Does Size Matter?


My daughter’s courtyard garden


And by whose measure?

When I hear this question posed I think of what is often inferred – that somehow bigger is better. Yet, we all know that isn’t always true. Good things often come in small packages, right? It would seem to be a matter of context then. This certainly applies to gardens.

You may think that I’m predisposed to tiny gardens and that would be true, but only at this moment in time and in these present circumstances. I can appreciate all gardens no matter what their size. At various times I’ve had just a few pots on a balcony, at others, vast spaces filled with trees, ponds, natives and exotics.


I think success in this respect is a matter of living well, within one’s boundaries and the challenges that presents, regardless of size or magnitude.

I’m presently puppy-sitting for my daughter who is away with her family at a surf carnival. It’s given  me the opportunity to appreciate her garden more mindfully, without the usual distractions of grandchildren and the normal ensuing family chaos (well, normal in my family). Like mine, her garden is tiny, but thriving with a riot of diverse plant varieties. We share a love of eclectic wilderness in garden design.


‘Odie’ my grand-dog Blue English Staffordshire Terrier

When I thought about it, I realised the size of the challenges or the rewards had little relation to the size of the garden. It’s all relative to how big one’s enthusiasm and willingness to embrace the experience are.

Limited resources – whether space, money or knowledge – have rarely been an issue for me to achieve a good result. I find having to ‘make do’ enhances creativity. But the magnitude of my resourcefulness has always been relative to the outcome. And to my satisfaction.

You might say, the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward. But here is the rider: a beautiful result and the subsequent rewards are not dependent on the size of the project, big or small.

What matters is who is measuring and what is being measured.

So methinks size is relative and often not what really counts in gardens or indeed, in other matters.


She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).



Potted ferns thriving inside on a bakers’ stand


The courtyard from a different angle


Native hibiscus provide a magenta backdrop


31 responses to “Does Size Matter?

  1. That garden looks so pretty!!! The dog looks a bit skeptical of being mentioned in your blog post, hahah 😉 I would happily take a little garden like that! Where I live, there are just tiny flats in apartment buildings. We don’t even have a balcony… So, everything is relative, it all depends on what you’re used to! Great pictures! I also love the last quote 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your daughter’s courtyard looks so tranquil and lush. I’d be happy to potter about there. I live in a town which has a lot of medieval houses, some of which come with a tiny courtyard. There is an Open Garden scheme each year which allows the public in to see these and I find it fascinating to see what people can do in a small space. I only have a tiny patio but even that is crammed with pots!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am in love.. the ferns growing on the racks is so wonderful… I got to show that to my dad, we are going to make a garden inside our home and we are trying to select plants for that.. I love your daughter’s courtyard garden, it is so magical, like out of a fairy tale, home to the little fairies… ❤ wonderful… Keep posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’ll tell her and I know she’ll be pleased to hear it. It is like a secret garden. She started from scratch so there’s still some growth to come on the native hibiscus trees. I’m not sure you can see them in the photos. They have the most wonderful dark magenta leaves with yellow flowers. The ferns are gorgeous aren’t they? So cooling in the heat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • wow hibiscus? Your daughter made nice choice and I couldn’t see them in picture. it will surely look like fairy garden…hibiscus will look like fairies for sure… would you upload the pictures once the hibiscus blossom? I would love to see them…
        Ferns are gorgeous yes, I showed it to my father and we have agreed to make something like this for our home once he gets retired from his job this year 😀 Thanks so much for the idea dear 🙂


  4. Hi Robyn. I really love your daughter’s garden, especially the ferns which always bring the feeling of peace to me. I can appreciate the desire to be there with just Odie, taking it all in without the grandies. The larger the size certainly does not equate to more success — well not in my opinion. It’s the love and care that goes into a garden and the joy the gardener receives that is a mark of success.

    I’ve seen some enormous gardens in my travels, and while they are beautiful, one usually has to engage a “gang” of gardeners to keep them looking like that. When I lived on Bribie Island, I had a few pots on my patio, and my larger garden was across the road at the beach – well, of course I shared that beach garden, which comprised all kinds of unusual plants in various stages of life. Of a nighttime (and with mossie protection on), I would often sit there on the sand and listen to the tide come in; in the warmer months I also enjoyed the various fragrances from that garden and the ones of houses along the road.

    Where I live now is very restricted garden-wise. But who knows what the future holds. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy yours. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kim, she’ll be pleased to hear it. I love the idea of a beach garden at Bribie. Sitting on the beach in the evenings sounds idyllic. Fragrance is so important too. I have been noticing the murraya (mock orange) which is in bloom at present. The fragrance knocks me out – gorgeous!
      You will have a garden again I feel sure. Transitional times in our lives are always challenging and its hard to see the sun shining above the clouds – but believe me, its there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This topic resonates with me! The eye of the beholder is crucial: your subtle photographs show Meg’s secret garden from particular angles. Living in Japan gave me insight into space, and “living well within your boundaries” — a wise philosophy as we grow older.

    Liked by 1 person

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