I love my little garden.
It’s no showpiece; nothing you’d ever see in gardening magazines, and it will never win any neighbourhood prizes. But it’s mine – I planted almost everything in it. There are two patches of grass, each the size of the proverbial postage stamp, separated by a rain channel. From time to time, a crew from the gardening services comes and tidies it up.
Being a bit older than I was when I started putting plants in, I can only cope with ground covers now; no more digging and carrying heavy pots around. But groundcovers have their own charm – starry little flowers that make a colourful sight. When I took over from my daughter, who lived here before me, there were already two frangipane trees, bearing their heavily scented flowers, one pink and one white. Come, I’ll show you around.
In one corner, a golden shower creeper hugs the fence, sporting bright orange, trumpetlike flowers. Next to it – right next to it- a tall tea tree vies for elbow room with a wild rosemary bush, that has grown much bigger and wider than the size featured on the bag when it first arrived. It gets regular cutbacks, but refuses to stay slim.
Alongside the rosemary is a slender hibiscus. It used to be two, but when they were young, on a whim, I twisted the trunks together, so now they are forever united. The little Siamese twin blooms generously and the double flowers are a delicate pink, with a soft, parchment-like look to the petals.
Then comes the big, pinkblooming frangipane, scenting the air. I’ve hung a birdfeeder in it. Such pretty birds come into my garden to nibble, then sit on the fence and warble their thanks to the One who feeds the birds of the air – and I don’t mean me.
On the other side of Pink Frangipane is a skinny cumquat tree – the battlescarred warrior of the garden. From the time I planted it, years ago, when it was very young and small, it has been attacked by some really nasty pests. There were times it looked so dead, I almost threw it out. But, lo and behold, every time it would push out two or more little green leaves, and whisper: Wait. I’m still here; I’m not giving up. Well, now it has grown to over two metres, still skinny, with a wealth of healthy green foliage. The pests still haven’t completely gone, but their attempts are more half-hearted. There are no cumquats yet, but you know, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.
There are also, between the groundcovers, a small rose geranium, and a fairly prolific gazania with flowers like jewels. There are a couple of rosemary bushes, one of which, sadly, has fallen over, snapped off near the root. No one knows why, but it might have been a trespasser vaulting the fence, which has happened before.
Right in the middle of one of the postage stamp halves, is my favourite – a little potato bush. The reason I like it so much, is that it always looks happy, constantly covered in tiny blue flowers; and even during it’s off season, it manages to come up with two or three blue offerings, as if to say: Smile, summer will soon be here.
In the centre of the other half of the postage stamp, is a relatively recent addition- a gardenia bush. They are quite tricky to raise, but so far, I’ve harvested three white blooms. And to my mind, the fragrance of gardenias leaves all the others way behind. So here’s hoping for great things from this newcomer.
Coming almost full circle, the white frangipane is next to the front door, handy for picking the waxy blooms to decorate and fragrance my house.
Lastly, a little way from that tree, between it and the creeper, is a huge Yucca plant, dwarfing everything else. This was not my idea. A friend of my daughter was moving house, and she brought the young plant in a pot, asking us to keep it for a short while. The short while became a long while and the next thing we knew, the Yucca roots had broken through the pot and gone into the ground; and over the following few years, it grew to the height of Jack’s beanstalk. I have no idea where it will stop, but what can I do?
I learn some good lessons from my garden. Lessons of perseverance in difficult times; to keep going even when I’m under attack, wherever it might come from. To freely send out the perfume of love and grace, without partiality. The potato bush never refuses to bloom because it doesn’t have a fragrance like the frangipane. The ground cover isn’t jealous because its flowers are not as showy as the gazanias. The wild rosemary doesn’t feel inferior because it’s not as tall as the tea tree, or as slender as the hibiscus. It’s content to be what it is. Each plant does what it was created to do, and together, they turn my garden into a delightful place. Each in their own way, they all show the glory of the Creator, who designed each and every one, with its unique and breath-taking beauty.
I love my little garden.