In blog 66 – a little paradise in Joburg: Zani discovers the type of garden she never knew existed.
“Welcome to our little part of paradise in Joburg!” Seth says, while Sky ushers us towards a table and chairs in a secluded spot. Their garden is different, but I am not sure in what way until the “So, what do you do?” question is finally asked. Seth explains that he is in construction with Sky’s dad, but that he actually specialises in edible gardens.
“Edible gardens? What’s that, Seth?”
He laughs. “Zani, it’s a lesser-known facet of landscaping, one that I fully embrace, because water is not wasted on beautiful, but otherwise useless gardens, but used to produce healthy food.”
I am my usual straight-shooting self and reply: “Whoa! Now I’m thoroughly confused. It sounds as if you do not – how should I say this – ‘approve’ of a beautiful garden, yet your own garden is exquisite!”
Sky laughs, and even more so when she sees that Seth looks a little taken aback.
“Yes, love, you never believe me when I tell you that your disdain for beautiful albeit ‘useless’ gardens shows, and now you’ve got it straight from the horse’s mouth!”
She hesitates when she realises that she’s just called me a horse, and that I might be offended. But this is what breaks the ice and I know then that this is the start of a beautiful friendship.
Seth laughs and explains, “Edible landscaping means that all plants and trees must be food or bear food, and so instead of the traditional flowerbeds and lawn, maybe a secluded veggie and herb garden in neat rows; fruit, vegetables and herbs are planted in garden style, creating both beauty plus organically grown food. As desertification spreads, it is increasingly important to make every drop of water count.”
“Makes a lot of sense,” says Jake, flabbergasted. “I’ve never thought that watering my roses could mean water going to a more sustainable use – spinach, carrots and rosemary!”
As Sky busies herself pouring homemade lemonade, she picks up on our conversation at Vee’s.
“But that’s what I was telling Zani, Jake. It saddens me that so many really important matters are never discussed. We focus too much on unimportant matters – all of us. Like counting our baby’s kicks, or the best place to get false nails done or the best deal to have your car washed, while wasting litres of water down the drain. Those topics seem to find their way into conversations every day.”
But before she can go any further, Seth interrupts.
“Well, I’ll tell you what I want to explore further right now …” he quips. “And that’s lunch! Are we ready yet, honey?”
Sky laughs. “All right, all right! Zani, want to help me bring it out here? And we can pick up on this again once this man’s belly’s full.”
She rolls her eyes playfully. We all agree that since it is a wonderful blue-sky day and the spot in the garden is beautifully warm, we can enjoy brunch outside. Sky and I go to fetch and carry, while Seth and Jake take a stroll through the garden. When everything is ready, Seth says a prayer to thank the earth for the food and to ask that the energy we gain from it will be applied to spreading love in this world.
Jake is quiet as he fills his plate with food fresh from the garden, this paradise in Joburg, and the homemade fare Sky has laid out for us: yoghurt, cheese, jam, and bread from stoneground wheat. But I’m not fooled. I know he’s finished the book about birth pain and that he is keen to hear Sky and Seth’s thoughts on it. I am waiting to see how Jake is going to guide the conversation towards Marais’ ideas.
“How did the two of you meet?” he asks.
They look at each other.
“It was something of a coincidence,” Sky replies. “Seth was visiting León, after studying olive and wheat farming in Spain. I was walking the Camino de Santiago and started in León after meeting a delightful man on a flight who had said that if I ever came to Spain, I should come and see him in León. So I met Isidro just after I visited the most exquisite Gothic cathedral in León and was very touched by the beauty of the place, but even more so by the way that Mary, Mother of Jesus, was revered. I cannot tell you how my soul stirred when I saw a sculpture of a pregnant Mary with her hands resting lovingly on her tummy. So here I was all weepy and rambling on to a relative stranger about the most profound experience I had ever had because …” She took a deep breath before taking off again, “… the real reason I was in Spain in the first place was so that I could walk the Camino, to get clarity on my life’s purpose.”
Ah, I think, here comes the road to birth pain.