Thursday, September 29, 2011

My eldest daughter's reaction to my garden

It was lovely to have my eldest daughter visiting for a couple of weeks, and she wanted to write a guest post - so here it is :)
I was sitting drinking a lovely glass of wine, nibbling on salad fresh out of my mom’s garden and chatting when I noticed that the ground was alive.  This was rather disconcerting until I discovered that the movement was hundreds of “frogs” which my mother quickly corrected me were actually toads.  I was enthralled by the steady hop, hop, hop –somehow all in sync.  The remainder of the evening was spent happily watching the toads move, the sky darken and the flowers fall from the lychee tree.
Here is a cute frog...........

and here is an ugly toad...

As her blog follower’s you may not know my mother’s gardening history. For years and years my mother wanted a garden. And every time she got one and built it up just like she wanted, life got in the way and took it away. I’m not a gardener, but I get plenty of garden based emails and such. It all kind of bored me and I have to admit that I always thought my mom’s gardens weren’t that nice (she is going to be really angry when she reads this…).

But this latest trip, I got to see the garden that she blogs about. And this one really is her masterpiece. Even I liked it, and it takes a lot to impress me with flowers!

I was trying to explain to my mom why I liked this garden and I said that everything is all crammed in there. She was not particularly impressed with my word choice. After a little more explanation, I realized that it was like the rainforest that we had been wandering through. Rainforests aren’t orderly. Tall trees pop up everywhere with an entire ecosystem that you can’t even see. And down below? Well don’t think you will be able to walk through that. Bushes, flowers, vines, mud puddles -everything conspires to fight for survival and the end result is a new surprise everywhere you look.
Admittedly my mom’s garden is slightly more orderly than the rainforest, but it is by far the smallest garden she has worked in. And as she seems to still want the same quantity of plants, she has figured out how to make them all work together in a crazy jumble that is just full of surprises and life.

One example is the wind chimes. You can walk down the length of the house ringing a different wind chime at every step. Or for example the flowers. One day my step father was frustrated with all the flowers that were covering the pathway, chairs and table. He spent the entire day sweeping and hosing. But by evening, the soft blanket of lychee flowers was covering everything again.
Up in the tree tree lychee's were forming.....

One day my mother sent me out to see her pineapple. I searched high and low for it. I came back to report that there was no pineapple. She marched me back out there, dug through a pile of leaves which had decided to bury it and pointed to the funniest little thing (I had no idea pineapples grew like that)!

I know my mom shows you photos of all the things she likes about her garden, but I thought you should see a post about how many wonderful things are in her garden despite her best intentions. That garden is alive with toads, flowers and snakes (She isn’t going to like hearing that either) and somehow it all works together beautifully creating a peaceful space that really feels natural and calming.


  1. I loved this post and I feel quite sure your Mom will have approved it, too, despite your few misgivings. She has created a wonderful little tropical haven/paradise all of her own and I think your observation that it resembles a piece of rainforest sounds spot on! It's clear your Mom is passionate about her garden and she invests so much love and energy into it. I know that many of us out here in Blogland envy her garden! I am delighted to know you enjoyed it so much and can finally fully appreciate what your Mom has achieved. I love the pretty little frog juxtaposed with the warty, ugly toad ;) Hopefully those snakes will gobble up the toads and the fallen leaves and blossoms will soon turn into wonderfully rich, black gold!

  2. Love this post! Your mother is one of my most favorite garden bloggers, she surely blooms where she is planted. Your post and view on her gardens is delightful... listen to that sweet lady, she has much wisdom to share. :)

  3. You are so lucky Home-grown pineapple! Must be very sweet and juicy.

  4. What a wonderful post! Your mother is a very talented, dedicated gardener and you are a wonderful daughter to honor her with this tribute. Just be careful; this gardening gene is often hereditary, you may find yourself with a gorgeous garden like your mother's in the not so distant future, too!

    (And I did not know that was how pineapples grow....I learn something every time I visit.)

  5. My favourite garden is one that looks like part of nature rather contrived with neat little plants all in a row - which is why I love tropical gardens. Your Mum has achieved a beautiful garden in tune with nature.

  6. Oh dear. I do feel sorry for your step father if he thinks he can keep fallen leaves and flower petals under control in a garden like your mom's. You need the sort of garden with toparies and box hedges for that. In other words, nature wasn't meant to be tidy. I'm glad you can find the beauty in the chaos.

  7. I loved that post. Sometimes it takes another person to see what you have created to allow you to see it fresh eyes.

  8. I barely noticed that ugly toad!! It seems like it was in disguise, hiding among those dried leaves and roots! The first toad looks more beautiful though. Anyway, your daughter seemed to enjoy this guest post she made! She could do more of it, or create her own personal blog someday. :)

  9. I too was once skeptical and critical of my mother's garden before. There's always something I could find to criticize. But eventually I've learned to be happy for her since she finds pleasure in gardening and that is a good thing because her garden keeps her busy.

  10. My comment is more for Africanaussie the Mom!(but the daughter can read it too, LOL). This is nice tribute to your garden, which you painstakingly installed, labored and admired. Your daughter writes very well and expressed her thoughts very well. The love for the Mother is so obvious in this post. Just like your daughter and Solitude Rising above, I was also very critical of my mothers garden style when i was younger. I even came to a point when i surreptitiously pulled out some newly planted cuttings so as not to make it so crowded, and to have a semblance or order. Then lately, i realized my disgust is just because of perspective. When i changed my perspective to 'this is a biodiversity garden', an organized chaos, or an exhibition of entropy, then my feelings settled. Now i learned to love it more. And i even joined my mother perpetuate the 'biodiversity garden', everyone is happy. Mine is not feigned, it came just from a change in perspective.

    Now Africanaussie daughter, welcome to gardening. Hi!

  11. I looooooooooooove your mums garden! OH Tree lychees! Pineapples! ANd GORGEOUS FROGS!!!!

  12. thanks for all the comments everyone! It was so lovely to have my daughter see the garden in person. I originally started my blog to not only keep track of when things would be flowering or harvested in my new garden, but also to share with friends and family who live so far away. I am so glad she enjoyed our time together in my little corner of tropical paradise.

  13. What a beautiful post by your daughter. It must make your heart sing!


I love interacting with all my readers, thank you for your comments. Have a great day!


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
e-mail me at