How does my garden grow?

How does my garden grow?

Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I loved what you said, and have taken all your good wishes and hugs into my heart. I am sorry I ran out of oomph to reply to each; I am learning to just accept limits to my time and energy.

I am doing okay. Terry is becoming more comfortable in his new home in residential care, and I am working out what I want my life to be like.

As you can imagine my garden has been a refuge from the constant turmoil of the last six month.

One big change was getting a new side fence. The old one was very old, very wobbly and I worried in windy weather that it would blow over. The neighbour was a very unpleasant man who we didn’t speak to. It was easier to pretend the fence was okay, and be thankful it stayed upright.

Then the neighbour sold up and moved (yay!!). The new neighbour said “Let’s get a new fence” and went on to say “I will organise it”. Thank you Tom! Not long after we had a new fence. And I had a chance to tidy up a very neglected area along the fence line.

The main issue was the Alstroemeria psittacina. It’s a pretty thing, especially the foliage, and the bees love the flower, but it is so invasive, wanting to take over the garden. It grows from tubers which are dense and very difficult to dig out, especially around the roots of the maple tree.

I dug up what I could, then smothered the area with newspaper, cardboard and thick layers of chunky mulch. It has worked. There have been some tenacious stems pushing up between the cracks of the cardboard, but they are easily pulled out.

I worked on this over time, as Terry was back in hospital in December. One small area at a time, what ever I could manage.

Instead of an eye sore I have an area that I can access and enjoy looking at.

And a wonderful new fence!

The rest of the back garden is doing okay. Laying down more mulch a couple of years ago was the right thing to do. The mulch in the photo below has suppressed the oxalis for about a year now.

I planted out this garden bed last year

and now it is flourishing. The statice, Limonium, has powered over summer. Something else the bees love.

There are lots of things to do, inside and outside the house. I am learning not to stress about these things, not to get overwhelmed by the tasks. Instead to do what I can, when I can, when I know it is the right time to do each task. If it doesn’t get done, then that’s okay. I am doing the best I can, and that is all I can ask of myself.

I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live and garden – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present. The land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

By anne54

Botanic artist

27 replies on “How does my garden grow?”

How lovely to see your garden -oh what beautiful bee blooms- and hear both you & Terry are doing ok. I’m hearing you re Alstroemeria psittacina… inherited in our garden also, and we’ve yet to conquer it and the many other invasive species & common weeds but we the ongoing skirmishes mean we don’t need a gym membership.
How exciting you have a new helpful neighbour and a timber fence. It’s not hard for me to imagine how wonderful both must feel.

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I hear you about not needing the gym membership, and “ongoing skirmishes with the weeds” sums up my battles perfectly. As for the neighbour, they did a lot of work on the house, including the fence, and then moved out. I think they are renting it, but it has been empty for 3 weeks now. Strangely curious….but I am thankful for the fence!

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Your new fence and revived garden look wonderful Anne. You have the right idea to just do what you can as you are able. Stressing only makes things worse. I still have all the repairs in our garden from the November storm waiting at home. Insurance has been so slow and workers and materials not easily available. I think we will be looking to downsize soon. Best wishes to you and Terry and congrats on the new neighbours!

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How frustrating for you Ardys. Complications with materials and workers must be doubled in remote areas like Alice Springs. I am fortunate I can just potter along at my own pace. As for my neighbours….I enjoyed their company for a few months, and then they moved out. They did a lot of work on the house, including a new kitchen and the famous fence. Apparently it is rented, but it has been empty for a few weeks now. Fingers crossed that the next lot of new neighbours will be nice too!

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Your garden is gorgeous and I’m glad it brings you comfort in these difficult times. But the thing I’m happiest to hear is that the nasty neighbor pulled up stakes and you now have a new neighbor who is obviously much nicer!!! And a really nice new fence! Sending hugs for Terry, and an extra tight one for you, my friend!

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Thanks for the hugs, Jill. I can feel it from here! I am so pleased the nasty neighbour has left. Unfortunately, so have the nice new neighbours. They have rented the place, but no one has moved in yet. No matter, I have a sturdy fence in place….and lovely neighbours on the other side.

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Oh the impressive change of the fence, and neighbour/Tom, who just organised it all. I’m glad you’ve got a good neighbour now. Creating the garden against the natural wood looks clean and beautiful.

And I’m pleased that Terry is settling in, I guess there are days when it’s not for him. And now you need to reasign your indoors to suit you and your potential visitors.

There is no rush, but we all know that as soon as you make a plan for anything, you want to get stuck in and do it…

Lots of virtual hugs from across the ditch… cheers Catherine


Yes, there are days when the place is not for him, and other days when he is okay to be there. Unfortunately he doesn’t have an option. I am sure that I made the right decision.
The plants do look good against the fence. I hadn’t realised what a nice backdrop it makes. They stand out now.

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I’m so sorry Anne, I seem to have missed your last few posts and didn’t realise that Terry’s health had got to this stage.
I have known what it’s like to have a horrible neighbour so I can imagine your relief that he’s now moved on and your new one sounds so much better and, a big plus, has built a lovely new fence.
I’m so pleased to hear you have lots of support from family and friends which hopefully make life a little less stressful than it otherwise would be.
After we lost our daughter sixteen months ago, the only thing I could lose myself in and that helped me through the darkest times was reading so I can completely relate to what you said in your last post about the comfort it gave you. I thought it would be sewing and various crafting for me but, strangely, I had no interest in that, only reading could transport me elsewhere.
I hope that Terry continues to settle in to his new home and that you can make the most of your new circumstances in life in the best ways possible for you both. x

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It is lovely to hear from you Lyn. I think the thing with reading is that it takes you to another world, away from the pain you are experiencing, away from the spiralling thoughts. You can drop straight into someone else’s life. And all you need is a comfy chair! Creating often require more planning and organising than you are capable of. However, I am starting find little creative shoots appearing. From your posts, it seems like you are too. Big hugs to you.


I am so pleased to hear that Terry is getting used to his new life and that you are rebuilding yours. Also that your unpleasant neighbour has been replaced by a kind one – that makes such a difference doesn’t it? The new fence looks so much better and now you can get on with the garden which is an excellent way to have time to reflect whilst doing something both useful and creative. I am cheering you on and sending big hugs.

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As you would appreciate, Sue, making a new life as a single person after so many years of being a couple has its challenges, and benefits. I am trying to shed the role of ‘carer’, and am learning how to do things that please me.
The garden has been a lovely place to be. It is undemanding ~ and much more enjoyable with the new fence and without the presence of the nasty neighbour!

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I am delighted to hear that you are shedding the old skin and finding a new one. Even now I am not sure the ‘new’ (12 year old!) skin is quite right but it is a process. And we have to grieve – in your case for the aspects of Terry you have lost and for both of us the ‘should-have-beens’. Gardening is fabulous for getting through.

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I doubt that we ever stop grieving…maybe it just changes over time. It’s a strange experience to be grieving for the life Terry and I used to have, and for the man he was, while he is still alive. He is still a big part of my life and I know I am the keystone of his. So I am taking that into account too while I work out what my life will be. Thanks for your understanding and support, Sue.

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I think that dementia is particularly hard to deal with because, as you say, you are grieving for someone who is still alive and still needing you. When John died the support of family and friends kept me going and enabled me to move on – I promised the universe then that I would hold out a hand to anyone else going through it.


I love relying to comments, Emma. It is like sitting around the table with a cuppa! I am pleased with the garden, and I enjoy just pottering. It’s Autumn here, so things are starting to go to seed, which I also love. I am hoping to tackle the front garden over Winter. We will see how that goes!

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The thing about gardens is how wonderfully healing and forgiving they are. Even the wildest ones have their own beauty. That’s certainly a handsome fence, but how satisfying to know that on the other side is a helpful and compassionate human being instead of an absolute menace. I relieved to hear Terry’s settling in and that you have enough breathing space to consider the shape of your life going forward. I’m very much looking forward to catching up with you later this year!


There is something about getting you hands into the soil, so satisfying. No wonder gardeners are a healthy lot! Unfortunately my nice new neighbour has moved out. Tom did a lot of work on the house, and I thought, from conversations, that they would be staying. It seems they are going to rent the place, although no one has moved in yet. Oh well, I have a sturdy ~ and handsome! ~ fence. It will be so good to catch up. The date is already in the diary!

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We, too have a surly neighbor who won’t even ‘let us’ fix our shared fence that’s falling down on our side even though we’ve offered to do most of the work if he paid for the materials…according to the ‘rules’ here, it’s his responsibility for upkeep. And no, money is not the issue, he’s kind of a not nice landlord to his renters in that house.
Anyway – such unrelenting details you’ve had to juggle and sort through – on heart wrenching issues alongside day-to-day irritations. You’re doing a good job of it, Anne and I’m relieved to see here on your blog the fruits of your therapeutic garden labor.

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I hear you, Laura. I don’t understand people like that. Why not be neighbourly? We are not asking these men to be our best friends, just to help maintain our properties. It was such a relief when he moved out.
Thank you for your positive words. It is wonderful to be back in WordPress World, with my bloggy tribe. ~hugs back to you~

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I’m so glad the fence issue was finally resolved without drama! Nothing worse than having to deal with unpleasant people. I like your take on what you can and cannot do. So many things we stress over simply don’t matter, not in the grand scheme of things. I do hope though that you’ll eventually find time and energy for your art. -hugs-

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Thanks for you support, Meeks. I am one of those people who prefer to let things slide rather than have the confrontation. Usually, in the end, things resolve themselves as I want them to. I am a practiced procrastinator! As for my art, I am finding little shoots of creativity emerging. I am working on a little embroidery in a hoop. I think it will be my next blog post. ~hugs to you~

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