It’s true what they say about gardening…

I used to really hate gardening. I could kill a plant at 20 paces, just by looking at it. I used to joke that I had a brown thumb. It all just seemed like an enormous chore to me.

Then, at the beginning of this year, I went through a strange and rather complicated metamorphosis*, which saw me turn into SUPER NAKED GARDENER.  I had a sudden urge to take my clothes off in the garden and plant things, often.  Fortunately, I got really lucky with the costume. Gardening is a dirty business and a cape would just get in the way.  

I’d heard people talk in whimsical and reverent tones about the wonders of working with the earth for most of my life, but my utter self absorption and short attention span never allowed me to truly discover the deep satisfaction that is to be had by sinking your hands into the dirt and nurturing a plant into bloom.

It’s true what they say. Gardening is a form of meditation. There is nothing else (with the possible exception of having an orgasm, oh and skinnydippng), that clears my mind in the same way, or takes me to such a simple place of pleasure and sheer enjoyment of life.

Ok, the pleasure principle is somewhat different between gardening and sex, but you get my drift, right?

I love planting. That’s my favourite part. I love mixing the different soils and mulch. I love digging my bare hands into the soil and letting the dirt fall through my fingers. I love popping the seedling out of the container to admire and gently free its delicate root structure. I love digging a little hole and placing the seedling, just so. I love giving them water and verbal encouragement daily. It matters not to me that they don’t have ears. They respond to my care.

Apricot RoseApricot Rose 2Azaleas

These flowers are blossoming in my garden right now. I can’t take credit for them, for the plants were here when I moved in — but if you click on them you’ll see they are very pretty, indeed.

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I have discovered my true love is growing edible plants. Flowers are nice, but there is nothing like eating food you have grown with your own loving care. This is a photo I took of some baby carrots I planted on 1 April.

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And this is how they look today, 12 days later. The rapid growth is almost like instant gratification, with a lesson on patience thrown in for good measure. I can’t wait to see what’s below the surface!

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I adore rocket. I could just munch on rocket leaves all day. This is my rocket 12 days ago…

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And here it is today. Growing like a rocket, no less! Yummm….! I’m having salad tonight….

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I’m so excited to taste these cherry tomatoes, I can barely stand it…. but they’re taking so long to turn red! I mean…. HOW MUCH LONGER?? There are around 20-30 of them in that pot and I’m loving that specific, pungent aroma of the tomato plant. It takes me back to my grandparent’s vegetable patch from childhood…

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Jalapeno’s anyone? I love chillies, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this many of them. There are about 10 on that one plant right now and more popping up every day. I guess I can always freeze or dry them… Don’t you love that green?

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This little fella makes me smile. Look at the way he’s climbing up the trellis all by himself. I thought I was going to have to tie him up, but it turns out he’s a very independent and capable little snow pea plant! If you look closely you can see 3 snow peas of varying sizes…

I’m also growing a lot of other things, like various herbs, red onions, and a lemon tree in a pot amongst other things — but we’d be here forever if I showed you them all. These are my star performers.

So, it seems I may have a green thumb, after all.  Who knew?  I think I was always going to have to be in a still and quiet place of personal transformation for the growth of a plant to become something I appreciate deeply.  It’s quite symbolic.

I also love that when it’s warm, I can just turn around and dive in the pool to get clean.

It’s the simple things…

Now, I have a question for you:

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I recently got hold of these rusty old buckets and I want to plant bulbs in them next week (jonquils, tulips and hyacinths). I’m really new at growing things and I don’t want to take any chances in terms of poisoning them, so I’m not keen on putting the soil directly in contact with the rust. Does anyone know of any product or method to coat the inside of the buckets to form a barrier between the metal and the soil? I’m thinking I might just have to line them with plastic….

I’d appreciate any ideas…

* My amazing metamorphosis may or may not be discussed at a later date. I’m a bit over talking about it for now.

Song Of The Day – Donovan – There Is A Mountain

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12 Comments

  1. aprilfoolnyc said,

    April 12, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Vanessa:
    This post brought me back down memory lane. I used to love gardening when I was living in the suburbs. I had the best looking garden in town and I knew all the plant names and when to plant them (we have mostly cold seasons). The passion died when my relationship ended and we eventually sold the house. Living in the city, I can only have indoor plants.
    By the way, that third picture next to the roses, are those Hibiscus? I’ve never seen variegated species of those here in the US.
    And yes, I would line those buckets with plastic. Although I’ve seen people put soil directly in them. It will take years before they rust.
    I’m guessing you’re into container gardening?

  2. Vanessa said,

    April 12, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Hi April :). Hibiscus is super common here in Australia, but I believe those are Azaleas. I’m trying to grow a hibiscus plant in a pot right now, which I was given for my birthday at the end of February – but it’s not doing so well. I’m not quite sure what the problem is, because they’re supposed to do quite well in pots. It’s dropped all it’s leaves and turned yellow… and that is not changing no matter how often I water it. Maybe I should re-pot it. It looked so healthy when it was given to me… My old plant curse strikes again! hehe.

    I would love to have a proper garden of my own with a big vegie patch, but I’m renting and the garden is quite nicely landscaped, so I’m not keen to mess with it. So, a container specialist I will become!

    I’m still such a newbie about the whole thing, but I’m loving learning about it all.

    Thanks for your advice re: the buckets. The buckets are really quite rusty already inside. I just have an awful feeling it will contaminate the soil. Maybe I’ll just line it with plastic and try and make sure it’s not visible….

  3. charitycase said,

    April 12, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    is there no type of sealant that you can get from a nursery shop…I am very jealous of your beauteous garden. My family are olive farmers in SA and they are amazing resilient trees and excellent carbon footprint fillers. I will plant a little one esp for you as a tribute to new things…new blogs…fresh new beginnings and yummy fresh garden salads…. When you get a new pot you should plant an olive tree for yourself…you can even harvest the olives or press them for oil.

    Have urge to run naked like a mad woman into an orchard right now… might scare the bejesus into the locals!

  4. Vanessa said,

    April 12, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    An olive tree for me?! Oh!! Gosh, I don’t quite know where to put myself…! Thankyou!! To new things, indeed. Let us go forth and er, multiply?

    Hmm. Olive trees do grow in a lot of backyards here. I like the way they look. I wouldn’t have the first clue of what to do with olives straight off a tree, but now I have you to guide me! hehee. Or the internet. There’s always the internet…

    Oh, and you have ultimately answered my question about the buckets. I’ve tried a couple of garden and hardware shops, but nobody seems to know anything about it…

    Run, Katie, Run!

  5. Tommy said,

    April 12, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    You know I like the picture blogs.

    I thought you liked to garden naked?

  6. Vanessa said,

    April 13, 2007 at 1:17 am

    Ah, you must have been transfixed by my snowpeas to have missed that part…….

  7. Jules said,

    April 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I was going to get to your blogs tomorrow but I thought I’d squeeze one in tonight… and I’m so glad I did!

    Look at those plants! That rocket looks absolutely scrumptious… Everything looks so healthy and green! You are doing so well m’dear. Putting my poor effort out the back here to shame…

    As for the buckets, I’m sure you should be able to get some kind of sealant at Bunnings. You could even use something like what they use to seal water tanks. I think so anyway. I would definitely seal them, otherwise they will end up rusting through and collapsing. I would also put a few drainage holes in the bottom, otherwise you may end up drowning the bulbs. Although tulips grow in water logged areas… Hmm. I’d still do it though.

  8. Vanessa said,

    April 13, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    Ahh! I’ve missed you so….

    Hehe, I thought if anyone was gonna appreciate the growth it would be you. How good is that rocket?! I tell ya what, the self-watering pots are brilliant. I’ve only tried them out for the first time with the rocket and baby carrots and they work a TREAT. You use SO much less water, they never get over or under watered and the plants just go nuts! Do you have any of those?

    I tried Bunnings, but the woman I spoke to had no idea. Nor the man in the garden centre. They all looked at me like I had bugs tapdancing on my ears. I’m going to see if I can get some holes drilled at work. I wouldn’t plant without holes… I’m thinking that plastic may be my only option. I may try the Bunnings near work though nest week.

    Thankyou for your sage counsel, my love.

  9. Jules said,

    April 14, 2007 at 6:36 am

    Think I’ll try out some self watering pots. They woud be a good option for around here indeed…

    You could just put plastic inside. I was thinking of those black plastic pot like things that plants come in when you buy them. Those could work, and they’re already in the right shape. Another thing you could do is try to find a couple of plastic pots that would fit inside the buckets. They don’t look too rusty at the top so you could cover the plastic pots over so that you wouldn’t see them inside the buckets.

  10. Vanessa said,

    April 14, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Yah, I know they sell the pots at Woolies here, so you’d probably find them at a supermarket there. An excellent option.

    Oh, you mean the thick plastic like the stuff around small trees at the nursery? That stuff would be ideal. Then again, a garbage bag would probably work pretty well too. I’ve thought about the plastic pots, but they’re mostly a straight up and down shape… and the buckets are more like a funnel. I think it would look funny. Yah, they’re not rusty at the top, which is something, I guess…… I dunno…. It’s becoming more trouble than it’s worth, heh.

  11. sumbum said,

    April 24, 2007 at 12:18 am

    I don’t know why I keep coming back and reading this specific post. I think it’s like my third time 🙂 I’m just so jealous of the green in your life. My small apartment does not lend itself to growing much, however, in honor of you I did buy several organic herbs at the grocery the other day. We’ll see how long they live…

  12. Vanessa said,

    April 24, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Yay!! Just make sure they get sun and some TLC you’ll be fine…

    The greenery is even more abundant now. I swear that rocket has doubled in size again… and the carrots. The tomatoes have started to go red, too. I ate one yesterday. Yum!


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