Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gardening: Getting Started

Our beautiful jacaranda. I can take no credit for this. It's much older than me.

When I was younger, I would listen to my parents talk about their garden, what plants they had planted, what was performing, what needed fertilising, pruning and mulching, what had to be moved and what they would change. I found it so incredibly confusing and remembered thinking, "How the hell can you know all this stuff? How can you remember all this information?!"

Fast forward a few years, and while I'm very much still a novice gardener, I think I've discovered the secret to garden knowledge and know-how:

just do it.

I tried reading gardening books before I ever planted a single thing and it just didn't work for me. Unless I had the physical experience in digging, planting, watering, weeding, fertilising, feeding and pruning, the words in the book meant nothing.

So I got started. I bought a really cheap, crappy set of hand tools from Bunnings (I think it cost me all of $10), bought some natives and tube stock from the local plant reserve and gave it a shot. I put in about 20 plants in the beginning and I haven't looked back since. Initially, Don Burke's The Lazy Gardener was the only book I took my lead from, and I've learnt heaps since just through trial and error.

I do love seeing the garden come together, and spring is by far my favourite time to plant-watch, but for me the real, simple joy comes from just being outside, hands in the soil, getting dirty, hearing the birds, smelling the earth, watching the worms, checking the flower buds. It seriously is like therapy to me, and a major part in why I started The Lavender Experiment in the first place. If there was so much pleasure in such simple, grounding tasks, then surely simplifying other parts of our life could only be a good thing?

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Merci! Ta! Xie xie!