Sunday, November 18, 2007

Meme: Garden Motifs from Childhood

Kris at Blithewold asked:
Do you see childhood views in your gardens/landscapes?

My back yard does have some resemblance to my Dad's back yard. Firstly, it's on the large side. Our block is about 822 sq m (about a fifth of an acre); my Dad's is a trifle larger. Now while the "quarter-acre block" is is a byword here, the fact is that most Sydney suburbanites have considerably smaller blocks than these (I think they're on 1/32nd of an acre now in the new estates). When we set about finding a house, I had "Land > 700 sq m" as an essential. The desire for a large back yard came straight from the freedom I felt at Dad's. I'm even on the same clay-belt.

There is a swing-set in my back yard, and I hope one day a cubby-house as nice as the one Dad built us will appear.

The commonalities go down to species. My bananas, fuchsia, bush cherry, flowering quince, pelargoniums and violets have all come from cuttings from Dad. I have a vegie patch. I have chooks and guinea pigs, the same animals I had when I was a child. I still love the plants that I grew up with -- when I was a kid, there were two jacarandas down the back of Dad's back yard, along with an ancient mulberry tree. I share my Dad's interest in vegies and unusual herbs. And I wish I had Dad's buffalo grass instead of kikuyu for my lawn!

But there are differences, too. My part of Sydney is flat, so I don't have the view that Dad has from his back verandah. Dad isn't interested in Australian plants. And I want a bit less lawn and a bit more mystery.

The sense of mystery probably comes from my great-aunt's place. There was a section of garden under small trees. There, you found curving turf paths between dainty garden beds -- it was like fairyland! Now that is an atmosphere I'd like to have in my garden. Auntie Goog died twenty years ago, but I remember her well, along with the feeling her garden gave me. It is strange how sure I am that that section was her garden. She lived with her daughter and her family, but when I remember their personalities I know that they built the patio and mowed the lawn. Auntie Goog was the gardener. I hope I am one, too.


Dollfinn! said...

Chookie your aunties bit of garden sounds absolutely delightful and your dads yard sounds pretty great too, we had the ancient mulberry, neighbours had huge jacarandas, we had massive ancient silky oak and dad built us a platform treehouse against it, which served underneath as a cubby and I used to believe that i was standing at the entrance to Enid Blytons world with teh Faraway Tree and moonface etc.

Oh and I tagged you for a meme also, see my blog for details.


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

I have purposely tried to avoid the dull suburban yards of my youth. Happily, we live in the country now with an indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

I very much enjoy seeing your garden and hearing about your part of the world.

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Anonymous said...

Your Auntie's garden sounds a bit like my Nan and Pop's - when they "retired" from farming they bought a 2.5 acre block and turned the old horse paddock into the most wonderfully mysterious garden imaginable. It had various "rooms" - the camellia "room", the front lawn curving down the hill, the avenue of banksias and grevilleas, the rose garden, the enormous vege patch, the herb garden, the "jungle", the fruit orchard which included the banana grove, the mango trees, the pecans, the Bauple nuts, the lychees, the custard apples, the avocados, the persimmons ... all in their own little groves or avenues. It sounds like a lot but the front lawn was like the lounge room and various hallways and other rooms branched off from that. Each room was well-thought out but still naturally arranged. The block was on a hillside so you could see everything from the picture windows at the front of their house ... all the way to the ocean in the distance.
We used to stay there many weekends when I was a child and so I got to spend a lot of time in the garden with Pop or my brother.
Mmmm what a wonderful memory to start the day with - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Chookie, I'll bet your Auntie Goog would be so pleased to have another gardener in the family! It sounds like you had amazing gardens to grow up in where your imagination could run wild and that you have created another magical place for you and your children to play in. I never knew my great-grandfather because he died a few days after I was born but I grew up in one of the gardens he created. I have a special affection for willow trees, Nicotiana (he called it - and my mom called it "nicotina"), other traditional (boring!) bedding annuals and for staring at the sky on a sun warmed blanket in the middle of a wide patch of grass. Thank you for your thoughtful post and for sharing a bit of your childhood gardens with us!

Chookie said...

Kris, your meme seems to have struck a chord with a few of us! It's lovely to hear about what mattered in other people's childhood gardens.

Robin, it would be nice to hear exactly what you've been avoiding!

Amanda, I am horribly jealous of anyone who can manage all those garden rooms.

Dollfinn, I am working on a more garden-y version of that meme!