Small pleasures

Posted on July 20, 2012

I have been spending a lot of time on my knees lately. For all the right, wholesome reasons I might add. The Old Girl has an old garden sweeping around her like a party dress. Even in winter, her emerald green skirts are dotted with tiny spots of colour, bright flashes of jewel to catch the eye.

With all this glory, however, comes the weeds. So. Many. Weeds. But I am a longtime convert to the process of a winter full of work for a spring/summer full of surprise and joy, so I’m putting in the hard yards.

In the process, I’m coming up with 1000 metaphors that align gardening and writing. All of which I am sure to bore you with in the coming months as I edit my first novel and redraft my second.

In the meantime, though, I am concentrating on the small things. Little pleasures that make me pause to lean on my weeding fork and go ‘oh’. Jonquil bulbs unfurling to waft scent across the garden. Tiny daisies that mass together to form a ball of sunshine. Velvety purple irises that appear out of nowhere overnight.

And the lavender that must be tip-pruned now for a spectacular show in September.

At least with lavender, the prunings can be brought into the house to fill the rooms with scent and colour.

That’s win/win gardening.

Are you a gardener? What small pleasures do you find in winter gardening?


  1. katepickle

    Sometimes I am so disappointed that there was no garden here when we bought this place… just an old house (moved from the city) plonked onto ten acres of paddock weeds. A part of me would just love an old rambley garden full of beauty and surprised to tame… because starting from scratch is hard work and takes a long time… but even then there is plenty of small pleasures 🙂

  2. Diminishing Lucy

    I do not need to garden – the lovely husband does it all – but I adore the fact that I can go pick herbs and salad leaves all year round…and clear up muddy footprints all year round too…


  3. Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue

    Sounds like a fine party dress to be wearing, even if you are on your knees. Lot’s of gardening at our place too.

  4. kathie

    Its Helebore time at my place…..Winter Roses. To me that’s the best thing about winter, as I am a summer person!

  5. Alicia

    I love gardening. I love seeing the bulbs coming up and pruning the roses so they come to life in spring!

    • allison tait

      I agree Alicia – it’s worth all the effort!

  6. Kelly @ HT and T

    I’m really not a fan of gardening, probably becausse I suck at it! I hate bugs too though, scary little things. However, when I do give in and weed the garden (I hate an unkept yard more than gardening) in spite of the back pain I always feel really good afterwards, like I’ve achieved something 🙂

    • allison tait

      Yes – it’s actually a worthwhile form of exercise as well. Or so I keep telling myself!

  7. Cath

    Edna Walling worked with people who were wealthy enough to employ a gardener. I have a garden that size… just no gardener! And all I want to do is work on the forest! Garden = too hard basket!

  8. Jacq from JaxFancy

    I am a garden dreamer…! well….I have had some success with more to come hopefully.

    I like….

    A weed is just a plant misplaced.

    I think of that saying when it comes to people too 😀

    Thanks for my visit


  9. brismod

    Our garden is sadly neglected at the moment… and for no good reason. You are so right to get stuck into it now. Let’s hope this post will motivate me into doing more than tut, tutting it! xx

  10. River

    *snap* I was wandering in the front garden bed here at the flats and I brought some lavender tips inside to perfume my kitchen. The big old rose bushes were recently pruned and already there are new shoots appearing on them.

  11. Samantha

    I love pruning the fruit trees – standing back and admiring the (hopefully) beautiful vase shape at the end – as long as I don’t get too enthusiastic with the secateurs!!


    I am a massive gardener. You are so lucky to have been given guardianship (gardenship? hah) over an old beauty which will delight and surprise you in your first year. I left behind a treasure trove when we moved to this place and was confronted with not much apart from concrete, weeds and dead fruit trees. Lots of blood, sweat and tears later and it’s a real joy (and occasionally feral). So worth it.

  13. Toni

    I love the idea of gardening. Especially the part where I sweep through in a white dress and a big straw hat, collecting flowers and herbs in my pretty basket.

    the work? not so much.

  14. karencharlton

    you *are* … hello, Friday!

  15. karencharlton

    That’s the best thing about being new to an old garden – you can constantly surprised by the plants popping up through the soil. Sounds like the old lady is the place to be this spring.

  16. alison@thisbloominglife

    I’m always finding gardening metaphors for life in general. For me, winter gardening (and all its work) is about potential and hope for the future. My favorite quote is from Edna Walling and describes my style, “a garden should be just a little too big to keep the whole cultivated, then it has a chance to go a little wild in spots and create some pictures for you”. I take this to mean a few odd weeds are fine! But boy am I working hard on the potential at the moment. Enjoy your new garden and don’t forget that amidst the weeds may be the odd self-sown gem.

    • allison tait

      Oh I love that quote – and I think I’ll be relating to that…

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