What brings a gardener joy?

During the summer holidays, we stayed at Flinders, in the Mornington Peninsula.. as we did last year.

This year, Paul and I took time off the beach to visit an open garden, a garden high on the hill and surrounded by farms and vineyards.

This garden is owned by gardener Jo Ferguson, and her partner, Simon Hazel.

Jo Ferguson is a gardener designer, and takes charge of design, the planting and the day-to- day care of the property.

Jo has a simple, but interesting idea on planning a garden; imagine a place where you are most happy, or a place in your childhood where you were happy. Try to bring elements of this into the garden.

Simon liked to see bees on flowers, and Jo liked grasslands, “when I was little I would sit in the grasslands on the foreshore of Merrick beach.”

They have made a unique garden on a hill in Flinders, defying harsh winds and heavy clay soil, and following what makes them happy.

The garden has Echinacea, Kangaroo Paws, alliums, dahlias, paper daisies, and many more flowers, all waving in the breeze and searching for space amongst the local and exotic grasses.

Golden Oats (I think) and Echinacea

Jo’s partner Simon Hazel works in commercial landscaping, and deals with the larger-scale aspects of the landscape.

Simon tops up their heavy clay soil with a mix of sand, compost and course mulch.

He makes his own compost by incorporating 100 cubic metres of horse manure and vast quantities of grape marc (the solid remains of grapes after pressing, from local vineyards in the region.) He then turns the mix with his Digger, and leaves it for a year, before use.

I’m sure that this kind of dedication to compost would bring excellent results!

Jo and Simon have impressive water tanks, used for the house and garden, the vegetable garden, chickens and alpacas, and the odd sheep.

They have an abundance of vegetables growing in the garden, unfortunately I could not get photo of some parts of the garden. It was very popular with visitors.

It was easy to see that this garden was a labour of love, and every season would bring more surprises.

On the way back to our holiday house Paul and I chatted about what brings us joy in the garden.

When we arrived back at our holiday house and garden, our grandchildren were very excited because there were two Eastern Rosellas in the garden, and even better two Magpies, our granddaughter was sure they were the same Magpies as the ones that entertained us last year.

It occurred to me that one of the many things that brings me joy in the garden is being able to attract a variety of birds, with the help of birdbaths, and shrubs, bushes and small trees that provide safe haven for birds looking for food.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, what brings you joy in the garden?

Copyright Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.

18 Replies to “What brings a gardener joy?”

  1. Gerry, I enjoy the wild birds and the occasional red foxes who visit my gardens. I do spoil the birds with shelled nuts and seeds, while I work to outsmart the nuisance squirrels who terrorize the feeders and gobble the expensive food.
    I often wonder if worming meds frequently fed to horses remains in the manure. To be safe, I never use it in my gardens. Also, I wonder unless veggies are only organic (unsprayed), if the residue from fruit/veggie skins remain in the compost.
    Have any ideas? Diane

    1. Very good points you have made Diane, both about worming med for horses, and also the residue from fruit/veggie skins remaining in compost. I suspect the mulch for this garden was used for replenishing the soil for the garden itself, and perhaps not for the veggies.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. What a lovely garden adventure you had here filled with joy and inspiration. Based upon the info you provided here, it was fun but also a learning experience – can’t beat that. 🙂 I am a gardener, and I love being outside in nature, watching plants grow, trying to understand issues, working to overcome them, and just sitting and enjoying. I like to work and gardening is work. Some are happy with an entry container plant and others dig up way too much ground. I’d fall into the second category. 🙂 Spending time with your grandchildren in the garden is the best!

    1. Paul said he also enjoys planning and working on the garden, but often does not ”just sit and enjoy” the garden…so it was good to read you do both!
      Yes, it is lovely to spend time with grandchildren, and children generally in the garden, you can’t beat them for enthusiasm!

  3. Yes, yes, yes! Birds and flowers and childhood memories. Wonderful gardens with so much beauty. How hard Simoon must have worked to amend that clay soil. I would be thrilled beyond belief to see two Eastern Rosellas.

    1. I agree Laurie, birds, flowers and memories, that’s all we need really. So sorry to hear about your awful “Polar Punch” Artic winds, everything else would seem trivial in comparison.

    1. I have to agree! Paul does most of the gardening now, (when we were both working and had young children, we both gardened to save our sanity!) Nowadays it is pleasant to sit in the garden and watch the birds.

  4. What a beautiful garden this is! I love the colourful Rosellas. The black Magpies although not so pretty must have felt glad that they were welcomed back. I love watching flowers and shrubs bloom in our garden. My orchids in the lanai also give me much pleasure to see. I have five in bloom right now.

    1. Thanks for the comment Sylvia, it is a beautiful garden. When ever I see orchids I think of you, so I’m glad you’ve got five blooming right now.

    1. Hi Dina, good to know you are still writing a blog, and having a busy life. Yes, I often think of you when I write about the birds, lovely to see them in the garden.

  5. While I love my flowers, I get the most joy out of growing fruits and vegetables. It’s deeply satisfying to bring food from seed to table, nurturing it along the way. And they are beautiful–nothing like a row of blooming peas, ripe peaches hanging from the tree, or the design of a sliced okra pod!

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