Hi I’m Sarah the Gardener and I live on a small 3 acre lifestyle block in the Waikato in New Zealand, with my family: Hubby the Un-Gardener, Tim the Helper and The Joeyosaurus, Fennel the Cat, Sweetie and Snowy the Goats and a constantly changing population of chickens and more often than not more than one rooster, and the occasional pair of lambs.
The Joeyosaurs and Tim the Helper
We didn’t always live in the country, but were city slickers running around in the rat race. One day, prompted by the unexpected diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis, we made the decision to swap our lattes and malls for gumboots and fresh air and we moved to the country. We have pretty much adapted to the role of country bumpkin quite nicely, although our farmer neighbours still get a chuckle when that old city slicker shine peeps through.
The first priority was to get the veggie garden and orchard up and running. The garden just started with a modest four beds, but it continued to get bigger and bigger and now provides most of our annual vegetable needs. Gardening is now so much a part of my life and I love being able to grow delicious things for my family to eat – from seed. You could say I’m obsessed. If you run into me on the street and ask how I am, I’ll tell you “Oh not good – I’ve got blight.” And don’t get me started on the weather!
Having discovered a love of gardening, I believe everyone – whether they choose to or not, because I have discovered some people don’t actually like gardening… at all! So whether they chose to or not, people should know how to put a seed in soil and get something to eat, in the same way they should know how to sew on a button or boil an egg. Fortunes can be made and lost in an instant and this could be the difference between being hungry and healthy. These are basic life skills that are being lost to the busyness of life and I am stepping out there to help people find this again using my love of writing.
While I mostly learnt how to garden the hard way, by doing, which resulted in a fair share of humorous anecdotes which left our farmer neighbours shaking their heads in disbelief at my latest madcap scheme. But with each attempt at something new I studied and learnt why it worked or why it didn’t so I could avoid failures and repeat successes. But if I can make it work and feed my family then anyone can. Although I would prefer others learn from my mistakes instead of repeating them lest they give up at the first hurdle and never experience the pleasures of fresh food eaten there in the garden.
With my gardening bringing me such joy and a growing desire to share that with others, I found a second passion – writing and this became the perfect vehicle to encourage others to pick up a spade and grow something wonderful.
I now have three books, to encourage and inspire others to get out there and start a garden. Gardens are such ever changing places and while I’m growing things in my garden, I’ll always have something to write about.
Mine isn’t a perfect garden, I have weeds, the beds are wonky and it certainly isn’t magazine picture perfect. But it is a real garden, tended by a real gardener, just trying to feed my family.
Come again soon – I have come a long way since I naively first put a spade in the dirt and there is still a long and exciting journey ahead.
Sarah the Gardener : o)