Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sydney Harbor Gardens - Pink and Green in East Balmain

I've come to a lovely interlude of my Year of Living Homelessly - house-sitting at a jungle-like home on Sydney Harbor, until mid-September.

I don't know how Helen managed to find me. Visually, we have identical taste in plants - I restrict myself to a garden of these three contrasts: 
  • Pink on Green 
  • Light green on dark green on light green
  • Fluffy or heart shaped or dangling and lavish or massive - a party of distinctive foliage
Do this, and it will come out beautiful (To Cecilia and Helen, anyway)

Recycled tin can garden. Illustration by Cecilia

As the earth-garden areas are all in shade, Helen's edibles are in sunny pots, watching the harbor - guava, strawberry. 

I could make her hibiscus into tea, dig up her bamboo shoots and ginger roots for stir fry, and infuse the cream for my crepes with her lavender.
But maybe I won't. 

I think Red Shiso, that wonderful drinkable Japanese herb, would be a perfect friend for her existing plants. Maybe next summer.

Its true that I like diversity and change. Most mornings, a different Ten Story high 'residence' appears at my balcony.  But I never get a chance to make friends, that's the downside.

Upstairs I have a choice of five balcony garden seating areas from which to have my breakfast. 
There are another five courtyard gardens to choose from, less open and sparkly, so I prefer these. Add to the list two interior gardens, and a large pot plant population. 

Friends everywhere!

Although Helen doesn't specialize in Organic or in Edibles, if cities and citizen suddenly needed to feed themselves,  she could have a successful garden going in a year or two.  She could manage a whole neighborhood to succeed, I suspect.

Its just a tiny step from turning an able gardener into a Sustainable food gardener. 
But turning your average sustainability enthusiast into a successful food gardener takes years and years. 
It did in my case.
Bit by bit my garden and its casualties got me to face up to the realities: That a healthy garden springs from healthy soil, and a healthy character (or the love of gardening elicits health in our characters)

My balcony garden taught me these things:

  • Pretending there isn't a problem won't fix things, 
  • Procrastinate, and there isn't a tomorrow (for the poor plants)
  • Take shortcuts, and your destination disappears.  
Just being in a clear house like Helen's, where each draw is filled with everything you need, and nothing you don't, is keeping my mind decluttered, ready for good permie action. 

Please send me blessings for a productive, happy spell here in East Balmain. And introduce me to your Sydney friends, so I don't get too lonely, here with all these plants. 


Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

What an amazing place to house sit!! Beautiful views and so many little secret gardens to choose from. Maybe one of those gardens could even keep chickens :)

Cecilia Macaulay said...

I agree! Fluffy little Bantams would be perfect. Where would I get them from? Would they be okay with the little terrier who sometimes lives here?

Maybe not.

But Mrs Bok, my brothers place in Ananndale where I also live dearly wants bantams.
Actually, we would like to start of with Bantam sitting, for people who are going on holiday, just to try before we commit.

If you know of anyone who needs a bantam sitter, please introduce us
: )

Kev said...

Hi Cecilia,
My sister lives with her family in Marrickville, not so far from Annandale or East Balmain (though not as glamorous either). But she is just starting to get into gardening in a big way and is in love with her chooks who are helping her build her garden beds. She told me where she got her hens (there was a story to it) and she also gets help from her little fox terrier in keeping away the rats from the chook feed.
I'm sure she would be able to help you get some chooks, and I'm sure she'd be amazed by your garden knowledge. Let me know if you'd like her number/email address.

Stone Art's Blog said...

thats some view to have when doing your dishes!