Marget Lockwood is an extraordinarily competent person. From driving the CFA truck and chain sawing fallen trees, to writing, making jam and creating a beautiful garden- Margret takes it all in her stride.
She grew up in Braybook, in a family that was fiercely independent. Her mother preserved fruit and vegetables from the garden to see them through the winter. She also tended a flower garden. Her father was a dab hand at woodwork, making shelves, tables and other essentials for the house. Margret learned how to make the most of the resources at hand. From an early age, she and her sister had household jobs to attend to; making beds, washing dishes and watering the garden.
Grandpa Davey was the vegetable gardener. Grandpa was an intriguing character, with two fingers missing from his hands and a terrible cough - all as a result of working in the Wonthaggi mines. His veggie patch beside their house provided the family with vegetables. Grandpa knew about the importance of mulch. He would take a billy cart down to the flood plains of the Maribynong River and collect manure from the cows who grazed there.
A couple of uncles also helped to wet Margret's gardening appetite - the taste of fresh carrots pulled straight from Uncle Steve's garden for example, and the snapdragon seeds given to her by another uncle, to grow in her own little flower garden.
It was the garden that first attracted Margret to her first house, set in the rolling hills of Gippsland. The vestiges of a beautiful old fashioned garden could be seen beneath the mass of weeds. She went to work with a vengeance, the family motto embedded in her mind - "The best way to keep cool is to keep working".
When Margret met and married Darryl, the love of her life, she discovered that although they shared a similar world view and many interests, gardening exposed some differences. While Darryl liked hard edges and straight lines, Margret liked the softening influence of curves.
They bought a heavily treed block in Glenlyon and in 1996 built an environmentally sustainable house and a very large dam. The dam, which sits in the garden like a beautiful lake, is essential for fire purposes. But it is also the fulfilment of a dream. While working in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Margret says "I dreamed about the house that I would build and the garden that I would have - a green oasis". She read everything that she could lay her hands on - books on permaculture, passive solar design and the inimitable Edna Walling.
The first job in planting a garden was to improve the very poor soils and they used newspaper, straw, manure and any other organic materials that were to hand. Plants for the site were by and large those that Margret could grow from seeds or cuttings or plants that had been given to them.
|Lemon tree and roses- gifts from family|
|Riding across Scotland- the last big ride with Darryl.|
|Margret at the Col du Samport border crossing while hiking across France, 2013|
Despite the pain of loss, Margret has a sense of independence and being in control of her life. She is able to make decisions without consultation, adding new touches to the garden, including wonderful sweeping curves that fit so well in this natural setting.
Being single following such a successful marriage has created deep personal challenges. Margret reflects that following Darryl's death "I had to find out who I was again". The garden has provided the solace that she required to search for meaning. "Since I've been on my own I've put more time into gardening [because] there is peace in dirt. I've found it very therapeutic". Time in the garden clears her mind and allows her to reflect......