Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rich Or Poor - How Rich Are You?

It all depends on the way you look at so aptly illustrated by the following story.
The author is unknown.  I found this on the Pearls of Wisdom website @

One day, a rich father took his son on a trip out into the countryside, with the firm purpose of showing him how poor people can be.

They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family.  When they returned home from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"Very good Dad!"

"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.


"And what did you learn?"

The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home and they have four.  We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden.  They have a creek that has no end!  We have imported lamps in the garden.  They have the stars!  Our patio reaches to the front yard.   They have a whole horizon!"

When the son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!" his father was speechless.

A simple collection of sticks and stones off set against the peeling bark of our Ulmus Parvifolia (Japanese elm).  The grey spiky foliage of the air plant adds complementary colour and texture.
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With this charming tale in mind, I thought I'd share with you a few of the priceless treasures and sources of personal pleasure afforded to me by my own garden.  Most of us have access to so much beauty right under our noses, yet many of us spend a large portion of our lives frantically yearning and searching for bigger, better, brighter.

Paradoxically, seldom do we feel truly contented when we eventually attain these largely artificial sources of perceived satisfaction.  The yearning returns and the chase starts all over again.

How much happier we'd be were we to look for the source of true contentment, often right before our eyes...again, paradoxically, if we'd only take the time, the precious time that is allocated to each of us for this lifetime, instead of squandering it in our desperate and wild pursuit of BIGGER, BETTER, BRIGHTER!  

This is the (zoomed in!) view we have from our top terrace, seating area (trees, sky, mountain - nature's free gifts, available to all who take the time to look).

I love the way light reflects off the water bubbling in this urn and the gently soothing sound it makes.  It's a favourite evening bathing spot for the tiny white eyes that visit our garden.

My recumbant fuschia fairy in the greenhouse.  She seems to have discovered true contentment.

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure: where your treasure, there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness.
~ Saint Augustine (354-430) ~

The potted Eureka lemon tree growing in my garden provides us with all the lemons we need.  I enjoy the heady perfume of the blossoms and get to pick fresh lemons whenever I want.
Natural forests always have twining, creeping, twisted, gnarled ropes of breathtaking beauty.  It will be a long time before this young creeper develops the character of those forest grown beauties, but to me, it's still beautiful and worth stopping to admire closely.  We're hoping it will eventually cover one of the water tanks along the top boundary wall of the garden, where it is growing.  Here ,the creeper is making the acquaintance of a hibiscus shrub which was planted to try and camouflage the water tank beside which it is growing!   Hopefully, between them, they'll succeed!

This is one of the asparagus ferns - it can become quite invasive in my garden left unchecked, but when it does, we simply cut it back ruthlessly and it starts anew.  It's far too beautiful to banish forever.  It looks especially good picked and added to a vase of roses and lasts well.

Lavender!  How sweet the perfume, crushed between ones fingers or left tucked between freshly laundered and folded towels.  You don't need to be rich in dollars, pounds, euros, yens, rands or any other currency of your choosing, in order to enjoy the priceless gifts surrounding us all in nature.

Regular visitors to my blog will know, by now, of my passionate affinity with ferns.  Maidenhair is my favourite FAVOURITE fern!  Just look at the exquisitely delicate form of this one - new tiny fronds gently uncurling in the softest, loveliest shade of green, displayed on the slimmest of slim, slender ebony stems.  They look so fragile, yet they are really quite hardy provided they receive regular watering. They thrive in compost rich soil and enjoy being sprayed with a hose in very hot weather.  

Yet another tiny basin of water, this is in my greenhouse and is currently the receptacle for these tiny, rooting, fuschia cuttings.  It has a beauty all of its own. 

The contrasting leaf shapes in this small basin of water are nature's very own work of art.

Another of several receptacles for water placed in my garden.  This one lives on the table beneath the yellowwood tree on the top terraced, seating area.  I found it at a "snuffelwinkel" (junk shop).  It bears an inscription on its underside, and was clearly someone's lovingly handmade creation in its past life.  Rejected...and found by me, to enjoy its resurrection gracing this spot in my garden and providing me with yet another source of delight.  I enjoy floating tiny flowers in the water.  The small piece of wood is a knot of dead ivy creeper - I have twisted a little piece of found copper wire around it to add a bit of extra interest and rich colour.

How often do you turn your eyes heavenwards to gaze up into the statuesque beauty of a tree growing in your garden?  This is our swamp cypress (zoomed in view!).  The dead creeper attached to its bark is English ivy.  We cleared it at ground level and as high as we could reach, as it was becoming too rampant in the tree and we did not want to risk strangulation of the tree.  I love the patterns left on the tree by the dead ivy runners.

How often, in the daily busyness of life, do YOU look deeply into the heart of a simple flower growing in your garden?  Such perfect beauty just waiting to reveal itself!

One of my favourite pieces of driftwood.  The peace-in-the-home planted recently is establishing itself very nicely in one of the time-worn hollows of the wood.  What could be more captivating than this?  A spider's paradise. 

This truly superb natural wooden challice was a recent gift from my wonderful husband.  He knows the way to my heart is not through shiny trinkets, fashion clothes, bags and shoes - my heart strings make music when I'm given compost, rocks, pebbles, pieces of driftwood and fresh flowers.  He learnt this a long time ago and, throughout our marriage, has sought out these priceless treasures for me.

To me, a garden must offer great textural variety - I am especially drawn to the textures of natural elements (twigs, sticks, logs, bark, stones, rock).  This roughly woven bird house speaks to that side of me and, of course, I'm always hoping a little bird will make its home here ;)

 I am drawn to the magic of reflections in both mirror and pools of water and have several instances of both throughout my garden ensuring a constant source of delightful enchantment. 

Again, regular readers of Driftwood Ramblings know by now how I value the bark and logs I use to add depth and richness to the character of my garden.
A rock with interesting hollows carved out by the action of water, wind and time - a found treasure - now nestled amongst bark and leaf litter in my garden.  When it rains or the garden is watered, the small hollows fill up with water and provide the ghekos with safe drinking spots. 

Another of life's simple pleasures to me is being able to refill the bird feeders and then sit back and enjoy the birds that come dining in our garden.  Could there be anything more priceless than that?

If you're too busy rushing from point A - Z in this life, you miss out on spotting the chameleon visiting your garden!  This one was rescued by my husband and son, whilst it was crossing a busy suburban road and brought safely home to take up residence in our garden.  Aren't his colours amazing?

It behoves each of us to remember the following...

"Life moves in one direction only - and each day we are faced with an actual set of circumstances, not with what might have been, not with what we might have done, but with what is, and with where we are now - and from this point we must proceed; not from where we were, not from where we wish we were - but from where we are."
~ Richard L. Evans ~

This is one of my favourite little water receptacles in the garden.  It is small, yet manages to make a perfectly delightful statement.

Newly potted impatiens and lobelia which will grow to fill this little decorative wooden wheelbarrow that I have standing on the lower terrace, seating area adjacent to my greenhouse. 
In conclusion, I want to remind you not to...

" through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been, but also where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way."

~ Nancye Sims ~



  1. Savouring the simple things that make us happy - what a fabulous reminder of where true contentment lies, thank you!

  2. Thank you, Belinda!

    Hope you're keeping yourself snug and warm in Scotland tonight.

  3. very pretty views, you are savoring your days, take care, Gina

  4. WOW!!! Can you really see that view from your top terrace? It's magnificent!

    I too love interesting pieces of wood. They have such beautiful textures and colours and forms. Your husband is very wise to look out for them for you!

  5. Wonderful post, and such beautiful photos, yet again! I am so jealous of your driftwood, I have a few pieces in my garden, but none big enough to plant in. You've inspired me -- come Spring I might try setting up a water garden pot with a water lily, and maybe some little goldfish! I had a pond with fish and lilies at a previous garden, and I miss them!

  6. Gina, H and Alison:

    So lovely to have you all pop by again. It's wonderful the way we are able to inspire each other and share the uniqueness of our own situations across such great distances.

    Thank you for your comments which I appreciate very much indeed!

  7. All your pictures are beautiful, Nancye. The collection of sticks in the first picture is my favorite. I love all things simple and sweet!
    Have a happy Monday and a great new week. xx

  8. Beautiful photos and blog, I lake it!
    Big regards and kisses, Zondra Art

  9. Thank you, Saskia & Zondra, for making the time to pop by and pay me a visit. I really do appreciate it and finding your lovely comments was a delightful surprise :)

  10. I just loved this post!! What you say is so true. I've been finding myself getting caught up lately in the wanting bigger and better. We have an older home and smallish yard. I find that when I take the time to appreciate how lucky we already are and the beauty around me I feel so much happier.
    My oldest daughter would be exactly the same as the boy in the story, in fact it reminded me of her when we drive out the country and all she sees is how lucky the people are to have the open space, not even noticing that some of the houses are really in bad shape.
    I also would rather get garden things than jewelery or clothes any day!

  11. I'm sure we all get caught up in wanting bigger and better, Catherine. It's the modern trend. I do, however, truly believe the secret to lasting fulfillment, happiness and contentment lies in ones ability to enjoy fully what we do have and to spend as much time as possible outdoors, in natural surroundings (our very own gardens are always a good place!), to stay connected with what really matters. As you so correctly point out, it's all a matter of taking the time to appreciate what we have. Far too many people overlook this and get so caught up in chasing after more, more, more that they go through life largely discontented.

    It's wonderful that you've raised such an aware (intuitive) daughter. Her love and appreciation of natural beauty is something she'll carry with her throughout life. It will help her to remain balanced, to find her equilibrium when life happens, as it does and will.

    It's worth remembering that there will always be larger, flashier homes and gardens (they, of course, are even more costly and time-consuming to maintain!) and equally, there are even more homes and gardens that are a great deal smaller than our own. Equally, there are millions upon millions of people who live in abject poverty. It's all a matter of reference ;)


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