start afresh 2

20131012-073143.jpgWe are currently reworking our front garden. We have killed off all the lawn and are in the process of planting an easy-care native garden.

We had a garden consultant advise us for this process, and she suggested the best plants for the new garden.

She told us which plants to get rid of, plants that wouldn’t work or have been declared weeds, but she also suggested that we keep the plants that were growing and healthy.

Now, if this process had been left to me, I would have taken the whole garden, with healthy vigorous plants and noxious weeds, back to bare soil and started from scratch. I like to have a complete
blank page.

For me to have to work around something that is already established is hard.

It means I have to be careful not to damage the established plant in my zeal to plant the new. I have to be careful not to remove it, in my zeal to weed out the bad, and I have to remember that the old plant needs just as much care and attention in the garden as those fresh from the nursery.

And of course I am not just talking about gardening here. Because of a childhood travelling from country to country, I know how to do beginnings. I know how to start in a new place and create new relationships, new interests and new connections. I am at ease with a clean slate, and a fresh start.

What I find more difficult to acknowledge, is that there are things that are good and healthy and growing that don’t need to be thrown out in this process. There are things that have to be got rid of, definitely. And there are things that have to be moved to develop better.

But there are also things that are ok if they remain just the way they are. Slowly I am learning that starting afresh doesn’t necessarily mean a total blank canvas, and although I still struggle with that, I am also starting to see the benefits. In the end what makes a garden beautiful is the mix of the old and the new, and isn’t that true in life too.

About Jodie McCarthy

Jodie is a writer, speaker, poet and mother. An unashamed words girl who writes to process the myriad of experiences of life. In her writing and on her blog she investigates the journey of life: the beautiful; the painful; the everyday; and the mundane. She has a heart for encouraging women on their life journey, particularly when that journey traverses the harder places of grief and pain. On the days when she is not writing you will find her in her kitchen, usually licking the beaters from a chocolate cake. You can find her books and follow her journey at

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