The Eloquent Garden

The garden you create or dream of creating is a mirror of yourself

Chaos Rose – The Flower of the Rose Blooms in profusion in the World of Chaos

Blooming in profusion in a world of chaos – it is the Chaos Rose.

Roses have a language universal.

5 I arrive in Bosnia to visit my Daughter and to welcome me, she has sweetly placed a vase with a posy of red Roses and mint in lilac flower, in my room.

I look from the balcony of her house next morning  –  yellow roses arch to the top story, Blackberry canes heavy with ripe fruit, a green and lilac understory of  mint .

I walk this ancient city of Sarajevo and see gardens and balconies filled with roses and ivy geraniums.

Lives slightly glimpsed through windows and doorways partly hidden by cascading ivy and roses.

 

I see the “Roses of Sarajevo’, on streets where reddish resin fills mortar scars.

I see beside the streets the many, many little white gravestones of the men, women and children, who died in this invasion.

I visit the art display, “Genocide of the Bosnians 1992-1995′  painted by Dr Mevludin Ekmecic.SarajevoRose

There are Rose bushes amongst the part-ruins of the bombed Morica Han Caravanserai,    where traders and their horses could stay.

Who knows what those Roses have seen amongst the chaos of those times?

And yet, I see in close proximity, Jewish Mosques, Greek Orthodox Churches, all day hear the blended sounds of Catholic bells, Muslim call to Prayer.

 

In the Caravanserai and the Old City area, people have stalls and shops with unique locally made art and jewellery.

I buy handpainted scenes of Sarajevo and am drawn irresistibly to a brass filigree-framed gold-orange worded picture  from “Art Denici”.

A painted butterfly bracelet in brass from ‘Egoist’ for a friends daughter. Handsewn glittery table mats for a friend who adores a sequin-overdose.

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I see elderly ladies on footpaths, selling small treasures. Posies of homegrown flowers, roses, zinnias, mushrooms, beans, mysterious root vegetables. Amazingly, fruit massed with bees attracted by the super sweetness of the fruit.

Men with tiny stalls selling everything from corn on cob, to secondhand shoes and clothes and honey.

People living on their own resources.

 

In the country, huge pumpkins, garlic ropes, tomatoes deep red from the richness of the soil.

My Daughter and I wander the streets of Stolac, see huge pumpkins, take hot Chocolate while feeling the spray from the waterfall.

We walk along the river flowing under houses from Ottoman times, see giant pumpkins, buildings now completely colonised by plants and trees. Curious schoolboys ask shy questions, then give us chestnuts for the ducks.

And everywhere the  Rose. It blooms in profusion amongst the signs of chaos, the beauty, the history and wonder of this lovely, mysterious, intense, relaxing, country.

 

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They say to drink from the Fountain in the Old Town means that you will return.

On the last day in Sarajevo, I admire more roses in a garden.

The Woman whose garden it is,  has a few English words and I have only a few Bosnian words. Therefore, we must use the Language of Flowers.

“Hvala’. Yes, she understands. Signs me to wait. She cuts three roses, red, yellow, apricot and hands them to me. We smile. I take the roses and inhale deeply. ‘Hvala.’

I give the roses to my Daughter as I leave Sarajevo that day.

Sri Chinmoy says ‘when we offer a rose to someone, the beauty and fragrance secretly stay with us.’

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The roses of Sarajevo stay with me.

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I was just wondering…..

                                                   I saw this on Chris’s desk at Statravel 

 

                                                              NOT ALL THOSE WHO WONDER ARE LOST

tiny umbrella jan

                                                                                       This is so true.

                                                                    Happy wandering. Fruitful wondering.

tiny bat plant

little walking sea

 

 

Change – The Secret Guide To Change

I really like this Blog from Sandra, hope you find it is thoughtful as I did.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the different perspectives on ‘Change’ from the seven of us in the Health and Happiness Collective bloghop.

We are soon to choose a new subject for our next bloghop.. I’ll keep you posted

 

Change – The Secret Guide To Change.

crazy little thing called change

Humans seem  fascinated, sometimes obsessed with change. In the name of change, humans embark on some fabulous,  interesting, and some might say quite crazy behaviours.

I’ve just read “Maddadam’ by Margaret Atwood. Now she’s an author who’s  terrific at imagining change. She  takes our fantasies, our dreams of change and details them in dystopian comedy-dramas. “God’s Gardeners” in charge of the world. Hmm. Not so practical, it turns out. And that marvelous  fantasy that males and females have –  ‘if only we knew exactly when someone wanted to mate with us’ –  that would save us so much time and heartache we think. It’s wonderful what Atwood does with that one. I won’t spoil it for potential readers, but it does involve spontaneous colour change of body parts.

And plants and animals  change too in surprising, fascinating ways.  Convergent evolution, where two unrelated species take on the characteristics of one another. Scientists suggest this may be explained by such things as shared climate which accounts for similar changes in both the species.

Then, Plant Chimeras, the shape shifters of the plant world are spontaneous mutations that create a bloom pattern called a pinwheel. This pattern is genetically unstable, but sometimes if you take a stem cutting,  a plant with the same flower can be reproduced.IMG_5354

Or you could take a cutting from a variegated plant and see what happens. What fun, being the creator.

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You could deliberately try to replicate nature’s changes. And  perhaps you could also take an early morning garden walk and see what change has happened in your Garden, think about that change and how it relates to your life?

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For isn’t our garden a projection of our dreams, fantasies, desires for change, desire for self-sufficiency, desire to control our environment or be at one with it.

Clare Marcus Cooper believes that our house is a mirror of our selves. Certainly a garden is an extension of that house.

A therapeutic gardener may ask you “what do you like in your garden? Why have you planted this? What do you like? What do you want to change? And in answering these questions, you will find some interesting questions and answers about your life. It’s Rainer Maria Rilke who says “we should try to love the questions themselves”, not only the answers.

Let’s see what my garden tells of. Last week I discover a delicate, yet at the same robust-looking trailing vine has mysteriously appeared under my papaw tree.  Its bright green heart shaped leaves and  clear white flowers surprise me, but  I welcome it into my garden and wait to see what it will do. Will it blend with my garden amiably, will it fit nicely with my other plants? Will it need curtailing, or shall I be happy for it to twine its way among the slightly restrained experimental wildness that is my back garden. Time will tell.

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And there’s a new  dwarf zinnia, from Spring-scattered seeds, now a compact bush surprising me with many coloured flowers. Unlike the parent plant which, from memory, was pink. I think of Wally, now gone from this world, whose garden they came from. I think about him, wish I’d asked more questions, different questions.  Changes like this often bring regrets. But also the chance to change the way we are,  ask the questions while we can.

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Twelve months ago, I put up a wire mesh frame so my outdoor sitting area could have a green wall to shade from summer afternoon sun. I chose to plant a honeysuckle vine, symbol of enduring love and loyalty in friendship and love. And now it’s lush and twining, fulfilling my imagination in planting it.

I placed a seat in my garden right in front of the wall of honeysuckle, for when I want to contemplate this vine and its meaning for me. What’s important in friendship, in loveship. What things help friendship stay through life’s changes.

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And what of my cute, maintained front garden? I had to take out the pepper scented geranium, it just wasn’t suited.  Which left a space for something…..What a change in my garden two Flamingos make!

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How else can the garden help us change? As Sarah, fellow blog-hopper of the Health and Happiness Collective  quoted in her blog the Wellness Ninja “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ If work weighs you down, would a bunch of flowers on your desk help you and others change the way you look at situations? Would humming a song, my favourite for such occasions “Blue Skies,’ not only cheer you up, but confuse those workplace bullies? Would buying a new house plant while on your lunch break help your mood?

Perhaps planning to get your garden project moving along would give you a new outlook, get you in touch with what’s important for you. With what your dreams and desires are.

Would starting your day with a short garden walk help you change the way you look at things? Would planting a passion fruit vine be what you need?IMG_5298

Not such crazy ideas for change, I think. What about wearing a green wig? A little shape shifting?   Oh maybe that’s going a little too far.. but then again maybe not…….is seeing the world from another perspective,  shape shifting our brains?

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Winds of Change and a Little Pesto on the Side

Lilith:

Beautiful blog, Margi!

Originally posted on some energy thing:

Monet_Poplars_in_the_Sun This full moon just past – while making pesto – The Eloquent Gardener suggested we invoke The Winds of Change with a simple ritual. It’s amazing the flashes of inspiration which come when you’re in the kitchen!

After dinner, we headed off beneath the moon to the seaside and a fierce wind, all set with fragrant white flowers, salt, spring water and clear intentions.

We were ready to create and meet change head on.

Claude_Monet_-_Les_PeupliersIn the days which followed, I got to thinking about rituals and their role in modern life, and of change in general.

One of my recurrent observations in clinical practice, is the struggle which so many of us have with “change”.

For some, this can be grappling with the pain and incapacity of acute injury, for others it might be workplace change and stress, for others it’s the transition from one stage of life to another.

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Our changing diet: what Paleolithic man can teach us. (And it may not be what you think.)

Lilith:

Some great information here on ‘Paleo Diet” from Sarah, a practitioner of Natural Medicine

Originally posted on The Wellness Ninja:

I’m once again lecturing my favourite subject, Chinese dietetics, at Endeavour College of Natural Health this semester. And this has inspired me to write about dietary change for our change-themed Health and Happiness Collective blog hop.

Chinese dietetics is all about the joy of food! And how we can use it for healing according to Chinese Medicine principles. I love that last year some students with no interest in cooking were actually inspired to start cooking at home. That is a win for mankind in my books!

This semester I kicked off Lecture One with this TEDx video: “Debunking The Paleo Diet” by Christina Warrina, an archaeological scientist.

Now, I didn’t show it to them because I’m anti-Paleo Diet – because I’m not. I know many people who love living by the principles of The Paleo Diet and feel well doing so. I showed it to them because it…

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My top tip for healthy change

Lilith:

Here’s another perspective on ‘Change’ from the Health and Happiness Collective.
This blog from Kathleen, a Naturopath and freelance writer. Wise words indeed…hope you all enjoy this article.

Originally posted on Your health. Your life.:

Getting started on a health kick is often overwhelming, particularly if there are a lot of changes to be made or many habits that you feel need adjusting. However, as with most things in life, simplifying your approach can remove unnecessary stress and help you turn these changes into easily maintained habits.

Here is my number 1 tip on where to start.

Be honest about the quality of your diet and how it makes you feel.

What percentage of your diet is made up of processed and/or packaged foods? Does your diet feature food or drinks that leave you feeling heavy, bloated or a bit ‘off’. Do you eat because you’re hungry? Because you’re bored? Because you’re feeding mid-afternoon sugar cravings? Or, are you eating without being aware of ‘why’?

These are important questions, as they’ll help you nut out what’s driving both your healthy and unhealthy habits.

Also be honest…

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Welcome to The Health and Happiness Collective Bloghop

Welcome back to The Eloquent Garden!

And welcome to a bloghop that I’ll share with six other bloggers.

We all share interests in natural medicine and gardens as a source of health, happiness and inspiration.

I enjoy these different writers..they take me on a journey with their words and stories, then send me off in a different directions of thought.

Our bloggers practice naturopathy, homeopathy, aromatherapy,  natural medicine, therapeutic gardening, the creation of  perfumes, gardening experiments and Chinese Medicine.

Over the next seven weeks we’ll all blog from our different perspectives on “Change.”

Please hop on over to their blogs..with all our different yet similar passions it’s bound to be fascinating!

Enjoy reading blogs from The Health and Happiness Collective:

Some Energy Thing – Margi MacDonald

Your Health, Your Life – Kathleen Murphy

Peter Kington

Vitale Blog –  Ananda Mahoney

Natures Healing – Sandra Venables

The Wellness Ninja – Sarah George

‘One cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore’   French Philosopher, Andre Gide…

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We are not alone

In my garden I am not alone….

My Mother is in my garden….. poignant reminder in a quirky pot I once bought her. She candidly confessed to me when packing up, years later, that she thought it a bit odd. But she kept it for 23 years anyway,  because I gave it to her.

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My Mother is in my garden …..in the cutting that I took from a  frangipanni that grew in her front garden.

My Mum is in my garden … in the memorial lemon tree I planted,  because she was good at citrus trees. I think the strands of grey hair I took from her hairbrush are helping it along.

My Daughter is  in my Garden….Her favourite plant, Holmskoldia growing. Full of surprises, purple and blue delicate flowers in a beautiful unconventional mix like a Philip Treacy concoction, on a tough unstoppable plant.

Holmskioldia tettensis

My daughter’s in my garden …  in the little hand-made Grecian pot, trailing German ivy, that she made for me  at school.

Natasha’s there in my garden…. her now unused scratching post allows a hedera ivy to climb. Natasha’s  there in the dwarf Mulberry tree, in memory of the first tree she may have noticed, when arriving as a kitten at her new home 18 years ago.

My Grandmothers, Alice and Doreen, are in my garden, in the love for gardening they gave me. In the seasonal snake beans I grow.  And the Chinese gooseberry bushes and passion-fruit.end march 2013 112

My Aunty Marge is in my garden… Hoya cuttings from my recent visit and seeds from cute mystery plant.

My friend Joanne is in my garden…unusual lilies she gave me, and amazing red hoya from Northern Qld.

Jamie is in my garden…his  fabulous garden mirror encircled by concoctions of found wood in bird and snake likenesses.

My future love is in my garden…  in the Twining honeysuckle vine, symbolic of  enduring friendship and love.

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Margi’s in my garden….jasmine sweetly twirling its way upwards.

Lyn is there too…her unusual exotic house warming plant.

My Father’s in my garden…flowers arranged in the Chinese vase brought back from afar so many years ago…

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There’s Rosemary, in my garden. Rosemary for remembrance and memory.end march 2013 107

We are not alone in our gardens. All our friends and loved ones are with us there.

Our garden history is there.

All our hopes and dreams are expressed in our garden.

Buddleia

Who’s in your garden with you?

What dreams are there?

Shared plant – dicentra spectabilis ‘gold heart’

Gardening in the Lines shared a wonderful plant for plant Monday and I wanted to pass it on.

It is dicentra spectabilis ‘gold heart’. Here’s another picture below:

Momofuku Compost Cookies

Momofuku Compost Cookies (via my baking empire)

For the name alone….never mind they also sound deliciously different..oh yeah and healthy too

Messages From your Heart on this Valentine’s Day

I think it’s no co-incidence that so many flowers and leaves are Heart-shaped.

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Versatile..what a relief!

How wonderful!

…After years of confusion, thinking I am scattered/focussed; intense/frivolous;  nutty/sane;  intrepid/fearful; cool/excitable; blunt/subtle;  honest/dishonest; imaginative;  conservative/ lateral; dancing to distraction/introspective; flexible/stubborn; and Overly Fascinated with — the meaning of gardens, irony, alliteration. With history, mystery, strange dark Finnish films, chocolate scrabble, idle and not-so-idle chat……..

Kevin at Nitty Gritty Dirt Man has solved the mystery, and set my mind at rest…..

………………….apparently I am VERSATILE!

Thanks Kevin for being on his list of those nominated for the Versatile Bloggers Award. I don’t know if this nomination had Capitals, but for here, I have chosen to give it some.

Anyway,  here are some of the many things that I find Overly Fascinating, just on the verge of full moon early in February 2012……

The Language of Flowers….Once there were no Texts or emails and people relied on letters and words to stuff up communication between the sexes. Before that, writers claim, would-be lovers communicated their feelings with bouquets of flowers, with each flower having a specific meaning.

These bouquets were called Tussie Mussies. I can only imagine the monumental  miscommunications these must have caused! A peony posy and a few dandelions misinterpreted and you could have found yourself married to the wrong man…or a woman! Or two men! Or celibate for life! Gosh! …Makes my love life seem tame really……

What inspired these thoughts? A book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh  ‘The Language of Flowers’ …about love and fear and flowers. Vanessa wrote “My skin lifted under his gaze as if the surface of my body were reaching toward him without the permission of my mind.’  How I wish I’d written that!

A fine way to begin the weekend with The History of Madness in Brisbane a local history session at Brisbane Square library this Saturday…

Hmmm, I’m thinking of differing historical views of madness….

Friends Hospital in Philadelphia described madness as ‘people deprived of the use of their reason’, and treated patients with active therapeutic gardening.

Yet Sam Harris, after publication of ‘The End of Faith’, received tens of thousands of emails and letters from people of all faiths and doubt, ‘who believe that the most important moral questions facing humanity today are not able to be answered by reason.’

What about the passion of Luang Pu  Boung Leua Souriat who depicted his unique vision of spiritual life in an astonishing giant size cement statue garden near Nong Khai in Thailand. Do you find this reasonable? And what of his devotees who continue to maintain his vision after his death?

And Edward Wilson’s Biophilia Hypothesis described our affinity with nature as innate, essential, part of our biology.

So maybe those who don’t regularly go into nature are in danger of madness?

Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in The Woods’, describes children who don’t spend time in nature as having Nature Deficit Disorder…

And Gardeners….what of our madness? We lose sense of time and probably reason, as we give ourselves over to the passion of gardening. We believe our plants communicate with us. We fall in love with plants,  wonder where and how l they’ll fit in our gardens? But we love them,  find a place, learn their needs.

Sometimes gardens have their way. They create a living work of art. This one’s at Ayutthaya in Thailand, the head of a statue enclosed within the roots of a Ficus tree.


Gardeners are taken with strange ambitious projects that consume us and make our friends smile fondly (mostly…) and maybe wonder just a little, as we confess our sudden inspiration to grow a…

Frangipani Forest ! Yes indeed. I had many frangipani cuttings, and a sudden vision overtook me! Of a colour wave of  frangipanis, kept to 2 and a half metres high, a perfect canopy of fragrance and colour, their deciduousness to remind me of cooler climates, and maybe my Grandmother who grew them…. Madness?  Memory?  Inspiration? …Sometimes inexplicably linked.

And People with Passion ….inspire us to lateral or amused thoughts, to keep us mainly sane….

Think of visionary gleam, one of my fav bloggers, who honours plants and flowers that look like football teams. Oh, have a look at that one! Fabulously nutty!

And me so thorny……now he ‘s a funny one! But is he mad?  Not in blogging world…maybe blogging is  therapeutic? And if therapy is needed, is blogging madness? Oh I can see where this is heading….

Then appreciation of delicious, a blog by a Filmmaker, of things pleasing to her eye. Some quirky, amazing finds from creative talents in art, photography, fashion. Keep an eye on the progress of the author’s films, too. Think on ‘The Storymaker”  and latest ‘Campers’ – Art that ‘has the capacity to generate different meanings without ever being completely consumed.’ (Umberto Eco.)

Now over the last few months, I have come to appreciate the concept that neighbours may potentially become confused when aspects of adjoining lives are glimpsed in cosy moonlit backyard…chocolate scrabble playing, idle and not-so-idle chat, pumpkin picking rituals, memorial ceremonies for my Companion Animal, practicing Modern Jive, other such fanciful-ness.

So, to avoid neighbourly confusion,  I have become Overly Fascinated with…

                          Garden Rooms, the concept of creating private, enclosed spaces within a garden..using hedges, vines, green walls. Now I believe I read that in Germany and Switzerland it’s mandatory for all roofs that are flat to be Green Roofs, now that’s just sensible, and lovely.

                                                 My Garden Room is to be purple Honeysuckle climbing sides of a pergola, with a golden Duranta hedge on other side.

Another has begun to be walled with jasmine and passionfruit, completely climbing over this immovable

children’s fort that came with my new bare backyard. My very own Folly, complete with Ship’s Wheel.

And as there are other things in life than gardening….

I am also Overly Fascinated with…..

Becoming a versatile, playful Ceroc dancer..maybe even sultry if I can be bothered going to any workshops.

And swimming in a tidal swimming pool to cool this Summer Heat.

And making Alzira’s Russian Salad

mix together: 1 cup beetroot, cooked & sliced. 1 kipfler potato, cooked & cubed. 2 hardboiled eggs, cubed. 2 tablespoons pickled cucumber.  few drops of lemon juice. approx 2 tablespoons salad cream.

and reading  ‘Damned’ by Chuck Palahniuk, which begins ‘Are you there Satan? It’s me, Madison. I’m just now arrived here, in Hell……’. Hilarious, contentious. And he wrote ‘Fight Club’ too, among many others.

This has reached the tipping point of versatility…..I hope you enjoy this in several readings and tell me what you think……

O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed.

I planted a garden bed. Pretty,  simple, cute. But above all, perfectly balanced in colour, foliage and spacing.

Dwarf blue and white agapanthus. Deep purple heliotrope ‘cherry pie’. Angelonia in deep pink, some white alyssum, sedum edged in burgundy-pink. Two dipladenia, one deep red, one white, with clear fishing line from soil to steps, so the plants will climb magically into the air, seemingly without support. Tufts of white variegated grass. Two phyllanthus multiflorus. As a backdrop to these pretty, yet strong plants, three cerise-flowering, pepper scented geraniums. These I discovered years ago in the cool  Maleny hills and propagated them through several moves, to be with me in each new home, each new garden.

As I admire my new and lovely plantings while taking a Sunday-ish morning garden walk, coffee in hand, I notice something. O! This is unexpected, finding you in my bed!  And yet as I look at you, I think, how well you do look.

I love when gardens surprise me. And this morning,  I see,  a dwarf african lily, quite past its flowering time, has made a strong, white flower stalk. And there’s much more! Suddenly my sweet, balanced garden has gone from exactly as I planned, to an interesting, challenging thing.

Yes, a slim vigorous pumpkin, or is it a rockmelon, vine – insistently,  laterally twining his way. I am most fond of many lateral thinking people, so I’m delighted, if surprised to find this determined little vine in my garden. And is this not more balanced, more complete – a masculine vine to balance the planned sweet feminine garden? I move him slighty, tenderly,  as he embraces, a little too passionately for now, the Angelonia. She seems grateful for this small intervention, straightening slightly. I love vines, at one moment twining closely, the next off on some funny fearless tangent.

And since this garden shows itself to be such a ferly thing, I accommodate its adventurous spirit, experimenting with   Lisianthus in who knows what colour. And the rambling mystery of Colour Parade petunias..there will be some surprises there!  And what about some poppy seeds? Yes, such gloriously free and surprising flowers from the far North of Europe are also bound to feel at home here in my garden, I feel. For some unexpected tomato plants I make pyramids of stakes, tied at the top so the vines can freely grow upwards.

And another unusual thing. One plant that has always flourished, used all throughout my planting life, has decided that it will cease to grow. It is gone, beyond all life.  I think on this, introspection takes me over.  I conclude it  did not suit my new garden.  Like a habit, that really has no further use in my life. Just gone. A symbol, I decide, of my firm, full resolve to leave behind an old behaviour that really does me no good all. My garden as a mirror of my self.

Can I suggest you think on your garden, real or imagined, houseplants too, as a symbol, a mirror, of yourself. Think on what you plant, and why. Who inspires your gardening, your life. Is there something unexpected in your beds? Think on your garden of the future, still in your head.

Think on what you long to plant. Maybe honeysuckle vine, symbol of loyal love and friendship?  Beetroot? – Read ‘Jitterbug Perfume’ Tom Robbins on beetroot and its pollen! A bay tree, for luck and fortune? Perhaps there’s a plant taking too much time,  unhealthy or difficult that simply needs to go. Or perhaps some plants just for fun, some annuals. Maybe try new plants, new ways of gardening.

Maybe make a space and wait, see what you dream of planting there.

I am for now, wondering what my vine plans next! Climbing? Perhaps investigation of a nearby garden bed? Vines are so much fun, at one moment twining closely , next moving in lateral surprising ways.

Do I think our gardens, real or imagined, somehow mirror our selves, our lives? ……Yes, why not.  Maybe.

But what I do know is that while in our garden,  in nature, we have time to contemplate, or not contemplate, to think, or not think – on our lives. And in this Empty Space,  solutions, answers, creations, appear. And we smile and  feel strong.

the meaning of life

At death, our beloved Companions take us with them  for a time.

Then, when they know

that in the darkness we see what they taught us,

suddenly  they set us  stunned, shocked, fragile, fearful, vulnerable, resilient, back into our lives alone.

And golden eyes keep watch

To see what we remember.

Therapeutic Gardening exercises for every Lovely little bit of you

When using a spade or shovel, change which hand is at the forefront of the implement, every so often – this will enable you to dig for longer, and we all want that, right? Plus you’ll exercise both sides of your body equally.

When using a trowel, change over to use your other hand intermittently – this is like dancing, helps keep your brain agile, as well as good exercise for hands and arms.

Sing, (or maybe hum if your neighbours are sensitive. One of my gardeny companions puts Vera Lynn CD on, when I begin to sing. What’s he telling me?) When you sing your brain is fully engaged and you cease to think, so you can’t focus on worrying things. Good for easing stress. Also inspiring of  creative thoughts, as after you stop singing, you’ll probably find all manner of interesting ideas, thoughts and solutions spring to mind. I keep a small notebook for these when gardening. I now need many little bookshelves for these. (I promise Emmsie, I WILL put them onto the computer! Soon!)

Gaze at the horizon. Find a point, maybe a tree on top of a very distant mountain, or a palm tree far off into the distance and focus hard on that, until it comes into focus, maybe about 30 seconds. Then very quickly move your focus so your eyes are looking at something very close. Perhaps a lover’s Favorite Freckle on your arm? Or, if you are unblemished, maybe a tiny flower very close to you. Focus intently for 30 secs. Again swiftly move your focus to the far-off tree. Repeat this whole process 6-8 times. If you get into a  habit of doing this when in the garden, it’s great for strengthening eye muscles, and especially good if you spend lots of your working life  on the computer, or maybe reading fascinating and cute gardeny blogs (such as Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, Visionary Gleam and Helen Babbs, current Favs of mine). If you also breathe a little more deeply and slowly it’s quite meditative and calming. Take deliberate breaks throughout the day, computery folk, editors and writers,  to do this one.  Or do at least every second day. This also frees up time you may spend at optometrists – now, what to do with that extra time?

Now, I suspect you’re thinking “She said every little part of me, so what about my pelvic floor?’  Yes indeed, for men too! And have no fear, this one won’t scare the neighbours nor the Companion Gardening Cat.  This will definitely strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Here’s what you do. When standing still amongst your garden, or indeed anyone else’s garden, curl your toes downwards (Hmm, upwards would be interesting..please get back to me, with photos preferably, if you can curl your toes upwards). Hold this for about 6 seconds , then uncurl toes.  Repeat curl-uncurl about half a dozen times. Hold for more time as you get used to it.  Keep breathing – to do otherwise is risky and  a strong  pelvic floor will do no good at all,  if you cease to breathe. You may choose to do this in the company of a consenting adult. Not that they’ll know. Unless you tell them.

Not only gardeners need strong lower stomach muscles. A physio I worked with told me this one, to help prevent back injuries and help to avoid developing hernias. Just prior to lifting, brace the lower stomach muscles, just below your waistline, hold for 5 seconds, and then lift the pot, potting mix, whatever. Remember, bend your legs as you lift, don’t bend from the waist. If you always do this bracing-thing, there’ll come a time you’ll brace these muscles automatically, as you even contemplate lifting. Very good for dancing Ceroc or Lestep, too, when participating in athletic lifts and dips!

Eloquent Gardens speak of Love, Mystery, Unspoken Dreams, Comfort

I find lovely -

Joseph Austin’s art

“Seahorse and Coral.”  

Hints of sea lives,

languid coral

with seahorse contemplation.

“Lotus”

Buds and indolent vines

twine their way towards sunshine

to recline

on lily pads.

and Barbara Kingsolver’s  The Bean Trees,  ‘Wisteria vines have rhizobia, 

microscopic bugs that live underground in little knots on the roots.

They suck nitrogen out of the soil and turn it into fertiliser for the plant. 

Wisteria would not thrive without the rhizobia.’

‘An Eloquent garden plan of trees growing from stone’   Andy Goldsworthy’s ‘Garden of Stone’…

And I think it would be delightful to wander with a Beloved within

The Garden of Love at the Chateau de Villandry, Loire Valley France -

where clipped boxwood topiary illustrates four types of love stories:

tender, passionate, fickle, tragic


‘She felt an odd calm spirit here in the wilderness.

Was it like this when you fell in love; stood on train tracks;

went to a country where no-one spoke your language?’ 

from The Red Garden, by Alice Hoffman.

A story of lives and histories enmeshed with those of plants and trees, of bravery, secrets, difference, love.

Lovely plants….

Heartsease.….used in early times to ease heartache and suffering.  

The flowers are edible..I float them on the top of my home-made salad dressings.

I lightly press some heartsease flowers into the dough  just before I put bread into the oven to bake.

I put a couple of heartsease on the tops of lemon-cream cheese iced cupcakes. So pretty!

Purple Honeysuckle….folk-lore says that the twining flowers of honeysuckle represent loyalty in a friendship – or loveship.

My purple honeysuckle anticipates being planted and waits patiently in its pot. It’s  already flowered once with pinkish beginnings , almost purple if you have an imagination which certainly I do,  and deep gold flowers. It’s underplanted with sweet purple and white alyssum and new seedlings. The tag showed petunias in pink, purple and white profusion. I enjoy the mystery of petunias, that so often both the colours and scent of this plant friend surpass my imaginings of them..as do many of my human friends, in fact…

Holmskoldia….. blue and purple delicate flowers,  tiny fascinators, that linger for months.

Michelia ‘Lady of the Night’, Michelia Skinneriana… 

creamy yellow flowers, fragrance like ripe bananas. Perfect for us, as we are banana starved here in Queensland at present.



How lovely to discover…

 Lovage growing in my potted garden. I had planted lovage after discovering some on a market trip with dear friend Effie, and frankly it had not thrived.

So I forgot about it, then was amazed to find it growing beautifully. I delicately trimmed some leaves, with thanks to the plant, and whipped up a little

LOVAGE  OMELETTE 

I mixed together:    2 eggs, 1 inch thick slice madhusudan paneer ( I love the sound of that, that’s why I buy it from my local Spice Shop) diced small, 1 tspn whole grain mustard, salt (not too much, My lovely Daughter says I may eat too much salt, I told her gardeners sweat so they need salt, but she may be right. She often is, and thanks to her this blog looks good again.  Sorry for the delay, technology was getting the better of me.  You might like to detour over to her latest post,  appreciation of delicious  @nonsense funnel for some dreams of loveliness), lovage, a tiny bit of marjoram,  and lots of  pepper.       

I cooked in a small frypan oiled with Olys, a new one I bought, made from wheat germ, rice bran, blackcurrant, walnut oils.

It was delicious eaten in a leisurely manner reading ‘What I Talk About When I talk About Running.’  Haruki Murakamis running memoir, a book about how  he became a writer in the same way he became a runner. I am enjoying this, and  I quite definitely don’t enjoy running, but will think on this idea when on my morning walks for a while and see what I come up with…

Passion for Pumpkin

made by Daria Knowles

A week ago, I developed an intense, overwhelming  desire – that would not be waylaid,  no matter how I tried –  to make pumpkin soup.  And not just from any pumpkin. This soup had to be from a pumpkin that I had grown. Oh yes. It just had to be, my dream insisted.

However, I am  presently out of  home-grown pumpkins, since I am ‘in transit’ and my garden consists of an ever-expanding   population of potted plants.  My delightfully muscular friends who move me at a regular intervals will have to really go into training to lift this lot.

Now, from my extensive gardening experiments, I believe that pumpkins will not grow well in pots. So, I had not attempted this brave task.  Therefore, no pumpkins nurtured along in preparation for this time of pumpkin need.  Oh dear.

So I thought, hmm, maybe it’s the orange-ish, pumpkinish colour I want. Perhaps that will satisfy?

Therefore, I decided to make carrot cake.  And yes,  it was delicious, with that cream cheese slightly lemony icing, that my daughter finds so delicious.  (For this,  you mix together 125 g spreadable cream cheese, 5 tspns butter with about 1 tblspn hot water mixed into it, icing sugar, and lemon juice, to taste. Spread on carrot cake. Thickly, but not too thick.)

A  consenting adult and I enjoyed great gluttony of that carrot cake with pretty cups of tea that afternoon, with the sun warming the back patio and Natasha the Wonder Cat reclining nearby, as she does so appealingly for approximately 22-and-a- half hours of each day. We ate so much, a two-hour walk at Sandgate barely touched the extra kilos!

But, no,  still I needed pumpkin soup. With a pumpkin I had grown. This thought persisted into the next few days.

I had another try, at the colour orange.  I decided to make salsa. Orange Capsicum Salsa.

I very lightly fried a small red salad onion and a chopped garlic clove.  Meanwhile, I chopped finely 4 small red tomatoes,  an orange capsicum,  one small orange chilli, coriander, a tspn Marjoram. I mixed the fried onion & garlic with the rest of ingreds, added lime juice, salt and pepper. I left it for about 5 hours to achieve perfection, then ate it with some Rosemary bread of Friendship and Forgiveness made from a recipe found in “The Villa Della Luna”.

Did you know that according to plant lore, Marjoram will help induce feelings of happiness in women?  I think that’s true, Inhale the slightly sweetish smell of marjoram and feel a smile.  And what of herbs to induce  happiness for men? I’d love  readers to tell me of their knowledge of this.

Oh yes! The Salsa was yummy, too. And a nice contrast to the carrot cake, which had left me no longing at all,  for cake, for I suspect, a long time. At least next Sunday.

But, still, I thought of Pumpkin Soup.  And GROWING PUMPKINS. Yes, this had now achieved Italicised Capital Letter status.

Now, for those of you who’ve just today joined my blog, and maybe haven’t (yet) read my first 2 posts…. as a Therapeutic gardener,  I use gardening activities as a means of addressing the needs of people I work with.  I may also use the garden as an allegory, a metaphor, when the time is right (stories of that for future blogs).

So if someone  really, really wants to grow pumpkins, I would be wondering why. I would perhaps ask “Why do you need pumpkins?” And quite often, after a question like this, a story or thought that is quite telling, emerges.  It may revolve around their garden history – past, present or even future. The garden is  a place that can encourage a person, even someone who’s reticent, to tell, sometimes indirectly, sometimes surprisingly directly, of a need that exists. Garden allegories can be a safe way to speak.

So I wondered –  why my need, my passion for Pumpkins?  I thought of their velvety golden flowers. I remembered the strange other-worldly smell of pumpkin leaves.  Their soft prickliness.  I thought of their dusty and persistent pollen.  Their spreading adventurous nature.

I thought of walking along the foreshore of Sandgate after the huge and destructive Floods of early this 2011, seeing smashed furniture, wrecked water tanks, remains of boats ripped from their moorings in Brisbane, and Pumpkins! Whole Pumpkins. I felt sorry for the farmer who had lost a whole crop, but astonished that they were intact, save for a few small dents. Are pumpkins the toughest vegetable on earth?

I remembered pumpkin vines past. My Clermont Grandmothers paddocks with pumpkin vines and paddy melons. Searching among the vines for pumpkins. What excitement when we found one, with withered stalk,  ready to pick! My mothers pumpkin vines. My Brisbane grandmothers pumpkin vines.  Pumpkin vines I had when my daughter was a little girl. Gosh! A considerable Pumpkin  History.

glass-pumpkins

And then, suddenly, there it was.  An unhappy pumpkin memory.  Of a pumpkin vine that grew in my garden in Brisbane 4-ish years ago. It was gorgeous, climbing, twining, making its way forth energetically, happily. It had flowers.  Then I came home and it was gone. Murdered.  Such sadness. My partner decided it was untidy,  unnecessary. It did not fit his obsessive need for absolute control in our garden.  I hung in a while longer, but after I left him, I’ve  been somewhat itinerant for a few years. I had a  pleasant interlude where I house-sat a house-and-yard-full of plants (over a thousand I believe) for a friend who owned a plant hire business. But itinerant I have felt, for some time.

So what my need for pumpkins told me is that I long to find and create my own home again. A place where with family, friends, a lover,  I can sit at little decrepit tables, drink Pinot grigio, or eat carrot cake,  surrounded by wild pumpkin vines, purple and yellow passionfruit, ground apple, sweet potatoes, and maybe rescued battery hens, garden quirkily,  grow the things I need and love.  And then I will have –  the pumpkins!

And did I make soup, after this epiphany? Yes, I did. I bought pumpkin and made Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Hazelnuts, my invented recipe. I invited Gordon, we ate it with grainy bread while watching the little mystery birds in the Honey Gem Grevillea in the back yard. While Natasha snoozed.

Perhaps you’ll be your own therapist, wander into your own garden, look around and ask yourself, ‘What do I need in my garden? What’s happening here?’  Please feel free to share your garden epiphany …..

Pumpkin Soup with roasted hazelnuts.

Lightly roast 1/2 cup hazelnuts.  Saute an onion and a garlic clove in olive oil in a saucepan. When onion is soft, add chopped pumpkin, couple florets cauliflower, grated medium carrot, some marjoram, paprika, soya sauce, ( I used about 4 tablespoons), a little salt, pepper, enough water so water level is about 2 inches over the level of veges, and a very small sprinkle of star anise. Cook til all veges soft. Let cool a little. Blend til a grainy texture. Heat and eat.

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I keep a container of cinnamon sticks beside my computer. When I need to refocus, sharpen my attention,  I take off the lid and deeply inhale its mysterious scent.

 Natasha, the Wonder Cat snoozing.

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“Lilith’s Love Potion Number Eleven-and-a-Half”

I’m loving my bespoke perfume – and so are my dancing partners, hence the name I invented – created by Brisbane perfumier Margi Macdonald.  She told me, ‘I thought of you dancing the quickstep, of the colour red, of vivacity. I danced as I mixed Tuberose, Guiacwood from Paraquay, coco, lime, and more. A deep, dark tone emerged, and then I added Vanilla to return the sweetness. ‘

Its gorgeous. Complex. Surprising. An alchemy of dark woody Places, rose scented smoke, almost-sweet citrus, velvet.  And made entirely of natural ingredients. Margi can be found at blogsite Some Energy Thing.

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