Don’t Fight Nature, You’ll Only Get a Black Eye.

01 May

Ding ding, round one!

A good friend send to me the other day “don’t fight nature”. She was actually referring to the plant selection for the landscaping of my front garden. You see, last year we built a new house and after all our tradies had vacated, our block roughly resembled a desolate wasteland. Besides excavating, filling, digging, destroying and an unseasonable amount of rain…our gently sloping grassy meadow was turned into a boggy, rocky outcrop. And lacking any amount of landscaping vision, it’s been a challenge to say the least.

You see, I come from a long line of very good gardeners. My Nanna definitely had an affinity with nature and grew all sorts of beautiful things from cacti to exotics to fruit trees. Her daughter (my mother) must have inherited that gene because she creates wonderful little pockets of heaven in her garden. But instead of yours truly picking up the green thumb award from the family tree, my younger brother scooped the prize. He is probably the best of them all. A Greenskeeper by trade, my mum said that anything he plants will grow like crazy. He has the goods alright.

Ding ding, round two!

So far we’ve been here a little over 8 months and in that time I’ve managed to kill a tray full of pansies, a bowl of succulents, a cactus, the rose-bush is looking woeful and one of my orchids is in serious need of therapy. We did get some turf laid but as I have mentioned, my guy spent a long time installing pop up sprinklers and its the only thing looking like its going to go the distance. So understandably, you can see my hesitation in planning an entire garden that is not only a blank canvas but that will also need continuous care from that point on.

Oh did I tell you that a friend once described me as killing a desk stapler with too much love?

Ding ding, round three!

I recently read a Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It led me astray. It consumed my mind with visions of tropical gardens filled with palms and warm climate rainforest plants. It bewitched me, it tricked me. I began to think that my front garden deserved a Tree Aloe that cost $1000, that it needed palms and ferns and birds of paradise plants. Why? I have no idea. Let’s call it zero inspiration and a great photo spread on BH&G’s behalf.

But after re-consideration and a surprise plant shopping trip from my mother who showed me the error of my ways, I’ve changed my tune. I’m going for a garden that suits my environment, that doesn’t have struggle just to put on its boxing gloves. And let’s face it, that garden has already got an uphill battle with me looking after it.

My garden is still a work in progress but I’m determined to do the right thing by it. I’m not going to fight nature.


This is roughly what I have to work with. Stay tuned to see me transform my wasteland into a garden of tranquility. Image (c)


Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Holly Hobby


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15 responses to “Don’t Fight Nature, You’ll Only Get a Black Eye.

  1. triptracker

    May 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Very amusing post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen

      May 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      You’re welcome, thanks for reading!

  2. John the Aussie

    May 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    How the hell do you kill a cactus, without using a machette?? Did you trim it with a machette?

    • Jen

      May 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Oh John, you make me laugh. Obviously you have never heard of ‘death by satuation’ before. Cacti do not appreciate too much of the wet stuff. I blame poor drainage. 🙂

      • John the Aussie

        May 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

        OOOHHH, well than…

        Put the cacti in a pot with a cut out bottom and raise the pot off the ground. The water needed will be soaked up as necessary while the rest flows freely away. Heshen or flyscreen is a good base to replace the original bottom of.

        Many different containers can work that blend into a garden.

        Thanks to the great photography of Pam, and the relation to mining I would suggest…

      • John the Aussie

        May 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        Oh right, images and wordpress don’t mix….

  3. viveka

    May 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    we can’t have green fingers all of us …. and somehow we are a gardener in our own way – have killed cactus too – given them too much water, we kill more plants through over watering than anything else. I’m sure you will get a garden that suits your fingers in the end.

    • Jen

      May 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      Lol or it will be taken away from me and I’ll be banned from donning my gardening gloves. 🙂

  4. Viciously Sweet

    May 2, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I too am a plant killer. And I live in a part of the world where I should be able to grow anything!
    I will say this…I do have an extensive empty pot collection!

  5. Sal

    May 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

    The best people to ask are the local gardening shop, (most important word is local). Don’t pop down to bunnings at Penrith, it is a totally different climate and they are selling plants that cope with hot Western Sydney summers, not freezing mountains winters. You pay a premium on the plant prices, but that is the trade off for getting all that free advice from the expert who really knows what he is talking about and you end up buying plants that don’t die in the frost.
    My strategy is to design a garden around a structural vision and let someone else choose exactly what type plants to plant in each location. It will happen eventually too. There are no quick fixes in gardening.

    • Jen

      May 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Good advice Sal. I’m working on that. Actually my local Bunnings advised against some plants because they knew they wouldn’t suit my location. So gold star to them!

  6. Just Rambling

    May 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Haha, like you I’m seriously really really bad when it comes to plants and flowers and I don’t know what else.
    My last name means flower. I know NOTHING about flowers and plants. I know roses and tulips and that’s about it. I feel like plants hate me for not knowing their name and what they want. So they die. But you, your family is good at gardening. Why don’t they like you?

    • Jen

      May 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Because they know, deep down, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. (Just like you).

      I console myself with the fact that I have other talents and my mother is always around for advice. I love your last name… 🙂

  7. Jen and Tonic

    May 6, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I believe plants weep when they see me. They know coming home with me is a most certain death.

    • Jen

      May 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Well I think the long black cape and scythe might give you away Jen. Lol.

      “Its time rosebush….you’re number’s up”.


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