Gardening is very much a part of my identity now, but I wasn’t always a gardener. In fact, it never really occurred to me when I was younger to grow or plant things, beyond the general curiosity of children. I think that the reason behind this was that my childhood home had an enormous garden, and many weekend afternoons that might have been spent running carefree in the sunshine were instead spent sweating and swearing through garden maintenance. The large portion of this involved pulling and dragging the seemingly endless number of palm fronds from the garden’s depths, a legacy of the 100 or so palms my father planted there when my parents purchased the house the year prior to my birth. Now, I would never go as far as to say that I hate my parents for planting the palms, or that I hate palms with a fiery fury, but I certainly would never plant any in the ground at a property that I had to maintain.
Still, as the years have gone on, I’ve become quite a green thumb, and find that my interests and abilities are well suited to having a garden. Spending some time up in Darwin for my practical, I have seen that this is not an uncommon interest in my family. Along with my father’s garden, I have had the immense pleasure of seeing out many a tropical afternoon in a lush green paradise with few equals in the world.
My mother’s magical garden.
While some people ‘garden’, my mother creates. Her brush is nature itself, green and blossoming, all the rich earthy textures of the world around us. The canvas is a breezy coastal townhouse, that is barely recognisable for the shell it once was. When my mother moved into this townhouse, the back garden was black plastic laid with stone, and the front was ‘low-maintenance’ pavers and a few very dry and unloved palm trees. Now, years down the track, the entire thing is a lush green getaway, filled with plants so healthy they positively sing the praises of their gardener.
Sitting in the middle of it all is a lady gardener who comes straight home from work, and before she has taken a moment to herself, tends to her plants. She waters them and keeps them growing strong and healthy. She moves them around, plants them and re-plants them according to a unique understanding built from years of making gardening a kind of art form. Frankly, it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
This magic little garden has been my lookout during my practical. In the morning I catch it just as the sun is rising, with the plants perking up just a little bit to catch those early rays, and then later as the sun is setting in fiery glory, the plants glow and shine as well, as only plants can.
It’s true, I’ve missed Dean and my little apartment, with my tiny balcony garden in Melbourne very much over the past few weeks, but I’ll miss this garden, and it’s talented gardener, just as much. So here’s to new growth, strong supports, and the little bit of garden magic that keeps us all going.