This week it’s a treat to have a guest post written by Sarah, who helped me set up this blog all those years ago, and wrote this story not long afterwards. Since then her life has changed a lot, as you will see. She is still living and working down south though, and we have been walking together every couple of weeks or so in our lunchtime – a restoring time for me! This week’s story highlights the importance of noticing things – and saying so – and of doing, making and having a go…
I am a newbie gardener, who started planting a few succulents given to me by friends after I had my son. In the slow days of maternity leave I started spending more and more time pottering in the garden, moving things around, trying things out and learning about different types of plants and what they need to grow well. Many dead plants, many episodes of ‘Gardening Australia’ and many mistakes later, I have a beautiful garden that changes and surprises me through the seasons.
My garden is where I can express myself, ground myself and process my feelings and thoughts. When my beautiful dog Cooper had to be put down I planted an apricot tree in memory of him. Almost every plant has some significance to me or evokes a memory. There are plants from my birthplace in South Africa, plants from my youth in New Zealand, plants I loved when I lived in Canada, tropical plants that remind me of my dad in Rarotonga and plants that take me right back to Japan. Of course there are also many native Australian plants, which I have slowly built up a deep appreciation of and admiration for their subtle and sometimes muted beauty.
In my garden I am imperfectly myself, which is why I was surprised to find a little note in my letterbox one day. It read ‘Hi there, congratulations on your very cute and colourful garden. I walk passed on occasion and stop to see what else you have done. It must bring you great pleasure – as I’m sure passerbys feel it too! From an older gardener’. What a great reminder that small acts of kindness can make someone feel very special. Such a small gesture meant so much to me and I was straight back in the garden moving things around, planting cuttings and finding bits and pieces to add. What started as something deeply personal has become something I can share with the community and is bringing joy to other people. That’s the best feeling.
Sarah aka ‘The Gardener’