The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Nature’s Prozac …

When I was growing up, our back garden was a disaster.


Tall grass.



Beautiful mayhem.

As a kid, I thought it was amazing.

Me and Paul would run in there and it felt like we were in the jungle.

From playing hide and seek to pretending we were soldiers, it could all happen there.

Then around the age of 5, Mum and Dad had an extension put onto the house and because the loan they took out for it was a bit more than they needed to have it built, they spent the rest on the garden.

Oh how they loved it.

They spent hours there.

Creating it. Cultivating it. Nurturing it. Admiring it.

My god, the way my dad treated his ‘sweet peas’ was enough to make me think he loved them more than me sometimes.

And while I still could play softball tennis with Mum on the patio, I always felt I had had something robbed from me – despite the fact there was a massive park down the road and huge fields of nothingness around the house.

So from there on in, while I could appreciate a nice garden, I always saw them as something that pushed me away rather than welcomed me in.

Until now.

I readily admit I had nothing to do with the garden we have in the home we have just bought.

I readily admit part of its appeal is that it’s mature, so feels natural rather than contrived.

And I readily admit I am still as shit and unenthusiastic about gardening as I ever was.

But my god, I am shocked at how much I love it.

I can stare at it for hours.

Sit in it for days.

Doing nothing but looking at it’s beautiful vibrancy and shades.

Seeing Rosie the cat stretch out on the deck like she has just hit ‘peak cat life’.

Watching Otis play on the swing hanging from the tree then looking at Jill picking up all the apples that have fallen from Otis’ adventure. Turning them into pies that we scoff or give to the neighbours in an blatant attempt to mitigate the mayhem we’ve caused in the first few months of living here with huge moving trucks blocking the road and electrical blackouts that we absolutely, definitely did not cause.

The idea of all this is about as foreign to me as you could get.

I’m a city person.

I like noise and bustle not nature and quiet.

Yet … yet … this is something very special.

Something I feel a real privilege to experience, which I acknowledge is only possible because of the privileged position I am in.

And while all these feelings could all be because of my age or because this house is our family home – regardless of the incoming NZ adventure – the impact of a simple garden has been far more than I ever imagined.

Which makes me think it could also have something to do with making me feel closer to Mum and Dad.

You see while our little garden at home was nothing like this, it was incredibly special to them.

Sure it was beautiful. Sure it was the fruits of their hard work and care. But it seemed to be a place that let them feel everything was going to be OK, regardless of the challenges.

And over the years, our wonderful little family faced many – but that garden always gave them comfort and joy.

A little piece of heaven.

Blossoming into radiant beauty and colour even after the harshest of winters.

Reminding them that the darkest times will always welcome a new spring.

And while as a kid I didn’t really like how that garden had robbed me of my jungle, I grew to appreciate it.

I saw what it did for my parents.

I still remember how my Dad stared in wonder at it after his stroke.

He’d been in hospital for months and was finally allowed home.

And while he needed a lot of care from Mum, that garden was like medicine for him. Helping him forget the pain he was in. Helping him forget the turmoil he was going through.

No longer able to talk.

No longer able to walk properly.

But here, facing the fruits of his love and labour, all was forgotten.

He was safe.

He felt nourished.

He was connected to something his body was not able to let him enjoy anymore.

He and Mum could transport themselves to a time and place where everything was OK.

And while I hope I never face the tragedy my Father suffered – and acknowledge this garden is from the toil of others hands – I feel I get what nature was able to do for Mum and Dad.

Because it isn’t just what grows in the garden, but what it helps blossom within yourself.

13 Comments so far
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What a beautiful garden. Perfect for such a beautiful family. Your parents would be thrilled for you.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Thank you. I think they would. It is one of the reasons we loved the house so much when we saw it.

Comment by Rob

This is a delightful post Robert. Your parents would be so happy you and your family have this.

Comment by Lee Hill

Thanks Lee. I think we’d never get them to leave if they were here. They’d just be constantly starting at the garden or sitting in it. And I’d be absolutely fine with it. In fact, it would be my dream. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Lovely post Rob. One question, what would your parents think of your hot tub hidden under the trees?

Comment by Bazza

You mean the 7 seater monster with lights and sound system in it? I think they’d start a bit cynically. Then be a bit intrigued. And then, once in it and feeling how relaxing it is, we’d never get them out of it. Hahaha.

I know it’s chavvy. But we absolutely love it. It was basically the only thing we insisted stayed with the house when we bought it. Though we had it professionally cleaned before we went anywhere near it. Hahahaha.

Comment by Rob

Were they swingers?

Comment by Bazza

I don’t think so Baz. Though what is amusing is the neighbours on both sides had hot tubs delivered within a few weeks of us moving in. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

I would feel restored if I had a garden to enjoy like that. I hope I get to visit it one day.

Comment by George

you soppy fucking beautiful bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

you watch jill do all the fucking work to keep it good dont you? youre that fucking andy capp cartoon in real life.

Comment by andy@cynic

Just like he watched us do all the work too.

Comment by DH

This is as nice a way as it is surprising to end the week.

Comment by DH

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