about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Monday, 2 June 2014

how the garden changes


I took over the care of this garden 35 years ago. At the time nothing much grew here. A patch of lawn surrounded by a few boring shrubs decorated the front garden. The back yard had been used to store large quantities of rusty barbed wire and other rubbish. When I saw it, my first thought was to make sure we were up date with our tetanus shots.

Over the last 35 years, the garden has definitely improved and progressed. But ...

2008
today

The idea of progress - that things progressively improve over time -  is a wonderfully naive, idealistic, optimistic idea.

 2011
But clearly progress doesn't happen in a straight line. Not in my case, anyway, because I'm the sort of learner who learns by experimenting and making mistakes. Sometimes it's not even a mistake, just a change of direction. Like using more plants that are indigenous to this local area.

2014
I often think of how the garden changes as tidal.

When I've pulled out lots of plants,  and / or done serious pruning, that area goes from looking fabulous to looking potentially fabulous. Then I think the tide is out for a while. Eventually the tide will turn.

2014 - the tide is out
What keeps this garden project ongoingly fascinating and compelling, is that I can never be sure exactly when, or how, the tide will turn.

22 comments:

  1. It is true. Change is not always for the better like so often thought. Your statement, " is a wonderfully naive, idealistic, optimistic idea," makes the reality of change over time so obvious - even changing direction is like starting over in some cases. I too look back a sometimes think what was had more appeal.

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    1. I sometimes find it quite painful looking at past photos - but when I walk around the garden, tend to feel better, more centred in the now.

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  2. Your words in this post--very wise! Particularly, "progress doesn't happen in a straight line." That is so true! Thirty-five years is a long time! Your garden is part of your soul, I imagine? They have a way of getting under our skin, don't they?

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I certainly feel very connected to the garden, suppose it is an important part of my identity.

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  3. I love your analogy of the garden ebbing and flowing like a tide. How true! But wouldn't it be just a little bit boring if it looked perfect all the time? Change is natural and good :-)

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    1. I wonder if any garden looks perfect all the time. I suppose if you didn't have perennials or annuals, you would have less change and then all you'd have to do would be to prune the hedges. Sounds boring ...

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  4. Gardens reflect their gardeners and gardeners reflect their gardens. Our passions for certain groups of plants come and go; some true loves abide. Thank you for the images of your lovely garden through the years!

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    1. thank you, dear og, for your encouraging comment.

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  5. I think most borders need redoing from time to time. Our ideas change over the years, at one time all I wanted was one of everything, now I would much rather have drifts of plants that are really happy in the soil here. It's lovely to see your photos from over the years.

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    1. Dear Pauline, My idea of what I want to grow has changed so much, as has the picture I would like to create. Less northern hemisphere, and more local plants. It's exciting.

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  6. It is an odd feeling for me just looking back a few years, and remembering plants that said No Thanks. I don't have the luxury of your timespan, but yet, it does look different. There are bits that I twitch to rework, when this cold snap has passed. Snow promised on the mountains!

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    1. Hi Diana, twitch is a good word for it. Our mountains are snow-less and the skiing industry is worried, I think. Record breaking warm autumn, and winter so far pretty mild too.

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  7. I think of my garden as continually evolving. It will probably never be "completed", but that's the fun in gardening for me. Your garden has certainly come a long way, and you are very wise to use indigenous plants!
    That is something that I should be doing!

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    1. thanks, Dorothy, although the front garden is more Californian than Australian. Just waiting till they grow a little bigger before I post pictures.

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  8. Older gardens have a nice feel to them. They may have their ups and downs, due to the weather or other changes. But I believe that they improve with age, like many things, if they are loved and looked after. Like your garden.

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    1. Dear Denise, thanks for the compliment. It's certainly loved, and looked after, and agonized after, at times.

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  9. Gardening is a lot like baseball - if we don't win the world series (and even if we do) there's always next year. Your garden inspires me and the fact that you are in autumn almost winter and I'm about to jump into summer 'messes' with my head.

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    1. HI Joy, It's very weird, isn't it? Also the fact that I'm sitting here typing while you are probably fast asleep in the middle of the night. I'm so pleased my garden inspires you - your garden inspires me.

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  10. I like the rocks you added? from 2008 to today. The Bugle Boy is a cool piece of yard art, too.

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  11. Hi Linda, I'm so pleased you noticed the rocks. They were scattered around, now they make a focal point and it's where I often sit with the children. BB was a present when I left a job a long time ago. He has seen a lot of changes in the garden.

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  12. Sue I so agree with the creation or recreation of the garden as tidal...a perfect metaphor...your loving hands have created a beautiful oasis!!

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