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Quote for the Day : Beholder of Beauty

“…People often say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where other have not dared to look including inside ourselves…”

— Salma Hayek

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Amanda’s Garden

Amanda’s Garden

In 2010, I had the misfortune of falling prey to Meningococcal Meningitis with Septicaemia (read HERE if you want that long story!).  I was exceedingly ill, almost fatally so, and was lucky to survive.  Very lucky.  Most are not that fortunate and many people who do survive are left with life-long health issues, including brain damage, the loss of limbs or digits, vision impairment or total loss of sight, loss of hearing etc.

In 1997, Amanda Young died from this terrible illness, at the age of eighteen.  Her parents, Barry and Lorraine Young, were given roses as gifts of remembrance from Amanda’s classmates and friends.  From these roses, a beautiful garden bloomed and the Youngs decided to open their property each year to the public, to raise funds for research into meningococcal.

Mum and I visited the garden this weekend.  I hadn’t been before but Mum goes every year – she feels that she should (in fact she went twice this weekend, mostly so she could come back and buy more plants!).  I too should go regularly, being one of the lucky ones, so I am going to try and do so from now on.  There is only a small entry fee and then you can look through the gorgeous garden, buy plants, enjoy a Devonshire tea and just spend a few peaceful moments in this lovely setting.

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Every inch of space is lush and blooming, with roses, bulbs, cottage plants and annuals of every size and colour.  The weather on this day wasn’t fabulous – we narrowly missed getting rained on – but it didn’t matter. The place was packed with people but it was such a tranquil setting, you barely heard any noise.

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Mum and I made a beeline for the plants-for-sale section of the garden.  Pots and pots of all different kinds of plants were laid out for us to peruse.  We both bought a few specimens (and Mum had already bought a boxful the day before!) and were very happy with our purchases.  It’s not often you can buy an orchid for $4 and roses for $10 🙂

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Some of the roses on display were just exquisite.  The colours were stunning and such variety!  You could smell their fragrance a mile away – not overpowering, just beautiful.  The “Amanda” Rose is the most gorgeous deep yellow.  So pretty.  I love yellow roses – they’ve always been my favourite.

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The garden also featured dense, pond-like areas with water lillies and irises in many fabulous colours.  I could hear the chorusing of lots of happy little froggies 🙂

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The entire property was like a little oasis.  I loved the more overgrown areas – it was like a proper Secret Garden. Just needed a few fawns or some robins, maybe a frolicking lamb or two 🙂

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I really liked this idea : using old garden solar lights for planting succulents!  How good do these Haworthias look?

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If nothing else, it was nice to spend some quality time with my Mum.  Time we might not have had if I had not been so lucky in 2010.  I think about it every day.  I’m sure Mum does too.  Giving a few dollars to the Amanda Young Foundation is the least we can do.  And if it means we get to add to our growing collection of plants in our own homes, well, that’s just a bonus! Neither of us needs an excuse, really.

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“Amanda’s Garden” is open to the public in October each year.  It is well worth a visit.  Lorraine and Barry have put their heart and soul into the property, turning their grief and loss into something worthwhile.  And while it will not bring their daughter back to them, it may help to prevent any future deaths from this awful illness.  To learn more about the Amanda Young Foundation, the garden and other facts about Meningitis, you can visit their website HERE.

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Rose-tinted days (and the dentist)

Rose-tinted days (and the dentist)

I spent a lovely afternoon at a garden centre with my cousin, Aunt and Uncle last week.  I love my Aunt – she is so amazing and despite battling many illnesses (not least of which is chronic renal failure) she is always upbeat and cheerful.  She never lets anything get her down and she is so strong and tough.  She does her own dialysis at home (I could never be that brave!) and is just an inspiration. So it was lovely to get to spend some time with her and my Uncle.

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Despite the cold weather, it was a beautiful sunny day and we had a delightful morning tea, and enjoyed a nice leisurely stroll around the centre, looking at all the beautiful flowers that were in bloom.  Such gorgeous roses!  In every colour imaginable.  I wish I had a greener thumb and could keep beautiful plants like roses alive and well but, alas, I am a killer of all things green (except for a few herbs) and can only swoon and sigh at other people’s horticultural success.  Just look at these fabulous specimens, beginning with the “Abracadabra” rose:

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Unfortunately, that day I also had an appointment with my dentist.  I am not what you would call a “regular” at the dentist.  So much has happened in the last year or so that I have allowed my dental health to get overshadowed (i.e. ignored).  I enjoy a visit to dentist about as much as I enjoy doing my taxes.  Both things are painful, take too long and usually end up costing me money.  This trip was no different… I have been experiencing pain and locking in my jaw for a while now and it has been getting worse, to the point my left side of the jaw is a bit out of whack.  I grind my teeth a lot and I thought maybe that had something to do with it.  My dentist confirmed that the night-time clenching and grinding (that sounded far ruder than I meant it to!) has indeed made my jaw a bit off-kilter.  It’s also cracked one of my back teeth almost in half.  Dr W said “it’s like the Grand Canyon in there!”  which is not something you really want to hear in regard to your teeth.  He said it was amazing that it hadn’t actually fallen apart completely or caused me any pain.  Anyway, I am now getting a “splint” for my bite so that I can’t grind my teeth at night, and a lovely, blingy gold crown for the cracked tooth.  So gangsta, yo!  I had the choice of gold or ceramic, my Dr W said he recommended gold as it lasts forever and as it is at the back of my mouth it won’t really show.  All this for the princely sum of about three grand.  There goes my new couch I was going to buy this month.  Oh well…couches can wait.  I don’t want the tooth to crack entirely and fall out or get really infected or anything so I need the crown and, in order to prevent any more cracked teeth or jaw issues, I have to get the splint as well.  Apart from those two things, I am really lucky to have good teeth – no signs of decay or need for fillings.  I’d hate to have ongoing dental problems – it’s so horrible and expensive!

It’s a long weekend this week so tomorrow (Monday) is a day off!  Hooray!  I am going to try not to sleep in (did that yesterday – slept for 17 hours, which is awesome but also DISGUSTING!) as I want to get some things done around the house and find some time for crafting as well.  Hope your weekend is going well, and, if you do have to go to work tomorrow, I hope Friday comes around again super quickly!  I’ll leave you with a funny little note I saw at the garden centre this week :

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🙂