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Thursday, 28 July 2016

My place

I have been putting off writing this post, but I've decided today is the day. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that my family and I have been living between two properties - between a small farm that we have owned for 20 years, and more recently, a house in town two hours from our farm.

After 8½ years of this arrangement, we have sold our farm. If you know me even a little bit, you will have an inkling of how heart wrenching this decision has been for me.

And if you've built a home or garden from scratch, you might relate to this post. Otherwise it may seem all a bit melodramatic and self indulgent, so feel free to stop reading now!

We started owner-building our farm house in 1995, when our firstborn was just a babe.

We pegged out a square plot in the middle of a bare lucerne paddock, and set about building a home.

During the build, my Dad joked that it looked like a goal!

I assured him that I'd plant a garden to soften its penitentiary tone!

Just as the roof was going on in May 1996, I was diagnosed with a tumour in my neck, which thankfully turned out to be benign. But it caused a delay of several months in the middle of the build.

After many months of weekends, spent filling verandahs ...

... installing floorboards ...

... cutting stuff ...

... bagging walls and painting,

... we finally moved in in July 1997. We immediately started the garden. We called in the big gear for the first till!

 And so we planted and planted and planted, and grew our own little paradise!

I have written A LOT about our garden on this blog over the years but I guess the following posts give an overview:

I was at the farm by myself to do the final cleaning before settlement. I took breaks from the cleaning to take some last photos of the garden.

Selling this property was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. To the very day of the auction, I did not want to sell it. However, the burden of trying to take care of two houses and two gardens was taking its toll on our family. For everyone's sake, it seemed the only course of action was to sell.

On my good days, I philosophise with myself about how we arrive in this world with nothing, and will leave with nothing; that houses and gardens are just the 'stuff' we accumulate in between. I lecture myself about materialism, and force myself to refocus on what I have, rather than what I've lost.

On my bad days ... well, let's not talk too much about that. I guess this property felt very much like 'my place', a connection with the land, farming and family. 

It was so much of 'my story', having raised three children there, and all the special memories that go with that. 

Having built it from the ground up with my husband and invested so much heart and effort, it was so very difficult to leave. I feel lost without it; as if a big part of me is missing. I feel grief.

And so I wandered the garden, to drink in the heady perfume of my roses one last time.

To farewell recently planted gardens that I won't see grow.

And to pick one last bunch of blooms!

As the sun set, I sat on the front verandah and simply bawled. A cathartic outpouring; without inhibition.

I'm very thankful that I have documented this garden so comprehensively on my blog. Whenever I miss my place, at least I have these posts to return to.

It has taken me weeks to put this into words. Why my reluctance to publish this post? I guess in writing it down, it all seems a little more true! 

As I closed the gate for the final time on my beloved home and garden, I felt completely heartbroken. 

A few weeks on from this farewell, the grief is slowly becoming less raw.

 And maybe, just maybe, there is a new love around the corner. Surely there is one more garden in me?!
Best wishes, Bloom x


  1. Oh Ros. What can I say - except take your time to grieve and to heal. Such a lot to lose - such a hard decision to make. So many wonderful memories of making a beautiful home and garden for and with your family. I'm sure there will be other beginnings, other gardens. Thinking of you and wishing you well. xx

  2. Hi Ros - thankyou for sharing so much of your beautiful gardens with us over these years. You have such a marvelous gift for creating beauty.

  3. Hi Ros ,oh my i was heart broken reading your post.
    Oh my you sure have a way with gardens this is so beautiful ,i can only think of how happy the new owners will be to come to this happy and beautiful place.
    Sending you big hugs xx

  4. Hi Ros, what a beautiful home you created and I can understand how hard it was to say goodbye. I hope and pray the new owners have such lovely memories there as you did X

  5. Back again Ros from my tour ,wow your garden is amazing and very inspiring and so full of beauty,cant wait for my hubby to come home so that i can show him,thankyou so very much for sharing such an important part of you xx

  6. Waaaaa! Now I'm bawling too!! What a hard thing to do, and you are right to be grieving for it. I didn't realise you'd built the homestead from scratch, that's just so amazing. But I do believe there is even more happiness for you around the corner. The 'when a door closes, a window's opening' phrase has always rung true for me - and after all, every situation becomes what you choose to let it be. What's the next adventure that this world has in store for you? It's exciting to look ahead and I look forward to hearing all about your next garden, whatever shape or size it may be! x x x x

  7. Bronwyn Halbisch28 July 2016 at 13:59

    mmm my goodness - I'm pretty teary too. I know about the heart-wrenching decision to be made and all the precious memories you have there and I feel your emotion. However, when a decision's made, which eventually will always be the best one, then you look forward and gradually build up your energy, passion and creativity.. perhaps a new quilt is in order to capture some of your beautiful past there! There's much to look forward to.. my love to you all.. XX

  8. I feel for you Ros! This was me a year ago! We women put so much of our hearts and souls into our homes & families, when it's time to move on we feel like we're leaving a part of ourselves behind. Praying you find comfort in the next phase of life & the strength to look back without regret...and a brand new garden is just around the corner :)

  9. You have created a sanctuary of beauty and now in letting go, you are allowing the blessing to be passed on to someone else to experience great joy. So hard. Your grief is understandable. Blessings to you on the road ahead. Janita

  10. I feel for you and your leaving of the beautiful sanctuary that you created for yourself and family.... I have always read you blog when it appears so have seen many photos of your inspiring garden! It may not happen straight away but one day - maybe quite unexpectedly - you realise that once again you are HAPPY!!.... the new happiness creeps up on you (speaking from experience). Looking forward to further updates on your blog and seeing a new garden (of happiness) grow! x

  11. Oh how I feel for you.........but a what a beautiful creation you have made and passed on to lucky new owners. I'm sure there is more home and garden creativity in you. Happy memories of your first home with live you x.

  12. I'm crying now...what a beautiful part of the world you have created, and your memories will last forever. I hope the new owners will love and care for your wonderful creation. I still have one more garden in me you know...I think you can...sending my love

  13. Ros, I understand fully what you are going through. I see so many parallels with us. We too owner built our dream home in the middle of a paddock in the mid 90s. However, my dream of a gorgeous country garden never flourished like yours, as we only had tank water, too little time and my silly fear of snakes. We made the decision to sell our piece of paradise 18 months ago. You will miss your farm, but look back on the fond memories and feel privileged and fortunate to have spent the time there that you did. I'm sure there will be a beautiful garden wherever you live.

  14. Reading your post and crying like a baby, I am reliving the same sadness. After 25 years all the building and planting and love, I moved on to the next dream last fall. I truly love my new home but miss my gardens. I hope time will keep your memories and your next venture will bring you more joy.

  15. Life changes are hard, it is now four years since I left my beautiful garden behind and I still miss it. But look at the beauty that you achieved and think of how it lived on....I am building a new smaller garden again, and I love it! Thinking of you.

  16. Ros, you have me in tears too. I had no idea that you had built this home and garden from scratch. It looked to me like one of those wonderful historic homes with amazing established traditional rambling gardens. You have created a masterpiece and haven from nothing and will surely do something similar again one day, even beyond your home in town. I hope the new owners appreciate the gem which they have bought.

  17. What a privilege to have read this and have felt your emotion through your words and pictures! I pray God will bring peace to your heart as you thank him for those years and move forward to whatever adventure he has planned ahead.

  18. We have all been there and we know your pain. It will get better with time. Blessings on you and your family.

  19. You did have a lovely garden, you got a chance to enjoy it over the years and hopefully your move to town will be a great change. We sold up 25 acres and a garden we had created over a few acres over 25 years, mush visited by birdlife and animals. We thought we had taken our time, three years to find the right garden loving new owners, so we were pleased. They turned out to have little if any integrity and clear felled the garden and bushland. I hope the garden in your beautiful farm is treated with respect and thrives.

  20. Wow! I have always admired your home and beautiful garden you have such a great eye for detail. I know whatever you plan to do next will be just as wonderful and I hope you share the journey with us. Pennie xx

  21. How heartbreaking for you. I have always loved your house and garden and love reading your blog. You are so talented. I would love to see more pictures of your town garden too. All the best.
    Mandy Hawkins, Minimay Vic

  22. It is very heart wrenching leaving a place you love and have invested so much emotionally in. Wonderful memories you have.

  23. You created an absolutely beautiful garden, Ros. Think of the joy the new owners will have in your wonderous garden. It will bring joy to every new owner of that property.
    Did you take cuttings of favourite plants?
    I hope you can transplant some of the joy in your farm garden to your home in town and to all your gardens in the future.
    My mum was a gardener and created new gardens where ever she moved to. We have many of her plants in our garden here. Once she moved on from one garden to another she looked forward to creating something very new in her new home.

  24. Can only imagine how you must feel after building such a beautiful home and creating your stunning garden! I hope those taking over treasure it and continue to grow beautiful blooms.

  25. You have done so well to maintain it from a distance.......most people don't even understand how hard it can be to have a country garden in our climate......
    Big hugs but I know you have another beauty to work on that you started from have a great design eye and knowledge of plants......

  26. I can see why it was so heart wrenching for you to sell and leave, a stunningly beautiful garden, like an oasis in the paddocks!
    I'm sure that your next garden will be just as beautiful, serene and tranquil....beautiful treasured memories to be made.


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