Unlike millions of Australians, I’ve never been attracted to gardening. Gardens, yes, well sort of. Gardening, No.
Having been raised in an apartment in Sydney the closest thing to a garden were several potted plants on the balcony. As a teenager, I remember going to the Paddington Markets and coming home with a potted palm which I managed to keep alive in my bedroom for quite a few years.
DH and I eventually moved into a house just before MissM was born and sadly the landlord didn’t pay attention to the yard. The grass was prickly underfoot, and there were no plants in the ‘walled’ garden. As we were renting, and it was so bloody hot in summer with no shade to speak of, we didn’t invest time or money in it.
Don’t misunderstand. I appreciate the time and patience it takes to create a garden. Enjoyed watching TV reality shows like Backyard Blitz and Jamie Dure's creation of ‘outdoor rooms’. At times I lament not having a mortgage so that we could invest time and money into ‘outdoor rooms’.
Our time in Japan taught me to appreciate sculptured gardens, and to really LOOK at a plants beauty. The introduction to Ikebana has taught me more than I could ever have imagined about how to SEE nature, and work with it.
|The elegant balance of the Iris, with the natural|
twist in the stem is beautiful.
|I think this design is so elegant and|
it's only using leaves
|Hanamai: dancing flowers|
|My teachers WINTER design|
|Another one of Diane's designs for SPRING|
|Diane's ONE ROW Rimpa|
Watching Japanese amateur photographers out’n’about on weekends taking photos of anything and everything with such precision showed me that there is beauty in all sorts of things. There are so many photos of flowers, buds, leaves, gardens in my iPhoto files I could publish a book (it would actually make a lovely coffee table book and memento of our time in Japan – mmmmm, might just create one)
|Sakura is an annual event tho people flock in their |
thousands to see them and take photos
|I've never taken photos of leaves until coming to Japan|
Most Westerners never stop to really look at a leaf, or the natural rock formations or the soft pink petals of Sakura against the naturally dark branches, but after a few months living in Japan you soon learn. And then OMG do you take photos!
|A perfect Sakura bud|
|Why take the whole Buddha when |
the hand speaks to you
We are very lucky (tho mum insists it’s not luck but fortune) that we are living in a large home in Winchester. We have a HUGE back yard (aka garden) and as some of you might already know, there are 4 large vegetable plots.
Our landlord employs a lovely New Zealand lady, Jo as full time gardener. Jo came here many years ago as most Aussies and NZ’ers do, back packing. She met her (now) husband and has only gone ‘home’ a few times on holidays.
She is a very gently soul, softly spoken and very kind. She will reglary try to time her visits to coincide with MissM being home so she can help; she popped over to plant beans one afternoon when she knew we had a guests with kids and invited them to help.
She’s taught me LOTS even tho I’m no where near ready, nor inclined to start my own vegie plot.
|MissM helping with the initial preparation of the vegie plots|
|Planting with Jo|
|Lettuce, carrots, onions and more|
When she asked me what vegetables we’d like her to plant I laughed as no one’s ever asked me that. With DH and MissM not eating vegetables, it was more of a decision as how much to plant, rather than what.
We’ve got strawberries, several kinds of beans, courgettes (zucchini), new potatoes, several variety of lettuce, onions, spring onions, carrots, sweet peas, and goodness knows what else.
Who knew that MissM and I would enjoy digging up potatoes as much as we did. We laughed and talked, squealed with delight as we flicked slugs, or discovered MORE potatoes under the soil. Tossing the plants into the compost became more akin to a javelin competition to see who could toss the farthest with aim.
At first we dug with a stick (didn’t have a spade) and only MissM had gloves. My shoulder was still sore, so I dug with my left arm which made for some funny moves.
With MORE potatoes to harvest, we invested in gloves and a spade. can't believe i haven't any pics of our potatoes!?!?!??!?!
|first crop of radish|
Our second effort was more efficient and still lots of fun. Every time one of us found a potato under the soil we’d shout out FOUND ONE and toss it into the new bucket we bought for the sole purpose of collecting our harvest.
After 3 harvests we’ve dug up just over 9 kilos of potatoes! We gave Jo a bag, DH will take a bag to work to share and we’ve still got too many!
Who knew gardening, albeit with professional help could be such fun.
Roll on the next crop, we so enjoy sharing the giggles.