Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

I’m not done yet

The hymn We Shall Overcome has been running through my head today, perhaps because I’ve been invited to speak at a church group tonight, but then again, there’s no denying the refrain popped into my head when I thought about gardening.

Renewed enthusiasm and optimism are needed to develop this shady back yard. I can’t is such a defeatist sentence. As Lyn French said, “Can’t is a coward, can is a King.” And she’s right. There’s no gardening fairy with a magic wand who will suddenly appear, clear the beds of fallen leaves and sweep away the hiding places where slugs love to lurk; there’s only me, and I can do it.

Kale will grow in shade

Kale will grow in shade

Even ‘I can try’ is a more positive attitude. ‘I can’t’ may as well hang up her gardening gloves and let the slugs loose. Standing at the back door surveying layers of soggy leaves and hoping the curly kale will grow when it hasn’t been given the slightest encouragement or protection is not a positive approach.

So I cleared the leaves; I spread cow manure and mushroom compost; I sprinkled pellets that will discourage the slugs; I erected barriers so Maggie won’t climb into the beds to eat the new soil or chew on the pellets, and I planted some shade-loving vegetables.

The pots are protected

The pots are protected

It’s also finally time to admit that I couldn’t have picked a worse spot to plant the grapefruit – at the end of wind tunnel against a chilly south-facing wall (we’re in the southern hemisphere for anyone wondering) – so it’s time to admit the tree needs help. Standing at the back door rueing the sight of its stunted growth and yellowing leaves won’t help.

You can afford to neglect a plant that has good soil and plenty of sunshine, in a protected spot with ideal growing conditions. It will grow. It will grow even better if you feed it and take care of it.

But in the wrong environment that plant has no chance of thriving unless it gets regular attention and extra help, including good soil, regular feeding and protection from pests. The odds are stacked against my grapefruit so it will need all the help it can get. That means more manure, compost, lime, potash and mulch, as well as regular watering.

I'm hoping the grapefruit will produce buds like the lime and lemon have

I’m hoping the grapefruit will produce buds like the lime and lemon have

It may not be sufficient of course, and if it doesn’t work I’ll have to consider uprooting the tree and replanting it elsewhere. It could take years to get over the shock, its growth will be hampered originally but hopefully, in the long run, it will benefit.

We’re all connected on this beautiful planet and we all – people, plants and animals – get affected by our environment. We can choose to do something to protect and improve that environment, or we can neglect it.

So I’m not done yet. I’m not giving up on this back yard, or that grapefruit tree, and when I next get the chance to get out into the garden I’ll be doing everything I can to help it along.

The wise old owl is watching

The wise old owl is watching

Here endeth the lesson.

I’m off to talk to a Women’s Fellowship group at the Uniting Church in Dapto.







10 comments on “I’m not done yet

  1. Grey Dove
    July 23, 2015

    I’m cheering for You! Anyone who sets out to help, support and love their plot of land is someone I am sending positive thoughts and energies too.

    May I suggest spraying some of your slugs’ favourite plants with neem oil? Should give the slugs pause and won’t hurt the plant. Never under estimate the power of dish detergent and water as a repellent either!

    Maybe a wand won’t help but I always talk to the spirits of this place, of the land and of the plants, … they do like the recognition.

    Best of luck! I hope your garden responds and rewards you generously! Also hope your talk went well!

    Grey Dove


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      July 24, 2015

      Thank you for that energy and help Grey Dove, I’ll be out with my spray gun later tonight, filled with a blend of oil and dish detergent. The talk went well and the women I met were such fun, a wonderful example of the joy to be had in community and fellowship. There is much to celebrate… 🙂


  2. Jane @ Shady Baker
    July 23, 2015

    I like your style Deb! Happy gardening to you.


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      July 24, 2015

      Thanks Jane, every time I take a photo I think of you and your fabulous blog – something to aspire to!


  3. Adele Hughes
    July 26, 2015

    We watched a DVD of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” recently with friends, by a warm fire, with a good red.
    I just loved the quote – “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end”.
    So your garden has lots of time to be nurtured, cared for & even transplanted if needs be.
    Just believe that “it will be all right in the end” Deb!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      July 27, 2015

      Yes! Love that quote and loved that film. And I hope there’s plenty of time left for me and my garden to mature together. Thanks Adele, hope all’s well for you and yours.


  4. candidkay
    July 28, 2015

    I so admire your persistence and fortitude! In a week where I look at the weeds and avoid pulling them (90 degrees and buggy), your optimism is inspiring!


  5. debhuntwasinbrokenhill
    July 31, 2015

    Thanks Kay, I’m huddled in my studio next to the heater right now, optimism dependent on the amount of coffee left in the jug!


  6. Sherry
    August 27, 2015

    Would love to hear you speak, and see your garden. Glad all went well. Thank you so much for always visiting my blog. Have a great day.


    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      August 28, 2015

      Hello Sherry it’s always a pleasure to drop by your blog, it’s like popping in on a like-minded neighbour, especially one with chickens!!

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2015 by .

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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