The Eloquent Garden

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

Tag Archives: gardening

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?

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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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.

Mourning in The Garden

Yesterday, I watered Avalene’s garden. I was alone there for the first time, because she died last Monday. She was 85. I feel sad that I can’t garden with her again. I always smiled in anticipation when I was driving to garden with her.  She loved gardening and was fun to garden with, we laughed, she engaged me with her beautiful full smile, conversation, talk of her family, daughters named from the garden – Primrose and Marguerite, her son, a granddaughter in Great Britain.

Avalene’s garden was full of history….well over 55 years of history. Some she shared with me, of beloved plants, difficult plants, plants given to her by her daughters, cuttings given and found. She called me when she began to suffer lots of pain in her hands. She said she needed me so that together we could do the garden jobs she wanted to do, but couldn’t quite manage.  But never did she give up. She stayed determined to always do some gardening beside me, and together we’d wheel the bin over, she’d carry plants, water, do as much as she could, while directing me.  Always excited and grateful when I would bring a few plants, cuttings, offerings from my worm farm.

I remember the day Avalene found the tiny green frog, on her Strelitzia. She was very excited, as she hadn’t seen him, (perhaps her?) for quite a while. She told me to be very careful not to disturb him and maybe he sensed his safety, as he stayed unperturbed while I pruned near to him.  I think of and immediately smell intense honey scent of alyssum..purple, white, pink, and some in between. Is there a specially sensitive  part of our brain that remembers the scent of flowers? Does anyone know that? Please let me know if you do.

So it was sad, being there alone. Avalene’s spirit is still there though, in the mix of sweet peas, passionfruit, lettuce, chilli bush, blue plumbago, coleus,  white crocus, curry plant, pink and yellow Star above Star Camellia, pink  and purple bromeliads, brunsfelsia, apricot geraniums, hippeastrums, so many more. A garden as practical, as many faceted as its owner. I picked bright red chillies as a memento.

I plan to take some cuttings of her Camellia, Geranium, Banksia Rose, for her family. Then I thought of my own family, my beloved Daughter, living in Great Britain,  who left to go home again only a short week ago.  I thought of the lovely and varied  time we had together.  I also mourned her leaving, as I watered.

The garden is a good place to mourn. And a good place for comfort. Gardening is a continuous cycle of endings and beginnings and who knows which is which.  Plants finish a flowering season, but are no less beautiful when deciduous or in seed.  Seeds are hope and promise of more of  life to come.  A new plant with many possibilities –  a different hue, size, flower shape. Or perhaps sown in a different place?  In the Garden is always hope.  Avalene’s funeral service reading had 2 lines that brought tears, yet at the same time comfort, thoughts of the future: ‘ Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her, Or you can be full of the love you share.’

I think about Avalene’s Funeral ,  where we gathered to honour and celebrate her life. I learned many more things about her, understood what an inspiration she was to her whole family. I admired her, still more.  I ask myself, do I live my life in such a way that I will be missed and honoured as much as she was.  Now, there’s something to think on. I learned that she went on road trips only a few years ago, with 2 other women, to Darwin! On the road trips they loved listening to “Bright Side of the Road” by Van Morrison. As we walked out from the Garden Chapel where her funeral service was held, we listened to that song, and felt lighter, somehow.

This is the poem written on the back of the order of service:

“Into the freedom of wind and sunshine

We let you go

Into the dance of the stars and the planets

We let you go

Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the starmaker

We let you go.”                           (Ruth Burgess.)

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On Saturday, I saw ‘Tree of Life” with 2 dear friends. Gosh!  we talked for 3 hours  afterwards-OK, not all about the film. But surely themes inspired by that…Love, loss, death, dating,  food, dancing……I liked the film’s lack of dialogue, I thought it was like being in the garden with someone-  where sometimes silence is more eloquent, more able to provoke thought.

In the film I enjoyed how we looked upwards  through the  trees branches, and looked down through the  branches from above. I felt the film was perhaps partly about out our  innate need for connection with nature – for comfort, solace, for answers.

Crikey’s Review of “Tree of Life” said “tantalisingly imperfect”  and I will partly borrow that –  Mystical, eloquent, sparse dialogue,  tantalisingly imperfect- that’s my description.

How did you feel about ‘ ‘Tree of Life?’  How did you respond?

Soon I will take afternoon tea with Alzira.  I’m taking Thai Rice pudding….OH! The voluptuous smell of Cardoman as I stirred slowly. I could not resist eating a spoonful, OK maybe a few more!

Cardoman is such a mystery…it smells a little like eucalyptus when seeds are intact.  Then when crushed and cooked, completely change to a smell that’s sultry, powerful, spicy……….

ingredients:

100g/3 & 1/2 ounces  arborio rice

1 cardamon pod, split, and seeds crushed.

300ml/7 fl Oz coconut cream

150ml/10 fl oz  water

2 tablespoons honey

coconut flakes and 1 tblspn flaked almonds – to decorate top.

Method:

Put all ingredients except those for decoration, in a saucepan. Stir slowly and constantly till all liquid is absorbed  and rice is tender.

Serve warm, with decorations on top. You can serve alongside mixed berries. Definitely serve with cream (or yoghurt if you are feeling very virtuous.)

And….this cutting from a magazine mysteriously appeared on the wall above my computer…“Every act of Creation is first an act of destruction.”    Pablo Picasso .  To my daughter,  who put that here for me to find….thank you for that inspiration.

Blog in Bloom

Welcome to my first foray into blogdom. As my profile suggests, this blog will be an outlet for my experiences, stories, images, ideas, reflections and findings relating to therapeutic gardening, horticulture and the enjoyment of the natural world.

“Gardens are not innocent spaces” – Holly Kerr Forsyth

Eucalypt, by Holly Kerr Forsyth

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