Sunday, 1 September 2013

Back in the garden groove

Green and magenta... Spanish lavender and pink-stemmed Russian kale

A whole month has passed since I posted on Facebook that picture of sorrel, lettuce and a single nasturtium. Despite the fact I've neglected the garden these past few months, I realised when I looked at that salad bowl we had for dinner that night that there's still much to pick, and more importantly that I wanted to get back into that gardening rhythm I love so much. 

So I've spent more time lately with my gardening gloves on. To begin with, I felt frustration and a heavy heart; I've lost two chilli plants, my passionfruit is out of control and its yellowing leaves are begging me for attention, the comfrey and cabbages are more holes than leaves, the garlic I planted in an old wheelbarrow is covered in aphids and my hardy herbs are being suffocated by weeds. Oh, hang on, the peas all burnt to a crisp too. 

There's so much to do. But before I went down that all-too-familiar path of silent self-chastising, I remembered the words I wrote here in June. No judgement, just observe... It's not a chore; it's here to support me.

And so for the past few days, I've watched bees dancing around the lavender and gazed at a Californian poppy swaying in the breeze (I just love these flowers!). I've picked bunches of spinach for a three-cheese cannelloni, I've tossed red oak leaf lettuce, wild rocket and nasturtium petals in zingy dressings, and I've filled seven jars with parsley and almond pesto (so good with fish).

I'm in the groove again. Spring is here and I want more of those lush salads and I want more goodness from my own soil. 

Space in the garden beds has been filled this weekend with spring onions, tatsoi and more lettuce. I filled half a bucket with worm castings (I know I've said it before, but I get SO much joy from my worms) and brought to life a pot of dead soil for an early crop of tomato and basil seedlings.

I'm going to tackle one thing at a time, and make time each day for watering, feeding and a little tinkering. It's the tinkering that is beautiful in so many ways. Tinkering stops mole hills becoming mountains. Tinkering is soothing and has no goal.

I'll tinker at the garlic and hopefully beat those aphids and I'll tinker with the passionfruit so it might one day bear us some fruit.

In the meantime, there's plenty to eat.

 Green and orange... Coriander and marigolds, sorrel and Californian poppies
How about you? Is spring motivating you into the garden? Are you cursing those pesky white butterflies as much as I am? Any tips for a miserable potted passionfruit?


  1. oooh the aphids on the garlic- another pest for the neighbors to hear me searing at as I pick and spray. Glad you are back in the dirt lovely lady, have fun!

  2. I'm loving the sunshine and getting back into my garden. It feels so good! I've got a big project on the go which my dad is helping me with but really want to get some herbs and veggies planted. We're surrounded by suburban bush sanctuary (yay!) which means possums galore. They eat all the fruit off the trees and have even managed to eat my kale through chicken wire. I'm on a search for some possum proofing so I can set up a couple of raised beds.

  3. I have never seen tatsoi sold in a punnet before. I usually get mine from a commercial seedling grower. Your photos are lovely, they are truly inspiring.
    Would love to see your whole garden :-). Looks like you have plenty of space.

  4. Growing a garden is a learning process, isn't it? You cannot beat yourself up when it has been a little neglected or some plants just won't take. I'm glad to see someone else is growing tatsoi as well.

  5. I love your lavender! I have dreams of a great swathe of it somewhere, but like everything, it takes time to get going!

  6. It is such a nice thing to have even just a little to pick for the plate. Lovely pictures of your garden. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Yay for spring! Passion fruits love heaps and heaps and HEAPS of compost and manure and water and sunlight. They are greedy! Also if y are interested Obaitori is tonight- I put a little invitation on my blog for you xxx

  8. We had our first bee sting of the season today pottering in the garden!

    1. Oh no Olivia! Hope it wasn't too bad!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Wow Vanessa!
    I love your pictures and story. That photo of the cosmos reminds me I'd love to plant some. I used to grow it in Brisbane, but haven't planted any at my new place. I've got some lavender seedlings to finally plant... fingers crossed I've got the right variety for my region! It can be a bit touch and go up here in the sub-tropics.

    Your garden is looking gorgeous. Well done. Love Nicola (I don't know how to change it from my old ID of Chatsworth! haha!) xxxx

  11. Great photos - you are doing so well - and I'm jealous that you're eating salad greens already
    I'd plant out the passionfruit - or re-pot into a bigger pot...worth a try


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one. x