End of a decade – Part Two of Two

Welcome to the second installment of my gardening journey over the last decade.  In the last post we explored the first half of the Norties where I started out as a home gardener entering a competition and found myself being propelled on an incredible journey I couldn’t have foreseen from those early days.   (If you haven’t read it yet you can check it out here >End of a decade – Part One of Two<)  Now we pick it up again halfway through…


This was a fun year and it was highlighted by a trip to the United States of America for a three day Garden Bloggers Conference.  Seriously – I couldn’t believe there was such a thing for people who shared my love of all things gardening and all things writing.  I had the best time and met some wonderful people.   You can read about that here: >Garden Bloggers are the nicest people<  This year was made all the more exciting when I was invited to be a guest speaker at the Whanganui Literary Festival, which was an extraordinarily cool thing to be a part of as well.

Garden Blogger Conference
I had such a great time at the Garden Bloggers Conference. If it didn’t take 36 hours each way to get there and cost a small fortune I’d go to something like it again in a heartbeat.

My most popular blog post for that year, which continues to be popular to this day is >My Mum’s one pot sultana biscuits< and it isn’t even about gardening!


By comparison this year wasn’t quite as exciting, but I did write another book – Growing Vegetables.  Actually, that was quite exciting.  I think it is my favourite book, as I get frustrated with the myths and well intentioned but bad gardening advice out there.  So, I just wanted to scrape ‘how to garden’ back to the very basics and then lead the reader on to discover their own journey with a solid foundation.  There is no right or wrong way to garden.  At the end of the day if you put a seed in the ground and water it, chances are high that you will get something to eat.

Oh, and this was the year I became a brand ambassador for GARDENA.  I get approached a lot to showcase products but I don’t want to represent any old brand so I have carefully decided on my partners and I feel privileged and honoured to have Yates and GARDENA on my team (although probably best described as me on theirs).

Toast the Cat
Oh how I miss Toast the Cat. She was such a sweet wee thing

Despite the 94 blog posts I lovingly crafted that year my mum’s sultana biscuits remained my most popular post – and it wasn’t even about gardening!  Although that was the year we lost our much loved Toast the Cat and so we can’t not review this year without paying our respects.  >A tribute to my fluffy garden buddy<


This year was a quiet year – nothing major happened.  Just gardening, writing, speaking and more gardening.  Although this was the year that I went as close to viral as I’ve ever been with my April fool’s day blog post!   >They’re up< (My mum’s sultana biscuits were the second most popular post and there were 93 great gardening posts to choose from!)

Growing pasta
My almost viral pasta seedlings… oh such fun!

By this stage my garden could be considered mature.  I had been there 10 years and it was just how I wanted it to be.  It was the right size and things grew well there, although it could have been a little less damp, but that is the joys of swamp living for you.  I was a very happy gardener.

The old garden
The old garden never looked so good as it did in that last month. I miss it, but it is in good hands.


Now this was an exciting year – I was a judge and a speaker at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show, and I headed across the ditch and spoke at a garden club in Australia.  I had gone international!  And I started writing for Kiwi Gardener Magazine as a regular contributor.

Sarah the Gardener speaking
I loved speaking at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show

Oh yeah – and we up sticks and moved from the 3 acres in the swamp to 10 acres on the coast and relocated a house by chopping it in half and dragging it halfway across the country and started a brand new garden from scratch!  Little things.

Moving house
We don’t do things by half around here – so when we move house we really move house.

Annoyingly my Mum’s bikkies are still my number one post!  Even though there were 65 posts that year about the move and setting up a new garden!   There weren’t as many as previous years as I was rather busy building a new garden.   The 2nd most popular post was >A Sea Change<


This year was all a bit quiet, aside from the writing, speaking and publicity side of things, and to be honest after the previous year it was a breath of fresh air and allowed me to scratch the surface of embracing the challenges of growing in this new and rugged environment.   Although it wasn’t without an exciting development and I have taken on a new role as a Botanical Tour Guide for Botanical Worldwide Discoveries and getting to visit some amazing and inspiring gardens with passionate fellow travellers is such a pleasure and a privilege.  It fits in so nicely with what I already have going on.

The new garden
I love the new garden so much, although a little less wind would be nice

The best post from 2019 was …  you guessed it – those blimmin biscuits!  The next best was a favourite of mine >Marrow Chips< and I as a result of taking my eye off the garden over Christmas, I have some zucchini turned marrow in the dehydrator right now with several others ready to take their place once the first lot have been done!

Looking back over the last decade has reminded me of the whirlwind journey I am on.  I don’t imagine for a minute that the next 10 years will be spent with my feet up after sowing a few seeds or pulling a few weeds.   I think I quite like the excitement and challenge of a life lived to the full.  Although I do feel a little trepidation for what may occur as this time 10 years ago, I didn’t see any of this coming and it certainly wasn’t in my plans at that point.  I am so grateful, thankful and delighted that my life has taken this path and I look forward to seeing where it will go from here.

Sarah the Gardener
Looking forward to another great decade

Thanks so much for all your support over the years – if it wasn’t for you, much of this wouldn’t have happened at all.

Come again soon – because 2020.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

12 thoughts on “End of a decade – Part Two of Two

  1. All the best for 2020 Sarah, I love following your posts and the ups and downs of your journey. I love that you can laugh at yourself, and pick yourself up when life throws Wobblies at you.

  2. Wow Sarah! You really have achieved a lot in the last 10 years, I look forward to learning more from you in 2020 and beyond!

    1. I have even surprised myself when looking back at it all. This time 10 years ago I was just a home gardener who’d entered a blogging competition. Life is full of possibilities. : o) x

  3. What a decade! And what a pair of gardens – I don’t think I would have been able to bear moving away and starting again from scratch after getting a garden into such great shape! (Not that I am in a position to worry about that any time soon…)

    It’s always odd the posts which make the biggest hit, isn’t it? My most popular one is from four and a half years ago, about why I wear a padlock around my neck – but annoyingly, people mostly read it on my old site, which hasn’t been updated in two years!

    1. I did cry when we left the old garden, but it was a good practice run for the next one. Decisions made in the new garden were based on challenges from the old one, having said that the new garden is certainly bringing up a lot of its own challenges!
      It is always interesting what makes a good post. I often think ‘this will be a great one’ only to have it flop with limited readers, but one I whipped up on a whim to fill a gap turns out to be the best one ever…. I try not to dig too deep into my stats or it will just frustrate me. Are people reading it? Yup. All good then. : o)

  4. Goodness; that is a lot of garden. It is all so perfect to, on such nicely exposed flat ground. Yes, I can see why a little less would be nice. I will be starting over pretty soon here. It is not how I would have done things, but it is how they are.

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