Throwback Thursday, Garden Style

Today is ‘Throwback Thursday’ on Facebook.  Friends post photos from the past, and we all wax nostalgic. So why not some nostalgic photos of my garden during a simpler time?

It surprised me to learn that ‘experts’ once considered nostalgia a mental disorder or illness. According to this New York Times article, What is Nostalgia Good For?:

In the 19th and 20th centuries nostalgia was variously classified as an “immigrant psychosis,” a form of “melancholia” and a “mentally repressive compulsive disorder” among other pathologies. But when Dr. Sedikides, Tim Wildschut and other psychologists at Southampton began studying nostalgia, they found it to be common around the world, including in children as young as 7 (who look back fondly on birthdays and vacations).

“The defining features of nostalgia in England are also the defining features in Africa and South America,” Dr. Wildschut says. The topics are universal — reminiscences about friends and family members, holidays, weddings, songs, sunsets, lakes The stories tend to feature the self as the protagonist surrounded by close friends.

Most people report experiencing nostalgia at least once a week, and nearly half experience it three or four times a week. These reported bouts are often touched off by negative events and feelings of loneliness, but people say the “nostalgizing” — researchers distinguish it from reminiscing — helps them feel better.

Wow!  Just reading that article made me feel better!

Campbell apartment garden with cat

Apartment C…is for Cat

Campbell Garden Patio

Garden Patio in Campbell, circa 1994

I lived in Campbell, California for five years before getting married. My tiny apartment, behind a larger house, boasted a long concrete driveway, a smaller, concrete parking strip and a concrete stoop leading into my 400 square foot apartment. I was happy to find this tiny place to call my own, and a landlord that allowed cats! I didn’t rent if for the greenery. Landscaping the place was always on the owner’s mind, but sadly, there it stayed. I surrounded myself with houseplants of course, but it seemed a shame to leave all that concrete unadorned. One by one, plant by plant, I created my own little potted garden. As a renter, you never know how long the deal will last, so I started small, assuming I could always take my potted plants with me. Eventually, I dug into the soil around the perimeter and before I knew it I had a tangle of vines, herbs, flowers and succulents. I bought a tiny settee, relocated the cat climbing tree, and eventually had my own little garden oasis.

Of course the thing about nostalgia is that we tend to remember the good times and leave the rest. When I look at these photos, I remember the happy little garden, but I also remember the colorful neighbor up above. She worked as a stripper at a local bar, arriving home at 2:00 am most days, blaring her TV and screaming expletives at her boyfriend. Good times!

Do you like waxing nostalgic?

16 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday, Garden Style

  1. Interesting how they considered it an illness and now we embrace it in fashion, decor and art in such a big way. I’m trying to decide if I just like reminiscing or if I’m nostalgic for the past. I think of nostalgia as the ’40’s I guess. I love that era even though I wasn’t around then. I love the music, the clothes, the cars, the movies and a lot of the decor I collect is very 40’s. So maybe for me, nostalgia is a time before I arrived.
    My good gosh, I bet the landlord cried himself to sleep when you left, that’s the most amazing oasis I’ve ever seen at a rental. It must have been stunning to sit on your little settee and see all that gorgeous greenery right out your little apartment door. I lived in a tiny basement suite when I first moved out, I had one plant LOL. Later I moved to an apartment with a balcony. I remember planting those hanging railing baskets but I was the only one. Your love of nature really must of nurtured all your neighbours too, lucky, lucky them.


    • I know, right!? I suppose trying to live in the past is unhealthy, but our version is right on. I too love the 40s. Such elegance in fashion and home furnishings.

      LOL on the landlord. I was a popular tenant. Quiet, reliable and happy to employ my green thumb. Loved that little garden.


  2. What a beautiful oasis you created there. I tried to do a little at our rental many years ago but had absolutely no knowledge. The back yard was the neighborhoods ball field but I took the walkway out front and planted, getting all the neighborhood kids involved. I guess that’s being nostalgic? I think nostalgia could be a mental illness only if you want to live there, visits should always be healthy. 🙂


    • I love that, Marlene ‘visits should always be healthy.’ Nice.

      You really are a natural teacher, getting the children involved. To garden is to plant…we all find ways to make it happen, even if it’s limited to one pot in a kitchen window. We’re happier for it.


  3. Funny, I have no recollection of that garden. It must have been a time when we weren’t spending too much time together. Perhaps I was still in my dysfunctional “Randy” days? Looks lovely, and inviting!


  4. What a lovely space you created! As I was reading and then seeing your photos, I had to laugh about my gardening efforts in rentals (years of rentals) … just I few potted plants on the steps. I know that alot about successful gardening includes time and effort, You also have the gift of creativity.


  5. Thanks for sharing the link with me Alys – guess what I’ll be getting you to advise me on very soon! 🙂 This is luscious and exactly the size of what I have to work with. Currently I am thinking about removing the last of the built up soil (built up on top of pavement!) to give me a nice, new, creative slate. A new fence has gone in at the end as the brick wall was on the verge of collapse and the built up bed along that went at the same time. I love what you did here – you are a clever, clever gardener!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are too kind, Pauline. I’m glad to hear that the perilous wall is out and a new fence is in. That is nice incentive to start from scratch. I also think a fence (either wood or steel) gives you more options for hanging containers. Can you see the fence from indoors or do you have to be outside to see it? How much sun do you get there in a day? Oh, this is so exciting. I wish I could pop over and plant with you.


      • I love your enthusiasm Alys – I wish you could pop over too! Its a lovely white painted wooden paling fence, higher than the original pink (!) wall Not so much need to hide it! I have just entered the five month period when there will be no sun in the tiny courtyard so there is little point in doing much there until early spring. My art room looks out into it, which is one of the reasons I like to keep it pretty. The long fence facing the art room is a decrepit old galvanised iron fence – we are much given to those in this country, though the modern ones are nicer than these old grey unadorned things. That’s the fence I want to hang things off – currently the jasmine is still there, but as it has taken over it will have to be removed so more space friendly items can go in. I’m cogitating – and have until spring to make plans! It’s fun isn’t it! 🙂


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