The Eloquent Garden

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

Category Archives: plants

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:

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……

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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