Category Archives: Garden

“We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest.” ~ Voltaire

Motivational Fig

This year I have a motivational word by which I want to define my year: ‘Growth’. Emotional growth – sure. Knowledge growth; definitely. However, the biggest part of my life in which I want to experience growth is my garden. Growing things, being outside & teaching my kids how to grow food & work together to build something is one of the reasons we moved a bit further out in the country two years ago.

There is freedom here, not complete freedom, but space & quiet that we didn’t have before. It has helped clear my mind & my heart of a lot of things that were holding me back in my growth. I think I have had a peek into the life I have always wanted — but it will take growth.

I have not published a blog since September 2016. A lot has happened in that space. Most importantly, we met our final family member, the beautiful Violet. I plan to add a few blogs that will fill in that time so life makes sense, but I might not get a chance. In any event, the last year has certainly been challenging. I not only met my daughter but my Son turned 2. He is a running, yelling, conversing, building machine & keeping me on my toes. Unfortunately, I also lost two of my best friends this year quite unexpectedly. The loss of those two souls in my life has left a silent hole in my heart. I have many unanswered questions. I miss them daily, hourly, minutely. I wish they were here to play with my kids & chat about our lives. There is so much I could say that trying to find the words leaves me exhausted.

In any case, to mark the beginning of 2018 growth we planted a healthy green Fig tree in our back yard. He was a gift to me from a friend (RG) & has been lovingly tended to since he was a seedling. He has been ready to find a permanent place in our yard for a little while but today seemed like the right time. It will be interesting to see how his growth matches my own. The soil here is mostly clay so it will be a challenge to keep him healthy but what’s growth without challenge?

Fig Tree

Jack & our newly planted Fig Tree

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Beautiful Bees

Such a beautiful day to go in search of bees.

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©Violet Ashes 2016

Filtered In Winter

Today is the first of a precious few winter days without rain & the first time I have had to get out into my garden & explore. It is a different place in the winter – the plants either go dormant or thrive. There are hues of brown & purple that are not visible in other months.

I find the garden to be one of the only places I can go to just be where I do not have to think. My mind clears & I lose hours in a sunny afternoon pottering about. Without the garden I would be lost. Sometimes it is not enough to look out from my kitchen window; I was pleased to get out in the sunlight today & took my camera with me.

I have been experimenting with coloured & macro lens filters – it is much more difficult than I imagined. There is no ‘point & shoot’ scenario – it takes time & patience; both of which I find sparse at the moment. The first of our winter blooms came out of hiding with the unseasonable sun – I hope there will be more in the days to come.

Strawberry Bloom - July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Strawberry Bloom – July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet - July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet – July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet Succulent - July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet Succulent – July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Tadpoles

I have known Violet for a very, very long time. Some might say, I have always known her. She will always be a part of my life, whether I ever physically meet her, or not.
 
There are times, like now, when the house is quiet & there is nothing to do that I can almost hear her, calling me from the backyard pond, covered in mud, ankle-deep in tadpoles with a daisy chain in her hair… “Mum…!”

Please Please Please

Lousy Engineer

Sometimes I wake up not knowing where I am, or who I am. This morning was just like that. Not an out of body experience but the kind of shady-eyed, heart-racing, full-bladder wakeup where you only have one thing on your mind. & once you’ve visited the toilet you look in the mirror as the cold water runs over your hands & you wonder who the hell you are looking at.
“Is that me? Are those my mascara stains?”

YES.

Waking up this week could take forever.

Feels like my body is rejecting me. My brain & heart are in different places & I swear I can feel the spring run through my blood redesigning my DNA. It is never satisfied. Bring back the winter. I approve of the rain & the cold. The long sleeves & the late mornings. The blue dawn & the days I forget my umbrella & refuse to run.

By the end of this week spring will have taken full hold of September & there will be beauty everywhere. Greens, pinks, blues – flowers & faces. I can’t help but let it absorb me but I don’t really approve.

I am not as cruel as you think I am, or as angry.

He works hard & the harder he works, the more often I am alone. The harder he works the more I appreciate him, but the harder he works the less I see of him to appreciate.

It is almost 3pm & the day has been swallowed – I cannot remember what I have done other than write & think & drink cranberry juice. My bladder is screaming at me, I have to go & each time I lose my train of thought & every time I see that girl in the mirror again. I do not know who she is but I would like to peel her face off & build a new one. She is not who I wanted her to be & I cannot figure out how to map my way to who she should have been.

Ashes ©Jan Marie 1986

Ashes ©Jan Marie 1986

Tea With Faeries

Faeries in the gardenRiot Grrrl sent me this pin today & instantly my mind flew back to my childhood. Of many hours spent in my Grandma’s garden chasing faeries. Rioty, of course, knows this as we have spent time chasing faeries together – you know a girl will be a friend forever if she will chase faeries with you. It makes perfect sense to me even as an adult.
 
 The photo was taken in a garden on Woodside road in a town called Chester in the UK. Upon reading this I knew the photo was special, for reasons of my own.Coincidences are everywhere at the moment.

It is a beautiful sunny day today & the air is just moving enough to knock the white & pink petals from the almond trees onto the ground. It looks like a blanket of snow – but the warmth that makes my skin tingle tells me it is not winter. As I spent time cutting back the nearly flowering Jasmine on our front hedge I remembered all the gardens I have spent time in, first as a child & as an adult. I have never been far away from one & they are still my favourite places.
 
I found this photo of me as a kid in our garden; the sun on my hair is just like today & my smile has not changed. It was taken by my Aunty JB & it looks like I was looking to host a very big tea party – I remember that tea kettle – it spent many years on my arm while I chased faeries & drank tea with Grandma.

Tea with Faeries

There Is Always Light

It is raining here again & I love the sound of it. It is so peaceful & makes the whole house so dim & smoky but not pitch black, just a comfortable dark. Like being underwater in the Murray River. If you look up, there is always light.
 
 I think about Harry in his grave, the small streams of water sliding over the freshly turned earth. A glistening makeshift headstone.
 
 My niece & nephew came to pay respects last night. Maximus says,
   ‘I’m sorry you died Harry’ as he bends down, rubbing the stone that marks his grave.
 My sister says to Bella,
   ‘At least he’s not in pain now & he can sleep.’
 Bella stops in her tracks, puts her hands on her hips, looks up at her Mum & says,
   ‘He’s not sleeping! He’s dead!’
 
 She is so right & the statement made me smile at her 5 year old wisdom. What a mind that kid is going to have. I am so proud.