The Tranquil Garden Nursery is my realization of a desire to live on the land, with the ability to rescue more animals, and to grow lots of flowers and food.
I grew up in the Cotswolds in the United Kingdom, and moved to Australia at the ripe age of four. A few years later our family moved to 250 acres in the Hunter Valley, which was also a commune for about four years. There, as I wandered the land alone, I developed a true love of animals and plants. This led me to a career working with animals as a Veterinary Nurse, a Zookeeper, and wildlife keeper.
I retrained as a teacher after the loss of most of my precious animals during the Canberra 2003 devastating fires. Unable to stick to a mandated unrealistic curriculum, I wanted to teach more life skills, such as animal care, and to have more than just a lunchtime gardening club. This forced me to leave teaching and pursue life on the land again.
Initially, I worked gardening in many local Mid Coast gardens, and not so much in my own. When I met Lainey our local Matriarch in about 2011, we really connected. Her obsession with Dahlias resonated with me, and so began my own collection of these tuberous perennials. Now 92, Lainey is still living in her own home.
From then on, I grew a lot of mostly flowering plants with produce and started to take them to local farmers markets such as Wingham, Gloucester, Taree, Forster and others. This as many know is bloody hard work, especially as selling plants can be hit and miss, so I don’t go to the markets to sell anymore.
Around the same time - in 2011 - I took on two rescue Whippet cross red Cattle dog pups. One I gave to my Mum. Now I have Miranda, who has had quite the journey right by my side.
Let me share what happened. Growing plants without chemicals is so very important to me. Recently, in fact in June my dog came down with mysterious symptoms and I took her to one vet as her symptoms were mild at that time. Not long after that, Miranda was unable to eat or drink by herself.
Nursing her myself had not improved her condition, and she could only just manage to go outside by herself. She was put onto a drip and nursed for a week in a local Veterinary Hospital. Seemly as a last resort she was put on to prednisolone which initially helped but was a double-edged sword as not long after she developed anaemia and almost died.
I took her to the vet again and no connection was made with the prednisolone by them, however between myself and a friend we worked out that it was due to the prednisolone and she was bleeding in her bowel. Massive doses of CBD oil I believe, and diet change saved her life. I reduced the dose of Prednisolone and got her off it fast whilst introducing a whole food diet made from scratch. this diet comprised and still does of cooked Bok choy, raw liver and cooked pumpkin, or sweet potato blended all together with a small amount of water.
I also provide her with a bone broth frequently and fresh bones. After about a week on this diet, she started to improve remarkably. Then I started using the Nettles that grow in in my chicken’s pen. Nettles are apparently a good sign of a healthy soil, so that is great to know. Miranda frequently gets them blended in with her food. I do believe that this, along with CBD oil and homemade activated charcoal, has saved her life. Now Smudge the cat is on this diet too. He has lost weight, and he's a lot happier and brighter. So now I've accepted - it's more than important than ever that I continue to grow organic flowers and organic vegetables, and not use any chemicals.
No chemicals are used in the house or in the garden or for myself. I've stopped dyeing my hair, and allowed myself to go grey quite disgracefully - but I feel healthier as well. I've also modified the chickens' and ducks' diets owing to a possible problem with either the food or a build-up of parasites in the pen.
I took one of the ducks to a vet to have a look at and she was prescribed antibiotics which did help initially. Unfortunately, she went down again. My friend and I had a discussion, and it was based on her advice that I put the duck onto the activated brown rice which Miranda is also on. The duck soon recovered.
From now on, the ducks and the chickens have plain wheat for breakfast and in the afternoon, they have sprouted wheat along with the Greens I used to give them, and scraps. I've also limed all their pens at 100 g per square metre with Mudgee Dolomite lime against possible parasites. Being home more means I can help more with local injured and sick animals. I take in abandoned ducks, chickens, and the odd cow. All the animals here have a forever home.
I’m a member of the wonderful Manning Valley Flower Collective and sell my organic flowers locally. I sell most of my plants via a website www.tranquilgarden.com.au and via eBay. I post plants across Australia except Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia, due to quarantine restrictions.