Saturday, 14 June 2008


image Every week at the market,for years, I cross paths with several people; the same old ones who frequent Wilson's Organics, Barossa Organic Meat and various other stalls - all local stuff that we each care enough about to seek out. We chat while we are being served and sometimes get to know each other's names, sometimes not. One such person is Daphne. For some reason once we were talking about olives. She asked me for my pickling recipe and she told me I could have some of the olives from her tree and that she would ring me when they were ripe.We exchanged names and phone numbers.Well, on Friday she rang. I said I would be there in an hour - it was nice to change my afternoon plans from vacuuming to picking olives and I needed no encouragement!

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Romanesco broccoli Such a dainty begonia. I will cherish my cuttings. A citrus hedge the whole depth of the block

When I arrived, her husband answered the door and told me "She's down the back somewhere" pointing out the back door and off into the backyard. Halfway down the yard I still couldn't see her so called out, thinking she might be in the shed. However, at 78, Daphne was up the olive tree with a bag over her shoulder, picking olives for me! Already there was a bowlful on the ground below. She just said to me, looking me up and down, "Oh, that jumper looks a bit good for olive picking" and continued right on with the job. I climbed up onto the platform she has built to gain better access to the tree and got into it too, assuring her that my jumper was an old one.image

We chatted away and I took a couple of photos of the olive branches - some with as yet unripe olives on them, as in the photo. I have never seen such a crop and the weight of them had unfortunately already broken one branch. Of course, on my walk down to the olive tree I had noticed some vegetables and other things growing so after the olive picking was done we spent a pleasant time talking about all that too. Now, you may have read previously about my love affair with begonias, and I was ecstatic to see so many at Daphne's and I have come home with some cuttings.

Every nook and cranny of Daphne's porch and garden is filled with plants and she told me stories about who or where they all came from. Isn't that what is so wonderful about our gardens - they are filled with memories of friends and adventures and happy times. I know, when I wander around my own garden that each plant there has a story - it is like a perpetual photo album, reminding me of things and people from my whole life.

image Daphne is the keenest propagator of everything I think I have ever met and she always has plants to give away. One particular plant - a most unusual succulent - she received from a friend on her 50th birthday, 28 years ago. She has propagated many since and gave me one, for my 50th birthday. I hope I will still be around when I am 78 and probably I will have also given away many cuttings from it; life, in perpetual motion.

Daphne doesn't have a computer so I didn't go into details about the blog but I said I would write something and print out a copy to give her next time we crossed paths at the market.....Some of the loveliest times I have are those unexpected encounters with people like Daphne.


Maggie said...

Great garden, great story. Gardens are many things to many people.
I love driving around the suburbs where a lot of Italian or Greek immigrants settled when they came to Australia after the war. Most are in their 70 or 80's and many are still live in there 1st home. I often stop the car and have a good look over the fence.
You know where there is a good veggie garden when you see citrus, stone fruit and of course olive trees.

Chook said...

What a great story. I hope I'll still be up an olive tree at 78!