We did everything in our garden, played, entertained, raised little animals, we had all our Christmas parties, and birthday parties and many family gatherings in our garden. We really didn't spend much time inside, we were always outside playing. My Grandfather, Pa (who lived with us) sat everyday in our garden, on hot summer days and the cold of winter in his very own special chair on the patio.
My grandmother (Nana) loved gardening, she always wore a large garden hat and she just had a knack for growing things, Nana would pour the tea leaves from our tea pot every day over our gardenia tree which was always full of flowers and near the kitchen window. This gardenia tree was always fragrant and very beautiful, it is one of my very favourite flowers (I do have many) and we always had a vase of gardenias in our home.
We had a huge wisteria growing in our front garden, camellias, fruit trees, magnolias and white azaleas. On Sundays we would drive off to many local nurseries and while my mother talked with the growers we would play in the rows of plants running over little bridges and playing hide and seek. I just love the smell of fresh soil and a good sprinkle of manure. I know that sounds crazy, but I do!
Growing up on the North Shore of Sydney every weekend the lawns would be mowed then the clippings and cuttings would be burnt. (You would hear mowers for miles) How crazy were our parents, not only was there a haze of smoke covering Sydney's North, (not to mention what they were doing to the ozone layer) but they were burning all that wonderful garden mix.
A garden is a very special place, a sacred place, a breathing space. Somewhere to clear your mind and then fill it back up again with lovely fresh thoughts.
I have a lovely long view from my back garden looking across to a mountain. There are cows in the paddock in the distance, I have many fruit trees, apples, plums, a cherry, lilac, roses and even a peppercorn tree which is just outside our bedroom window and is very popular at the moment with the native birds. We live next door to a large bush area which I love very much as the bird life is incredible and many people stroll through with their dogs.
As some of you may know, we have now lived in the Southern Highlands of N.S.W for 16 years and there are magnificent well known gardens here. Bowral has tulip time every year which attracts thousands of visitors from the city. Many of our friends have beautiful large gardens and there are many local garden clubs, shops and associations. My garden is very small and nothing compared to the many homes here, but I am very lucky as I have visited many of these special spots and have many memories of lovely times spent with friends. Many have full time gardeners, some are just for show, but the gardens that I love the most are the private old gardens hidden away behind a high hedge or down an old country lane.