Gardening and Me

It is always said in gardening articles, magazines, blogs and so on that creating and maintaining gardens is satisfying, gentle exercise.

Pfft! Gentle my foot! Each garden I have ever created and maintained has been pure hard work.

There have been many gardens in my lifetime, including the little bed of phlox I adored and nurtured when I was a little girl. I was so happy with my little garden bed on the edge of my father’s huge vegetable garden, and when the phlox died off each summer, I would sow bird seed for my mother’s budgie Simon. He was very appreciative.


In New Zealand I had large vegetable gardens and the front flower garden was always a colourful range of blooms lining the paths up to the front door.

On my return to Oz, the first garden in Perth was large and very time consuming with wisteria, grape and hoya vines, fruit trees, bougainvillea on the fences, hibiscus and oleander bushes trimmed to hedges, roses, a vegetable plot as well as dozens of baskets hanging from the huge pergola at the back of the house.

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After my first marriage disintegrated I lived for a couple of years in a town house. The courtyard was full of pots but didn’t prove to be enough for me so I built a house and started again. Another big garden…..and so it goes on.  One house boasted a huge pond full of gold fish complete with water plants. They are not easy to care for so don’t be fooled by their apparent beauty and nonchalant independence.

Our move to Victoria involved creating gardens on just over two acres. The ground was like cement when we first bought it and my plans of having trees in and growing while the house was being built were stymied somewhat on the first day I tried to stab a spade into the ground. My body reverberated with the shock as if I’d hit a brick wall! Eventually the garden blossomed as you can see by the pics below. It was my pride and joy in spite of the heavy work, the freezing cold conditions (those winds were cutting) and the relentless frosts.

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The garden looked established when we left it five years later. The bore was a godsend and saved many plants in the drought we endured for 2 of those years, followed by cold harsh winters with frosts and snow. The very reason we decided to sell up and move to sunny Queensland.

Renting for a year before our move north, I decided to do something about the garden at the rental which was depressing to say the least. Below are before and after shots.


front garden March front garden progress 2 Jan.


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I hope the next tenant was a gardener and took care of my hard work. The garden was the prettiest in the street and the owner of the home and the agent were in love with it.

Which brings me to this garden in Queensland. I hope you will travel along with me as we create a new garden here over the next year or so.

Our first job was to get rid of all the old palms that were threatening to fall over (shallow root systems) and housed bats which no doubt carried the dreaded Hendra virus and other infectious diseases. Greenies say they are essential to the environment – I say they are flying vermin.

A particular type of gum trees grew in the main garden also which had been declared a noxious weed by the Agricultural Dept here so we felt happy about having them removed pronto. They oozed a sap which was very sticky (more so than normal sap) that entrapped small birds and bees. I can only imagine the horrible death these creatures would suffer.

Here are some before shots of the garden round the actual house before the tree loppers moved in. The previous owners were keen bromeliad growers too….great watery homes for mosquitoes that had to go.



Along with the house we purchased the block next door which was something like a jungle as shown below:

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Included in this jungle was an old run down hut that was very shaky to say the least. It all had to go.

Demolition guys moved in and did a sterling job at clearing the block next door, while the team of 3 tree loppers worked on the trees and rubbish round the house. Massive job for all concerned. Expensive too. Worth it, we hope!

The old fences were then removed and replaced, but that’s another story for the next blog. I hope you stay with me on this…it’s a long bumpy road but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel now that my arm is almost healed and I can actually do a bit of manual work in the garden again.

Looking forward to some gentle exercise…..*snort*.




3 thoughts on “Gardening and Me

  1. Robert Fray January 5, 2016 at 8:31 am Reply

    As you say, Jo, there is no such thing as ‘gentle’ gardening. If it’s ‘gentle’ you’re not doing it right!! But when all is done and dusted, and you’ve showered, vacuumed up the debris trailed through the ground floor, and had a refreshing snort or two, it IS satisfying to look out and see the results. (And then next door’s moggie comes along and ………

    • joskehan January 6, 2016 at 1:18 am Reply

      We all love next door’s dog don’t we? Have a drink and forget about it is my solution. xx

  2. Mags Cullingford January 5, 2016 at 5:17 pm Reply

    Respect, Jo!

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