Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Giving Garden

My grandfather was a hardworking, resourceful man.  A very keen gardener, I think it is this hobby that brought him the most joy (aside from spending time with his grandchildren). The front of his house was filled with thriving rose bushes, geraniums and daisies.  His lawn was perfectly manicured and resembled a bowling green -the perfect place for my sister and I to play bocce with him as little girls.  However, it was the backyard of his home that was most impressive… his vegetable garden.

This plot took up his entire backyard (not including the large chicken coop and his shed) and was almost like a mini-market garden of sorts smack bang in the middle of the Fremantle suburb where he lived.  Rich soil, built up with manure shovelled across from his chook pen grew anything and everything.  Masses of various produce… chiccory, butter beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, basil and many other vegetables were carefully tended to and flourished.  I can still recall the bundle of twigs he had fashioned into a ‘swatter’ of sorts for cabbage moths.  It sat leaning against his shed ready to be grabbed as needed.    Meals cooked by my Nonna all incorporated fresh ingredients of some variety. When it came to vegetables, home grown was the only way.

Those who visited left with cartons of glorious free-range eggs and bags of whatever was currently in abundance in his patch.  A bunch of beautiful de-thorned roses was often brought home too after a visit and would brighten the corner of my Mum’s kitchen over the coming week as each bloom slowly unfolded.

Fast forward all these years and I find myself thinking often of my Grandpa’s impressive vegetable patch and garden as I potter about in our own.  As well as growing organic produce for my own little family and seeing the enjoyment Grace and Sophie get out of helping tend to our little plot, it is the giving and sharing aspect of a garden that I strive for.  I dream of being able to wave visitors off with a container of cherry tomatoes, a handful of passion fruit or a bag of lettuce leaves.  At the moment, having only just replanted our vegetable patch out this winter, offerings are few and far between... a bag of lemons, some Double Delight blossoms (the last before they are pruned) or a bunch of parsley seem to be all I can share at the moment.

One day though, I hope our garden will be able to give so much more to so many more and that just like my Grandpa, I will be able to gain the same sense of pleasure from sharing a little bit of our garden with loved ones and neighbours...


  1. Such a beautiful story of your Grandpa Amanda he sounds like a inspirational man and I bet a happy one. I think being able to share excess produce is a wonderful thing, it has been a while since I have had a glut of things but I'm working on it:) I know anyone who came to visit and left with some of your gorgeous flowers, some parsley and lemons would be very happy indeed. xxx

  2. You're so right, there is such a lovely feeling to be able to gift friends with something home grown. You just know it will always be appreciated. I'm sure with all the love and attention you and your girls give it that it will be thriving again in no time.


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