About Me

Reading as Guest Poet at Live Poets Society

Reading as Guest Poet at Live Poets Society. Photo: William Yang

I am an urban orchardist, a volunteer teacher and a poet.  I love food and I travel as often as I can.

In the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2008 I accepted an offer of a six weeks residency at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Washington USA.  The figs were ripe when I was there – on two giant trees hung with hundreds of fruit.  There were pear and apple trees too and berries galore.  The vegetable garden, though frequented by cotton tail rabbits, provided our chefs with plenty of produce.  The six writers in their individual cottages were spoiled with gourmet organic food everyday without paying a penny for the food and accommodation.When I left Whidbey Island the memory of Hedgebrook and its largesse remained.  I had to start growing food.

I have a space outside my front door that slopes gently into a laneway.  It suggests a good place to park a car; I have no garage. Next to it is a similar space occupied by my neighbour’s Fiat.  The lane used to be a tunnel of green, formed by century old trees that stood in the back yards of houses fronting two parallel streets.  In the days of horse and cart this lane served as the service entrance for tradesmen, delivery men and night soil collectors.  Over the years the trees fell to new developments and now it’s lined with garages and on certain nights, garbage bins. Except for my place.

My cottage was built at the back of a long yard, at the end of the lane.  The owner of a semi detached cottage had divided the property into two and built my cottage at the back, facing the lane. The lane sees little traffic other than the comings and goings of the garage owners and twice a week, the garbage collectors.  I do not own a car so I turned the 20 square meters outside my front door into an urban orchard of citrus, figs, guavas, and quince trees.

Six years after I left Hedgebrook, Costa Georgiadis, the host of Gardening Australia from ABCTV called in with his crew and recorded a segment for the programme.  It can be viewed on their website under the title A Miniature Orchard.

Link: http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4072376.htm

I hope to share some of the moments from my garden, my poetry and my life on this new blog.  Thank you for visiting.

Mary Tang

8 March 2015

Keep Gurrandalng Mary

Thank you to Ian Morris OAM a.k.a. Uncle Long Nose, for this picture taken at Keep River National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

 

37 Responses to About Me

  1. robert okaji says:

    Mary, you are poetry. It breathes in your urban orchard, in your calligraphy, your travel and knitting. Such beauty, such power. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lexa says:

    I love your blog. I have visited it many times but today I focused on the “About Me” page. I googled Hedgebrook as I had never heard of it and it looks absolutely fabulous. What a great idea. I love the fact that it is women only and the goal / mission statement is wonderful – “Equality for women’s voices to achieve a just and peaceful world”. Thank you for educating me! I will have to see if they have anything similar in the UK (doubt it). 😃 Anyway, I love what you have going on here, and I find you a very interesting person and a great writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sjschen says:

    A blog on Chinese translations, knitting, AND gardening? This is fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning Mary, I saw your comment about Australia’s poor top soil and the way we have wrecked our land, on Derricks blog. And then I looked at the ABC bit about your garden. And now I will have to read all your blog because it looks so amazing. I love the Chinese/Australia amalgam. I live in Ballarat and am a bit of a fanatic about the early history of that area. I wrote a piece that you may be interested in. http://wp.me/p6GUru-4O

    Liked by 1 person

  5. karaknick says:

    Hedgebrook sounds incredible! Wow. What a wonderful thing. Your love for gardening and the like speaks for itself- the orchard sounds beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful thing to do. I took a little used hillside out back of my house and made a Japanese tea garden with herbs and veggies. My climate doesn’t allow much fruit to grow, but I may yet plant an apple tree. Once the kids don’t need the yard for soccer. You writing retreat sounds perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gaiainaction says:

    What a truly lovely blog, following!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Grower says:

    Thank you for visiting my humble little blog. I’m envious of your driveway orchard/garden. It’s fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

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