Select Page

 {image by Provenance Growers}

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.  ~ Mirabel Osler

Plants are not optional, although we do take them for granted at times. We need them: for the air we breathe, the food we eat, the happiness we imbibe. They’re beautiful, too.

Gardening has been a sanity-restorer for me. There is something about the breathing-space that it gives – both metaphorical and literal – that improves my outlook. It’s good exercise too. I have even heard it recommended as a good way to improve bone density.

(Personally I think my bones now weigh quite enough to be going on with.) The humble nature of the work, of getting down on my knees and touching earth, is a simple joy. A solid connection.

{Kunzea baxteri}

But what about space? What about time? So many of us lack these, which becomes a stumbling-block when we think about actually planting.

Why not try a Dig Over? Carve aside a few bits of time in the next little while and see what you can fit in.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Find a space that you can add some plants to. This might be a pot that you place on a windowsill. It might be a windowbox, or a collection of pots on a deck. Or you may be blessed with lots of room. Choose a spot. Start with a small area and work your way around to the rest later.
  2. Make a plan. For me, this would involve a lot of dreaming with books (from my shelves and the local library) and my laptop. Do some internet research. Visit a few local nurseries. Proper ones. Especially those that stock local plants. If you use Pinterest {} you may find some ideas there, or in magazines. (I’m often wary of the ‘usual suspects’ as far as mainstream publications go. I like to choose local plants to fit my environment, and these are often overlooked.) There are, of course, different ways of planning. Sometimes I plot things roughly to scale on paper. Other times I let things develop organically.
  3. Gather supplies – collect what you need. Be creative if you don’t have any gardeny things: borrow from friends, family, neighbours. Or invest in some good pieces if you think you will get very keen. Seek avenues for cheap (or free) supply. I like to use my local Freecycle network {}, salvage centre and op-shops (thrift shops).
  4. Dig. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve in as little as half-an-hour.
  5. Enjoy the greenery. Gardening is a little bit of exterior decorating.

So, what sorts of plantings tickle your fancy? I absolutely love Australian native plants. When I plant local species, I’m building habitat for local birds and insects. More than that; I’m also developing better links with my place. The more I know about my local patch, the better I am able to care for it. And that makes me happy.

{Correa ‘Federation Bell’}

My hubby, on the other hand, gets much more excited about food plants (and who can blame him?). We have just bought a house with a garden and I’m very much looking forward to sourcing some new and different food plants to branch out with. My chief inspiration here has been Provenance Growers, near Hobart, Tasmania. Who doesn’t love purple versions of their favourite vegetable?

The photos in this post are from my own built-from-scratch garden in central Victoria. (I had to say goodbye to this one last year when we moved, but I’ll always have the memories, and the experience gained.)

Get to know your local plant-life; go for walks, take photos, dream, plan, dig.

What sort of gardening do you enjoy?


Guest Post by Sally Oakley

Sally Oakley studied History and Literature at the University of Tasmania, before becoming a mum. She recently moved back to her island state, where she lives with her hubby and the three squidlets, aged 7, 5 and 2. When she’s not out pulling weeds, Sally blogs at The Threaded Edge and knits up a storm while ignoring the housework.

Want more Epheriell-y goodness? Subscribe to Epheriell Designs! Also, you can follow me on  Twitter!