TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF (LITERALLY)
Hey HEY. Long time no speak! A lot has happened. Obviously a lot of very very bad things have been happening all over the place. The devastating fires, the terrifying temperatures, the infuriating politics (sweet merciful Christ, the POLITICS) and the increasingly horrific implications of the climate crisis have taken up a lot of my mental and emotional energy, so after promising you a blog series about saving the world, I went awfully quiet. I do apologise. I’m back now, and I’m embarking on a little adventure and I hope you will join me: I’m going to learn to garden. These pink, manicured, city-girl thumbs are going to be greener than the New Deal of my dreams.
Despite my mother’s best attempts to teach me when I was growing up, I know next to NOTHING about gardening. I wish I could go back in time and shake my Nintendogs-obsessed 9-year-old self by the shoulders and tell her to GET OUTSIDE and PAY ATTENTION, but the truth is that in the past gardening always seemed boring and difficult and dirty to me. Also, there were bugs. I really do not like bugs.
But, like many, in a time when our planet is in crisis, I have found solace in green things. Plants represent oxygen and life and abundance and I want more of them in my life. And this awakening could not have come at a better time, as I have just moved into my very first own house (by which I mean rental, I am a millennial who loves avo on toast so actual home ownership is but a distant unattainable dream). I somehow conned my beautiful, longsuffering best friend Jess (that’s her in the picture at the top!) into signing a lease with me, and we have been busy bees creating the little sanctuary of our dreams. We have eleven house plants and counting and they all have names which is very cute and not pathetic at all, shush Dad.
Now, the house is small and the garden is VERY small. But we have two flower beds and two raised vegetable beds out the front (mercy buckets, previous tenants) and a funny little strip out the back that I have (perhaps insane) dreams of turning into a little carbon-sequestering, bird-friendly native patch. There’s also a turf strip with lots of room for pots and I have visions of window boxes and hanging baskets… I basically want to create a little green inner-suburb oasis. Do I have the funds, knowledge, skills or time for this? Look… not really. But I have a LOT of enthusiasm and determination, and I believe everything great that has been achieved in this world started with those two things. And a cup of tea.
So last weekend we began! We turned one of the little flower beds into a herb bed! We ripped out the disintegrating plastic edging and replaced it with bricks that were (for reasons unexplained) stacked out the back of our house. Hello sustainable resourcefulness (and sore backs. Bend your knees when heavy lifting, people). We turned the soil and added a couple of bags of potting mix and compost, then planted our herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, mint and sage. OBVIOUSLY no coriander, which Jess has graciously agreed to keep away from the garden as I need it to remain a safe space uncontaminated by EVIL), watered and mulched. It was quite hard work but SO satisfying.
So from my first foray into food gardening (well, any gardening), here are a few things I have learned:
- Bunnings is a huge, overwhelming, dazzling, terrifying place. There are more kinds of mulch and compost available than I ever could have imagined. If, like me, you have a newfound addiction to beautiful green things, it is dangerous. Go in with your loins and wallets girded, friends.
- You can do a remarkable amount in a small space. I was quite inspired by the book “One Magic Square” by Lolo Houbein.
- You gotta water BEFORE you mulch. And you gotta keep the hose gentle.
- Bugs and dirt are much less worrying if you have gardening gloves and gumboots on (within reason, spiders not included).
- Surprisingly I do not hate wearing a flannie and aforementioned gumboots!
- Planting things is very intuitive. I’m about to discover if keeping said things alive and thriving is equally so… stay tuned!
Some more exciting things are in the works – a compost bin is on its way to us, we have big plans for our veggie plots and for the first time ever I got up and went to the gym BEFORE WORK today. That last point is not at all relevant, I’m just really proud of myself.
More world-saving updates to come soon my little salad leaves – and I’ll keep you posted on what we cook with our beautiful new produce too!