Friday, December 31, 2010

The Passage of Time

It's a little over a year since my husband set me up with my very first greenhouse.
  This time last year, it was still virtually brand new, filled with newly bought plants and sought out treasures
to add character and make it "my space"
...a delightful little refuge to escape to...
for dreaming and pottering
...and quite probably, if truth be told, for me to stay safely out of my husband's hair for a few hours each day ;)

Please click the read more button below to continue... 

It was truly beautiful in all its newness!

  I was the happiest woman alive! 

I'd almost found my idea of Nirvana...but,
there was just one small thing missing...
the earthy, slightly musky, damp smell
that goes hand-in-hand with mosses and ferns.

...The smell of age...  

All along it had been my intention to let my greenhouse age,
as quickly as possible. 
The bricked floor was still too new and everything else looked too perfect,
too placed,
great for taking fairly impressive pictures, of course
and for the purposes of showing it off,
but this is not what I was after.

I wanted it to assume that wonderfully aged, mossy,
casual-leaning-towards-haphazard-in-a-controlled-sort-of-way look.
  A happy mix of the type of look I'd associated with visits
to large(r) conservatories and tumbledown, nursery greenhouses.

 I wanted self-seeded ferns to surprise me as they pushed through
the cracks and crannies. 
I wanted dewy mosses to soften my tread and cling
to the sides of my terracotta pots.
  I wanted dainty little spiderwebs to form and thrill me with their magic,
as they would when bejewelled by the fine spray
of the overhead irrigation misters my husband had so thoughtfully
installed for me. 
I wanted the new "statuary" to take on an aged pattina,
so it would begin to resemble the genuine, old statuary
seen in Italian villages. 

 This, I knew, would take time and it was unlikely I'd be able to hurry along the process for it to look authentic.
  I deliberated with the "painting everything with yoghurt" suggestion,
but I didn't want the bad smell that would probably have accompanied
that idea! 
I decided the best way was to allow nature to take its own path.
  I reasoned that provided I allowed fallen debris, leaves and soil particles
to gather and gradually rot,
forming a fine mat of potential growth medium,
nature would do the rest for me. 
The fern and moss spores would find their way in. 

 At this point, I think it's only fair to admit that I am actually somewhat of a "neatness freak" when it pertains to the interior of my home,
so willingly allowing dust particles, dead leaves and other matter to freely fall, remain and actually build up,
is not really in my nature!

  In fact, if you must know more, I really do abhor dust and dirt.
  I'm only happy when the bathroom is pristine enough,
so that IF I felt I wanted to serve dinner in there, I could!
  I also have an unavoidable compulsion
to fold  the end of the toilet paper roll,
to make everything look untouched.

  I'm almost fanatical about basins being left dry and shiny,
after each and every use
and this is before we even begin to think about my kitchen OCDs!

I only have white towels and linen throughout the house
and we remove our shoes when we enter our home...
not because we live in a snowy, muddy landscape. 
Simply because shoes pick up who-knows-what-unmentionable-grime,
that I definitely don't want on my carpets!

So, you see, my gardening side allows my less fastidious alter-ego to surface because, in the garden,
I value fallen leaves, broken twigs, bits of wood and rock and hefty logs.
Out there, they become not only objects of beauty,
but items with the potential to rot and age
and turn into rich organic mulch;
to wither, and grow mosses and fungi,
and provide food and homes to hundreds of minute creatures.

And, this alter-ego of mine becomes quite delirious, euphoric even, 
when cradling a good fistful of rich, black earth,
smelling of dampness and teeming with life.  

The "neatness freak" kicks right back in
when leaves are blown on and into places they are not allowed! 
These forbidden areas are the driveway, footpaths and front and back entrances to our home.

Right now, we are slap bang in the middle of one of the windiest periods
in my memory.
  Our south easter has been blowing for days on end,
without letting up for a moment!
  My usual, reasonably polite annoyance has swung uncontrollably into manic overdrive right now..

  ...and there's absolutely nothing
that I can do about it. 
Nature is having her way, regardless!

So, being in the garden today, was not very much fun,
as I kept on noticing ever-growing piles of leaf litter
that I either had to step on,
step over or skid on.

  Why can't the wind be more considerate
and blow the leaves into the flowerbeds and onto my compost pile?
  Why is it that they ALL have to end up in messy piles
right outside the kitchen door
and on top of the carport roof,
where they gather and fall like rain all day long?   
Why on earth did we plant the messiest tree in our garden
(a huge, weeping pepper tree!)
right outside the kitchen, where by far the most mess occurs?
  And where I'm forced to confront it
every single time
I step outdoors!

So, today, I escaped to my greenhouse -
there, I can close the door behind me.  
I can still hear the wind taunting me,
but it cannot get at me. 
I had my camera with me today
and I quietly revelled in all the changes that have occurred
in the year since my greenhouse
was first erected. 

 Nature has been having a lot of fun in there...
and, if you'd been paying attention to the pictures, 
while you've been scrolling down to read
the rivetting account of  the first year
in the life of my greenhouse,
you would have spotted some of these changes, too ;)


  1. What a beautiful clock that is !!! nice nice......again ......lovely day tomorrow !!!.....i go sleep now it is very late !!!!.....stttt..don't tell it further !! hahahhahah!!

    EEN HEEL GOED EN GEZOND 2011 !!!...


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    WARM HUGS FROM ME ........

  2. Hi Desiree, Some things just can't be rushed I guess. Beautiful photos! Makes me long for summer again. Or a greenhouse, or both!

  3. Well, I found something that we don't have in common. I wish I was better at keeping up with my housework.

    I don't have a greenhouse, either. I love yours, and it looks like you are making great use of it.

  4. Sue, when I don't put on my specs, I can't see the dust ;)

    I really do feel very privileged having a greenhouse to play in.

  5. Oh dear! You would find my housekeeping habits quite slovenly by comparison I fear!

    I have a small greenhouse which i mainly use for growing tomatoes. Neither the boys nor I actually like tomatoes straight from the plant, but it provides me with something to give back to my Hindu neighbours in return for all their generous donations of Indian food (DROOL)

  6. Welcome back, H:

    Hope you had a good rest over the Christmas break.

    Please allow for a modicum of poetic licence in the telling of my housekeeping OCDs ;)

    Aren't you just so lucky to have Hindu neighbours - not only giving you the wonderful opportunity to share in a different culture, but being able to enjoy their marvellous food as well!

    I LOVE eating freshly plucked salad sized tomatoes from my garden while I'm out there in the evening, watering!


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