The benefit of hindsight… Shall we learn from poor plant placement or just go for it yet again 😊?

Whether you’re a professional gardener or trial and error enthusiast like me, we all have our plant disaster stories.

Right plant, wrong place?

Right place, weedy plant?

Trees mislabeled as shrubs?

And yet (for me at least) part of the joy and pleasure is the experiment.

We passed our old house recently and I found myself both laughing, smiling and feeling a little guilty.

I wondered what the new owners think of their white Bougainvillea hedge? Do they curse me for planting it?

Part of me knows the answer… They have the same love/hate relationship with it I did.

The lawn may have been neglected and yet the hedge is pruned hard as always. It is a pain in the bum and hard work but it was always a joy to see in bloom and worth the effort.

Will I repeat my error? Yeah probably… My in laws have already adopted the idea because they loved it.

This time I’ll plant my ‘bougs’ down the hill so I’m not endlessly sweeping the bracts from around the house. I still like the white though.

Do you have a plant mishap to share? If you could go back and try again what would you change?

Need a happy memory? Check your garden.

Hello to anyone reading…

Are you a gardener? A plant obsessive?

If not perhaps you will read on anyway and let me know if this method works for you too.

One of the many benefits of learning to identify plants is how they seem to be able to trigger memories once you can identify them elsewhere.

As a child my Grandma would teach me the names of the plants in her garden. It wasn’t formal… Just simply sharing a joy and passion with a loved one.

Being able to identify a tree or shrub or flower has had an interesting effect…

Nearly all of the powerful memories I recall involve plants or gardens. It is as if my mind seeks out plant life as a marker to remember by.

Lately as I drive to work this gorgeous Cassia Fistula is in bloom. What a stunner!

I stopped to take a photo (not just because this is a favourite tree) because each time I pass a new memory surfaces!

How curious!

Two little girls having a teddy bear picnic under a yellow waterfall of flowers. Jam and cream sandwiches Bare feet. A beloved best friend.

A white and brown Jack Russell who used to trot along with me as a teen. Scorching heat. Red dirt. Bright blue sky. Yellow spinifex.

As my sister’s dog she didn’t like me much either. But she would follow me and guard anyway. My little protector. As if she sensed the chaos within. I felt safe with her.

We planted a Cassia to honour her when she passed away.

Standing in an orchard next to a man who I have always been told I mirror (“Put a beard on her and she’d be her father”).

I see the leaves of a small tree that doesn’t fit with the fruit trees. He frowns. Ah bloody hell I poison and poison that thing and it keeps coming back!

I start to laugh and cannot stop. He looks horrified to hear he has been poisoning a Cassia fistula that Mum keeps giving TLC to try keep alive.

Does this happen to you too?

I wonder if you can store a happy memory to keep by focusing on a plant?

When the Cassia at our block flowers I think I will bring my husband out to kiss me under the tree.

Worth a try surely 😊. Cmon Cassia grow please.

Going Home

Do you remember somewhere as a child you felt truly safe?

My childhood sanctuary isn’t made of bricks and mortar but of bark and leaf and earth and fruit.

The old mulberry tree has always been the perfect cubbyhouse

The house itself is insignificant compared to the gardens…

As children we spent most of our time outdoors, so it probably shouldn’t have surprised me as an adult returning home to find in being in this garden helps my stresses melt away.

This has become my goal… To establish a garden which evokes within the same calm.

What is a farm without the “aggies”?

Getting through the day with depression… Allowing yourself to embrace pleasure wherever you find it.

Hello everyone… I have missed writing here and sharing your stories (and gardens!).

Oh how I love black dog free moments. When I started writing this post I was in one. Back into the hole now waiting it out.

Those of you with depression will probably relate… I wish you weren’t able to, but knowing you aren’t alone can be comforting.

There are the moments vital to remember when you manage depression.

To record however you can. Write. Photograph. Draw. Video. Anything!

Holding onto these memories however you can is desperately important.

These are the moments to look back on when hope for respite is in short supply.

When you need a tangible reminder that yes! moments of joy exist.

They may be small.

They may be shortlived.

But they happened.

Above all… Moments like these will return in time.

Do you record small joys too? How do you remember them best?

For me it is in photographs. Curiously enough the last moment I planned to share was what gives me hope now.

I visited a brick display yard of all places and found a garden of sorts.

Today I need these photos. I hope you enjoy them too.

Love Nat

Do you focus on things to be thankful for?

Hello everyone…

Well it is heading towards Christmas… That chaotic time of year where it is easy for the black dog (depression) to sink it’s teeth in and refuse to budge.

Worse somehow are the moments where you KNOW you should feel happy but instead you feel numb or angry or just exhausted.

Black dog by Matthew Johnstone

If you’ve never read M Johnstone’s books they’re worth looking at.

Which brings us to the question… How do you be present when depression has you numb?

A common idea is a gratefulness diary. To put in words and images what you are thankful for in this moment. To record it and acknowledge that ok right now you might feel nothing but the depression will ease eventually and one day you will read the words and see the pictures and feel again.

On that note it’s time to share what I’m thankful for today…

1. Thank you to the neighbour who planted this red flowering gum on the verge. I drive past it almost every day and the red of the flowers never fails to make me slow down and look.

2. The WA Christmas Trees (Nuytsia floribunda) are in bloom! Nothing says Christmas to me like this native tree. I’m yet to grow one for my block. Tricky to establish as it is a parasitic tree but so worth the effort. One day soon this will remind me to feel hopeful and excited for the experiment to come.

3. THE Jacaranda driveway! On the drive to my block of land I pass this. It is the reason I grow Jacaranda trees and persist with getting them through the first few winters (they don’t like our frost but once established are fine). Absolutely beautiful…

4. Hobbies and work to keep me busy and too tired to worry… An assortment of succulents growing for my Mum in Law. Trenches I’m digging for the downpipes to capture water for the new tank. And of course the progress on our home. Almost there. Keep hopeful!

Best of all…

I am thankful for being able to share these places and photos with you all. Perhaps an image might give you a boost today too.

I’m thankful for my family who keep me company on my neverending “plant hunt”, encourage my enthusiasm when it is present and push me to keep trying when it is not.

What are you grateful for today?

❤ Nat

A little colour to lift the spirits.

During the long, hot days of a WA Summer it is easy to focus on the negative…

The flies! Sweating. Dusty. Hot cars. Sunburn. Did I mention the flies?

Do you take the time to find things to be thankful for? Not always? Me neither.

And yet today I found myself thinking of winter gardens elsewhere in the world. The gloomy depression that can settle within us from a lack of sunlight.

Instead of the bad this inspired a different perspective. An opportunity to share some brightness from our part of the world to yours.

From Western Australia with love.

More Verticordia (feather flowers). These made me laugh because they were covered in bees and down the road was a honey farm called “Bee Happy”. Appropriate somehow 😊

Cannot get enough of this gorgeous yellow!

Tamarix aphylla. Ok so it is a weed here. But this was in a city garden not a rural area. So pretty.

Christmas is almost here! This is a WA Christmas tree. Nuytsia floribunda. Some are in full bloom but this one is still on it’s way. To me this semi parastic tree means Christmas.

Grasstree (Xanthorrhea preissii) in flower. During the heat of day these flower spikes are covered in butterflies and bees on our block).

And the Everlastings ❤ These seem to pop up everwhere on our block. They are rough and papery to touch.

Six on Saturday… December 1st. In for a scorching summer!

Hello everyone (fellow gardeners and black thumbs equally welcome).

For those that follow Mr Propagator’s Six on Saturday you know what’s coming….

For those who have yet to meet Mr P, check out his blog here and join the SOS crew (because we’re awesome).

Righto… Into the garden.

1. Jacaranda season begins ❤.

Blue skies. Weather is heating up. Single days of 35°c but not week long heat just yet. It’s coming. Purple blossoms everywhere you look. Nothing says Christmas is coming like seeing the pop of purple in every fourth yard.

2. Gailardia ‘Goblin’

I’ve never grown blanket flowers before. This one was in the shade of an Acacia and is liking it’s “hot but not baking” spot. Such a happy flower. I will grow more.

3. Honeycomb from hive one of two.

Hubby added another box to the bee hive and cleaned out a little honeycomb for the kids to suck the honey out of.

It is amazing to see the bees break these down and reclaim the wax rather than produce more from scratch.

4. Irish Strawberry Tree.

Mislead by the common name hubby dearest decided to buy this Arbutus unedo for me. I’m curious to see if the fruit is as bad as others say. Nevermind. Look at the gorgeous new growth! Worth growing anyway because it makes me happy.

5. Mulch! Tis the season to be mulching.

Given summer here means weeks of 35°c we use layers of cardboard and paper scraps from home. Then a thin layer of pea straw held down with some mushroom compost. It seems to keep most plants alive. Fingers crossed.

Carob in it’s new coat.

Flower bed in progress. Ready for the heat. Love the portaloo in the background hehe.

6. Bauhinia (orchid tree).

Flowers from our neighbor’s bauhinia tree. Seed pods over the fence are fair game once they ripen 😊. I’ve got seedlings potted on from last year’s seed ready for our block in Autumn.

Well that’s me for this week. It may be hot but the sun does good things for my mood mostly. Maybe in 3 months when I’m over Summer I’ll feel different but for now I’m enjoying the colour.

Hope to share in your gardens too.

❤ Nat

Wildflower season begins! Otherwise known as managing depression and pain with gentle walking and a huge dose of gorgeousness.

Orchids! Sundews! Leschenaultia! The wildflowers of Western Australia are starting to bloom.

Be still my heart. ❤

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White Caladenia orchid

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I need distraction and gentle exercise. Fresh air and all the colours of the rainbow.

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Donkey Orchid

Bushwalking at a snail pace to hunt for native orchids and treasures emerging is a balm to my soul (and the very very sore joints).

Enough words… Time to just look and enjoy.

I hope these flowers from my block of land in WA make you feel as good as they make me feel.

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Chorizema sp.

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Climbing Fringe Lily

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Purple Caladenia

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Cowslip orchid

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Wheel Sundews… Not long now and these will have tiny orange flowers 😊

I just want to share photo after photo. These flowers are small but oh so beautiful and there are more photos to come. Watch this space 🌸.

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Stackhousia sp.

 

Using gardens as armour from the world.

Do you have a safe place you retreat to when you need to protect and guard yourself from harm?

My safe place is my garden. At times people have given me a confused look as if to say what good is a garden when you’re depressed and suicidal?

My answer is often about distraction and keeping busy and waiting out the pain but the deeper truth is my garden is quite simply a place where I don’t have to judge or hate myself.

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Banksia sessilis in flower. Usually spiky and irritating but in flower I see the good.

Sometimes depression makes us angry at hurtful towards ourselves. It doesn’t help when people can’t understand and make comments such as why have you become so selfish? Courtesy and politeness cost nothing. Or you have it easy look at what the rest of the world struggles with. For me at least that just becomes evidence used within me to keep building the case against myself… “Why I am not a worthwhile human being”.

Utter bullshit we learn eventually… provided we are given support to survive and time and knowledge to learn to recognise what is happening within.

My garden doesn’t say anything. I can be a mess. I can swear or cry or just sit and stare and it makes no difference to my plants. They are still beautiful regardless.

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Arctosis “Hannah”. My favourite.

Some days I can work until I’m exhausted and can sleep. Other days I just walk through the 5 acres and look at plants with a cup of tea in hand.

My garden is a protective space.

It gives me simple enjoyment of fresh air and sunshine.

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Euphorbia milii yellow form being gorgeous

A purpose and goal I can achieve or try again tomorrow or next week without pressure or guilt.

Adventure and anticipation hunting for wildflowers.

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Acacia cyclops ready to flower. Anticipation

Peace and quiet.

Something to connect with others about which doesn’t have to involve mental illness.

Projects and interests and passions.

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Hovea trisperma (low growing common hovea) has come out in flower at the block).

When depressed, I lose hope of ever feeling these things. But in my garden I can sometimes find those emotions. It reminds me those feelings are not lost just buried at the moment.

Being in my garden reminds me to turn off the phone and just exist for a moment. Just be in my safe place and let all the expectations of the world fall away.

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Native wisteria (Hardenbergia sp) has come back after being eaten by roos.

I will return in time. I’ve missed all of your gardens in the Sixes on Saturday most of all.

For now I’m in my garden letting it protect me until I feel a little better inside.

Happy Saturday fellow gardenistas.