then and now in the back garden

This is what the back garden looked like one day around 1987.

Here's a scene from 2001.

And here's some pics from 2004.

These were taken in 2008.

And these were taken today.

What do these photos show? Over time you might think things get bigger and better.

Some plants do get bigger because they have found their right place and are continuing to earn their place by looking right. An example of this is the Agonis flexuosa which I brought home in my car many years ago as a small young tree. (I have known it nearly all its life!) This tree not only looks great, but since it is near the compost it provides a handy place for possums to nest and eat dinner.

As for getting better ... I like to think that the overall design is improving. But the reality is that the garden progresses cyclically - it looks great but then something changes, and it doesn't look so great. I had a visit from a blunt speaking non gardening cousin over the summer. He looked out the window and said in surprise: "There's nothing there". I guess some people see what is, other people spot what is potentially there.


  1. I think the change is huge, from the pictures it looks as though it has improved over the years. I do think our tastes and requirements of the garden change as do our energy levels which all effect the design. It is lovely to know a tree for so long. As for the comment - some people just see colours!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  2. Hi Sylvia, thanks for commenting. I hope the garde has improved, but maybe it is just as you say, that it suits where I'm at now. Yes, I feel priveleged to have had the opportunity to have such a long relationship with a tree.
    Cheers, catmint

  3. Oh, Catmint, I think your garden looks lovely, and to spend twenty five years together! You should buy it a lovely anniversary present.

  4. Looks Like your garden has gone thought a few transformations over the years. I love seeing photo sequences like this of gardens progressions over the years.

  5. I was just thinking that I love your style of gardening - it matches mine :-) I love the winding stone walkway that leads you on to the next area, the native plants and the fact that your garden looks natural - not cultivated and formal.

  6. I can see the changes but then again, I enjoy nature and can see a lot when others may not. Seeing things that some do not, I think is a gift gardeners seem to have. Our neighbors cut down a dead tree over the weekend and as it hit the ground, an opossum jumped out and high-tailed it into the woods. Poor thing was scared to death of the unexpected drop of his/her home. They left the remaining portion of the tree in case there are babies. Now they know where the culprit which eat from their cats bowl resides.

    It bugs me to how people buy huge homes with no land. Do they not see what they are missing in life?

    Such cutie pies in the post below…

  7. Hi Catmint,
    Your poor, blunt? cousin! Perhaps he prefers the now 'standard' Aussie Garden of Cocos Palms (well in NSW anyway)! Your garden provides for wildlife, helps clean the air and looks great.

  8. I love before-and-after pictures; in fact, I've been thinking it's about time to do one of those myself.

    "There's nothing there." Oh no! What a terrible thing to hear about your garden, but I guess I can understand how someone might feel that way if there aren't a lot of flowers or unusual foliage or something other than "just" plants. Don't worry, we know there's a lot there!

  9. One of my favorite things...
    looking back and then, looking forward!
    Sorry that I won't be visiting Victoria, but one day, I certainly hope to experience Australia's East and and Southeast.
    all best to you, Catmint,

  10. Hi Deborah, your comment made me smile. I am continually buying the garden presents, the latest being a blanket of mulch!

    Hi SA, yes I am also fascinated by the different stages, that match the stages of family life and ageing.

    Hi Noelle, thank you - I love your style too, natural and informal and soft. And mixing native and introduced plants.

    Hi Skeeter, yes - feeling part of nature is wonderful, yet so many people see nature as threatening or dirty.

    Hi Maree, thanks for the encouraging comment. My cousin doesn't even appreciate typical standard-type gardens, he is moving to an apartment because it will be less "work".

    Hi DB, thank you - you guys are my important garden-friends whose opinion matters!

    Hi Alice, if you ever visit Melbourne, you are welcome to drop in.

    Cheers, catmint

  11. Nothing there? Hello? Okay the Cousin doesn't garden so I suppose all is forgiven, right?

    Me, I want to jump into my computer and transport myself to your gardens and explore every nook and cranny. I love the tucked away seating area, the wall the tall plantings... it's all very lovely, Catnip. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise! :))

  12. Wow I love seeing how the garden has changed over time, it looks lovely. I can imagine many peaceful summer afternoons spent there.

    Just popped by to wish you a Happy Easter.

    RO xx

  13. thank you so much Grace and RO for your comments. Cheers, catmint


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