The Gift of a Garden
Meandering around the dense gardens of my great aunts as a child was like being in a mystical and magical land. The coolness of the dappled shade, the crunching of leaf litter, the sweet, earthy smells and crawling under the low hung branches of nostalgic trees are memories likened to the reality of living a fairytale in enchanted places.
Exploring the landscape and terrain of historical trees that lined the creek and farm I call home was the essence of my childhood. The memory of climbing to the very tops of sprawling trees that were hundreds of years old to feel the fresh air kissing my cheeks and shouting delight at the beauty of the outlook was an experience of the true freedom of a child. I was mesmerised by trees and their naturally artistic forms. Their knots and gnarls, and outreaching branches embrace you. Old trees are old souls and have weathered the blessings and perils of many lives.
I have memories of my Mum spending hours in the garden, digging, weeding, planting , mulching & watering tree after tree, garden after garden. Back then we didn t have automated irrigation and all of the trees that she planted were watered by hand. Many times my siblings and I would take it in turns to hold the hose over that tree for as long as it took us to count to 100! The wonder of what those trees would become in years to come clouded my imagination.
As a child, I did not create a connection between my Mum’s hard work in the garden and the magical sense of being in my aunties established gardens. Gardening was hot, boring and hard work. Although I felt a strong connection with the beauty and mysteriousness of established gardens and natural forest trees, I do not recall having a conscious love for gardening until I became an adult.
After many years, my Mum’s garden has flourished into a magical and mystical place like my aunties’ gardens. My children now experience the magic and mystery in Granny’s garden, exploring, building cubbies and swinging from trees. Granny’s garden is safe and exciting and the children relish in exploring and adventuring into the many places that were at the essence of my childhood.
I have not escaped the fact that gardening is inherent in me. Once I discovered this gift, gardening was no longer hard work. I aspired to create a magical place of my own for my children. I had a vision. A vision that my Mum had when she spent days on end gardening with children at her feet. I had learnt this from her. I have learnt that gardening is spiritual and energising. It fosters a deep connection with the land and Mother Earth. Awareness and freedom, appreciation and love grow out of gardening. Nurturing and creating our safe haven of plant and animal life is nourishing to the soul. Giving life to plants and animals through gardening, restores, replenishes and saturates one with love and pride.
We have moved house many times in my married life, creating little garden havens where ever we have been. Fortunately, 7 years ago we landed our feet on some land, not far from my birth and home ground. A house on 20 acres of bare grassed land, exposed to the highway with the odd large tree. It was like death’s silence in the absence of the sounds of nature. No trees, no flowers, no birds, no insects. No life.
With work and toil we began to build our safe haven, planting tree after tree, creating garden after garden. We have spent years, mulching, weeding, watering, pruning and meandering around our plants, protecting and nurturing them as they grow. 7 years on and we are indulged with bamboo groves, rainforest coves, an abundance of birds, butterflies, flowers, food & children frolicking amongst it all. Rewarded with the harmony of co-existing life forms, our garden provides us with so much. So much more than one can imagine. The gift of a garden.