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?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Signing Up

It looks like I'm going to be doing volunteer work now, for a major heritage organisation.
Having been intermittently unemployed over the last several years, I've had to ask myself if my job - bookselling - or, if any job, were worth the dedication I've put into mine. 
I'm feeling that most of us spend the best part of our life locked into a routine that becomes increasingly meaningless. Too late, we find ourselves taking a short trip to a tropical isle before we face the remainder of our finity girdled by high blood pressure and cardiac malaise.
However poor I'm going to be, I would sooner be living until I can be quietly transubstantuated, rather than be dying by a force I hadn't reckoned with. It's not OK giving all of my life to an employer or an employment role and then finding myself cast aside with questions unanswered.
The signs are out there, as these were, along my bus trip. I am viable. I am not owned by anybody. It might look like I'm copping out, but by letting go of the notion of being a worldly success, I'm voluntarily accepting a destiny that will connect me to a greater purpose, beyond the moment. Fame, power and position aren't part of that.
I prefer to be finding the beautiful in the mundane. I prefer to belong to another world, not this here and now thing. I prefer up to down. And I prefer to believe I'm being guided, not that I'm being abused.

Friday, September 5, 2014


This garden isn't a showpiece. And I am only the tenant.
I was going to write about The Art of Gardening, using my formerly lumpen, now shapely compost heap as an illustration of how anything rudimentary can be made beautiful.
But it's too hard to think about. It's easier for me to show you these Eucalypts rising out from beside the shapely, formerly lumpen compost heap.
This is why I garden, and why for me it's an art. I like to continue the continuity of life, or to be part of that continuation.
It's nearly spring here. The birds and the buds are leaping. These Freesias came from my grandmother's garden in Adelaide. They smell like a heavenly fruit salad.
I am weak, often, in spring: weak with the labour. I don't mind going slower, finding myself more diligent. Besides, I too, what with my feelings of liberty, feel spring's vigour.
I make gardens to make a space wherein apparent timelessness is allowed. Work, yes, but it's honourable and simple.