As the years go by, I much prefer to let the days wash over me and just make the most of what is in front of me with a bit of planning for next season and beyond. But marking down time with the passing of a calendar can be a bit stressful, it makes us aware of our age and adds a degree of pressure to get things done by a certain time or day and changes our focus from the moment to the minute.
But here we stand on the last few days of a decade that have shaped me the most, so the timing is right to do a bit of reflection and appreciate where I have come from. It has been a bit of a journey. Sometimes I made deliberate and intentional decisions and other times life just took me and I regret nothing.
This time 10 years ago I was waiting with a held breath to find out if I had become a winner in my first ever Yates Spring Vegie Growing Challenge. This was a blogging competition where you needed to write about your spring garden, sharing all the ups and downs, and encourage friends, relatives and random strangers met on the street to vote for you. It was worth every effort as there was $1000 cash up for grabs. Sadly, I didn’t win the competition, but I did win in other ways. Firstly, they ran a once only Autumn challenge that year – which I entered with determination and won! I continue to be involved in this fabulous challenge and we have just wrapped up our 10th Annual Spring Vegie Growing Challenge and I have been the moderator for the last seven years and I love it. But the best treasure to come from a decision to enter this competition all those years ago was the combination of writing and gardening. It was the discovery of two loves and was the first step of a very satisfying journey.
After the completion and win of the Autumn Vegie Growing Challenge, I found myself at a loose end. I had shared every gardening thought and idea every day for an entire spring and autumn and I had gotten into the habit of sharing these things. Without this outlet the thoughts got stuck in my head and spun around and around or worse – fell on deaf ears as I explained in great detail my latest creative endeavour in the garden to Hubby the Un-Gardener. Something needed to be done to free my mind for more ideas and schemes, so I launched Gardeningkiwi on WordPress and loaded my first post >Hello World<. I haven’t looked back. I had been intermittently and tentatively loading videos to You Tube since 2009 under the name Gardeningkiwi so blogging became a technically easier extension of what I was already doing. You can check out my first ever You Tube Video here. > My first You Tube Video<
It was also at this point I decided to take my gardening journey seriously and studied a National Certificate in Horticulture, which I passed with flying colours. It is so easy to study something you are passionate about.
The following year wasn’t as exciting as far as the level of interesting things that have occurred over the decade, but I continued blogging and racked up a whopping 67 blog posts for the year. For some unknown reason my most popular blog post for that year was: >Goats love Kale<. It continued to be popular for a few years afterwards as well, but I have no idea why. During this year I threw myself into my garden – extended it a little with a few sneaky land grabs and picked up my first paid magazine article gig that lasted quite a while.
This is when things got exciting. This was the year I released my first book The Good Life. It is a memoir style with combination of all the blogs I had previously written plus some new stuff. I have a lot to thank Hubby the Un-Gardener for what he has done for me over the years, as he recognised my writing as ‘quite good’. I still don’t see it, but I like doing it, so I keep going, wearing out the keys on my laptop… When he wanted to make the initial contact I said, “don’t bother them, they are probably busy.” If he had listened to me, you would be reading a very different blog post right now.
This was also the start of my speaking journey. Even though writing and speaking are two different things, if you write a book, people ask you to speak about it in all sorts of places. Fortunately, I found I enjoyed that too. I love speaking to garden clubs, at events, on the radio and all sorts of places, although cruise ship speaking has to be a highlight!
My most popular blog post from this year was all about the chickens: >I have achieved something pretty cool<
By now I was on a roll… I released book number 2 – Play in the Garden. When I was approached to write a kid’s gardening book, I almost said no. The boys weren’t into gardening, but when I saw how much they were into their screens, I decided they needed some outside time. So, we wrote a book about getting kids out into the garden by creating some family time. I paid them for their reluctant effort, and they turned the tables back on me by spending the money on an X-Box!
I also got on the telly a couple of times. Twice in a current affairs news slot and once in a legit episode of a cooking show… where I made halloumi cheese and a beetroot salad from the hungry gap in a bereft spring garden. The show was called Cook the Books and I qualified for a segment as there were recipes in The Good Life – so I kinda had a Cookbook.
It comes as no surprise that the most popular post that year was my about page. >What’s this all about then?< Although it mortifies me to see that it is desperate need of an update, so please check on this again sometime in the near future for something more relevant to what I am doing now….
I don’t know about you – but I think I need to take a break here. When I started writing this, I honestly thought I could fit it into one good sized post. Unfortunately, I didn’t fully remember with clarity the scale of adventure my garden journey has been.
If you don’t make it to the next post, I just want to say here and now thank you all so much for your support over the years. Things may have turned out quite differently without you.
Come again tomorrow – the best bits are still to come.
Sarah the Gardener : o)