Saturday, January 31, 2015


I see boys whizzing by on their bikes, fed with the fresh country air. There's insufficient traffic to impede them.
Here, whatever may be thought, it's quiet. I feel that no-one wants any trouble.
Perhaps I'm among people who've had enough trouble and are simply mending.
The bus stops outside and a door bangs. Someone decides to do some gardening.
The voices might be gruff. There are undertones and overtones.
I belong here, here in a life where a warren of gold mines once made this the most prosperous of corners in the known world, but where the human beings beside me are grappling with the everyday.
Or handling, it's better said, as I am handling the everyday. We are handling whatever it is, our place, in a cycle. For me, it's a whole new one.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I'm seeing my transition to Wendouree in Ballarat in the light of Derek Jarman's to Dungeness, less distinctive as the experience and outcome might be...
Unable now to afford anything liveable in Melbourne's inflated rental market -
unable, at 56, to find employment - as a bookseller, or as anything else; and with an effecting health condition:
I last year applied for Public Housing and was recently informed that I'd got it.
Where I am might seem to be neglected or down at heel but I don't feel threatened whatsoever. I'm not only happy: I feel blessed.
Whatever my past has been, this is an altogether new life I've been given, at a new site and with a new sense of what life is capable of being. I've begun humbly but safely, with considerable freedom and considerate neighbours...
...the world began after nothing, and then there was a spark.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

There's No Gardening Today...

In an attempt to retain whatever readers may still be visiting, and to say hello to are some shots of my Christmas, a non-gardening day. May your own days, in the garden or out of it, be just as happy, my friends...

XXX, Faisal.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Big Bad Bunyip

As far as I perceive, entities such as the Bunyip that were said to inhabit the Aboriginal landscape of Australia do so still, though we've dismissed them as imaginary. The town of Bunyip, 80 km east of Melbourne is not imaginary. It's only my fascination with an old property for sale there that might be classified as such. 
With this as its driveway though, you can see how easy it was for me to be enchanted. The St Thomas' Anglican Church Bunyip Annual Flower Show and Market notwithstanding, I had no otherwise strong reason to go there, to Bunyip. 
It's not exactly prime real estate, what with its various sheds a bit more than knocked about...
...and one or two details requiring attention.
But with this as a back garden, I was dreaming of all that could be done, of the forest I'd make, with a Japanese air.
 This, above, is the view of surrounding countryside from the township's hillside position. Some people would call it a view to die for.
Near to the train station are some spectacular trees, such as this scarified Eucalypt.
Just because something's showing signs of wear and tear doesn't mean it should be bulldozed, I told myself. For me, in truth, it's just these signs I find most appealing.
So, it doesn't look like I'll be buying an acre in Bunyip and building a dream garden there. I consoled myself with a glass of wine in The Top Pub instead...
...finding beauty, not beasts, everywhere.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Not Gardening, Writing

To anyone interested, I just want to let you know about a new blog I have, for my writing. It's not actually a matter of choosing either gardening or writing when I'm asked what matters to me. They complement one another. But I'm needing to be spending some time inwards, writing, and less, out there, in the garden. Though Blogger has made it difficult or impossible to Follow now, I hope you might want to take a look at this new venture.
Its address is:

Friday, September 26, 2014


It's occurred to me that despite a stated claim, I only infrequently include pictures of my own garden. One of the reasons - and there are perfectly innocent ones too, such as that I like to get out and about where the grass seems to be greener - is that what I have and what I have done are nowhere near good enough to expose to public scrutiny.
Photographs lie. Or is it that photographers do? Photographs purport to tell the truth, in this information age, much more nearly than a more creative interpretation might.
But a photographer selects and excludes. A photographer draws your gaze to an object...and the photographer diverts your gaze from other objects. As I am doing here, see? I don't want to show you Dullville so I show you some pruned apple branches flowering in a pot.
"The Gardener Opens His Toolkit", but this is not my toolkit. I don't even have a toolkit. I just have some bits and pieces I use, alot of them, in themselves, not photogenic. But I decided to spare you the pain of seeing reality.
This above is, apparently, a genuine gardening toolkit as used by a genuine gardener. But, reader, Faisal concocted it this afternoon, hoping to enthrall you. Sadly, some of the apparent tools this gardener uses are impractical, if not inapplicable, in any real life garden setting.
Or perhaps not. However little like any photogenically sumptuous garden my own garden may be, I find that, yes, I can use in it materials that have not come from any authorised or topical source. And as a gardener, I can act without regard to any gardening trends...
as the shoes above indicate. It has to be said that I get about in my slippers sometimes, and once in a blue moon, in a purpose-built pair of heavy workman's boots. But these are what I trip about in. So, at last, here is a real photograph of a real thing, or of a real pair of things. 
This is another, Eucalyptus caesia staked and tied. An unglamorous if satisfyingly rustic shot, it nevertheless shows what's what, even if it doesn't show the ugly chicken wire fencing nearby. There we go...the photographer pretends to be real, while at the very same time excluding the unsatisfactory or disappointing. 
The photographer is trying to show you what matters to him. From out of all the degradation and the rusting and the blights of our days, flowering is forever. Even here, in Dullville.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


My apprentice enjoyed some upholstery after a day of digging in the keen, if overcast air of Ballarat.
I, too, got down to alot of digging...I won't show here all the nitty-gritty of my working holiday because it was, well, a bit gritty...
Blessed with more lichen and hovering clouds than any other site on the planet, if not any site within driving distance of Melbourne, Ballarat in winter might seem uncomfortably chilly, especially when you're on your knees without upholstery -
but it flowers profusely. I was here to plant out a million Camellias, 30,000 Roses, a truckload of Dogwoods, sackfuls of Hellebores, piles of Cliveas and just a scratch of Raspberries.
I wouldn't like to know I couldn't go to Ballarat again. Near to where I laboured, with only the odd lamb roast and glass of red to defrost me ( weep, gardener, weep ), a new development is appearing. Against the usual odds, it's keeping its ancient Eucalypts,
here beside the Ballarat Golf Club. I haven't a clue, myself, how to swing one of those irons. It would be enough just to wander around...
and smell the roses or the grasses,
or these other wonderfully alien forms ( the identity of which I claim complete ignorance ).
OK. I'd say that if you can get something like this wriggling out of your lawn you're doing well. What did I see? I saw countless front lawns without fences, windows daringly open to the street. I saw armfuls of Daffodils. And lichen covering almost everything. I didn't want to stop in case I was next -
 but, as you can see, there's so much new life, the lichen will have to move quicker.
I'd entered a gate into another world, with gardens and gardening charmingly different to Melbourne's. So often, when you garden, you can be so intent on the ground in front of you, you forget what's happening down the road, or 120 km away. So now I remember. Is there room on the couch for another snoozer? Zara?