Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A reason to hike up hill

Well the year is nearly over and I think it is important we all take the time to reflect. A garden like many other things in life changes slowly and as a result we often don’t notice how far we have come. For this very reason I like to go hiking up hills. When you get to the top it provides an opportunity to get a real sense of achievement. You look back over the entire journey below in awe. When you hike on the flat, particularly through bush, and you look back you only see as far as the last bend. This lack of perspective is common in life and it makes each day feel just like the next. But it’s not. So here is a look back at what has been achieved and learnt in our garden for 2011.

Started a gardening group. Learnt that friends can be easily found when you overcome the fear to reach out. That people are more than happy and willing to help each other, and that it is possible to combine gardening and socialising. How fun and productive is that! The whole gardening group experience has grown my faith in humanity.

Read a book. Maybe more than one, but one was INSPIRATIONAL!

Started again from scratch thanks to a permablitz. Had my belief that humans instinctively work well together, even when they barely know each other, confirmed. Learnt that even maths has a role to play in a garden. Did you know a hexagon contains 6 equilateral triangles? I do now.

Made a pond to attract insect eaters. Learnt that clear plastic does not give a natural appearance, that stationary water does not sit parallel with the slop of the hill, and that nastersians grow quickly but are no good for small spaces. Also learnt to take great care when skinny dipping in plastic lined ponds as they can be quite slippery.

Laid a beautiful path. Learnt that one needs a tarp when collecting a trailer load of saw dust. Learnt to laugh at ones embarrassments.

Built a chicken tractor. Learnt what wonderful pets chickens make, and that molting and low egg output in winter is perfectly normal. These girls taught me about the symbiotic relationship between animals and plants, and how easy and effective it is when applied to a home garden. Learnt not to fight with nature, harness it.

Built a portable seedling table, and experienced the highs and lows of raising seedlings. Learnt that seedlings are indeed babies and need to be treated as such with daily attention. Have realised I still have lots to learn in this area and am going to keep trying. Learnt that part of being a parent is to swallow ones pride and ask for help.

Found free time. Learnt that saying “there’s not enough hours in day” actually means “I got my priorities wrong”.

Found free poo and other gardening resource. Learnt that you have just got to look and ask. Surprisingly discovered that a pile of dung is a good place to meet other gardeners.

Produced a bit. Despite being a long way from reaching my goal of 80% food self sufficiency the garden did produce small amounts of various things throughout the year. Not enough to be visible on my chart, but summer is looking very promising. Learnt soil takes time to become fertile.

The mere act of writing this post has given me that birds eye view I needed. I can now see how far our garden has come and how much I have grown as a gardener. We really have achieved allot and I am feeling very proud. Wow this gardening thing is rewarding. Ahhh, I just took a big breath to suck it all in.

How far have you come? If you have got any online photos or posts of what you garden started out like, please post the links here. I would love to see them.

Have a wonderful solstice.


  1. ooo! Is it the solstice now?
    (aka garlic planting time...)

  2. Solstice is tomorrow, 5am to be exact. I have also heard it is a perigee (moon closest to earth) on the same day.

  3. I love that about blogging...it really gives you a chance to see where you have been and how the garden has developed. I think I will take your lead and do a year-end review too I also find the blog useful to see when my first tomato ripened, or when a planted something last year. Have a great Christmas!

  4. What a gorgeous post......Has made my day!! Sometimes it is hard to appreciate just how much you have done and achieved until you stop, take a step back and look...It is also easy to be way too critical about mistakes made and not being able to do things amazingly well right from the beginning...So it is lovely to experience the learning curves with a fellow gardener and hear about someone else experiencing the same joys and frustrations related to growing their own food...

  5. I often don't appreciate the amount of work we have done, I am always looking toward all the work yet to do. It's not until someone comes to visit that hasn't been for a while and who is amazed at the changes here that I look back and think, yes we have done a lot. Thanks for a look at your year in your garden.

  6. purplepear I know what you mean about receiving perspective from infrequent visitors. I get that too, and I find it really uplifting. They have such an honest wow expression.

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