One of the things I do to relax these days is annoy my kids with tales of "the good old days". Many the times their eyes glaze over as they indulge what is affectionately called one of "Dad's rants".
The subject can be as varied as history, politics, music, or indeed anything that casts my mind back.
However one particular recent rant was one about the "back to the future" in regard to gardening. My rant to the boys this time came under the topic of "there's nothing new under the sun" and was on the subject of the latest trend of self sufficiency and growing your own vegetables rather than relying on supermarket produce or flowers. I related to my sons story of when I completed a permaculture course and how I was explaining how this worked to my Mum and Dad.
When I said it was all about growing plants yourself and encouraging self sufficiency, they said this was what they had done all their lives. Indeed they were correct. I can recall my parents growing the most beautiful cool temperature garden in my childhood (we lived just outside chilly Hobart, Tasmania) with hollyhocks, English lavender, roses, daffodils, jonquils in amongst the thriving veggie and fruit garden with raspberries, spuds, lemons, cabbages.
Feeding the entire garden with their manure was a group of very happy chooks who laid eggs with the most beautiful orange yokes.
When I dug a little deeper, my parents explained that they had been taught self sufficiency from their parents, everyone in their day had a beautiful garden that not only was a delight to view but also self sustaining. The garden was not so much a haven from the everyday stresses of life (though it played that role too) but an extension of my Mum and Dad's very beings and personalities.
So perhaps the latest trend to get back to the land is in fact born of old wisdom; the nous to grow a nourishing and visually stunning garden? Was this wisdom somehow lost as time became a major factor in people's lives? If this is indeed true, as many studies appear to confirm, perhaps gardeners can be considered at the vanguard of the new (and old) "back to nature" movements?
Growing your own flowers, trees, plants and vegetables are all essential parts of a truly healthy, vibrant garden.
For ideas on the type of plant to grow in your own garden go to Evergreen Grower's website and check out the specials.
Does anyone else have memories of their parents or grandparents' garden they'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you.