After a scorcher of a summer, autumn has slowly opened it's arms to us here in Australia. Today it bucketed down with rain, it was absolutely pissing down for hours at a time and that felt good.
I was happy to see the back of summer this year. Not only did we have seven days in the 40s, but we kicked started the year with the death of my dearest dad. Summer has been pretty much as bad as bad can be - bring on winter.
A week ago I got the urge to hack at the titanic of weeds which have been terrorising every other plant in my mum's garden. For years now it has been overgrown because my dad was not physically able to care for it, my mother had no interest and my dad was so proud that he wouldn't let my sister and I help him maintain it.
So much like every other part of their acre of land; privet, Japanese bamboo, ink weed, thistle etc has taken over. It is forty shades of green these days. Last Thursday, I spent all day chopping and hacking and then loading up my dad's ute with all of the garden waste. It took three trips down to the corner of the paddock to get rid of the stuff.
Today me, my 3 year old daughter, my sister and her 3 year old son looked around a garden centre gorgeously called 'The Secret Garden'' about ten minutes from our small town. It rained heavily the entire time we were there but that made it even more fun.
This garden centre is operated by a local employment agency and re-skills people in all things horticulture. It is located on a University campus but hidden away in their horticulture section, right next door to the plantation of gum trees which they grow specifically as koala food.
A bonus for the kids was to see the pet pigs, geese and rabbits that live on the site. The centre has mainly cottage garden plants - lavender, plumbago, clivias, agapanthas, roses and every kind of salvia. At the back there is a beautiful rose garden. It has a wonderful feel about it because it doesn't have advertising everywhere, there is nothing commercial about it. There's no eftpos, there's no order but you can tell that everyone who works there loves the environment.
I think there's therapy in hacking at weeds. Rather than talking to a grief counsellor, I'm working through my grief by wacking the shit out of bamboo roots.
The results, come this Spring will be two fold - we'll be able to give our mother something to look forward too, as well as paying homage to our dad, who when he was younger and had the time, loved his garden.
Postscript: Here is more information about the secret garden, which I found on their website.