It all began with one of those curve balls life throws at you when you’re not looking. Oh, I don’t mean being a gardener. I’ve always been happiest with my hands in the dirt (in fact, family lore has it I was found under a cabbage leaf as a babe – no joke!). Rather, I mean how this tiny garden project came about.
In the the past I’ve always had ample room to create gardens; sometimes even hectares of space. Downsizing my home presented new challenges, not the least was how I could have a garden in an apartment complex. I imagined a balcony crowded with pots, cramped but do-able. I was delighted to eventually find a ground floor apartment with a tiny courtyard – just the ticket!
The courtyard had its genesis in a barren imagination – definitely not one belonging to a gardener. When I moved in, a scrap of lawn, a few misplaced shrubs and a tree in one corner was the sum of it.
So, I set about digging up turf, scraping to re-level, lugging bags of soil, heaving bricks, laying pavers, setting up irrigation, spreading stones and building a small retainer wall. I didn’t realise how handy I was. Anything I needed to know, I learnt from asking others or YouTube. Sometimes I prowled the aisles at Bunnings, accosting unsuspecting attendants or even fellow customers who might be in the know.
Then I planted.
I created my garden from plants I brought from my old abode, some that I grew from cuttings or bought at the markets, some that were plant gifts from friends, and others I inherited from ancestors and relatives who had moved on to other states, both geographical and spiritual.
Periodically, I stood back and surveyed the result as a painter might survey her canvas. Slowly the whole picture began to take shape, each element having its own story: tiny triumphs, little disasters and huge satisfaction.
I have proven a beautiful garden can be created in the smallest of spaces with very little cost. All that is needed is imagination, some resourcefulness and the will to succeed – much like living a life I think. The benefits far outweigh the effort.
It is these stories of creating and learning from gardening in my tiny space that I wish to share with you.