Monday, 11 January 2016

Past and Present Learning Curves

Past and Present Learning Curves 

Learning Curves

Thinking of the New Year and what I would like to accomplish in 2016 has got me thinking of past years and some the learning curves I’ve dealt with, more or less successfully, in order to successfully carry out my life. There have been many. I suppose that most important have been those learning curves that I’ve dealt with for work; these involve teaching, lecturing and academic study and research.

But now that I’ve retired I do not need to put as much thought into those aspects of my life any more, though they do still enhance my life, and make me who I am. However, picking two current learning curves, that make life right now more livable and pleasant, I thought I’d share something about those that are ongoing, and have to do with weather, and gardening.

Learning Curves and Weather


As you age you may want to return to a place where you can once again feel ‘at home’ with the weather. I was born in England, a very wet damp place. But, this damp wet weather encouraged beautiful green hills and wonderful gardens, and it was not damp and wet all year, so when seasonal changes interrupted this usual weather they were so much appreciated – winter snow, spring flowers, the odd day of lazy summer warmth, the colours of autumn.


I now feel most ‘at home’ here in Australia or in Greece when the temperature is around 20, and when it is over 25 I almost expire!

Takis, on the other hand, was born in Alexandria, and he now feels most ‘at home’ when the temperature is around 25 and over. He also does not mind heat and humidity, as it was often very humid in Alexandria.


Our joint learning curves have been to learn to adapt to a lifestyle that includes hot Greek summers, and cold winters when we are in this part of Australia in August. This has resulted in looking for a house in Australia with a good heating system for Takis, and limiting our exposure to Greek summers to only July, plus putting an air-conditioner in the bedroom. It’s a compromise that works, however that doesn’t mean we still don’t complain at times!

Learning Curves and Gardening People

There are things that you learn from books and magazines. And I’m right now enjoying a Gardening Magazine subscription my daughter in law gave me for xmas. Lots to learn there.

Then there are things to be learnt from gardening clubs. I belong to a local Australian garden club, and I enjoy their knowledgeable speakers, and the Mediterranean Garden Society that has been inspiring (though often due to my peripatetic lifestyle it’s hard to keep a up continuous connection with these).

But, what I’d like to emphasis are those aspects of gardening I’ve benefited from by having worked alongside two gardening people.

Isn’t it true that sharing is often the best way to learn?


1.     Anestis in Greece

I think its been hard for Anestis to work alongside a woman, but in the end I think we have managed to share and learn from each other. Though, as I’ve written before, this experience has been limited by my lack of Greek. But I have learnt not to fuss about each weed, to clear the lot quickly and then work on the cleared patch and I’ve learnt how to water different, pouring water on every third day in very hot weather to encourage deep rooting. And Anestis had learnt more about mulching and composting, that you don’t have to only use sheeps dung, but can keep garden clippings and seaweed, and sawdust and they rot down, and that you can use dried out weeds as mulch around trees and pine needles around strawberry plants as mulch in summer.


2.     Isabel in Australia

When I began my Australian garden on ½ an acre there were some plants that were there to shape the garden around, but the back yard was a large weedy slope. I needed help to do some heavy work and found a lady who had a wonderful garden of her own, and who was ready to help me. She has now become a good friend. She has taught me a lot, about plants that love this are too much and take over and become weeds, (Japanese Anemones, Morning Glory, Euphorbia, etc). And fortunately we speak the same language. Actually, not just English, but the same gardening language, as we both like the same style of gardening. This has helped a lot.


So perhaps the lesson to learn from this is you need to be able to adapt to survive.

Adapting to others preferences, sharing our own, making compromises, finding joys in aspects of life that are different and we might not find ‘at home’.


Something we might have to do more of this year!



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