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? 



  1. I used to trade our eggs for fish. I love figs.

    1. I loved trading baked goods for the fresh produce my generous neighbours used to give us. It felt like such asimple transaction, no money involved, one that just grew out of friendship and a love of homegrown produce and food. Our neighbours moved away recently and I miss them dearly. The new owners have turfed over what was once their prolifically productive veggie patch. I felt so sad about that for days!