Monday, 29 February 2016

Colourful Cosmos

As I wander the garden now, in the last throes of a very hot Summer month, the cosmos plants are blooming happily. They have such simple, cheerful flowers! Their colourful blooms sit atop long stems that bend and sway in the breeze above a mass of bright-green ferny foliage.  When those blooms are spent, and the seeds form, they disperse on those breezes and self sow around the garden. So that, the next time the warmer months roll around, you'll have even more cosmos to brighten up your garden.

light pink

white

dark pink

Our little native bees seem to love cosmos as much as I do.  Dozens of them spend time every morning among the flowers happily plundering their pollen. I am happy just to watch their busy efforts  and to delight in the bright bursts of colour that are the cosmos flowers in my Summer garden. 

Happy Monday!

Meg


Friday, 26 February 2016

Rich beyond Measure

Sometimes, I feel rich beyond measure. Rich, not in terms of our bank balance (which no-one in their right mind would call rich), but in terms of the people, my family and my friends, who enrich and influence my life. 

Well over twenty years ago, I was lucky enough to meet one such friend and a few nights ago we shared a dinner together. She is wise, this old friend of mine. Her heart is profoundly good and beautiful and, in being so, she lifts my heart and my spirit. 

As we often do, when we get the rare opportunity to catch up with one another, we spoil one another with little gifts we have found that we know the other will love. We get as much joy from making and sourcing these offerings as we do from the giving. From our dinner, I not only brought home a feeling of profound gratitude that this outstanding human being is my friend, but a few treasures that I will hold and use and that will remind me of her generosity and kindness. 

 A hand-built tiny ceramic terrine and a beautiful blue bird brooch.

Handmade and beautiful.

A sweet stitched dove and a new notebook.


I hope that you are blessed too with nurturing and supportive friendships in your life. I feel sure that it is such close relationships that are a true measure of wealth.

Meg

p.s. Have a lovely weekend. Perhaps you'll have the chance up with an old friend too.









Thursday, 25 February 2016

Old fashioned milk

I spent the very early years of my life in a dairy farming region far to the north of where I live now. My memories are of rolling green hills, dirt roads, picking native raspberries with my cousins, the creek at the bottom of a steeply sloping paddock and, of course, cows!

We lived up the road from my aunt and uncle. They had a dairy which is long gone now even though they still live in the same house on the same land. My family didn't have a dairy but we did have a house cow, a black and white fressian, named Maggie. Although I don't remember milking her with my mother, I do remember the thick layer of cream that could be skimmed off with a spoon and the most delicious ice-cream that my mother made and set in battered old cake tins. I have a memory of the taste of that ice-cream but, as much as I try, I can't replicate it! No recipe for it can be found in any of my mother's well-used, splattered cookbooks and she can't remember how she did it either because she stopped making it when we left the area and no longer had a house cow.

I was thinking about all this the other day when I bought some milk. I am fussy about milk, a legacy of my early childhood no doubt. And not long ago, at a little bakery not far from where I live, I found some lovely full-cream, unhomogenised milk in glass bottles. Old-fashioned milk!




I bought two bottles of this milk, produced less than two hours away from the city where I live, and found it to be delicious and creamy! I love that it's available in glass bottles as well as the standard plastic milk bottle though they can't be collected, sterilised and reused as yet but they can be recycled. I thoroughly washed both of the bottles I bought and they are now in our fridge holding chilled water.

I haven't attempted to make ice-cream with this milk yet but I will soon. I wonder if it will bring me any closer to that taste of the long-ago ice-cream my mother used to make for us. I might also try setting my next batch of ice-cream in a battered, heart-shaped cake tin as that might help too!


Meg








Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Stitching Sunshine in a Leaf

Along one of our side boundaries, our neighbour has grown two majestic plane trees.  These stunning deciduous trees mark the seasons with leaves that are gloriously green in Summer, yellow and brown in Autumn and scattered all over the ground in Winter. Budding leaves, on bare branches early in Spring, are awaited here by all of us as a sign that warmer days are on their way.

The leaves of the plane tree are reminiscent of the shape of maple leaves.  I love their intricate, pointing edges and their branching veins. On a warm day I chose one and, inspired by the beautiful embroidered leaves of Hillary Fayle, I began stitching some sunshine.

Sunshine in a leaf.

Around and around, under and over, until a round "sun" formed in the centre of its anchoring "rays".  When it was done, I tacked it up on a window that catches the morning light. Whenever I see it, I always think of the sun and its central role in all of our lives. It is light. It is warmth. It is energy. 

I hope you enjoy the warm touch of the sun today.

Meg




Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Simple Broccoli Salad

I often make this simple and nutritious broccoli salad for dinner when the day has been hot and the evening is still warm.

Healthy and delicious broccoli salad.

Broccoli is full of bright-green goodness. When it's very lightly steamed and tossed together with crunchy cashews, salty little cubes of haloumi cheese and tart cranberries, it forms the basis of this very healthy and tasty salad.

The recipe below, which details how I make this broccoli salad, has evolved from one that my aunt sent me years ago. I don't know who developed the original recipe which incorporates bacon, red onion and a dressing heavy on mayonnaise and sugar (which, in my opinion, would overshadow all of the broccoli's goodness). This is my version:

Simple Broccoli Salad

2 heads of broccoli, washed and cut into florets
1 handful of raw cashews, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons dried organic cranberries
80g rinsed haloumi cheese, cut into very small cubes

Optional Ingredients:  sweetcorn kernels, diced capsicum, snow pea strips

Dressing:  

I use a glug of homemade Garlic-Herb Vinaigrette. The recipe for the dressing I use can be found here. (Just scroll down and you'll find it.) Alternatively, you could use your own favourite dressing.

Method:
1. Very lightly steam the broccoli until bright green. Remove from heat straight away and plunge into some iced water to stop the cooking process. (You want this broccoli to maintain a crunch!) Drain.

2. Put steamed broccoli florets and chopped cashews and cranberries into a salad bowl.

3. Lightly fry cubes of haloumi cheese over medium heat until golden. Add to other ingredients in salad bowl.

4. If using, lightly fry any or all of the optional ingredients and add them to the salad bowl.

5. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour a generous glug of dressing over the ingredients in the salad bowl just before serving.

6. Lightly toss your salad.

7. Enjoy while feeling good about all the health-promoting properties of broccoli!

Meg



















Monday, 22 February 2016

My Morning at the Market 2

At my favourite market, amid the many food stalls that offer a tempting array of healthy produce, there is a little stall that offers a range of locally-made creams and balms that are lovingly prepared to nourish the skin. Many of these lotions are formulated with a golden, calendula-infused oil that the stallholder produces herself. 

Calendula blooms in olive oil.

Lise, who runs this little stall, is the qualified, passionate herbalist who makes this range of cosmetics that feature her own soothing, softening calendula oil. On her family's certified organic farm, about 2hours from the market, Lise grows the calendula plants, harvests and dries their flowers and infuses them in biodynamic olive oil. After many weeks, this golden oil is then filtered, bottled and incorporated into batches of Lise's cosmetics.

Lise with some of her own products.

While one could walk into a department store and be dazzled by the wide range of lotions on display, I doubt if there would be many creams among them that listed ingredients I could easily recognise. I doubt there would be many that feature an ingredient that was produced not far from where I live. And I have no doubts that many would be much more expensive than Lise's lovingly prepared formulations. 

Lise's Calendula Soap.

Lise's certified organic Calendula Cream.

I think that the real beauty of visiting farmers' markets lies in the opportunity they offer for a consumer like me to connect directly with a producer. As I wander leisurely around the market, I get to talk to some of the most hard-working and inspiring people. And, in talking with them, I learn so much!

Did you visit a market on the weekend? 

Meg

Friday, 19 February 2016

Be Still and Notice

When my beautiful boy was very small, I found him one night at bedtime staring out his window at the dark night sky above. He was crying. Gently, I asked why and he replied, "So beautiful, Mummy." And he pointed at the distant, mysterious moon he had been gazing at. 


The beauty of that silvery orb had deeply touched my little boy and his awe and happiness were expressed in his tears. His reaction to what he saw carried with it a simple message for me. Be still and notice. 



Moon rise over the water on Straddie
(Image taken by my young son.)

I'm not sure I would have noticed the moon that night had he not pointed it out to me and if we had not then gazed upon it quietly together. How often do we still ourselves to notice the natural world around us in a way that touches us deeply?  How often are we overcome with wonder in the way that a child can be?

I carry this memory of my boy, and his precious words, in my heart. We still gaze upon the moon here, or from wherever we are, and it is indeed so very beautiful. 

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you'll have time to look upon the moon tonight and to marvel at the wonder that it is.

Have a lovely weekend.

Meg 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Summer Quinoa Salad

On warm Summer evenings at our place, a light and nutritious salad is much more welcome than a rich, hot meal.  This particular salad is a simple joy that's very easy to prepare, incorporates lots of healthy veggies and tastes delicious! 

A healthy and delicious salad.

I don't tend to measure too accurately when I make this salad. I just remember that for every cup of quinoa, I need double that amount of water to cook it in. So, if I am using one cup of quinoa, I will need two cups of water. 

Fluffy quinoa is a great base to build a salad on.

Then I just chop up a variety of whatever roasting vegetables I have to use up. I always use pumpkin because it's my favourite and I always incorporate nuts of some kind, whether it be chopped or slivered almonds, cashews or pine nuts. 

Colourful, roasted vegetables and nuts to add to the quinoa.

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa
2 cups filtered water
3 - 4 cups chopped roasting vegetables (e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, potato etc.)
glug of olive oil
1 head broccoli chopped into florets
1/2 cup frozen peas
handful of chopped nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews) or whole pine nuts, lightly toasted

1. Rinse and drain the uncooked quinoa before putting into a saucepan and covering with filtered water. (This step is very important as the quinoa may taste bitter if not rinsed.)

2. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover but keep an eye on it as the quinoa cooks and absorbs the water. Remove from the heat when water is absorbed and quinoa is tender (about 15mins). Leave for 10mins with the lid on before transferring to a serving bowl. Cool.

3. Toss roasting veggies in olive oil and bake in moderate oven while quinoa is cooling. 

4. Lightly steam broccoli florets until bright green and just tender. Rinse in cold water to prevent further cooking after removing from heat.

5. Cook peas in water from base of the steamer until tender. Drain.

6. Fluff up cooked quinoa with a fork before tossing through roasted veggies, broccoli, peas and lightly toasted nuts. 

Usually, the only dressing I use with this salad is a good squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Alternatively, you could use a favourite dressing from another salad that you love. You could also add some snipped herbs such as chives or parsley from your garden. Sometimes, if I have it, I mix through some crumbled, herby feta.

I recommend making extra too so there are leftovers for lunch the following day. Yum!

Meg

p.s. Another favourite salad that I make using quinoa comes from the very healthy chef, Janella Purcell. The recipe for her Cannellini, Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad is here on her website. I never have pomegranate though so I just use finely chopped dried cranberries instead and it still tastes great!







Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Scent of Plum Pie

There is plum pie growing in my garden! It's deep purple and tantalisingly fragrant. When I am near, the notes of a sweet vanilla reach me and memories of  long-ago kitchens spring forth in my mind. 

The tiny purple and white blooms of  fragrant Heliotrope.

When I close my eyes and breathe in the delicious perfume of Heliotrope, or Plum Pie as I know it, I am transported back to days where crisp vanilla biscuits were baked and spread out to cool on wire racks in both my mother's and grandmother's kitchens. I seem to remember a small hand reaching for those biscuits too! 

Heliotrope is an old-fashioned cottage garden favourite that grows well in my garden, just out from under the edge of our rotunda in deep, free-draining soil.  I moved it there a while ago now after it protested about being in too shady a spot. It seems very content in its new position near our young avocado tree. (I think it likes being on the edge of the regular watering our pampered avocado gets!) A light prune to remove the spent flower clusters has helped to encourage thicker growth and new blooms. Blooms that bees and butterflies love!

I hope, if you dream of a cottagey garden, that you will have room for some Plum Pie. I often snip off clusters of its blooms just so I can breathe in my memories. Perhaps, if you plant it, its scent will bring you memories too.

Meg





Monday, 15 February 2016

Gifts from a Friend's Garden

Sharing fresh herbs, veggies, flowers and fruits from one's own garden, or receiving a share of a neighbour's or friend's excess produce is, for me, one of the greatest joys of gardening. 

For many years here, we lived next door to the most amazing gardener and his wife who would leave baskets of limes, fennel bulbs, herbs, roses, lavender, lettuce and eggplant on our doorstep almost every week. Whatever they were growing, they would share with us. In return, we mowed their verge and passed baskets of baked goodness over the fence. And, once I started to have something to harvest too, after expanding and improving my veggie garden, it gave me the greatest pleasure to be able to put something I had grown myself in with whatever I had baked.

Gardening encourages those kinds of reciprocal relationships between neighbours and friends. When I went to visit very close friends recently, I took a dense and dark homemade beetroot and chocolate cake to share for morning tea.  We devoured it happily, while overlooking the rolling green hills that surround the property on which my friends live.

In their rich red volcanic soil,  of which I am infinitely jealous, my friends grow a wide range of their own fresh food. They generously gifted some to me to bring home. Fresh, ripe figs from the tree near their driveway and macadamia nuts, still in their shells, from their trees. A dark pink Gerbera too, from their own plant that had had to be divided, to brighten up a spot in my garden.

 Plump figs destined for  jam.

 A basket of macadamia nuts.

A bright pink Gerbera awaits planting out in my garden.


I grow neither figs nor macadamia nuts in my garden and I did not have a Gerbera so I farewelled my dear friends feeling very rich indeed! Who wouldn't after spending a day on a beautiful hinterland property, with wonderful friends I have known for the better part of two decades and with offerings such as these to bring back home.

Do you have friends and neighbours that you share garden produce with? 

Meg






Friday, 12 February 2016

Lovely Lemon Verbena

Brushing up against the bright green leaves of the Lemon Verbena releases a subtle, lemon scent as I walk by.  Picking a few of those leaves and gently crushing them in my hands releases, much more emphatically, its lemony perfume. 



The lemon scented leaves of the Lemon Verbena.

My Lemon Verbena is a fairly recent addition to our garden. I have planted it in a sunny, well-drained but protected space and it's thriving there. It did get straggly at one stage, after flowering, but a light prune has resulted in a burst of new and thicker growth. More lemony leaves!


These leaves have many uses. You can steep them to make a revitalising herbal tea, like the one resulting from this recipe where its flavour is combined with mint.  You can make a lemon-scented sugar or infuse syrups or vinegar with the lemon of the leaves too. With my abundant supply though, I am most looking forward to making Martha Stewart's Lemon Verbena Lemonade

I can envisage pouring myself a glass of this icy, refreshing lemonade. I imagine that I'll cradle my glass sitting on the deck, gumboots still on, overlooking the garden where my Lemon Verbena grows. I think I'll have to do this at least once before this Summer ends, starting this weekend.

Meg



Thursday, 11 February 2016

Pumpkin, Feta and Chive Muffins

Would you fancy a just-out-of-the-oven warm muffin for a light lunch? Would it be even better if filled with sweet chunks of roasted pumpkin, creamy feta and little flecks of chives? These savoury muffins combine my favourite vegetable with one of my favourite cheeses. They are so moist and moreish though so you might have trouble stopping at just one!

Delicious!

This is how I made them:

Pumpkin, Feta and Chive Muffins
(makes 6)

1 cup of unbleached white spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150g leftover roasted pumpkin, cold and cubed
90g firm feta, cubed
1 tablespoon, chopped chives
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1.  Preheat oven to moderate. Prepare muffin tray by greasing or using paper muffin cases.

2.  Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. 

3.  Add pumpkin, feta and chives and mix lightly. 

4.  Whisk milk, olive oil and egg together in a separate bowl or jug.

5.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and mix until just combined.

6. Place scoops of muffin mixture into prepared tray or cases. 

7. Bake until risen and lightly golden on top.

8. Cool only slightly before serving with a salad. 

Pumpkin and feta ... a moreish match!


I would offer you one but they are all gone!

Meg










Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Very Slow Scarf

My word for this year is 'slow'. And I have been mindfully trying to focus on moving through my days at a slower pace. However, my progress on my current knitting project could only be described as moving along at a snail's pace! 


Another new beginning!


I had been wanting to challenge myself a little more with knitting and learn a few new stitches. I chose the most beautiful yarn that reminds me of the sea around mossy rocks. It's silvery with flecks of olive, teal, dark grey and blue. And there was only one ball of it left...so a scarf, all light and lacy, was envisaged.

I enlisted support. While my Mum was here for a holiday recently, she helped me make a start on this most lovely diagonal fern lace scarf, a pattern she has knitted up before that, in her hands, resulted in a most lovely scarf for my sister. In my hands, it's a whole other story!

I have dropped stitches and I have magically made new stitches appear but I have persevered after pulling out my beginnings no less than six times for, when I drop a stitch or create a new one, I can't seem to reverse my mistake. In fact, I seem to end up in double the trouble I start off in! My Mum was here for some of my false starts, picking up stitches and providing laughter (surely not at me:) and encouragement but then she left me to my own devices when she went home. Far away home! 


I remain determined though realistic. I can imagine wearing a beautiful sea-coloured scarf in the Winter here. A scarf I have crafted myself.  So, I have made yet another new beginning. I have time for the chilly season is still quite a few months away. I have time to knit very, very slowly, at the pace of a snail, to turn my own silvery sea yarn into a scarf.

Meg




Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A Calico Flour Bag Tote

Look what I found hanging up on one of the stalls at the markets yesterday. 


Calico Flour Bag tote from My Heart Beats Green stall.

A repurposed calico flour bag! Last week, I wrote about how I turned a 2kg calico flour bag into a pretty drawstring gift bag. This little tote is made by attaching a simple handle to a 5kg flour bag. The handles are made from another one of the bags that has been cut into strips.  Easy and effective!

The flour bags are made by the folk at My Heart Beats Green who make organic cotton garments here in Australia. They source the used flour bags from Geoff, who sells the flours and grains that come in these bags, at his own stall just a few metres away from where these bags hang for sale. 

This is a great idea that reduces waste and encourages repeated use of the calico bags. A little win for our Earth!

I wonder what else can be done with a calico flour bag? 

Meg










Monday, 8 February 2016

My Morning at the Market 1

On many a Sunday morning, I have made my way into my favourite fresh food market. The Northey Street City Farm Organic Market has long given me many great reasons to venture out early instead of burrowing down further under warm covers in the often vain hope of sleeping in!

I love strolling from stall to stall, among the bustling crowds, listening to the live music that plays like a backing track to all the conversations and transactions taking place among friends and among producers and their customers. There's the smell of brewing coffee wafting in the air and fresh food being prepared for those waiting in line and eager for breakfast. Then, there is the colourful and inviting array of fresh produce and products that the growers and stallholders showcase on their trestle tables. The folk behind those tables have so much knowledge and enthusiasm for their fruits and vegetables, their breads, their chutneys and sauces and curds, their eggs, their meat, their FOOD!  

Farmers' Markets provide a place for the community to gather and to buy some of their food. In turn, they provide growers with a place from which they can share and sell their produce directly to the consumer. There is time to chat to them about what they grow, where they grow it, how they grow it, when they harvest it, how to cook it, when it's season will end and what will be coming into season next. 


The long, ruby-red stalks of Dave's rhubarb.

Perhaps, you'd like to come with me for a stroll around the stalls and to meet some of these hard-working, dedicated farmers. I'm going to do a little profile of a different stallholder each time I visit the market this year. Get to know them with me!

One generous grower, Ray, gave me some of his time this morning. He and his wife, Samantha, are part of a small co-operative, the Granite Belt Organic Growers, who have their stall at the markets every Sunday morning. Ray and Samantha take turns to run their co-operative's stall so they get a sleep in every second Sunday. (That must feel like a little luxury!)

Ray proudly wearing his apron.

Their stall showcases and sells organic and biodynamic produce from a small number of farms near Stanthorpe, about two and a half hours from this city market. Ruby-red rhubarb stalks, heavy heads of cos lettuce, sweet strawberries and several varieties of one of Stanthorpe's signature crops, apples, were available from Ray and Samantha today, among other things! All of it looked fresh and delicious!

Small and sweet strawberries. 

Fresh, crisp apples.


Bright green cos lettuce and bright pink zinnias.

Sourcing food at a farmers' market is a completely different experience, a closer and much more personal experience, than pushing a trolley around a supermarket with aisle upon aisle of pre-packaged foods. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't use supermarkets because most of us have to for some things. But, for me, there is something that feels really good about being able to directly support a small producer, many of whom are undervalued here in Australia, for the work they do in providing us with fresh food. And, when they place it gently in my basket after they have weighed it and added up the tally, I get the opportunity to say, "Thank you!"

A visit into these markets never fails to gladden my heart. A little bit of that happiness revisits me during the week when I eat or cook with the produce I've brought home in my basket. I'll smile this week when I spy these cheery and colourful zinnia blooms brightening up my kitchen. They somehow managed to find their way into my market basket too!


Blue jugs and zinnias.


I hope you had a great weekend.

Meg




Friday, 5 February 2016

Icy Suncatchers

Making an icy suncatcher is both a cool and beautiful way to capture the colours in your summer garden.  Pieces of  colour are enclosed in a ring of ice and suspended there until the ice melts, drip by drip, in the warm sun.

 Lavender, rose and nasturtium in an icy ring.

This is a beautiful nature project to involve young children in, to focus their senses on the plants in their surroundings. Here is how to make one with your young ones:

1. Go together, out into your garden, with a little basket and walk slowly as you gather small seeds, pods, twigs, leaves and petals. Feel, touch, smell and look at them closely before you put them in your basket.

2. Half-fill a ring cake tin with water.

3.  Place the seeds, pods, twigs, leaves and petals you have gathered gently on the surface of the water. 

4. Leave some of your gathered pieces floating on the surface and submerge others with a gentle press until they sink. (Some might stubbornly float!)

5. Carry the cake tin carefully to the freezer and freeze overnight.

6. Remove the cake tin from the freezer and run warm water over the base of it (supporting it underneath with your hands) until the icy ring slips from the tin. Carefully lay it on a towel after it has been released from the cake tin.

7. Tie a length of string through the centre of the icy ring so that you can hang it outside from a branch or a beam. Choose a place where sunlight will warm it and shine through it.

8. Admire it often as the ice melts and water drips slowly away.

My boy, smaller than he is now, used to love standing underneath these suncatchers, neck arched and mouth wide open, to catch the cool drips on the tip of his tongue. (Make sure you don't add any toxic plant material to the ring if your children love such fun!)

Enjoy your weekend. I hope it's filled with colour and light.

Meg













Thursday, 4 February 2016

Snowflakes in Summer

It has been so hot here the last few days. The temperature and humidity have soared and I have found myself longing for the kind of storm that chases the heat and cloying air away, leaving the sweet smell of rain behind. Even snow, all white and cold, would be welcome right now at my sub-tropical place.

It never snows where I live. Instead, in my little cottage garden, I have a Snow Flake bush; a form of low growing Euphorbia Leucocephla that covers itself in Summer with a jumble of dainty, creamy-white flowers on bright green 'spokes' that look like the underside of an umbrella. It is very hardy and very tolerant of hot, dry conditions. And it is hot at the moment!

A mass of tiny white Snow Flake petals.

I did venture out into the garden, under greying skies in the late afternoon, and noticed that this pretty bush self sows too. For, right down the other end of our backyard, I found a new little snowflake bush that has established itself where I grew some potatoes last year. I am planning on transferring it to a hotter and drier part of the garden. I know it will do well in those conditions. I, on the other hand, would wilt!

I hope you are staying cool if you live here in Australia or warm if you are rugged up for Winter on the other side of our world. 

Meg




Wednesday, 3 February 2016

A Library and a Garden

I am reminded of a lovely quote from Cicero on the days when I venture in to one of my local libraries; a library with many books and a garden too!

 Sweet ceramic quote tag by the talented Kylie Johnson of Paperboat Press.

I visit this library not just to browse the books at my leisure but to visit the community garden. There is always inspiration and ideas to be found in the flowers, herbs, fruits and seeds in this garden just outside the library's doors.

Citrus trees feature in this community garden.

 A riot of purple flowers adorn this basil.

 Hot pink blooms on a dianthus.

 The vibrant flowers of the marigold.

 The delicate flowers of society garlic.

A thriving salvia in bloom.

Just imagine if every public library had a community garden! A place where adults and children alike could wander; brushing against herbs, bending down to smell flowers, asking when the fruit on a lime or lemon tree might be ripe and following a bee from bloom to bloom. Sometimes, there might be seeds, seedlings or bunches of herbs for sharing; to bring home to your own garden to plant or to cook with. And, just think how lovely it would be to sit on a bench in the garden to read a newly-borrowed book...

 Garden seating on which to rest and read if one chooses.

A community garden like this one offers much that can delight us, inspire us and grow our knowledge about gardening, food and nature. I think it's kind of perfect that it's attached to a library. Together, they offer perhaps not everything we need, as Cicero said, but still a whole lot that is very worthwhile.

Do you have a community garden close to where you live? Do you visit it and draw inspiration from it?

Meg

p.s. This lovely little community garden is located just outside the Mitchelton public library in Brisbane, Australia.