Cultivate Your Acre!

Photo by MedeaSmyke


As usual, I am surrounded by a number of books on the go – 2 fiction, and the rest non-fiction bits and pieces. No, not ones about elephants, penguins or interior design but on life, how it works, how to deal with those in your life (aka kids) and DIY types.

I mention this  because I came across a gorgeous concept in one of these humorous, non-fiction beauties that I thought to share. The book is Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott. My highlighter came out in the chapter on developing character.  This is what I loved:

“Every single one of us at birth is given an emotional acre all our own. You get one, your awful Uncle Phil gets one, I get one… everyone gets one.” (Lamott 1994 p44)

Anne goes on to mention that, bar hurting anyone, we get to do what we please with our acre, plant what we want. But I wonder how many of us are treating our acre with care.  All of a sudden, I saw my acre.

bougainvilleaI am guilty of letting the weeds grow; tall stocky thistles, yellow dandelions, carpets of green clover abloom in white flowers, sneaky little bindii ready to pierce the soles of my bare, haven’t- been- out- of- shoes feet… just like those prickly issues I decided never to deal with. Right down the back, I haven’t done any pruning for ages; in fact, I cannot see the back fence line, a huge bougainvillea with nasty thorns has over taken the timber palings, but it does have those gorgeous magenta flowers. I can see where parts of my acre have huge fences around the border; no one is getting in there. And don’t get me started on the junk pile, where I have allowed myself to dump all sorts of rubbish.  You know the type of rubbish I mean, comments, criticisms, unjust, regret, sorrow. Alongside this are things I thought I might need one day, but are now clearly rusty and in need of some love, tender self-love.

I do, however, take care of the front fence line, where image is important regardless of what’s going on behind the fence! I also notice, I have kept the gate locked a lot of the time, but when I do leave it open, I can see down the pathway where fresh new shoots are coming up just from leaving the gate open. Closer to the front of my acre, where I have been cultivating lately, there are more formal plots, organising, planting, sharing the harvest. This all looks beautiful; the sun is shining here. There are lots of pathways on my acre; some look like they lead to a dead end, perhaps I need to decide what to do with these old pathways.

Now that I have a clearer image of my acre, have paced the perimeter, decided what I do like and what I know I GardenPathsRoundCement2would like to change, I can start the process of clearing, replanting, sorting and filling the trailer with the rubbish. It won’t be easy, that bougainvillea has been there for some time.  It’s going to take serious garden gloves and a huge dose of honesty to deal with it. But I see the value in clearing it. I want to see the back fence again, perhaps put up a smaller fence, one that lets the light in through the palings. Next, I want to deal with the pile of junk, clear the rubbish, allow those hurt emotions to dissipate. After all, I don’t really own any of it.

I also want to put in a gazebo, where I can invite friends in, new and old, so we can share ideas together and wander the pathways. Of course I haven’t forgotten my family, I want them to see my new garden, how things have changed, and to see and hear them in new light.

I know this will take time, some changes might work, some might not, but I am excited at the prospect. I am also going to keep doing research to see what will prosper and flourish just on my acre.

So what does your acre look like? Are there areas on your acre that you haven’t visited for ages?  Are there patches you can’t even see? What would you really like it to look like? Are there some areas that you love, that you would like to improve upon? Are there people visiting your acre that are treading on your flower beds? Maybe it’s time to let them know that you won’t accept that anymore. Perhaps they could help you replant, or maybe they could go and help someone else on their acre. Maybe it’s time to ask for some advice, on how to improve your acre. All of this is okay; it’s your plot to do what you want with it. But it all needs to be looked after, each square inch.

I am looking forward to wandering through my fresh new acre, where I can sit on the bench with a glass of mineral water and watch the koi swim in the pond, or maybe sip champagne on the huge timber swing hanging from the big gnarly old tree that is my source…

Cheers to your fresh new acre!

About Sandy Dingwall

Sandy lives on the sunny Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, is a mum to 3 little people (9, 7 and 5) and is married to a creative type like her. She has worked and owned businesses in a number of industries – children’s publishing, franchising, bakeries, cafes, a local newspaper and most recently ran her own handbag business. Currently Sandy is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Publishing.

Check Also

increasing body positivity and sexual confidence

4 Tips For Increasing Body Positivity and Sеxual Confidеncе

For women, body positivity and sеxual confidеncе have gained more recognition than еvеr bеforе. As …


  1. Thanks guys… when I read the line in Anne’s book I could immediately picture my acre; it was like all my issues, the things holding me back, my fears along with the things that are going great in my life at the moment all came to life as plants, garden beds and fence lines :). I think it would be a great and different way for individuals to view the past, present and future Kellie.

    And Karin are you referring to a Madonna song? It was on her Erotica album 1992. But perhaps my head is in a different place to yours 🙂 I haven’t thought about that song for years… not really an album I like to listen to with little people around ;). Either way I am glad it resonated with you!

  2. I love your descriptions of your acre! I felt like I was there. This is a great visualization exercise for everyone no matter they are trying to accomplish. I might use this for clients.

  3. this was wonderful! I need to work on my acre as well. There was a song years ago about having a secret garden and it referred to the heart being a secret garden and how it needed tended daily. i had forgotten. thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *