Story telling from Australia
One of the essential virtues of any gardener would surely have to be patience. Plants take time to grow: a simple, singular truth.
I know this. I’ve been gardening for many years now, on skinny windowsills with barely enough room for a pigeon to perch, and on sunny balconies and some not-so-sunny balconies. I’ve gardened in the frost hardened clay of an English winter (potatoes worked a treat and helped break up the soil) and in fine, free-draining sand in Broken Hill (I wish I’d thought to plant carrots, they would have loved it). In every case, it took time for plants to establish.
This was the garden in England when I first arrived.
It took three years to make it look like this…
So why am I fretting about the speed (or lack thereof) with which the garden in Sydney is progressing? I suspect it’s something to do with the absence of green stuff, the paucity of visible dirt and the preponderance of hard surfaces. There are granite pavers on the patio and the flowerbeds are built of brick; there’s a massive slab of sandstone wall topped by grey breezeblocks at the back and there are more bricks and fencing further down the side of the house. Not a single blade of grass anywhere.
So, even though they’re growing faster than we can eat them, I’m glad I planted lettuce. In less than a month they produced huge crisp heads. Just seeing something green when I look out of the window is worth it, even if those lettuce are going to seed already in the sweaty heat of a Sydney summer. The melons have sprouted with extraordinary speed too.
This was taken on the 9 Jan…
And this one a week later
Planting melon seeds in several different places – an entirely random act with no discernible method involved other than getting rid of a full packet of seeds – had unexpected benefits. I discovered where the sunny spots in the garden are.
Compare the melons I planted beside a (shady it turns out) wall on one side of the garden…
…with others in a pot, planted at exactly the same time
Given enough time, that magic trio of sunshine, water and good soil will do their work, no matter how bare the garden might seem at the moment, and at the risk of sounding like Polyanna, what a difference a day makes.
Especially a sunny one.