Still back in hometown Shepparton for this week. Currently writing this message for you in the beautiful garden my mum has created over the past 18 years. It's amazing to see the growth of this place. So much hard work (and deep love) has been put into this every single one of the plants.
I remember when I was young and growing up here. Seems like a lifetime ago. Playing football like I was Essendon's Matthew Lloyd (although I would be 'Hayden Lloyd' of course), tennis against the back wall, and even one time driving my homemade go-kart around (yes...with an engine!) around in circles. After tearing up most of the grass, Mum wasn't a huge fan of letting me do that one again. Oops.
After my late dad (and mum's late husband) died in 1997, we all found our own coping mechanisms. I think gardening is how my mum coped. She poured all of her energy (and love) into both my sister and I, and the very garden I'm in now. It really shows too. This place is so inspiring.
Over time, it has expanded greatly. What started as one small section of the garden where we installed a beautiful pond (with special 'universal rocks' which look like the real thing...a big deal back in 2000-ish when we installed it) has now expanded to an entire backyard full of rich greenery.
The lawns are nicely manicured, the fernery still stands (although a couple of repairs have been needed over the time), and every plant has been carefully pruned and maintained.
It's also had it's share of troubles though too. The Australian sun meant we've seen more than one victim. But you learn, you know. Just means you don't plant that type of plant in that spot.
It does remind me of this one time though, where the winds were really bad. It was 8 or 9pm, I was around 13-14 and much more interested in chatting to my friends online (R.I.P MSN Messenger) than helping in the garden. But Mum was yelling at us kids to come and help. I didn't really understand the severity but it sounded serious. We got out there and the cheaply made gazebo we had at the time was just about flying away (Think Dorothy from Wizard of Oz's house flying away in that storm)! We managed to take off the canvas and get through the storm...
Now days, it's reinforced to the hilt. Well, to be fair, it's gone a complete overhaul. Mum had a neighbour cement new poles into the ground. We have pavers on the base. And the canvas is at least 2 times as thick. This thing isn't going anywhere.
But more than it's strength, is the surroundings. It's got fairy lights at the top, a few plants along the sides, and even a 'creeper' growing on it. I wish I had a picture of what the first flimzy one looked like vs this strong one. (Would give Backyard Blitz a run for their money!)
To see how much love has gone into this place, is incredible. I can actually feel it as I sit here and write these words for you.
The whole thing has got me thinking though - The garden is a lot like the mind. The more you care for it, the more it grows. The more love you put in, the more love you get out. And, just like that stormy night where Mum's gazebo nearly took flight, at times, we all have to weather our own storms.
But if you're paying attention, you can use these as lessons to come back, bigger and stronger than before. When you let go of the unrealistic expectation that everything is going to always be fine and dandy, you can get on seeing the things that aren't truly important to you that you're not paying attention to.
Then, you've got the weeds. If you aren't taking proper care, slowly (but surely) the weeds will start popping up. Pretty soon, if you don't take control and remove them, they'll quickly consume the entire thing. As Dr John Demartini writes: "if you don't plant flowers in the garden of your mind, weeds will be sure to grow."
Timely reminder for both myself, and hopefully for you as you read this.
Must be off now, going to take my puppies for a walk before my best mate and his fiancé come around for coffee to tell me all about their adventures from travelling all around the coast of Australia in their 4WD.
Enjoy your day.
p.s. He asked where we should go get coffee...Guess where I said we should? Under this gazebo of course!)