My grandmother was an avid gardener. For most of my life she lived on a five acre block that she transformed from an empty paddock into a wonderful garden. I inherited her plants last year and am loving having indoor plants for the first time. She loved flowers and her camellia has just started to flower in my front yard – a pretty, delicate thing with white petals edged in pink.
I wanted to plant a tree and ended up having to dig up a concrete slab and a tree stump. Needless to say, I haven’t yet planted the tree, but after many days of hard labour in the cold and sometimes rain, the slab is a pile a rubble. It feels good to have vanquished a pile of concrete and built some muscle in the process, and the chickens are pleased to have a new landscape to scratch in.
I found a bucket of old seeds in the shed. When I say old, I mean pushing a decade. But I’m an optimist, so I planted anything that should be planted in autumn, whispered an incantation over the veggie patch and crossed my fingers. The optimist in my failed to note what I planted where (thinking I would remember), thus several weeks later I’ve no idea what is in there. I think the first to raise their little green heads above the soil is a colony of dill, but only time will tell if that is correct. I’m ever hopeful that more tiny vegetables will emerge in the coming weeks.
My mum is quite the gardener. She’s been coaxing things to grow in the hard, clay soil around the house for many years. Not everything does well, but lots of plants thrive. Among the success stories are these ox tongue lilies (Haemanthus Coccineus) which provide a spectacular greeting for visitors in the driveway. At other times of the year they are verdant green tongues protruding from the ground in clusters.
The geraniums are oblivious to the world beyond the weather in our backyard. Watered sufficiently they pump out their fluorescent blooms to tempt the passing bees and delight the eyes of weary humans. Grown from a stolen branch, simple and bright, they seem content to be as they are, no more, no less.
My street has a couple of well-tended gardens and some magnificent plants (remember the pink magnolia I posted a while ago?), but in the main most of us are not up to much. Along my driveway fence, however, the neighbours have been so lovely as to plant a row of wonderful and varied roses. I wandered out to check the mail today and was greeted by this peach beauty, basking in the sunshine. Her perfume is as divine as her colour.
The season is a strange one this year on many levels. The tomatoes are late and not very prolific, but the ones I have managed to coax into existence are quite delicious. Sweet, juicy, and zingy, the little red orbs hang like jewels from the dying branches. They shout their tiny victory over the weather in aesthetic defiance.
The bounty from one’s own garden is so much sweeter than from anywhere else. Today the nectarines called to me as I wandered in the back yard, and although it is not a large harvest, they are quite delicious. I’ve watched them from my kitchen window these last few months, growing from tiny, hard, green balls into plump, reddened, sweet fruits that fill my mouth with juicy flavour.
Wild Fennel grows taller than me in my backyard. It’s brilliant yellow flowers and green stalks stand proudly, reaching for the sky, and it release a wonderful liquorice fragrance when you brush against it.
My morning walk takes me past a neighbouring magnolia. This morning I noticed the first few flowers had opened, the tree appearing as though it had been splashed with pink paint. It will be a daily joy over the coming weeks to watch the buds unfurl in all their colourful glory.