Six on Saturday

Hello fellow gardeners (non gardeners are welcome too though!).

It is THAT time again… Time to head on over to The Propagator’s blog and check out all the links to gardens and the six things each blogger chose from their garden to share. Bliss!

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Well here are my Six for Saturday…

1 . Agonis flexuosa seedlings in their lazy animal guard. These trees will grow quickly to about 10m so this is just a temporary fix.

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A very very lazy kangaroo proofing method. Milk crate with a heavy rock on top.

2. Zamia palms (Macrozamia riedlei) are looking pretty spectacular this time of year. 20180603_155141_HDR

3. Cutting grown Bougainvilleas. Perth WA seems to have ‘Bougs’ everywhere. They are so easy to propagate too! I’ve had the best success with semi hardwood cuttings.

4. A pitiful looking experiment…

Richardella dulcifica (Synsepalum dulcificum) otherwise known as the Miracle Fruit. The miracle is apparently the berries make sour things taste sweet. My father in law bought three plants. I have one in a pot and one in the ground. They both look unhappy but no surprise given their preferred climate. I use the local rare fruit club website a lot to give me an idea if I have a remote chance of getting unusual plants to live.  http://www.rarefruitclub.org.au

5. Another lovely sundew with lots of dew in the morning. This one changes to red in the colder weather and has little white flowers.20180615_095321_Burst01.jpg

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The same plant on a bushwalk recently. Higher up and more exposed to cold air it is red. This one is in flower.

6. Cutting grown Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa). On a trip to the zoo my son picked up a small piece to toy with. At home I decided why not? Trimmed it and used a rooting hormone not expecting much. Surprisingly it took. So now I have a baby to nurture until it is big enough to snip more cuttings. 20180609_160306_HDR

And that’s my garden for today. I can’t wait to dive into everyone else’s gardens!

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

Keeping suicidal thoughts at bay… Garden therapy!

Today I will begin with the photos of what keeping unhelpful thoughts at bay looks like. A wall of rocks.

Two small trailer loads. My three year old called the bigger rocks Mummy rocks. She is right. They are my lifeline on days like today. Where despite medication and weekly therapy the thoughts creep in.

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I could sit and dwell. Let the thoughts sink in further. Or I could enact my saftey plan starting with finding activities to distract myself. To pass the time and wait the thoughts out.

If you’re curious beyondblue have a free saftey plan called beyondnow.

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/beyondnow-suicide-safety-planning

I volunteer for BB but I’m not trying to be pushy. If you know someone who struggles with self harm or suicidal thoughts it is a great tool I use too.

And it’s free. Everyone loves free.

Anyhow… Distraction. Rocks.

I’ve mentioned before grabbing a pick and digging holes. That works too. But what I’m slowly learning is my safety plan comes in three parts…

1. Support myself

2. Ask for help from others.

3. Don’t be alone. Call ambulance. Go to the ER.

The garden fits in category 1. Physical activity somehow has always helped me. By having my hands in the dirt. Being out in the sun or rain. The smells and sights and sounds. The taste of sweat. Somehow this works for me better than anything else.

And best of all is the moment when the thoughts pass. When I can breathe again.

I make a cup of tea and sit with Miss 3 on the swingseat my father in law made for me. Cuddle my daughter, brush my toes in the sand as we swing. And for a moment feel ok.

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Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll try again.

Slippery Dip Falls

FR Berry Reserve. Just the name makes me smile. Actually being there eases every ache from my heart. This is my depression free place.

Once upon a time a couple found a book in an op shop. Family walks in the Perth Outdoors…

Ok that couple was hubby and I. But in my heart finding this book was the start of my fairytale.

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Photo courtesy of DPAW.

Family Walks in Perth Outdoors

We come here multiple times a year. After the winter rains and at the start of spring are the best times to visit.

This is why…20180610_144253_HDR20180610_143838_HDR20180610_141436_HDRMost flowers aren’t out yet but little Miss 3 found a carpet of trigger flowers…20180610_141005_HDRAnd Mr 4 found some ‘rainbow’ sundew which took me right back to my fairytale.

20180610_141440_HDRSee the granite outcrop way up high in the top left of the photo? We trekked up there once with our dog and a backpack with a ‘picnic’. On top of the world hubby went to find me a piece of ‘rainbow’ and came back with the string of sticky flowers and a little box with a ring.

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The flowers from a sundew… Nicknamed rainbow. It is sticky and as kids we would wrap it into crowns to wear.

Every story needs a twist… This memory has one too. After a picnic of sandwiches and chocolate cake (and lots of champagne!) we got lost in the bush! Two young lovers drunk and happy. In that moment we didn’t care less that we were lost in the bush because we were together.

At my worst, highly depressed and struggling to walk with an autoimmune arthritis I grieved this special place. I didn’t think I’d ever get to come back.

But here we are.

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Our kids love it here too. I am reminded no matter how bad I feel there is always a place I can go where every step is a reminder of a happy memory.

Thank you for letting me share my favourite place in the world.

Do you have a place you can trust to make you feel safe and happy?

 

 

 

Six on Saturday… A reminder that things will get better in time.

Hello fellow gardeners, black thumbs and non gardeners are always welcome too 😊.

Saturday to me is becoming the end of the week and the signal of a fresh start.

Why?

Because of The Propagator’s Six on Saturday idea (check it out and join the fun here…)

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

There is something that helps me mentally about looking forward to seeing everyone’s posts. All the colour and the plants and the joy and passion. It reminds me when my depression has me in it’s grip that there is joy to be found. I just struggle to see it.

So today my six is about hope. Hope in my garden and in my heart. A reminder that although right now my garden and mind feel dull the plants will grow in time. I just have to give them my time and effort and care. They will survive and grow and one day will be just as lovely as the local specimens that inspired me in the first place.

So here we go.

1. My cutting grown coral trees (Erythrina sykesii). Only about 50cm high.

The park in Woodbridge that made me fall in love with these trees in the first place.

2. My purchased Cassia Fistula

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We had one in the front yard up north in Wickham, WA as a teenager. One grows over the grave of a beloved k9 at Mum and Dad’s home. Youthful and hopeful. This one gets knocked back by the frost and then just grows back.

3. My seed grown Flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius).

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So little, but there are about 10 of them

This is one down the road from our rental. I pass it on the school run most days. I love red gardens. One day we will have red everywhere. An explosion of colour and heat.

4. My cutting grown Poinsettias.

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Another local treasure in a neighbour’s front garden. I planted ours next to the sea container to radiate some warmth. They’re an experiment but seem to be surviving the winter so far.

5. Seed grown Sweet Gums (Liquidambar sp.)

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My little sweet gums 😢. Hubby burnt the grass trees nearby and knocked them right back.

No red garden is complete without a few of these. I love the spiky seed balls and the carpet of leaves of all sorts of warm colours. Just got a new lot of seed from these trees in the old Midland Railway garden.

6. Proof some things are beautiful right now. Two and half years old and finally my Grevillea olivacea flower!

Thanks for joining me in daydreaming 🌸.

A project to keep the ‘black dog’ at bay.

What is a home without a frog pond?

Well the frogs may not be here yet but the pond is waiting for them.

20180602_162535_HDRWe don’t use garden chemicals often (hubby will sometimes use White Oil) so in our old house we had frogs galore.

There is nothing like sitting outside in the evening and hearing the frogs calling.

Plus frogs eat a lot of garden pests so it is a win for the garden too.

We may not have a house yet but we decided making a pond was a necessity.

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Inexperience meant I’ve put the overflow pipe too low at one end, so on the opposite side the pond liner shows when the pond is filled. Arrgh.

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The water drains from the overflow pipe before it fills enough. Ah well. Needs more plants 😊

I dug the pond and lined with chicken wire to act as a support to hold the concrete in place. Hubby mixed and I poured and smoothed. Paper mache at it’s finest.

Once cured we lined the concrete with white sand and then a pond liner sheet. People said this was overkill but we thought we may as well go all out the first time.

Then we began rock patrol. It took three small trailer loads of coffee rock to hold the liner down and in place (I folded it under on the edges). Plus a few wheelbarrows full of gravel to fill in the gaps in the rocks.

And finally some reeds in pots and submerged rocks to give the tadpoles (hope hope) somewhere to hide.

And now…. We wait.   🐸

Six on Saturday

Hooray it is Saturday!

Time to head on over to The Propagator’s blog and scour through the many beautiful gardens and sixes on offer. It is becoming something I really look forward to.

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

My six this week…

1. Pincushion Hakea at my son’s school. I’ve never really been a fan… Now I’ll have to pop over to Zanthorrea Nursery and get some for the block.

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2. The Sundews are growing again! Only about the size of a thumbnail right now but by spring they will be flowering and even more lovely.

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3. Acacia iteaphylla beginning to flower. This is the first year we have had flowers. They are 2 years old now.

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4. Best wishes for survival to my mulberry which had to be transplanted (was growing where the new water tank is going). Hubby wants to hack it back but it was from a cutting so I’m not too worried. It will either live or it won’t.

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5. Woohoo new leaves on the Macadamia. It seems to be settling in well here.

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6. Mmmm 😊. Nothing says winter is here like the clover cover crop starting to grow. This is a mix of ‘dalkeith’ and ‘bindoon’ both subterranean clovers.

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That’s my six. Thanks for checking them out. I can’t wait to see what others post.

My ‘Escape to the Country’ is no longer just a dream!

I must admit one show guaranteed to make me feel good regardless of how rough my mental state is “Escape to the Country”.

The plot is always the same… Busy stressed city dwellers search for a change and connection to the environment and community lacking in the ‘big smoke’ (city).

It feels like a lifetime I’ve been waiting for our turn to come. We have the block. 5 acres of rocky hillside in the Wheatbelt.

The community.

The gorgeous little school Mr 4 adores and Miss 3 is itching to begin next year.

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You know a good school when it encourages kids to get their hands dirty

And now it is finally starting. We got our fire assessment. BAL 19 woooohooooooo! No more clearing required thank goodness. So in a week or so we begin the long process of new home building.

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The plan for our little house. A 3×1 with a huge patio.

Today at the gate chatting to some Jehovah’s Witnesses I realised I’ve had more locals stop for a chat here than in the many many lonely years I’ve lived in the city.

One current thought doing the rounds about depression is a lack of connection being a factor. I find myself agreeing.

One of the biggest connections I have been missing is a sense of place. A piece of earth that is mine to set my roots. The more our block takes shape the more calm I feel.

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The first and only rose. A climber called “Tiffany” hubby gave me for Valentine’s Day.

Something as simple as stacking rocks for a dry retaining wall makes me feel relaxed in a way my medication doesn’t. Every bit of work gives me a sense of building a home. Somewhere safe.

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Start of a dry stack retaining wall

A connection to the land is something I’m sure other garden lovers relate to.

Do you ever think without your garden you would feel lost?

Experiencing depression from another point of view.

Please be aware this is not an easy read. If you are feeling vulnerable skip this post please.

For those who haven’t guessed already I manage depression. I also manage suicidal thoughts. The usual point of view for me is as the patient.

This week I’ve been the carer. The friend waiting and praying.

I’ve had a taste of what it feels like to watch someone you love struggle to fight their demons.

And it is shit. It hurts.

I’ve cuddled my friend’s four year old son and coaxed words out of him.

“Are you feeling sad?”,

“Can you tell me why you feel sad?”.

Thinking of my four year old son as he whispered…

“I miss Mummy”.

I’ve replied to texts where it is so clear depression is making my friend unable to SEE the world the way it really is.

“I’m so sorry Nat, I know you think I’m a failure”.

“I understand if you don’t want to be my friend anymore”.

Oh how this hurt to read.

Because I have been there. I KNOW those feelings intimately. The bullshit whispers in your ears

“worthless”, “burden”, “better off without you”.

I KNOW the feeling of believing those words are true and not being able to see any other perspective.

Curiously, the hardest thing has been listening to people who have never experienced mental illness or suicidal thoughts talk. Phrases like…

“Just think of your family”

“You have so much to be grateful for”

Made me feel physically sick to hear.

Do they not realise she IS thinking of her family?

Do they not realise when you are suicidal generally you BELIEVE you are doing your loved ones a favour by going away (even if it is utter bullshit).

That’s how I felt. That if I died my husband would be free to find someone better. That my kids would have a new Mum that was able to give them what they deserve. In my warped view I was helping my family by getting rid of a burden. Me.

When my friend asked for help and went to the emergency room my response was…

“I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Thank you!”

For some reason I got strange looks for saying this!!

When someone scrapes the courage together to drag themselves into the doctor and admit they want to die it is courageous.

It shows they love you.

It shows they are considering you.

It shows they are trying.

It shows they want to get better.

It shows they are willing to swallow their pride for you.

It shows they are giving you a chance to help them save themselves.

Take a whole minute to think and you’ll realise they could have said nothing.

Be grateful they gave you this chance and grab it with both hands.

It has taken my own experience to understand that when someone says…

“I am sorry, you must think I’m such a failure”

They aren’t fishing for compliments or attention.

They need a reminder that their view of the world is skewed by their illness.

It doesn’t take much to say…

“No. That is what your depression thinks. That is not what I think. You have nothing to apologise for. Nothing you can do or say will EVER make me see you as a failure. I love you”.

I just want my friend to be ok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday

Hello fellow garden lovers!

I’ve been following The Propagator’s “Six on Saturday” for a little while now and have been loving seeing all of your photos.

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

So here are my 6… fresh from Western Australia.

1. New recycled ‘seats’. I almost cried when I saw these cut up for garden waste clean up in the city. Who in their right mind cuts down an old Moreton Bay Fig?! No way were these babies getting chipped. Three trailers later and help lifting and I have new seating for the garden.

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2. My Goji berry bush has SURVIVED 😊. grown from Aussie organic berries from a health food shop (means they weren’t irradiated and would grow, Biosecurity treat a lot of imported foods).

I had lots of plants but the kangaroos and rabbits loved them to death. But this one is coming back! Hooray!

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3. The experiment that wasn’t supposed to live. Black Sapote. Still living in above 40 degree celcius summers and frosty winters. Huh. That’s cool. Would be twice the size but my kids snapped it in half.

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4. The second time the paintbrush lily has flowered at the block. So pretty.

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5. The pineapple collection. I love as it gets cool the leaves turn a gorgeous red. Not the right climate for fruit but they have survived frost here and are pretty anyway. All grown from the tops after my kids demolish the fruit.

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6. A WA bush block is never complete without grasstrees. This one is my favourite because when you walk close you can smell the honey in the beehive.

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Thank you for reading my 6. I look forward to reading and gardening vicariously through yours.

Nat