So it is a New Year; a time of new hope, refreshed ambition, and contemplation. New Years Eve marked 6 months since our house was completed, and while we are slowly feeling more settled and present, our list of desires for the space seems to be endlessly growing. At the top of our priority list sits the ethereal goals of contributing less to landfill, slowing down and living intentionally, partnering more with the Earth, and becoming an inviting space for community. We have a dream to turn a strip of dirt into a garden. A refreshing space where we can grow our own food, children can get dirty, and we can feel involved with, and in relationship with nature. Most of our garden was the result of Christmas; gift cards for garden supplies such as garden beds, soil, and tools, as well as physical seeds.
Day one after arriving home from our Christmas holidays, we had begun. I felt energised and motivated; this had been a dream of mine, never truly accomplishable in the rentals we had lived in before. Now more than ever, with a very active small child, the desire for dirt and connection with nature was unquenchable. My dream was becoming reality.
We (and by we, I mean Jonah) erected a completely free secondhand shade cloth; providing shade and reduction in ambient temperature of the house and the garden space. Our plants would not meet a shrivelling fate in the late afternoon, Northern Adelaide sun. This shade also provided optimal environment for our new worm farm. The worm farm was a compromise; I wanted chickens and a composter, Jonah didn’t want chickens. So we are now raising 1001 pets, including the dog.
Seeds were planted. Jan 1 saw the Woolworths Discovery Garden Summer varieties sown, as well as some of our Christmas gift seeds. A New Year with new life.
On the weekend, our home was officially “warmed”. We invited our closest friends and family for an ‘open house’ style house warming party; our way of saying “We miss you all, and want your energy in our space.” We wondered how to make this an event that focused on our goals. At this point in our lives, giving and receiving gifts is not high on our list of love languages, but we know it is for many of our friends. So the, ideally ‘gitftless’, housewarming invited everyone to bring what they would want to eat, and if they felt formal ‘gifts’ were necessary, a contribution to our garden; our dream, would be appreciated and used for years to come.
By the end of the day, our house had been sufficiently warmed, our lawn sufficiently played on, and our hearts sufficiently blessed. Our garden saw additional growth, with ready-to-plant donations from others’ gardens, decorations to make our garden space homey and give it character, and more funds to get us set up.
Many of our supplies shown here have been through at least three rental properties, aside from the new soil and large garden beds. We were underway, now our garden area had speckles of green; the gifts of a community of friends and family. The garden beds are the perfect height for our son to dig his hands into at the moment…in hindsight I should not have planted seeds to close to the path, but it’s nice that he can play in the dirt.
Now things were moving along, I felt a motivation to continue. There was planting, mulching, rearranging, and watering to be done. Baby wearing certainly helped me to scratch that itch with the urgency needed to get the cutoffs into the ground before they started suffering from pot plant life.
What I was looking forward to; a view of nature from the loungeroom, is now coming along. When we moved in, this window displayed nought but a strip of muddy clay. I said to Jonah “I want this window to be a peaceful space. Where you can look out and feel warm, slow, and meditative.” I imagine a vibrant wall of greenery, and it delights me that this window sill is a favourite look-out place for our baby.
January 7, we have sprouts. Spinach from my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift, tomatoes in our Woolworths Discovery Garden, and now on January 10, snow peas we have grown at two previous rentals.
We begun this year, 2020, with sowing seeds of new life, getting dirty, sweaty, and tired in the manual labour of creation. We’re so grateful for the love we have received, manifesting in some ways in our new garden space.
We have a long road ahead of us; we need more soil to plant mature plants in, we haven’t the foggiest clue how to look after a garden of this space most efficiently, and worm farming is certainly a skill we will need to master in the coming years. But, in the difficulties of the last week with me returning to temporary work, the stress of an unsettled child, and unpredictable and uncomfortable weather, I have experienced sheer joy of watching this space transform, delightful relaxation in watering at the end of a hard day, and pride and gratitude on seeing a small fleck of green bursting out of the soil. May there be many more opportunities to delight, and the fruit of this love feed our community in the years to come.