Rhiannon’s holiday project is my garden shame

Rhiannon's holiday project is my garden shame

In 2008 my wife and I bought a little cottage on a large block of land in Sydney’s far south. We had dreams of a great garden in which our daughter Rhiannon could play to her heart’s content. We bought a wooden play centre with swings and a slippery dip. We bought a trampoline.

But we neglected to consider a few facts about ourselves. The biggest of these was that neither of us is a gardener. I had lived in units/apartments for 40 out of my (then) 44 years of life. And those 4 years had been in my childhood. I had no idea how a garden worked, let alone a massive monstrosity of a garden. Nor did I have any inclination to learn. Somehow I thought that it would come naturally because my paternal grandfather had been a gardener and many generations ago I had farmers among my ancestors. Yep – I’m a moron.

Until I lost my job I did manage to keep the garden kind of neat-ish (imagine a very big “ish” on the end of that “neat”). For a few years I even managed to have a working vegetable patch with chillies and tomatoes and a few other things. Yep – chillies and tomatoes are among my fave foods so I was always growing those.

But the loss of my job, the impact of my eye condition keeping me indoors for around 6 months, and finally the breaking down of my mower meant that the garden descended into primeval conditions. That’s a positive worry because we do get snakes around my way.

Anyway, a fortnight of school holidays have just started and my daughter Rhiannon approached me with a request: can we make it a daddy-daughter holiday project to get the garden looking nice?


My mind filled with mental images of me wading through chest high grass chased by velociraptors.


“Please Dad.”

Dammit! How can I say no?

I guess I will have to find a way to fit that in with my other goals. But somehow I will. Somehow.

Below are photos giving an idea of my starting point: my shameful garden with all its junk. Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading.








  1. A fabulous project. You can design a program with tasks for the two of you to complete within the two week time frame. A mini strategic plan with significant input from your daughter. What an opportunity for inside/outside hands on learning for the two of you.

    1. Yep. You’re 100% correct. :) I will do that. I think that she is looking forward to it. We did a bit of bush pruning today. I think that she enjoys having deep and meaningful conversations at such times. So they are good.

    1. So do I, Ken. I hope it works out as Rhiannon imagines :) Thanks :)

  2. Enjoy the outdoors time with your daughter. That sounds great. My wife and I spent a few days cleaning up our yard after the spring rains made it take on jungle-like characteristics. Fortunately, no velociraptors!

  3. I think any garden is beautiful, even if it’s “messy” or whatever. Though snakes are a consideration, of course.

    1. Thanks :) I must admit that under certain circumstances wild gardens are even preferable. But being around snakes – yep – totally a consideration. Apparently they are less likely to venture onto cut grass. Maybe because predators can see them more easily???

      1. Makes sense, yeah. Or maybe their own prey hides in tall grass, like frogs?

        1. Good point. There are small lizards around here too that they may feed upon. We also have Kookaburras, a breed of Kingfisher known for its “laugh”, and these prey on snakes. I’ve also read that magpies do too, and we have a fair few of those. So it’s probably a bit of both.

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