her to sit, read and enjoy. I always think this is the ultimate example of what a garden means- a refuge, a haven, our own individual solace and panacea from the world.
Gardens can be used for whatever we want, no matter the size, the design or style. Gardens can make us feel inspired, relaxed and free. The simple act of planting and the miracles gardeners observe is like nothing else I know to uplift one’s mood, spirit and demeanour and make you feel confident and well pleased with life—something we all could do with more under present circumstances.
My garden style is quite extravagant in that I love gardens to be full, no bare earth visible here- it is not me. A surprise exquisite rose hides as if shy from the sun and is magic to see peeping from a spot overgrown with salvias, lavenders, and rosemary. It is my own fault there are so many plants because, at the onset of the garden, I was like a child in the lolly shop ordering so many roses because I could not resist. Don’t even mention what a trip to a nursery is like!
Now that I have written many posts on gardening I feel a bit of a fraud. After all, I have only had one or two gardens in my life, so I have minimal experience and have learned any meagre amount about gardening just by having a go and wishfully hoping that at least some of what I do helps my plants to grow. I am rather slapdash and have no proper plant care regime. I read what the experts say to do and aim to always rectify problems in the garden quickly. I nurture and care for my plants and have favourites cherished and closely watched as one does with the health and well being of a family pet.
My garden does produce beautiful roses, although the layout of the garden is quite frustrating. Being rural, we have many acres of land around us, but the garden is relatively small. Constrained by rural fences and a levy bank to protect the house from the creek’s ephemeral nature. The garden must be viewed from the verandah of the old farmhouse and the lawns rather than by walking through it. I long for a garden where you can meander through, but mine is far too full and thick like an English herbaceous border that you view. The gardener can get in and work, but there is not enough space to make wide paths amongst the roses.
Summer in Australia is not for gardening, its for relaxation and enjoyment and without Covid for family and friends and having fun. Alas, this year so far and last year was fairly quiet socially. Gardening starts in late summer and is well underway and perfect in Autumn, where we have a few fantastic months to actually get out and garden for more than a few hours.
Autumn I always consider to be the start of the garden year, a chance to ‘go for it’ before winter. Whatever is achieved in the next few weeks and months will form the basis of how spectacular the garden will be in Spring. And so the garden grows through Summer which is all about survival and cutting back.
A garden is a microcosm of the outside world. Gardeners are acutely aware of the rhythms and cycles of nature: which flowers are in their prime, when to plant out the seedlings, when and how and how much it last rained. Just as music is time made audible, so the garden is “time made visible”Clive James
Presently the garden climate is almost to the end of Summer, which holds its own anticipation, and I’m eager to start ticking off some of my wants and wishes outside. This time of year is hot by 10 am, so really, unless I go out in the dark of early morning by the time I water and do a few other essential jobs with eco seaweed etc, there is not much time left to get the garden as mid-morning comes fast, and its blisteringly hot and unpleasant to work once the flies, bees and scorching sun are up. So my plans are at this stage are filling my head-but not accomplished.
The list of necessary and desired tasks gets longer every day. Always a learning curve is gardening and over the summer season with not much time to garden I’m itching to reshape the landscape and put some of my ideas that have surfaced since Spring, into fruition.
Content Di Baker 2021
All Images above were taken yesterday 28th February 2021 from my garden
Title quote by Mirabel Osler
There is peace in the garden. Peace and results.Ruth Stout