Do you have a dream version of your garden inside your head?
In my idealised garden the grass is lushly green and the roses are always blooming. The weather is sunny but mild and it rained overnight, so the plants are all fresh and dewy. My garden beds are tidy and not a weed can be seen.
The reality of my garden is rather different. This week the chooks discovered a new escape route and ate nearly all my vegetable seedlings. They devoured silverbeet and lettuces and scattered pea straw from the garden beds all over the lawn. And you have to walk carefully, because chook poo is everywhere.
But while nothing in my garden is perfect, much is beautiful and I have many favourite things, some of which I’ll share today.
This post is part of the Garden Share Collective (GSC), a group of gardeners from around the world who photograph and write about what they are growing each month. Each month the GSC has a theme and the theme for October is ‘favourite’.
My favourite flower
It’s hardly original to have roses as my favourite flower, but truly they are difficult to beat. I have close to forty rose bushes and I love them all: the fragrance as I brush past, the large, showy blossoms — who doesn’t love a rose?
My favourite tools
We have a garage full of brooms and rakes, mattocks and shovels, along with a lawn mover, a hedge trimmer and all sorts of other gadgets. But my go-to tools are two of the smallest, my trowel and secateurs. I take them with me wherever I go, trimming back a branch here, digging up a weed there.
Despite the damage they cause if let loose in a vegetable patch, chooks are definitely one of my favourite things to have in a garden. They eat food scraps, spent crops and lawn clippings, generate excellent fertiliser, dig over and aerate the soil, and of course provide the best eggs you will ever eat. I can’t imagine gardening without these wonderful creatures.
Spring blossoms. They get me every time. Just when winter feels like it’s going to last forever, my almond tree unfurls scented white flowers that shimmer against the grey sky. Then, like a procession of debutantes, the other fruit trees follow in an orderly line, first snowy plums, then bright pink peaches and nectarines. And finally, at the end of October, the pinky-white buds on the apple trees begin to flare, revealing delicate yellow stamens.
Last year, we had record October heat and consequently, a poor apple crop. The bees decided that pollination was simply too much effort, and I don’t blame them. This year looks much more promising; some of the buds are already swelling into the fuzzy beginnings of fruit.
What are some of your favourite things in your garden?
I’m going to have to replant some of the peppers and eggplants that the chooks ate, but not before I find a way to stop them escaping from their run. I also want to plant some more basil and some canteloupes and watermelons.
- edible flowers: nasturtium, borage
- lemon grass
- spring onions
- harvest weeds for the chooks
- deadhead roses
- water vegetables as the soil dries out