Garden regrets? I’ve had a few  – well, more than a few. I have made every mistake in the book; planting shade lovers in hot sun,  and sunlovers in too much cover. I have over and under watered, over fertilised and under mulched and placed things way too close together so they have competed, fought and died.

But the saving grace in gardening is that you can tear out and start again and cover up boo-boos.

I go through stages where all I want is flowers and colour; then a self-sufficiency buzz kicks in and I turn vegie, herbs and fruit mad. There are times when I want to build and form new beds and plan different foliage shapes and features for them. It’s like an artist flitting from portraits to abstract  to landscapes.

I can be swayed and inspired by a visit to a friend’s patch, a gardening magazine article or a chat at the markets plants stall.

But I don’t have unlimited time to tend the plants and lawns. I am a time-poor working woman with a job, voluntary work, family and a household to run. I love the dichotomy of my life where mornings are elbow deep in compost or shovelling manure and afternoons are turning out in lipstick and brushed hair. But a day of which not just a few minutes are spent in our garden is a rarity. .. even if it’s just walking around sniffing and snipping with a g and t in hand.

It’s where I do my best thinking, stimulated by the visceral action of plunging my hands in soil against a background noise of birds and insects.

I love the unexpected there. My recent find was a stephanotis vine that had been buried and forgotten under a mock orange hedge. The hedge clipped back and voila, the vine burst into snowy star-shaped blooms. It reminded instantly of my late mum whom I recall saying it was known as the wedding flower and she and brides of her era ( 1940s) had stephanotis in their bouquets.

And few things touch my heart like a gift of a freshly plucked flower. Recently a male friend joined me and two other women for dinner and arrived bearing three single creamy and fragrant gardenias he had picked from his home bush. He could not have made a bigger impression had he bought us gold leaf. ( well, maybe )

So I know you gardeners abound and  you are a diverse lot.  Some of the most macho blokes I have shared an office with get all misty-eyed describing their flowering orchids or their bumper Tahitian lime crop.  And one Gen Y friend of my daughter’s has confessed she has learnt to lose hours ”outside growing things”.

Like all gardens, mine is a work in progress.  It is always evolving, as in nature. The changes and improvements have come from both from my big mistakes and friends’ and family members’  gestures, advising, donating, suggesting and correcting at many turns.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it has taken a gaggle of gardeners ( is that the collective noun?) to help build my place of joy.

I am no expert, but I do have a passion for gardens great and small and endlessly curious about how their owners came to shape them. Talking to friends and colleagues, it seems there are others like me out there.

I am right in my element as publicist for ABCTV’s Gardening Australia, a wonderful weekly programme filled with experts and inspirational presenters.  In this blog,  I just plan to enlarge on the simple, charming   moments of trading garden yarns that keep us connected. I want to hear yours, no matter how big or small..


5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Writer Geek said,

    I love it!

  2. 2

    YourHobby said,

    We will be following your blog now, thanks so much, very entertaining…..YourHobby…..

  3. 3

    You have an awesome blog!

  4. 4

    Everald Garner said,

    I came to your blog (first one I’ve ever read!) via your article on jacarandas. I wanted some info and you gave it to me for which I’m most grateful. One small thing, would you please correct ‘swatting’ to ‘swotting’? The former one does to a nuisance fly, the latter is when one spends painful hours prior to an exam. (My friends tell me I’m picky about words)
    I have recently given up a rather nice native garden and moved into a retirement village where I have only a small garden. Need to be quite selective about plantings now.
    Years ago, I created a garden from scratch in Brisbane. Recently found it online and could barely see the house.

    • 5

      Thanks Everald. Mea culpa re swat/swot. I, too, am a stickler for spelling, so am appalled I made such a mistake. Glad you like the blog.
      I have been a bit irregular of late due to heavy workload in other areas of my writing life. And the spare time goes to gardening – alas, not so much writing about it.

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