Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Letting go of the garden

It’s only the third week of spring and Broken Hill has already seen a run of days above thirty, followed by thunder, lightning, rain and nights that have dropped to three or four degrees. It would be madness to plant anything, daft beyond belief, because we’re finally moving to Sydney, in less than two months.

So call me crazy.

new plants

At first I restricted myself to lettuce, radish and fast growing sugar snap peas. Then I thought basil might be worth a go. And really, what’s basil without a few tomato plants? Of course, now the chooks have gone the rose garden is the perfect place for pumpkin and zucchini, plenty of space for them to sprawl under there. And you know what? Even if the broccoli I planted doesn’t flower I can still snip the leaves for stir-fry. None of which  explains the sweet corn, rhubarb, beetroot, eggplant and capsicum…


How can I leave? The roses are blooming, the three-year old apricot is smothered in specks of velvet and when the cockatoos work out how many almonds are on the tree, we’ll be invaded. It’s the same everywhere – an abundance of blossom on grapefruit, lemon, orange, nectarine and peach trees.

We won’t be here to pick any of it.

There’s a perverse pleasure in knowing that someone else will enjoy the fruits of my labour. I want the next tenants to be impressed; I want them to love this garden as much as I do.

That’s why I’ve sprinkled sulphate of potash, spread fertiliser, sprayed seaweed, dug up weeds, laid down a thick mulch of sugar cane and generally done everything I can to prepare the garden for its new owner, whoever that may be.

nectarine in blossom

I found a pot of old pennies when we were clearing out a cupboard this week and I’m going to place them in a circle around some of the tender seedlings (don’t laugh, this might work). The copper in the pennies should stop the slugs’ nightly raid, like a magic fairy ring.

Since the local supermarket started selling seedlings Clyde’s been on a knife-edge every time I go shopping. I don’t always come back with food.

I’m finding it hard to let go of this garden.

4 comments on “Letting go of the garden

  1. Learning the hard way
    September 20, 2013

    Given I have more of a black than green thumb (or, as I realistically prefer to call it, the thumb of death), I am genuinely in awe of people who can keep lavender alive, let alone someone who can plant, cultivate and revel in the fruits of their labour in some area generally considered less than horticulturally friendly. You have a gift indeed. Are you moving to somewhere exotic?


  2. debhuntinbrokenhill
    September 20, 2013

    Moving to inner west, Sydney, haven’t told the dingo yet


  3. Adele Hughes
    September 20, 2013

    The last sentence does seem to sum it all up beautifully Deb!!!
    But having read your wonderful ‘Dream Wheeler’ I can quite understand your feelings about the garden and you’ll get great photos to remember it by before you depart!


    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      September 20, 2013

      Thanks Adele, and that’s a great reminder to take my camera with me every time I go out into the garden – just like you do! Hope all is well with you.


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This entry was posted on September 19, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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