The birth of my happy place - my garden!

My first experience in the garden was having to mow my own lawn on a weekly basis. I was young and had to really save costs, so it was more affordable just to get down to it and do it myself. I bought a used lawn mower and proudly set about the heavy-duty task of mowing my own lawn at 12h00 on a hot, bright, and humid Saturday afternoon. Boy oh boy! What discomfort and initially disheartening experience indeed. The highveld summers can be quite harsh and I thought I was going to die. I wanted kick the lawnmower and leave the lawn to just grow right into whatever it wanted to be! Sunburnt, dehydrated, and close to tears, my calm and “effective” neighbour’s head popped above the wall and sympathetically offered me well-meaning advice and a cold one! (Guess!!)   “Mow in the morning or late in the afternoon…no inbetweeners.” Great advice indeed! The scent of the freshly mowed lawn and the total sense of achievement really touched my soul. I got hooked! I fed my lawn the smelliest manure and watered it daily. I really chuckle now, but I mowed that lawn three times a week. It grew beautifully and the sense of achievement and satisfaction set me on a new path of swopping my Saturdays at the mall for visits to our local garden centre. I could walk around and browse for hours. The tranquillity of a garden centre never ceases to amaze me. Now! These were the days before the university of Google, so access to information was really limited to the knowledgeable staff at the garden centre, books, and magazines. At least we now have Jane Griffiths! Her variety books on gardening are an absolute blessing! My neighbour had the most beautiful garden, and I envied her green fingers. I would peep at her through a space in our fence. Sporting a wide rimmed sunhat, humming a song, and kneeling at her flower beds, it struck me that this was her happy and calm place. I always believed that certain people are blessed with green fingers and certain people are blessed with mathematical skills. The most important thing to remember is that there is rarely any completely right or completely wrong. I fell in love with the beautiful Arum Lily when I was young. My cousin used to have the most beautiful plants and there is just something so special about these. One afternoon, on exiting our local garden centre after a delightful shopping spree, I was approached by a gentleman who had loads of Arum Lily bulbs in little bags, and believe it or not, in all the exquisite colours!  I mean, he had all the coloured images to prove this. I was totally sold (and outwitted) and bought every single bulb he had. My budget to the moon, but childlike excited about my find, I immediately knew exactly where these were going to be planted. I worked until late in the evening, tilling the soil, taking weeds out…feeding the soil. For us females Rome was indeed built in one day, you know! Finally! I planted them and tended to them carefully. My “green fingered” neighbour visited me almost every afternoon to check up on the progress of my beauties! When the first leaves emerged, she carefully noted that my (pricey) bulbs resembled anything but Arum Lilies, I thought she must be mistaken! Oh, my hat! Imagine my pure disappointment and utter disgust and sadness and every other feeling that goes with it when every young plant tuned out to be Agapanthus Praecox Blue.  I was sad and felt quite cheated and I summarily declared that they are ugly and not lilies. Oh, but how they grew on me! They were beautiful, healthy, and strong plants and I must admit, the envy of my very distinguished and “green fingered” neighbour. And so, my journey began to my own happy and calm place!

About the Author

Michele Fourie is the Seeds for Africa General Manager. Michele loves growing beautiful flowers, chilli plants and is passionate about exceptional customer. service. Michele is also a fundi in the kitchen. Check out her blog post on making your own sweet pickled piquant cherry peppers at this link.