My Friendship Garden

Angela's hydrangea

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.”
~ Alfred Tennyson

 

I cut some hydrangea flowers this week, and placed them in a glass by my kitchen sink. They’re Angela’s hydrangeas, or at least that’s how I think of them. They have grown from cuttings taken from her garden, and she helped me to press the woody cut stems into the pots where they now flourish. Angela passed away last year, but the plants she gifted me anchor her memory and energy at my home.

So much of my garden has come from friends. It’s something I learned from my Nana. She had a friendship garden and now I do too.

hippies-shannon

I have hippeastrums from Shannon, who lives at the farm across the creek from us.

When the water is low we can walk across the creek at the shallowest part to share a cuppa at each other’s house. Hi, Shannon! 🙂

My herb garden has rosemary from a cutting I stole from a bush beside the butcher shop at Forest Hill back when I was a student. Cuttings of that rosemary have travelled everywhere with me, ever since.There’s also lemon-scented thyme from Sue, one of my students who knows I love cooking, and Thai basil from Tili the waitress at a favourite restaurant in Brisbane.

 

2014-12-08 15.16.30

I have a red rose from Agnes, an old lady at the CWA who couldn’t believe that I didn’t know roses would grow from cuttings.

They do!

roses and gardenias

There are bromeliads – from Nana, from Vynette’s mum Leanna, and from my friend Lynda’s grandparents. They make wonderful homes for small frogs and I love their unusual flowers.

pink-bromeliad

And I have a gorgeous spreading soft-leaved groundcover with white flowers from my friend Marlene. I have no idea what it is called, but I am reminded of her every time I see it.

I’ll tell her how much I love it when I meet her for coffee this morning!

I can thoroughly recommend having a friendship garden. It’s one of the most meaningful blessings in my life. <3

2016-04-20 16.50.26

 

Autumn Garden

2016-04-20 16.43.56

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
~ Jane Austen

 

It’s a cool, damp morning here at the farm.

And oh so pretty!

Come walk with me, in my Autumn garden…

2016-04-23 10.24.09 2016-04-22 09.46.07 2016-04-22 09.44.44 2016-04-20 16.42.18 2016-04-20 16.42.05 2016-04-20 16.41.52 2016-04-20 16.44.32 2016-04-13 07.16.31 2016-04-14 07.49.38

2016-04-20 16.50.26

Misty Morning Wonderland

2012-05-07 06.02.22

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

 

It’s so good to be home.

The dogs and I went for a very early walk. We have six new calves and the unseasonably warm weather means that our paddocks are lush with dewy grass, and the dam is still full.

Closer to home the guava tree is groaning under a new crop of fruit and our lemon tree is also so heavy with fruit that some limbs are touching the ground. I can already taste the guava cake and lemon butter I will make with them.

Friends are arriving today, and then we will be off to Bluesfest.

But right now Ben and I are off to the Mullum Farmers Markets to stock up on some local goodness.

Did I mention it’s so good to be home?

2016-02-24 10.53.49

2012-03-03 18.42.19

2012-05-30 14.12.27

2012-03-25 08.15.36

2013-03-07 08.02.42

2014-03-14 15.41.52

2012-04-03 09.22.06

Signs of Spring

gate

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
~ Mark Twain

 

The days are slowly getting longer. Nights are cold, but the days are warm. The sun, at midday, makes you think of watermelon and swimming in the sea.

The first of the jasmine is out. Its fragrant flowers scent the night air.

jasmine

The magnolia is in flower. All day bees buzz in and out of the deep petal bowls, taking their fill of nectar and pollen.

mags

The young calves run together as a cadre. They specialise in wriggling under fences and into the orchard or my vegetable garden. I try to be mad at them, but they are too cute.

Silver

The grass is soft underfoot, flowers are blooming and my lettuce and tomatoes are going mad with the sudden increase in temperature.

toms lettuce

We’re piling windfallen timber for the last of the bonfires before everything dries off and burning is finished until next winter.

pile

I love the sweet fragrant woodsmoke when we set the burn piles alight on a still evening.

bonfire

Everything feels brighter. The birds are chirpy. The plants are budding. Flowers are bursting forth.

It’s good to be alive!

Camelia

Flowers with your Green Smoothie?

2014-10-22 06.29.59

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”
~ Iris Murdoch

 

Each morning when I venture out to the garden to pick a few herbs or some kale for my breakfast smoothie, I rejoice in the flowers which grow in the tumbling wilderness that is my vegetable garden.

2014-10-22 06.30.41

I have always grown flowers alongside my herbs and vegetables. Flowers attract bees, they cleverly lure away pests, and most importantly, they bring me joy.

2014-10-22 06.30.27

When did a food garden need to be so business-like that there was no room for whimsy, colour or self-expression?

Besides, fairies like flowers too.

2014-10-22 06.31.06

I finally tore myself away from flower appreciation long enough to pick a few leaves for breakfast.

This morning’s green smoothie?

Kale, pear, apple, broccoli and coconut. Delicious!

2014-09-05 12.43.23

 

A Flower Mandala for Heart Chakra Healing

2014-04-13 16.14.32

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.” 
Colette

 

I’ve been overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude since coming home to our little farm.

I have also been overwhelmed with a shimmering grief. And really, that’s okay.

As I work on the rough draft of my Kimberley story, I’ve been remembering not just all of the wonderful things that have happened in my life, but also the difficult things, the sad things, the things so hard that I can scarcely breathe for thinking about them.

While I stood in the garden sipping from a mug of hot tea yesterday, the blooming camelias reminded me of my childhood, and I thought about how flowers connect me to some of the most treasured relationships in my life.

I decided to use my afternoon meditation time to make a mandala for heart chakra healing – and to send out love, blessings, gratitude and compassion for all of the people who have crossed my path (including you!). The mandala is centered with a blue howlite Crystal.

Of course, Harry and Bert helped immensely in the construction of our floral offering too…

We offer this mandala to you with much love ♥ xoxo

2014-04-13 16.06.39

 

2014-04-13 16.07.05

 

2014-04-13 16.09.34

 

2014-04-13 16.14.47

 

Morning, after rain

Bromeliad_Tree_Frog  “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

~ Henry Beston

 

It rained last night.  Not just gentle rain but heavy, loud on the roof soaking rain. Nearly an inch of it.

The world is washed clean this morning, and the sun is out.  The birds are singing, and so am I.

Come for a walk around the farm with me…

farm

 

SONY DSC

 

rainy garden

 

creek

 

2013-03-30 17.02.41

 

2013-03-31 09.12.49

Living in the Lyme Light…

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller (June, 1880 – June, 1968)

I’d love to be blogging something wonderful for you, and indeed that was my intention – I’ve got so much good stuff planned – but the past few days I’ve been struggling with some severe herxing reactions from my Lyme meds.

As the antibiotics kill off the Borrelia bacteria in my body, they release potent toxins which make me feel quite dreadful. Fevers, chest pain, rashes, joint pain, muscle spasms, sleep disturbance, nausea and all those nasty bits that go with it, wonky eyes and headaches.

Sorry, that’s not very exciting reading for you, and it’s certainly not thrilling at my end. (And I still have years of this therapy to go…)  But that’s the nature of chronic illness.  You have your good days and your bad, and you have to make the best of it.  No point in complaining – you just learn to hang in there through the low times until there’s an upwards swing again.

So until I’m feeling a little brighter here’s some distraction for us.

My little farmhouse is filled with flowers, courtesy of a big bucket of dahlias from the farmers up the road.  I hope they give you some of the same happiness they’ve given me.

Flowers hold a strong positive and healing vibration which emanates out and uplifts everything around them.  Which flowers, shapes and colours do you resonate with most?

2013-03-19 11.31.34From this glorious bucket of blooms I got:

2013-03-19 14.06.57

2013-03-19 14.08.54

2013-03-19 14.08.14

2013-03-19 14.07.03

2013-03-19 14.06.50

2013-03-19 14.10.25

2013-03-19 13.30.57

And for all of you dealing with chronic illness, or with the care of those with illness and disability, I’m sending all my love to you! Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

Hopefully me and my blog will soon be back to normal programming…

♥ Nicole xx

Flowers, Friendship and Gardens

Jewel Metcalfe’s Pink Flowering Cactus Plant

I took a walk around my farm this morning.  Spring is here, and after a little rain everything has burst into flower.

When I was a little girl, my Nana always told me that hers was a friendship garden.  When I asked what she meant, she told me that most of her plants had come from friends, and that she thought of them whenever she looked at the plants that had grown from their cuttings or transplants.

Now I have a friendship garden too.  At my back door this morning, a cactus plant given to me by a dear friend’s equally beautiful mum has put forth magnificent pink blooms.

“Oh,” I said to myself.  “That’s Jewel’s cactus plant flowering.”  I thought of Jewel and then of her daughter Carly coming to visit me from the city in her Jeep, dressed in crazy hot pants and gum boots, and with a bag full of cuttings from her mother’s garden.

Rose Geranium from my Mum’s garden

Up by the pool, the rose geranium has gone mad. Every time you brush past it a delicious fragrance is released. I first took a cutting from a plant at my mum’s twenty years ago when I was at College.  The cutting went into a pot, and that pot travelled many places before being put into the garden of my first home in Brisbane.  When I moved, I took a cutting and planted it at my new home.  Then I broke a bit off and planted some at my farm…

Geraniums? Not a one in my garden has come from a shop!

Pink Geranium from Jenny at the coffee shop

Red Geranium from Valerie Askew’s garden – a neighbour at our previous farm

 

Coral geranium from my old uni friend, Sam Enders

In my vegetable garden, my garlic chives came from seeds from a plant at the top of steps to my other grandmother’s back door.  Marga’s chives, I think of them as, and I am immediately transported back to her house, her garden, and her kitchen.

Marga’s Garlic Chives

The Hippeastrums that bloom under my jacaranda tree came from George the Cabbie, who was my next-door-neighbour at my first house in Brisbane.  His wife called me ‘Nicky Love’ and they were always at the fence ready for a chat.  George has passed on now, but I still think of him when his ‘hippies’ bloom.

George’s Striped Hippeastrums

I must be getting old, because I’m thinking like my Nana.  Memories everywhere in this little garden of mine.  There is something very precious to me about being able to look around my garden, and not see just plants, but people.

My heart feels very full this morning. ♥

Signs of Spring

Mock Orange from my garden

Down here in Australia (where our seasons are reversed from Europe and America), Spring is just around the corner, and already there are signs that she is close at hand.  As I lie in bed, or sit on my verandah, I inhale a heavenly bouquet, and it fills me with hope and renewal.

The heavy fragrance of mock orange (Philadelphus) floods the air.

There is a sweeter, lighter note, which is the flowering Meyer Lemon at my kitchen door.

My flowering Meyer Lemon

The heady scent of Jasmine lingers strongly at the close of day…

The first bursts of sweet Jasmine

And my favourite springtime treat, the Magnolia’s rich fragrance, reaches far into the evening.

Mmmmm….. Magnolia!

Spring certainly seems to be spreading more energy than just perfume.  There is romance in the air too, all around my little farm.  So much to be grateful for. Hooray for Spring! ♥

Fairywrens getting cosy before making a nest together ♥