Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prickly Borage and Fragrant Passion Flowers

After a deliriously delightful lull over the Christmas holiday, it's "back to work in the garden" for me.  I spent a good few hours yesterday, trimming, deadheading and lightly pruning excessive growth.  Once again, I was astounded to see how rampantly the plants that populate my garden had grown, in the absence of the normal care they receive from me.  It's as if they deliberately commune with one another to see which one can outgrow the others whilst my back is turned.  The race is on and, by the time I'm ready to resume my daily pottering, I barely recognise the garden as my own.  Please click the read more button below to continue...

Initially, the task seems daunting.  How am I possibly going to be able to regain control of these runaway plants?  I sound the siren, warning everyone and everything in my way that I'm on the war-path.  The secateurs and trimmers are brought out purposefully and brandished impressively.  I make a great show of "meaning business!"  My family are warned not to expect breakfast, lunch or supper for the entire day.  My sunscreen is smudged on hurriedly (time is at a premium, you understand!), garden shoes and hat pulled on equally hurriedly and, with a last flurried reminder to not expect me indoors before the last rays of the sun have set, I head off to tackle my task.

I usually start working from one part of the garden and gradually make my way right around the entire garden.  It's at times such as these that I realise my modestly-sized garden is far more than I can comfortably manage alone.   As the panic levels start to elevate and my heartbeats quicken their pace, I breathe deeply and tell myself how fortunte I am that it's not a lot bigger!!!  At roughly that moment in time, I bravely pick up the secateurs and make my first surgical cut.  There, that wasn't too difficult...let's try another and another and another, until eventually I'm "in the zone" and I become completely and utterly immersed in the process.

What had started out as war, starts to feel more like love.  I lovingly tackle each section of the garden, no longer as an automaton, but as a nurturer, determined to gently mould and guide the growth of each wayward plant.  I start to take joy in tallying up the number of gardenwaste baskets I manage to fill, tipping each load onto the compost pile knowing that, in the months to come, they will have been transformed into a fragrantly rich humus.

I rejoice in the breeze that cools my beaded brow and feel grateful for the little birds that flit about, busily hunting worms and taking quick dips in the water features.  Being outdoors with them, I'm able to truly appreciate them in their own time and space.  It feels as though we're all merged into one, the plants, the myriad creatures that inhabit the garden, the vibrant fresh air and the gloriously blue sky.  I realise that I'm truly alive and enjoying every moment!

What a miraculous change has happened in the few hours since I'd first stepped outdoors.  Nature, in all her wisdom, has taught me to bask in the moment, to work with rather than against her and to relish the freedom that comes from being immersed in her wide open spaces.  I briefly touch the prickly borage leaves (Yes, they are really prickly!  I cannot imagine how one could possibly eat them in a salad!), then gaze at the exquisitely blue flowers bobbing like stars in the bright, breezy sunshine.  It's because of these glorious flowers that I grow borage in the garden!  The bees and butterflies love them, too!

I walk across to admire the perfectly formed passion flowers and numerous, newly formed passionfruits hanging like baubles from their lush vine and I'm reminded of soon being able to pick the ripened fruit to spoon onto freshly made fruit salads - the granadilla, to me, is one of the essential ingredients to a memorably delicious fruit salad!

I come, at last, to the realisation that there is no race.  Nature has just been doing what she does best, getting on with the ongoing cycles of life and death.  Being summer here, we're experiencing all this abundant overgrowth as part of this cycle and, rather than bemoaning the "extra workload," I should be revelling in the richness and vibrancy of life, in all forms, all around me, right here in my garden.  I am truly blessed!   

Let yourself be open and life will be easier.
  A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable.
  A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.

~ Buddha ~



  1. Hello Desiree.....thanks for the nice comment on my blog !!......and o what a beautiful pictures !!! that pasiflora is great !!...have a nice end of the year week.......lots of love from me......

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


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

  2. It is such a pleasure to see your summery pictures when it is cold and wet outside. I got jealous reading about your work in the garden!

  3. I know what you mean about once you get out and start the pruning, it is therapeutic! I have some pruning that needs doing now, but it's too cold for me this week. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with the pruners I enjoy it so much. The passionflowers are so pretty! I've seen them in gardens here, but never the fruit. Maybe our season isn't hot or long enough.

  4. Another insightful post. How true! Many times I've gone out the door feeling daunted and ended the day with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment after being "in the zone.

    You have passion flowers. I'm jealous. They're so exotic and beautiful. And you get fruit from them. Yum!

  5. I loooooooooooooove passionfruit and those ones look like they will be incredibly tasty when ripe! Those are such beautiful and unique flowers, such gorgeous patterns!

  6. Hi Desiree, Thank you for visiting my blog and for the kind comments. To marvel in summer.... I love your post. It makes me long for sunny, warm days of nothing but birdsong, bee-buzz and the clip clip of my pruners. Beautiful post. You're quite the writer, dear friend. I'll be coming back. :)

  7. I have seen these, which surprises me as they are so different from what we normally see here in California...
    There is nothing like losing yourself in snipping, and deadheading and grooming...it's the most relaxing thing I do other than play my piano.

  8. OOOH! You play the piano - lovely! We had hoped the piano lessons our daughter had while still at school would have inspired her to continue through life, but sadly, her teacher(s) turned it into a chore and she lost interest.

    Gardening is something I learnt from my Mother. She is one of those amazing people who can make a garden anywhere from anything! She and my Dad live in Austrlia now, though, so sadly, we don't get to enjoy this shared passion together anymore.


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