The memories in my garden make it my special place 1



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A garden is a sacred place, but often we neglect to talk about just how sacred it is during the times when we’re tired or need a place that takes us away from the angst of some days.

“When everything gets a bit tough or I get a bit tired, I go out in my garden.  Whether I sit and have a cup of tea, or I deadhead the flowers or prune the branches or…” said Nan Bosler.  And she makes an important point.  The garden for me, like it is for her is a place I go to be with myself, and with my memories.


“The tree in the backyard is enormous.  I remember my son as a teenager would climb it to work out which of the beaches had the best sets,” said Nan, before launching into a gorgeous story about her son’s younger years, and her life spent wondering which beach he was surfing on.

That’s what are memories in your garden are made of.  My grandmother made her garden very special for me as a child, and I have therefore carried gardening with me throughout my life too.  When she dies, I dug out the lillies in her garden before the house was sold, put them into my garden, and started to tend them.  Those lillies now flower, 15 years on in clumps bigger than I have ever expected, and fill my garden with colour in July every year.  When I left my first house, I dug all the lillies out and took them with me.  They are a part of my furniture, and I could not have imagined leaving them behind.


For each child, there is a tree in my garden.  They are getting quite tall now, each one planted on their first birthdays.  The trees for me represent the shade we need in our life of family and they have matured over the years to offer quite a bit.  I remember when I used to hope they would grow taller as I played with my first daughter in the yard, in the heat of the day, with no shade to play in.

Nan tells much richer story of the plants in her garden, and so she should.  She has lost her husband of many years a decade or so ago, and remembers many of their special milestones through their plants.

Sassanqua Camelia, or string of pearls, they planted for their pearl anniversary.

“There’s an azaleia just near it that occasionally flowers, called Silver Anniversary”.  We planted it for our silver anniversary.”

That is what our garden is… It’s a garden of memories,” she said with a passion.

You look at Nan and wonder how she ever had the time.  Nan Bosler is one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the privelidge to meet.  She has devoted herself to community work for 66 years.  She’s got four University degrees, all of which were gained after the age of 60.  And as the founder of the Australian Seniors Computer Association, she has spent her life helping others as she grew an organisation that has now set up more than 200 branches.

She’s been awarded Anzac of the Year, an Advance Australia Award and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1991 ‘In recognition of service to the community, particularly youth, aged people and to people with disabilities’ are recognition of some of all she has done.  She’s a published author and, she also nursed her husband through a terribly tough period after a stroke, which you can read her personal story of here.  

Is your garden a garden of memories too?  Tell us about it.


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I try to gather cuttings or a plant from my friends gardens – a little quite wander in the morning brings these people to mind as I look at each one.

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