Thursday 2nd December 2021

My Zen Is Found In The Garden. Part One. 37/2019.

My Zen Is Found In The Garden. Part One. 37/2019.

I really did not ever enjoy gardening. I think it was the labour of it and also I liked the ‘look’ of a garden but not so much the hard work. This changed for me once I was well and truly retired from all work.

We still lived in Sydney then and had a lovely pool area which incorporated garden beds around the perimeter. Over time, we (ok, my husband) laboured more intensively and made some delightful screening areas as well as adding plants and shrubs.

The pool area in its early stages, but the time the house was sold late 2014 it was more filled with greenery and colour.

I liked tending to some of the new plants, helped with cutting back the fast-growing vines and also put some plants in seasonally e.g. sweet peas. They went against the pool fence far left and it was something I enjoyed doing with my little grandkids who we cared for 3 days a week. Oh, and for anyone worried, the pool gates were always locked and an adult would accompany a child into the pool area at all times.  Very strict on that!

Then we sold our family home and moved to the Central Coast to rent. The first house we rented was a waterfront and, by the way, we would not choose waterfront again because the salty air does affect computers and other appliances. This place had some native trees but not much else.

After wanting to get away to an easier house to live in and be more comfortable, we chose an established home that had one owner and was in the northern area of the Central Coast N.S.W. And those people planted a LOT…..of palm trees, and tropical plants….and I sure got some frustrations out chopping them back. The HUGE frangipani in the back yard needed some cutting back but the beauty each Spring to Summer was worth the mess of the fallen petals!

Now where was I?

Zen in the garden.

As I really needed to become more mindful and calm down my  nervous system (IBS and anxiety) my plants and flowers helped me manage myself and emotions on some days. Mind you, I sometimes needed some digging help, but generally I could manage with potting mix, barrel-type planters and a range of colourful flowers in season.

These gave me joy as I tended them, photographed them and sometimes tried to capture their beauty by a sketch or a painting.

These colourful plants and flowers were a joy to tend, to water and to care for as they were almost all located on the back verandah and I could reach them easily. Over time, some would die back and others would take their place.

As I became more unwell into 2017 – before I knew I had cancer – being outside, in this garden was one place where I could:

  • meditate via my app then which was Headspace
  • take notice of the changing skies above
  • listen to the birdsong of the local native birds and those who are just nuisance value
  • water the flowers and clean up the frangipani debris
  • cut back the palms: they can be quite dangerous and these, according to those who know, should never have been planted. They were overwhelming in size but….the new owners (our landlords) did not give approval for culling…so we did it. And the local council took the big and fallen fronds away at green pick up times.

Next time, more about the ways in which being in a garden is good for my heart and soul!

Do you find zen in the garden?


Linking up with Min on Tuesdays for Zen Tips Tuesday here. 



  1. I would love to garden Denyse but haven’t really made the time. My two cousins are wonderful gardeners and they certainly inherited the green thumb gene. There is nothing more uplifting than sitting and enjoying the colours and beauty of flowers or the calmness of being surrounded by green. Thanks for the beautiful photos they brightened by morning. #ZTT

    • Thank you Sue, yes I think Mother Nature knew what she was doing with her colours!

      Don’t write yourself off as a non-gardener. Some pots and plants will do. That is what I am capable of and recently started a new batch of pansies in pots.

      Denyse x

  2. I do find zen in the garden Denyse. I used to garden a lot more than I do now, but then I had a larger yard space at our previous house and we built that house so we did all the landscaping from scratch. I was also a lot younger then! We moved to a larger house but smaller yard space which suited us as we were both working full-time and had little time for yard work. Thing is we didn’t realise how much word masses of palm trees are! Our pool area is surrounded by masses of palm trees and we thought it would be low maintenance – not so! Anyway … I digress … I still love to garden but on a smaller scale and I don’t like the heavy work. I get a lot of joy from a pretty garden just as I do from nature in general. The flowers in your photographs are beautiful and your pool area looks wonderful! Have a great week Denyse and thanks so much for linking up with #ZTT xo

    • Oh yes, getting older is not really a match with a big yard.

      I found palms an absolute nuisance in the rental place before here. We had council pick ups just to get the fronds that fell any old time taken away. They were huge and sometime spikey. I admit we planted the odd palm decade ago around one of our pools. Yikes. Wonder what it is like now.

      I always love your pool pics as they remind me of our one back in Sydney. Not sure if we would have a pool again. Definitely air con over a pool!

      Denyse x

  3. I’m not a gardener Denyse, but I love to watch my husband work in the garden! He enjoys it a great deal, although he does grumble from time to time! I do sometimes relent and help out, it all looks so great when it’s up to date and I enjoy our time working together. My zen place in the garden is my sunroom, where I’m sitting now. I can see the garden, the paddocks with the sheep wandering around, I can hear the birds calling and watch the sunlight play through the trees. It was interesting that my daughter found some old photos when she was home for the weekend and my how the garden has changed over the years!! We also have 18 acres of paddocks around us, a forest we can walk in up the back and a vineyard next door so it’s a lovely place to find some calmness in our lives. I enjoyed reading your post for #ztt 🙂

    • Oh that sounds the best place! Somewhere capturing the sun and the warmth as the weather cools. I love seeing your photos of where you live. My husband is averse to any clime with cold as he went to Teachers College in Armidale and his body does not regulate temperatures well.

      It is always interesting to look back at garden shots and see the difference.

      My poor Dad who literally built the garden at their place when we bought in 1959, is not appreciating that the ‘new owners’ who bought in 2011 is finally doing the reno and upgrade…all over and decimating any of Dad’s and Mum’s front yard. Still, it gave them much joy and life moves on. I am glad we had/have lots of photos for him to remember too.

      Denyse x

  4. I love your flower photos Denyse, and I too love taking photos of my plants and flowers. It brings me in touch with the wonder of nature. What is odd though, that on Instagram, my flower pics get less attention than the fashion ones, which I find very sad! Perhaps it’s my photography skills which are in question though! Me too, I like looking at a garden, but I’m a bit of a sloth when it comes to getting into the gardening – however once I get into it, I enjoy it and can potter, dig, weed and prune for hours. #MLSTL and Shared on SM x

    • Thanks Johanna but I think you are selling yourself short. You always present beautifully and it’s lovely that people do ‘like’ what they see. Enjoying nature and flowers is something not everyone pays enough attention to sometimes. Remembering to “stop and smell the roses” is a good saying! Cheers, Denyse x