by Lori Dwyer on February 27, 2012 · 10 comments

On the days when my kids are driving me absolutely nuts, I escape to my garden.

You know how kids are… There are some days when you’d rather stab yourself in the eye than hear ‘Muuuuuuuuum!’ one more time. Days when your two year old screams at you from the moment she wakes up until lunchtime, for no particular discernible reason except that she can. Days when the sound of them fighting, again, just the second you walk out of the room, literally gives you a tight knot in your diaphragm and you wonder how you will ever do another few years of this.

And that’s when my garden calls, with it’s lush coolness. There is always something to be done out here, and it moves at its own pace– weeds to be pulled, potted plants that must be moved. My entire veggie garden had been attacked by my chickens and I have big plans for an extension and a chicken proof fence. I managed to yield a crop of exactly one ear of corn this summer.

The single cob of corn I grew.. but isn’t it lovely?

But Ethel and Lucy are two happy, brazen chooks. Who now follow me around the yard hoping for cuddles or food scraps. One of them is having some serious hormonal issues and laying massive eggs which, as Twitter predicted, are all double yolkers.

Happy lucky double yolk egg

Yesterday was one of those days, spent in my garden while my children yelled at each other, themselves, at least unfortunate cat, and me. An hour past bedtime and the Bump is screaming again. For no other reason than she can.

The only drawback is I can’t work in my garden at night.


As well as Tony’s bonsai, my Man and I owned a scatter of other potted plants– among them, a fire spear that has doubled in size in the five years since we bought it; two fig trees, skinny but as tall as me, cloned from his bonsai but allowed to grow full size; and a frangipani in a pot he bought me on the anniversary of our first year as a couple.

They’ve been dragged with us from Paradise and back again, surviving an up-mountain haul in a truck, the salty cold of the coastal winner and the wettest summer Sydney has seen in 50 years. And all more by good luck than good management– apart from watering them and hitting them with a dose of worm wee from the worm farm every now and then, I’ve ignored them.

Yesterday I repotted the two figs– I have plans for those, and I’ll keep you posted– and the fire spear, which currently has not only a spear but seed pods as well. All three were badly root bound, their nervous system squashed so much there was very little soil left- just massive balls of snarled roots like fibrous tendons, worms crawling between them.

Within loving care I break up the root balls, cut them back, soak them in worm tea filled with nutrients. I plant them in fresh, damp soil and water them liberally. I say a tiny prayer to the god of small things and smile at my husband in the sky.

I don’t know why I care so much about these stupid plants, whether they survive or not… it’s not as if he’ll ever be back to check on them. But they feel fragile and delicate and seemed to sigh with relief as I removed them from their plastic cells.

It’s that need to nurture, to grow, to make something healthy… again, trying to save things now, where I couldn’t Before.

post signature

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Shellye March 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I think the ear of corn is beautiful! Sure, it may have been your only crop, but you did it. Once you get your chicken proof fence, I think your garden will yield more crops.

I used to have tomato plants that gave me close to one hundred tomatoes, but my problem is that I LOVE fried green tomatoes so much that I barely let any of the tomatoes ripen. (Fried green tomatoes are a staple in our house during the spring and summer as is homemade salsa and pasta salad.)

I think a garden is a wonderful, peaceful idea. Doug and I just moved to a cottage with a huge back yard, and I plan on planting tomatoes again, and a lovely pink dogwood tree. And the makings of a flower box along the front porch will be filled with forget me nots, snap dragons (or touch me nots), blue bells, bleeding hearts, whatever I can find to plant, and be littered with wood chips among the colorful flowers. I can't wait until we have an actual spring. (We're in a false sense of spring right now. We have sixty to seventy degree days and 50 to 30 degree nights.) Cottage life is so amazing. I'm glad I decided to have a go at it. Your posts inspired me, and they're so peaceful. I was such a city folk until now.

I wonder why one of your chickens is laying double yolked eggs? I've never heard of that. Are they still edible?


:perennial: February 28, 2012 at 8:16 am

The garden is my sanctuary as well. Interestingly, now the kids are 5 and 7 and are horrors less and less I spend less time out there. Luckily I have the hundreds of hours spent in the first years of their life setting it up and so can now enjoy it. I figure it will need some more serious work in about 4/5 years as the pre teen years hit.


Claire February 28, 2012 at 3:14 am

Plants and chooks sound like a delightful respite!


Brad February 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Like not throwing out old notepads with their handwriting in them. Nice corn Lori. I promise not to brag about my only successful corn crop with the fifty plus cobs that fed us & friends for ages. I had to hand pick the grubs out of the ears as they grew & ripened, every day. Your repotting technique is scarily like mine. Except I use a fish emulsion solution to soak mine. Or used to when I was a domesticated type :). Hugs & happy stuff Lori xx


Sharon A. February 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I love double yolkers!! My fave kind of egg.

I think your nurturing of the plants sounds so lovely and healing.


Keeks February 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I am a plant killer although I keep trying. I wish I had more of a green thumb but I think I'm too impatient and forgetful.


Donna February 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

I've only recently discovered the paradise that comes with pottering with plants.

And seriously Lori, your writing is just superb. You need to write a book girl – look at this blog, you've already started :)


trash February 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

You do clever things with plants? I bow before you.


Something Gorgeous February 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

You and I have a lot in common,the need for respite and our love of our garden and chooks. Spent all day in it on Sunday… bliss! x


Crash Test Mummy February 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

Why must they scream from the moment they wake some days? I wonder what I did to cause it and like you said, there can be no escaping it sometimes. I'm glad you have found respite in your garden and peace in your plants Lori.


Previous post:

Next post: