An Eden to call our own

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

This post is part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!

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For years I have dreamt of a garden. A garden to call my own. On my travels through Vietnamese mountain ranges in dilapidated buses and sitting in Zen temples in Japan I dreamed of a place to plant daffodills and strawberries. A little patch of earth to call my own.


This post marks a year to the day that that dream began. It is still very much a work in progress. But being a natural growing thing, it always will be. But oh what a work! There is something for every season and every time I walk around it, my soul soars. It really is our very own little patch of paradise on earth. One which we share with a robin, two blackbirds, multiple pigeons, sparrows and crows, butterflies blue, white and red, assorted worms, and less welcome slugs, wasps and mosquitoes.

There is nothing otherworldly about our garden. It is a small patch of earth in a housing estate. 



The house that we moved into had a small, but perfectly formed garden. But it was entirely ornamental with large swathes of gravel. So our project for the year has been to transform it into a productive garden: a garden to nourish body and soul.

Within a week of being here I put in my herb garden that I had yearned for. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, so the song goes, as well as lemon balm, lavender and chamomile to calm and soothe, bay for stocks and stews, fennel to stuff fish and dill and mint for potato salads and stomach easing tissanes. My repertoire of herbal books is growing, my witchy fingers are itching to make potions!


This year should be fruitful: in have gone currants black and red, raspberries red and gold, as well as strawberries big and small, and yet more berries: logan, blue and even goji. An apple and a pear tree and our two beautiful ornamental cherries which we have been picnicking under every sunny day this Spring.

For veggies we have very little: spinach, lettuce and peas. But we live next to an incredible organic glasshouse, so to try to reproduce what we can get there is foolhardy. We have gone beyond the desire for total self sufficiency – there lies madness! But ensuring a certain level of food resilience and wonderful fresh produce for our family is a strong motivator. As is teaching our children about the processes of life and growth, where food comes from and how they can get involved with the process.

We have three chickens (Osama and the Generals) who live beneath the trampoline and provide our golden yolked eggs for my myriad cakes. I loved having chickens as a child and my kids do too. Again they provide a grounding in the circle of life – food scraps become treasured eggs and become food once more. My kids know where eggs come from, what chickens eat, and know when we eat chicken that this is what it once was.


We have a fire circle in the middle of our lawn for burning prunings, ceremonial and celebratory bonfires – and toasting marshmallows. We are not quite sure of the legality of this!

We are not students of permaculture, but its ideas have influenced us. We are aware of the process of life within our garden: our remaining kitchen waste goes into compost and a worm bin to nourish the plants that nourish us once more. We try to be as energy neutral as possible, thanks to my husband’s environmental interests. We collect the water from the sky in our water butt to service our garden needs. We use a manual lawn mower (great fun and so much quieter!)

We try to keep as native as possible with our planting, being mindful of plants which provide food for the birds and the bees. We are also letting some so-called weeds to join our planting – the beautiful blue speedwell, red campion and dead nettle are welcome here, as are daisies and dandelions: we use as few chemicals as possible. However, we are tough with nettles, briars and Japanese knotweed which can quickly take over, we cut and rip and sometimes spray.

In a small plot there are many restrictions and compromises. The chickens (and the compost and worm bin next to them) can get smelly, so I have planted roses and sweet peas around them. We have no room for soft fruit, so the strawberries are planted to cover a bare bank of earth on our boundary, the raspberries and salad are in tubs, whilst the blackcurrants act as a hedge. It is good fun having to be resourceful and creative with our space.

We are stewards of this little plot of planet Earth that a piece of paper in a bank vault says that we “own”. We treat it with love and care so that it might nurture us with its fruitfulness and beauty. So that in this little patch we and our children might learn skills that we take out to the Earth outside our garden wall: reverence for life, resourcefulness, a rejoicing in the seasons, knowing how we might live within natural limits, creating abundance not destruction, goodness not toxicity and celebrating natural bounty. Every day I am grateful for the grass beneath our feet, the daffodils, cherry blossom and ripe strawberries. It is a living example of the magic which happens when nature, love, vision and work are combined.

Visit Monkey Butt Junction and Child of the Nature Isle to read all about the Earth Day Blog Carnival
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated on April 22 with all the carnival links.)
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Going Green in 2011 – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the way she and her family are going “greener” in 2011.

Our Greatest Teacher – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares her experiences with her children and nature, their greatest teacher.

Dreaming of Spring Gardening – Erin of the Waterloons talks about the ultimate in local food, her backyard garden.

Earth Conscious Minimalism – Nada at miniMOMist thinks minimalism can help you save the world — as long as you don’t just toss everything in the trash! Check out Her list of places to donate (bet you haven’t thought of them all!).

Blessings to the Earth – Amy at Anktangle believes that a simple act, such as being intentionally grateful for our food, is just the catalyst we need to bring about large-scale change.

Eight Movies to Inspire Change – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her top 8 movies that have inspired her to take action to make the world a better place. She’d love to hear your suggestions to add to her viewing list!

Can I Have a Green Period Too? Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the environmental impact of switching to sustainable menstrual products, along with offering a great Mama Cloth giveaway for anyone interested in making the switch (and for those who already have and want to increase their stash!).

An Eden to Call Our Own – Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how learning to care for the Earth starts in her own garden.

Elimination Communication – Melissa at the New Mommy Files discusses the environmental impact of diapering, and why elimination communication was the best choice for her family.

The Living Earth: A Meditation in Science and Reverence – Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante asks you to pause to wonder at the blessing of the fact that our living planet is here at all.

Earth Day Anthem – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro created a poem in honor of Mother Earth, women and nurturers everywhere.

The Plasticity of Compromise – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how she is working to compromise on healthy family living and avoiding plastics whenever possible.

Earth Day Resolutions – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares why she has decided to make Earth Day resolutions, what those resolutions are, and how they are a step up from her current efforts at green living.

Is it time for you to say “Enough!”? Mrs Green at My Zero Waste asks you to rise up and say ‘Enough!’ on Earth Day.

Homeschooling with the Earth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares her desires and dreams for Earth-based learning and the ways her two young children have already started a natural curriculum.

Beyond the Green Sheen – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction offers some advice on how to avoid greenwashing and make purchasing choices that really have a positive impact.

  1. mrs green @ littlegreenblog
    mrs green @ littlegreenblog04-22-2011

    Sounds beautiful. I have to admit, I think the herbs are one of my favourite parts of our garden too. but a fire pit, oh I AM envious of that. I would love one but DH gets his practical ‘how will I mow the grass’ head on whenever I mention it! I will keep persevering though so I can fully immerse myself in my little patch of Eden too 😉

  2. melissa joanne
    melissa joanne04-22-2011

    Just lovely! As a renter and frequent mover, I long for a patch of earth to tend and call “ours.” Thank you for sharing a bit of yours!

  3. Jenn Collins @Monkey Butt Junction
    Jenn Collins @Monkey Butt Junction04-22-2011

    I love chickens! Are those bantams? I used to raise bantams when I was younger and lived on a farm. Now in my city plot I can’t have any, which is a shame.

    I get very excited about gardening. This year will mark my third year of gardening, and every year I learn so much more. This year I’m going to put a lot more effort into my herbs. I hope you continue to blog about yours as no doubt I will be following your blog now and I hope I can learn a thing or two. I’m more of a vegetable gardener, and I do a lot of canning, but I love having fresh herbs available too.

  4. Nada
    Nada04-22-2011

    I love the way you write! Your garden sounds as if it were an oasis for your and your family. How lovely. I dream of the day when we to own “a bit of Earth” to nurture and cherish and grow pods, roots and memories.

  5. Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama
    Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama04-22-2011

    What a beautiful post, garden, and approach! Happy Earth Day!

  6. Kelly
    Kelly04-22-2011

    Oh Lucy, I love your posts! You get me so excited and inspired, especially because I will be gardening for the very first time this year and have worried more than once that my anti-green thumb is going to mess it all up!

    Somehow, your words help give me peace about it all. :) Thank you so much for the beautiful Earth Day inspiration!

  7. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet04-22-2011

    Thank you all, especially Kelly, v sweet – happy gardening. My main approach is not to take anything too seriously, just try it and see! If it doesn’t work you always have next year!

    Melissa and Nada, ours has been a long time coming – so many temporary homes and rented spaces…

    Jenn- well spotted! Yes we have two bantam crosses and a blue. The bantams have been very broody mamas the past few weeks – just like me!

    Mrs Green – I just ran at the fire pit thing – the lawn mower objections were thrown up here too by man of house. But we have friends with one so he knows how fun they are!

  8. Hybrid Rasta Mama
    Hybrid Rasta Mama04-22-2011

    Oh wow! You have what I dream of as well! I do have my herb garden settled in nicely but everything else still has to come together. Like Kelly said, you have such a way with words and yuo have given me a more settled feeling about the venture. I cannot wait to see how this all comes together for you. How I wish you lived closer. I need a gardening muse like you!

  9. Amy @ Anktangle
    Amy @ Anktangle04-23-2011

    Beautiful! Your garden is an inspiration to me. I have great plans for the garden I will have someday when we “own” our own little piece of Earth. Your herb garden sounds particularly wonderful. =)

  10. Terri
    Terri04-25-2011

    My whole body relaxed while reading your post as I was transported to your Eden. Sounds like you are having a great time in transforming your plot. Love the lawnmower!

    It really is so wonderful to have a garden and yet I haven’t had one for any length of time. For now my garden is made up of the pots on our veranda – but I dream of the many things I will grow on a larger plot. Thanks for the inspiration and for being a part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival.

  11. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ
    Zoie @ TouchstoneZ04-27-2011

    This is a great post for the Earth Day carnival. I love the interconnectedness both of your garden and your thoughtfulness in bringing it to life. It all flows together, just as do the words in your post. We are getting are garden together slowly. I wish I had as much space as you do, but we’re thinking creatively with pots that we can move around as needed to catch sun or shade. I’m still working on the hubby about chickens-some day soon!

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