Here in the garden it is definitely autumn. The deciduous trees are dropping leaves or are about to begin that process. The blazing Japanese Maple (acer palmatum sango kaku, Carol-bark maple) has all but finished its stunning display and the last leaves are falling.
However next to the tree is Feijoa Bambina which has three poor sized fruit on it, after a stunning flowering period in spring. It mistakenly thinks it is spring with this dramatic single flower appearing and other flower buds showing.
So much about gardening involves puzzlement and surprise.
One of my children, now grown up, was given this collection of shells and seeds by a friend’s family from Playcentre.
They had contact with various scientists and were happy to gift us this array of treasures. The land snail shells are so colourful and inside each of these three are tiny classification details. Once upon a time they were part of a research study into creatures of my country.
The bright red and black seeds are a mystery to me.
With small children it was a time, back then, to examine and wonder, to observe the diversity of size and shape, to explore with very gentle touch and respect and to learn more about life on earth.
This small collection of treasures is important to me and one day I hope to share my enjoyment of them with my grandchildren.
Gardening is a mysterious occupation and the mystery often remains unsolved despite our best human efforts.
These baby beetroot are part of my third attempt at growing a small crop of beetroot.
The first crop was a dismal failure which I shrugged off as “one of those things that happen when gardening”. I had no prior experience with this particular plant so I figured I hadn’t got something right.
I optimistically planted a second crop and gave the plants a lot more attention. I made sure the plants were watered, had plenty of sunshine and fed but again I was very disappointed to find that the beets were very small at harvest.
Not to be beaten, although my spirits were low, I went on to the internet to see what I could find about growing beetroot. I was fully expecting to find that I had missed a critical factor or two. But information I found reassured me that I was doing everything right.
With this determined attitude I planted baby beets in mid March this year with intentions to harvest them in early May. Lo and behold I have a good sized crop of baby beetroot.
What made the difference? I would have to suspect it was the sudden and prolonged period of warm weather we experienced and then some wonderfully, soaking rain that saw the beets swell up in size within a day or two. But I can’t be sure.
I have been a gardener for long enough to know I can’t beat nature, but like many gardeners I return to planting in the hope that the crops will eventuate if I care for them appropriately. I also know that every so often I manage to catch perfect growing conditions and magic happens alongside the mystery of it all.
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life. And if that child is to keep alive an inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. – Rachel Carson
When I read this quote I immediately thought of my young grandson who is only two and a quarter years old and so full of wonder about every little thing in the world. He is so fortunate that he has parents and his extended family who share a commitment to ensure he will continue to be awed, surprised, excited and curious about the world. His interest and delight is contagious and uplifting.