Thursday, February 03, 2005

As a kid .....

I don't suppose it should, but it never fails to amaze me how some people my own age never had real garden fun as kids. I was brought up with long narrow bottles that we would put a mix of soil and water in, shake like anything, and watch over the hours how the different layers settled. We would see how many stones there were, and how much leaf litter, and how many fine particles in a ratio with everything else. My father was a gardener - I think I was given my first plot well before I was nine.

My mother wasn't a gardener, but had us doing things like growing onions wedged on top of a bottle of water,or putting celery in a bottle of water with ink in the water, to watch it spreading through the plant with time.

These were sorts of things that just happened all the time for us. But I have just been reminded of them - I had to do a quick floral arrangement a week or two ago for a friend. No flowers, but plenty of green. I ended up with a mix of three ferns, a sprig of basil, two large parsley leaves and a sprig of mint. All of them went into an oil bottle - ie narrow lip but plenty of water.

I went back there the other day, and they are still there - and she is having a most fascinating time watching the basil grow roots out of the leaf nodule at the bottom of the sprig - she had never seen that happen before, and it is clearly visible through the glass of the bottle.

We think we might plant it out for some late season basil. But every time I introduce an adult to shaking soil in water and watching it settle, I feel sad they didn't have that fun as a kid. Or get to watch onions growing roots.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just discovered Garden Blogs, and saw your lovely page. I have lived in Canberra for 31 years but originally came from Victoria. I'd love to know where you are but perhaps you don't want to divulge that?

Your comments about people not having garden fun as a kid struck a chord with me. I actually did have fun. We lived on a dairy farm and I was the 3rd of 7 children. Mum was too busy to garden but from the age of about 7 I was allowed to do pretty much whatever I liked in the garden. I had one garden bed that I used to dig and rake so much that the soil was like talcum powder. Absolutely no use for growing anything in, but the chooks loved it for dust baths. I pulled up little violets growing under a rose hedge and planted them somewhere else. Some grew and some didn't but my passion for propagating plants was born. I seemed to be forever pulling up plants and dividing them, or cutting overgrown geraniums into lengths so that I could grow more. Later on a Yates Garden Guide became my 'bible' as I dreamed of all the plants that I wanted to grow.

I now hope to set up my own Garden Blog, although I love to read the writings of other gardeners, too. I hope you continue to love your garden as you do now.

"Sweet Alice"

10:59 PM  
Blogger Chloe said...

Dear, Sweet, Alice (and the punctuation is intentional),

How lovely to hear from you - I know of no other Australians blogging their gardens, but I am sure there must be some out there who do. So do please let me know when you start yours, and I will add a link from mine. And if you know of any other Australian ones I would love to hear of them too.

I am in Gippsland in Victoria, but I am sort of concerned that the net is a wonderful place, but it can have its down side, so I am not going to be more specific in my blog - event hough locals know who I am - it is a very small town.

Your childhood sounds similar to mine - I had a cubby in the back yard that was a tank on its side, with benches in it, where I experimented with seeing if radish seeds germinated better or worse depending on what outrageaous chemical mixture I poured on them.

Do start blogging soon - I would love to have another garden blog to read.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chloe

I hadn't read your comment before I sent the one about the photo - obviously. I'm even more curious about where you are now as I grew up in West Gippsland, which was basically a dairying area then. You mentioned in your piece about composting that you use ewe poo, so I thought that maybe it wasn't Gippsland. Nevertheless, your comments will be even more interesting for me now that I know you are in that area of Victoria. Even though we've lived here for 31 years I still feel that I've come home when I cross the border back into Vic.

By the way, I chose 'Sweet Alice' because it's a common name for Alyssum, which I love for its hardiness, and tiny fresh white flowers against the green leaves. So refreshing on a hot day.

"Sweet Alice"

9:10 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

More in the Central Gippsland area, I would say, although my father was at school in Drouin West in 1917. Does that count?????

5:10 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

Oh, my gosh. I was at Drouin High School in the 1950s. My husband and I lived just north of Drouin West (we used to drive through there several times a week) in the early 1970s, before moving to Canberra. From our house you could look to the south across the Strezlecki Ranges and to the north across the Baw Baws. I just love Gippsland (nearly all of it). It's usually so green and the hills are so blue. Just beautiful.

10:25 PM  

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