When I was little, I had a small rock collection – bits and bobs I deemed pretty for one reason or another; the way they sparkled, their smooth texture, a particularly lovely jagged edge, or just their overall colour.
I never did anything in the garden besides “help” water the plants, as kids do. I remember thinking how fun gardening looked, watching my grandfather tinker away at his vegetable patch, picking plumbs and crab apples off his small trees when they ripened each summer.
My mum wasn’t one for gardening. When springtime rolled around, she’d pick up her seemingly favourite red flowers – impatiens – planting them in the same flower bed beneath the patio year after year. As time went on she gave up on even this, resorting to merely weeding and letting flowers over-grow if she thought they looked alright. She’d always appreciated a well kept garden, but never had the desire to get her hands into dirt like her father.
The first house my husband Thomas and I owned was back in Toronto. We spent a few years there, but the yard was massive and overwhelming. Upon moving in, the garden was completely overgrown with weeds. We let them grow until we had things in the house sorted out, then tore them out by hand and tamed the yard down to a manageable, neat grass lawn with a few boarder trees and plants.
I never had enough free time to take a stab at creating a picturesque garden like I wanted, and to be frank, with spring and summer only lasting a few short months of the Canadian year, I didn’t have a motivation to try for long enough, opting for indoor plants instead. Looking back, the indoor plants I kept weren’t the best start. Many were leggy or not all that lush, though they never died, so it was a humble but decent beginning to plant keeping, I suppose.
When Thomas and I made a cross-continental move to the UK with our house cat, I started this blog and an indoor herb garden. This attempt was a complete disaster, that led me to months of warring with gnats. Eventually, they led me to call it quits, as living and working full time in a small space with two full grown adults and a kitty was hard enough without gnats flying at your face when you walk into the kitchen. I decided to give gardening another try once we moved to a house, then Brexit, then came Portugal.
So here we are now, a beautiful house in Cascais, where our garden was again overgrown, though this time much more manageable. We paid some gardeners to do some initial landscaping, throwing on a bunch of gravel in place of a lawn to prevent the need for regular watering. I’m all for less work and all for water conservation, so my goal is to create a gorgeous drought-tolerant garden, ideally full of colourful bougainvillea, stunning succulents, a collection of cacti, herbs, and teeny-tiny fruit-baring potted trees as well.
This blog – essentially a compilation of updates showcasing my progress in my garden, as well as compilations of research I’ve done along the way. Hopefully, I won’t have too many casualties in the garden before I find my footing! Here’s to a greener thumb.