Having fulfilled my dream of being the proud owner of a wonderful 12 x 8 foot greenhouse, I have been working away in my little sheltered paradise.
For the first time I was having great success with all sorts of plants, even my little Jacaranda tree had doubled in size!
The tomato vines had grown up to the ceiling and were ladden with good sized, green fruit. And to my huge delight I had a watermelon swelling at an enormous rate.
So, why the past tense?
Last Sunday, the 5th of February, Melbourne was hit by a storm. We suffered heavy rains and gale force winds.
All that makes the Hills beautiful in the sunshine suddenly turned into the cause of some concern. The gum trees swayed and creaked and the wind picked up leaves and spun them up into the air. Rain water gushed down the slopes carving tracks in the ground as it passed through.
As a English woman living in Australia, the sound of rain on the metal roof has taken some getting used to. We now know that when the rain is hammering down, you may as well turn off the TV or radio, you sure as hell are not going to hear it!
This Sunday, the noise of the rain on the roof was thunderous, and the arrival of a gust of wind was signalled by the sound of whistling, swirling and swishing noises.
Then, a punctuation! A massive noise that sounded much like the back of the house had been blown away. We dashed to the window and in a flash the cause of the noise was apparent.
There it was, a huge branch from our neighbour’s tree had fallen in my greenhouse. Not on, not around, but in my greenhouse!
On the one hand I felt grateful that the loss of the back of our house was not the cause of the noise, but on the other I was devastated to see my dream squished.
Of course, there is the sadness that I will not harvest the fruits of my labour, the upset of having put in so many hours work installing irrigation, tending to the needs of the plants, and cleaning and tidying.
There is the financial loss too, it is amazing how many dollars it takes to get established with a greenhouse, irrigation, flooring, staging, pots, compost and seeds, it soon adds up.
But, this is not the heartache for me, the heartache comes from the loss of a 12 x 8 foot sanctuary. A small space where I could loose myself, be absorbed in the wonder that is “growing things”.
By nature, I am not a patient person, and relaxation is not something I find easy. So, when I discovered that pottering in my greenhouse endowed me with the patience to work at a slower pace, the pace of nature, the pace of a seed that takes its time to germinate, the pace a plant sets as it produces its flowers and fruit, I found a sense of relaxation, an acceptance that it was okay not to be rushing, in fact it was a necessity.
My greenhouse had become a place where I could escape everyday life for a few hours, a place just for me.
So, you see, my neighbours tree has robbed me of so much more than just a garden structure.
Today, one week on, the tree cleared away, I am spending the day dismantling my mangled greenhouse and tomorrow it will be gone.
But, looking on the bright side, at least my house is still in one piece!