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.

Home is where my heart (and garden) is ❤

Well it is finally happening!

It has been a long four year wait to begin building our home. By February we will move to our home.

And oh how my heart has longed for this day.

I’ve always believed some people (like my Dad and like me) need a connection with our environment. A piece of earth to set root and belong. Since leaving home I have been adrift. Home has been with my husband and children but the city is not a healthy place for me.

Driving to our block (5 acres in wheatbelt Western Australia) my black dog curiously curls up for a time and sleeps.

Opening the gates I come home to my garden and sanctuary.

Steel frame home. Simple. We have 5 acres of garden… Why would I want to be indoors?

The frog pond we dug and cemented is taking shape. The citrus are settling in and snapdragons and stattice are keeping the bees busy.

The plants hubby and I have propagated and gotten through long scorching summers. Jacarandas and Brachychiton (Flame trees) will one day flower at the same time. A mass of purple and red.

Mostly trees to cope with extreme heat and our long dry summers.

The youngest of five Moreton Bay Fig trees ❤. I like to plant for the future. One day when my future grandkids are old there will be 5 magnificent fig trees surrounding the property. Planted far from the house these have been handwatered and fenced to keep the roos away and are absolutely thriving.

Others build the house first but we’ve had no choice but to wait so our garden has come first.

I prefer it. The windows frame views I have imagined for years.

Right now I am chaos personified. Exhausted.

But the views make it worth the wait. Help me keep patient but also hopeful. Now we know where the septics will go I can plant my next orchard.

A blank canvas… Waiting for TREES 😍

Soon. Be patient Nat.

I will get to wake up and walk outside into the garden I love best. It’s not fancy. But it is home.

Szarik gets to come for a visit. He saw a roo and took off like a pup. The roo cleared the fence to his disgust and our relief.

M.I.A: but still collecting wildflowers

A belated hello to you all.

My black dog has been snapping persistently at my heels.

And yet the process of documenting the wildflowers out this year has helped me.

Red and Green Kangaroo Paw. Our state emblem. People say difficult to grow but I have three thriving at my block. They do well with neglect and dividing once clumping.

Ants on a Grevillea
Fringe Lilly! The one I photographed at my block was a climbing species and much smaller than this one.
My favourite Verticordia. A sea of yellow on sandy soils. Going to the coast this is everywhere.

On bad days Miss 3 and I head off in the car and stop whenever a splash of colour catches my eye.

Mulla Mulla at home

Scaevola sp. Love love love purple Scaevolas although pink and white are available too.
Flower from a pinwheel Sundew. I had promised a photo and here is the orange I adore. In the heat of the day these all open up and it is a carpet of tiny orange flowers.

I could go on and on.

There is something peaceful about walking off into the bush and taking photos that gives me peace.

Thank you to everyone who gave me a warm welcome back and kind messages.

I hope you feel inspired to spend your weekend flower hunting 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.

 

If you need me check the garden (aka TLC for the depressed soul).

For anyone wondering… Yep I’m still alive… Just letting myself get lost in the garden for a while.

Words are escaping me lately. So I’ll go with pictures.

Arctosis “Hannah” starting to flower. Red is my favourite colour. Bright and cheerful. Our house will one day be painted red too. I want an explosion of colour. Bright. Cheerful. Happy. I want to look outside and feel warm always.

Driving to our block I saw a flash of RED. Miss 3 and I stopped and admired the first of the native pea flowers. I will find the name in time. It hit me this place is safe and home. Even the native flowers reach me within that dark place.

20180715_092443_HDRof my scarlet leschenaultia

It feels like a lifetime I’ve waited for my scarlet leschenaultia to bloom. And at last it is here! Beautiful.

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Taking my kids to the river park I spotted this little beauty! I’ve never seen a mushroom like this!

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Crown of thorns. The flower is small but one day it will be an impressive shrub.

Today my thoughts are caught up in a whirl of red flowers. Too busy to feek yuck within.

What is your favourite red flower?

 

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.

 

 

 

Helena Pipehead Bushwalk… Or how NOT to bushwalk with arthritis!

Hello everyone,

Let’s be honest here… Reading about someone’s epic fails is sometimes more fun than spectacular photos that make you feel inadequate 😂.

So here’s one I prepared earlier in the week. All dosed up on medication for my autoimmune arthritis and walking better than I had in months… it seemed like a good idea to pack a picnic and take the kids for a bushwalk.

We chose Helena Pipehead Trail in Kalamunda National Park. 13.5km along the Helena river and past the dam on return. On paper it sounded good…

Medium difficulty. Mostly graded tracks. Good boots. Gentle exercise for my joints. Even better for my depression. Get outdoors. Exhaust the kids. Sunshine. Nature. River. All good?

It was great too. Until we took the wrong turn on an old track down to the river.

 

Hubby decided it would be easier to climb up through the bush than to back track.

Our kids took one look at the scrubby bush above and said no way Dad.

And yet… I agreed. I can walk! Woohoo let’s push ourselves and climb up a steep hillside with a 3 and a 4 year old. Hmmmm!

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Note to Arthritis sufferers. Climbing from the river below to up here is incredibly stupid!

The less said the better really. Miss 3 got her ponytail caught up in a particularly challenging climbing vine. My knee gave way and I went sliding down through mud to the kid’s delight.

Native bush plants and my kids were introduced to some truly spectacular curse words. For those not familar with West Australian bushland we have some truly horrible spiky plants. Lovely to look at. An utter pain to trapse and scrabble through.

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Drosera macrantha (climbing sundew). The one and only photo before I slid down in the mud.

When we finally reached the track and  stopped to admire the view we saw a different kind of display… Is that a wrecked white car?!

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Because every good walk trail requires a random car pushed off a cliff. This has been here for ages we found out.

Nursing bruised knees and covered in mud and scratches, we gave the kids piggyback rides back to the car and decided to try again next week (and stop at the chemist for some painkillers for me).

Trying to find positives I looked inside. No matter how much of a fail the walk was it did help for a little while. Exercise and sunshine does give me a time out from depression. Even a small reprieve is worth seizing.

Thankfully we passed these Hoveas on the way home which made the trip worth it don’t you think?

Some days things just don’t quite go to plan do they? If you have a failed nature experience to share I’d love to hear it. Realistics unite 😊.

 

Do you make time to search for treasure?

There are days where hard physical work is a godsend to keep my mind away from difficult thoughts (Don’t you just love depression … And yes that was a bitter sarcastic tone you heard).116

And then there are bad days. Mental illness doesn’t always visit alone. Sometimes it has company. My depression has a companion called autoimmune arthritis. I don’t like either of them very much.

What has this got to do with treasure?

On days where I’m in pain and feeling low I have a choice. Let the hopelessness bury me. Or allow myself be human and be kind to myself. Yes I am faulty. Flawed. Weak. Hurting. Lazy. Uninspired. Self absorbed. But aren’t all people at some point?

So I pamper myself with a treasure hunt. Do you work away in the garden and miss the little things sometimes? I do.

Feeling sick is a wonderful reason to take time to enjoy your garden. Go for a very slow wander and inspect all the plants. Search for flowers and mushrooms and all of the things that on busy days you may miss.

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The first of the tiny orchids. This flower is only about 1cm across! I love searching for treasure.

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On bad days it helps to slow down and make time for yourself. Be gentle and forgiving to yourself as best you can. And focus on tomorrow being a new day to try again.

After all you never know what treasures are waiting in your future…

Today the sun came out for me. My meds began to work ever so slightly. I could breathe. My friend and her kids came with us to our block of land. The joy of a road trip with friends. No rush. Nothing fancy just enjoying a happy moment.

And then we stopped the cars…. What on earth is that? Walked for a closer look…

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A curious “lump” in the middle of a road. We stopped to check. An Echinda!!

This is only the second Echinda I have seen in 33 years of life. None of the kids had seen one before. I went to scoop him off the road thinking a car had clipped him and off he waddled! I had no idea Echidna could waddle so fast!

How we laughed. The kids peered out the windows and demanded to know why this was not a hedgehog. 20180621_120516_hdr.jpg

These moments make it all worthwhile. Treasure. Just waiting for us all to stop a while and look for it.

When is the last time you searched for treasure?

 

Will you share a nursery with me?

When you feel low do you enjoy a little garden centre therapy? Me too!

There is something about getting out of the house and wandering through a nursery which makes me feel a little more alive.

Being surrounded by people who are doing something they love.

Hearing people talk about their designs for the garden.

Reading the labels. Looking at the planting displays and ideas.

Always leaving with an unexpected purchase and an idea and excited hope.

A lifetime ago I worked at a nursery. I used to enjoy watching people. All sorts of people explore nurseries. Gardens don’t judge you. You can be depressed or unable to hold a conversation and it doesn’t matter. Gardens are a good place to find solace and healing.

It led me to believe a good nursery realises sometimes people have little money to spend or need company and a gentle, happy space. It welcomes everyone regardless. Gives them time and space to wander and touch and dream and hope and talk to others about something they love.

Which brings me to my point… I wanted to share my favourite nursery with you. I was hoping you might feel inspired to write a post in return to share your favourite nursery with me too. If you would like to I’d love a link in the replies. I love seeing new places 😊.

And now….

Welcome to Zanthorrea Nursery!

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http://www.zanthorrea.com A shameless plug 😂

Even the name makes me smile. Named after our Grass trees (Xanthorrea) with a humour that realises and accepts not everyone is a plant nerd and knows how to pronounce or spell that.

It is also an Australian native plant nursery. There are gardens throughout beautifully maintained to show people how our plants can be beautiful too.

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Yellow Leschenaultia… Stunning

Enough of me waffling… The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.

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The Leschenaultia display. I want them ALL 😊

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Play area for the kids. Everyone is welcome!

This is my favourite place to go when I need a boost.

Will you share yours too? I can’t wait to see nurseries from around the world!

❤ Nat

There are kudos for blogging? Who knew!?

Well today was a lovely surprise. A bright point in a difficult week.

A huge thank you to Cindy for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Best thing is now it is my turn to share the love!

For those who don’t know Cindy you can check out her blog about managing chronic pain here…

https://validatingchronicpain.com

As a person who manages pain and physical and mental illnesses her blog is important to me. I hope it interests and helps you too.

Right-o onto the formalities 😊

What is Mystery Blogger Award?

“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

Three things about me…

1. My wedding flowers were white daisies, white stock and baby’s breath. When our house is built those will be planted around it.

2. I volunteer for a mental health charity organisation called beyondblue.

3. When we go to nurseries everyone stares at my 3 and 4 year old kids because they pipe up naming the plants. “Oh look Mummy! Look at the lovely Jacaranda”. It always makes me laugh.

Now the questions from Cindy…

What’s the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?

That I’m a lot tougher and capable than I ever thought I was. If younger me knew what life had in store she would swear it will kill me. But I’m still here. Tough as old boots.

How do you hope you will change as a person in the future?

One day I hope to get a little freedom and independence back. I hope will feel less angry and generally tired of the world.

What is the most annoying question that people ask you (if you have a chronic illness/pain, what is the most annoying question that people ask you about your illness/pain)?

“Why don’t you try …. (fasting/cleansing/detox…. Pick any natural remedy known to man)?”

I’ve started replying yep that sounds great but unless they’re a quick fix miracle I won’t be able to walk so I’ll just go with what the rhematologist says thanks.

What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of and why?

Social media. I do get the appeal after all blogging is similar but being tied to my phone doesn’t appeal squat. Plus I really hate when someone is “talking to you” but they’re on social media. How is that showing me I matter?

What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

My friend came home from hospital finally and is feeling safe. She was very unwell and at risk. Made my week that she is ok.

My nominees…

 Ida

The first mental health blog I read. Ida says it how it is. I have every faith that if more people spoke like this about mental illness stigma would be a thing of the past.

https://aroundthewardin80days.com

Ali

Ali introduced me to the term “flower porn” and constantly makes life better with her stunning photos and the passion behind the words.

The Propagator

Three glorious words… “Six on Saturday”. Mr. P created it and if you check the comments on his blog on a Saturday it is a never fail way to live vicariously through some awesome gardens. Plus he is welcoming to everyone which I really appreciate.

Maureen

Maureen writes about what life at 80 years of age is like. I love this blog. There is nothing that gives me more hope than seeing you can be kick ass and relevant regardless of your age.

http://maureenhelen.com

The Dark Horse

I have a soft spot for Dark Horse. The very first person who replied to my blog. I didn’t tell anyone offline. So Dark Horse’s words of support were golden. Plus this blog is also about managing mental health issues. The recent post about conquering fear panic attacks was an eyeopener! Read and enjoy.

Juansen

If you want to see poetry as therapy stop and have a chat with Juansen. This blog is lovely. The illustration. The words. Pretty much any day I feel low I know I can find hope here.

https://lonelyblueboy.wordpress.com

Right it’s not ten but this is a looooong post.

My questions for you all…

1. What is it about blogging that makes you feel good?

2. Are you ever nervous about exposing too much of how you feel inside to the world?

3. What is your trusted go to technique on a day you feel a bit low?

4. Of all your posts which would you like everyone to read and comment on?

5. How do you enjoy your Vegemite? As an Aussie this is clearly vital for me to know 😊.

Thank you again very kindly Cindy. I’m not sure of the protocol whether I could nominate you but please know I read and enjoy your blog very much.

❤ Nat