As an Aussie with a Mediterranean heritage, gardening is practically part of my birth right. One, because my ethnicity is based on eating, laughing, enjoying good food and.......ahhh did I mention eating?
I grew up with little to nothing so as I developed, my palate also acquired an appreciation for every meal we had. Thus, as an adult my affinity with nature and respect for where our food came from matured into something profound.
Both my parents also always grew herbs and vegetables in their gardens. Propagating my own food came as a natural progression from my families sustainable ethos. Though, as a child I thought it was very daggy and that it was something only old people did.
Firstly, I took interest in the versatility of herbs. Studying their usefulness for home remedies and then the important role they played in the kitchen. Particularly a Mediterranean one.
When I started renting initially I had two pots of herbs. Then, as I moved around they seem to multiply into more and more until eventually I started establishing modest patches with tomatoes and the like.
Finally, when I moved into my own home I knew I would create a vegetable plot though, never did I for see I would have the mother of veggie plots and that it would consume all my time.
It took me four years to landscape the barren earth I started with after building my first home. Check out the before and after pics. I still can't see myself ever finishing it. I think that is the amazing thing about nature. It is forever changing and needs constant looking after.
Landscaping and growing your own fresh produce is a bit like having a baby;
- It needs to be nurtured;
- You have to follow your intuition;
- Keep a watchful eye over it as it grows;
- Reap the benefits of your hard work.
When people come to my house and ask me what is growing in the garden firstly, I take them to my herbs and walk them through which ones I have and their uses. Of course, I don't bore them with all the details but just cover the cooking stuff. I always find it amazing that most or all people have little to no knowledge of herbs and rarely use them when cooking. Personally I would find food very bland without them.
Since the advent of Australia's worst draught over the past ten years- unless you had a wog background - people started living off the land and re-gaining an appreciation of Mother nature. The ole backyard veggie patch has grown in popularity once more and are cropping up in the most unusual places throughout Australian suburbs. Take the apartment veranda for example.
Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, gave birth to the agricultural earth science named Permaculture during the 70's in Australia. It is based on the premise of enabling human settlements to live sustainably among nature that can be practised in any ones backyard when applying specific design principles.
I have adapted this ecological design to my suburban home setting and find it useful and inspiring.
Now, after having my daughter I've realised the importance for her generation to have a connection with nature and the earth as we sit more and more behind our PCs and Wide screen TVs. Therefore, I hope that my efforts and passion for mother nature will inspire and instill in her, as she grows, the benefits and value of living sustainably.
I'd love to hear more stories of how you share your time in the garden with your children.