Up until a year ago, I lived in a three-bedroom inner city apartment, close to shops, schools and public transport to the city. Everyday, my letterbox was inundated with leaflets from local real-estate agents asking if I’d be interested in selling. People were desperate to move into an area that was close to their work as well as the best café culture in Sydney.
But, for all its attractions, it was also - what I termed – ‘Concreteville.’ The only glimpse of greenery came from the dank moss that grew alongside the apartment building, or the struggling weed, which had somehow taken root in the cracks between the brickwork and the stone pavement. And there it hung on for dear life. Not even a cyclone could dislodge it!
From all the apartments in that complex, mine was the only one with a south-facing balcony, meaning sunshine rarely made an appearance in winter, but in summer it became the equivalent of Death Valley.
In spite of all my endeavours, my pot plants didn’t stand a chance. Poor things died from lack of sunlight, over watering (I could never work out how much water was too much), or dehydration. I tried planting shade-lovers, damp absorbing plants, desert flowers… nothing thrived, except that courageous weed clinging to the brickwork.
I began to admire its tenacity.
|Illustration by me!|
It was also one of the reasons why I rarely enjoyed outdoor meals on my balcony. Too often it became an exercise in survival from carbon monoxide/lead/diesel/ airline fuel poisoning!
Needless to say, the French doors were almost always closed. My plants were on their own.
I actually reached the stage where I’d ask my local plant nursery to show me the ‘immortals’ section – you know, the plants even my non-green thumbs couldn’t kill! Eventually I gave up and planted rocks and plastic flowers that nothing could kill. I figured they could survive a nuclear holocaust, so they’d be perfect.
So, all those years, I fantasised about owning my own garden; away from the noise of traffic, pollution and thundering jetliners overhead.
Until, one day, I bought a house on the coast with not just one garden, but two.
But, that’s another story…