Yesterday brought with it two surprises and my black dog (depression).
Returning from work hubby led me blindfolded down the driveway to our new home.
My heart raced. I froze and just stared. He had taken the dream in my head and made a start on bringing it to life.
I was blissfully happy.
Then our five year old son got home and told us about his bus ride.
A crescent shaped cut in his ear. A fingernail. He reluctantly told us about being slapped, bitten and scratched by older kids.
He is five years old! Our kids are the only littlies on this private bus to a school which prides itself on virtues. And not one of the young adults said a word or stepped in or even alerted the driver.
My heart broke the moment he defended the teens. “It’s ok Mum maybe tomorrow they will be my friends again”.
How do you feel hope for the future when you have to destroy a child’s naievity to keep him safe?
The black dog has set up it’s kennel in my mind and in my head it is red.
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!
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.
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?!
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 😊.
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).
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.
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…
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.
These moments make it all worthwhile. Treasure. Just waiting for us all to stop a while and look for it.
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 😊.
Welcome to Zanthorrea Nursery!
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.
Enough of me waffling… The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.
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!
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…Most flowers aren’t out yet but little Miss 3 found a carpet of trigger flowers…And Mr 4 found some ‘rainbow’ sundew which took me right back to my fairytale.
See 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.
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.
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?
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
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).
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.
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.)
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!
Well the frogs may not be here yet but the pond is waiting for them.
We 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.
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.
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.