Monday, 4 July 2011

Another walk in the garden and an unexpected discovery

Well this post has been a long time coming.  It’s been sitting as a document in Word for several weeks and it really is time I got it finished as I have about 3 more posts in my head waiting to be written…

Quite a while ago I promised some more reflections about our garden this time including pictures!

The last “garden” post proved very popular and it is a great comfort to me to watch what’s growing.  Gardening is no doubt therapeutic there was even an article in the paper about it recently detailing how doctors are now prescribing gardening for depression.

But it’s not the physical gardening I really delight in.  To be honest most of the plants were either already here when we moved in or my dad has been the one to plant and nurture them.  I really am a very lazy gardener.  I expect seeds to grow magnificently where I plant them.  The extent of my care is pulling the occasional weed out of the ground and splashing a bit of water about now and then with the watering can.

I appreciated the colour and wonder of their beauty and have enjoyed capturing it with my camera.

It’s not an expensive camera.  I just wanted something small that would fit in my handbag and was easy to use.  But the other day I was playing with the different settings that I didn’t know existed.  There is a sepia and a black and white setting and I may even have to read the instruction book to find out what else I can do!

I showed some of my garden photos to friends and they were impressed, even on the small camera screen.  I seem to inadvertently discovered something else I like doing and have some talent for.  

So here is my visual tour of some of the special plants in my garden… 

This hydrangea was a birthday present; although it originally died off indoors it is beginning to revive and blossom outdoors.

Hydrangeas always bring back happy memories of my Grandma because she had a giant bush beside her garden shed.  There is something about those huge vibrant pink blooms that remind me of her.  Maybe it’s the grandness of her large family and each individual small flower being part of something so much bigger.

This rose bush was another birthday present.  It sat in its pot in the kitchen for almost a year while I figured out the perfect spot for it to grow.  In the end it was my dad who planted it out!  Last year I thought Andrew had completely obliterated it with the strimmer.  He was good at making the garden look generally tidy but hadn’t a clue which plants needed careful maintenance.  

My rose bush is resilient just like the friendship it represents.  It was a present from a friend who moved away but she is still an important part of my life.

Other things my dad planted for me, that I fully intended to do myself, were the sweet peas.

I love the smell of sweet peas and the way each plant curls and wraps itself round the wire netting.  Clinging on, knowing it needs that support to grow.  How true that is of where I am.  My friends and family have been the support I need to keep going.

I have just picked my first sweet pea and eagerly await more blossoms as I can see them as I type.

There is one plant I can take credit for - the honeysuckle.  At our old house we had a fantastic honeysuckle that draped itself over the upstairs balcony.  The smell was divine and the blossoms superb.

At this house there was a wire arch with a rose climbing up one side and I wanted a honeysuckle for the other.  Andrew and I visited the garden centre near the end of the season and bought three plants at a bargain price.  Lavender, which never grew because Andrew once again brought the strimmer far too close!  Another plant which grew, flowered and then one year inexplicably died!

And the precious honeysuckle which looked like a stick in a pot with a label on!  We figured if it didn’t grow we’d lost nothing at that price, so we added it to the trolley. 

Well it has grown up the trellis as expected.  And the buds are all there tightly formed, they just won’t open.  Maybe it’s the weather and the lack of enough rain.  But it gives me hope that it’s grown so big, that there is potential.  (actually since I started writing this more and more buds have opened, it’s not at its best yet but it’s a work in progress reaching out and upwards to the sky!)

Then there are the plants that grow regardless, irrespective of our human intervention. 

The wild flowers are so beautiful a reminder of God’s provision all around.

“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.”  Matthew chapter 6 verse 30

Probably the oldest plant in the garden with the exception of the trees would be the wisteria. 
I’m guessing it has been around as long as our house – over 100 years.  It’s magnificent!  Earlier in the year before it grew its first leaf I snapped off some of the dead twigs between my fingers.  They broke off easily.  Then there were other branches that just bent to my touch but would not break.  There was still life running through them, new buds appearing at the ends.  It reminded me of how I felt.  I was bent but not broken, there was still some hope for a future.

 These bushes that grow beneath the windows tell a similar story.

One day I came home and Andrew had completely pruned them to within an inch of their lives!  All that was left was a tangled knot of old branches.  I have watched amazed as slowly over the months since Andrew died new shoots have formed where there was nothing.  They are alive with possibility.

Throughout the winter they were bereft, cut down however just like the “live” branches of the wisteria there was still life there, hidden and protected, just waiting for the chance to grow again.

In some ways it’s a lot like me and my camera.  From very little something has grown and it’s up to me to run with it and explore and discover.

My writing, my photos, all the creativity I have is suddenly blossoming in a new and exciting ways.  I can’t explain why.  In some ways it bothers me that maybe Andrew held me back.  More likely it’s because I now have more time for me.  The time I used to share with Andrew is now mine alone.  The boys are growing up, their demands on me are different and I have the opportunity to be more selfish.

It doesn’t always work; there are still so many things to “do” although I am constantly reminded to just “be”, I heard another sermon on that very topic againlast Sunday!

“Being and Doing - God, didn’t I write about that a few months ago?”

And God said back, “But did you listen?  Do you understand?”

I need to “be” creative, take time to get these creative juices flowing and delight in everything I have been given.

The creativity is slowly mending my heart, pulling the treads back together and giving me a focus.

Andrew had an old camera, I found it in a draw, one of those proper ones you have to adjust manually with “film” in it!  I really must take that out and experiment.  There is a film already started in the camera.  Who knows whether it will still be alright or what those first few picture are of, I can’t remember Andrew using it for many years. 

I will keep you posted.


  1. What a beautiful garden Sarah!THank you for 'walking' me around it. It always amazes me how brutal you can be with some plants and yet they still live. I am glad you are surviving the brutal blow that you were dealt and that you are starting to sprout with new growth and find new parts of yourself.
    Let us know what those photos on the camera turn out to be! I have an old Box Brownie camera with a film in it and would love to know it's secrets but I am sure that by now the film (it must be 40yrs old)will be corrupt :-(

  2. Lovely, Sarah. I love flowers and plants. My garden is full of stories to've given me inspiration for another poem! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The photos with the blog is a fantastic idea! :) xxx