Six Square Metres: Reflections from a small garden

Margaret Simons

Six Square Metres: Reflections from a small garden
Scribe Publications
23 September 2015

Six Square Metres: Reflections from a small garden

Margaret Simons

Life lessons from the ground up.

Sometimes you reap what you sow.

In this thoughtful and beautifully observed book, journalist and gardening enthusiast Margaret Simons takes readers on a journey through the seasons, through her life, and through the tiny patch of inner-urban earth that is home to her garden.

Over a course of a year, within the garden and without, there are births to celebrate and deaths to mourn; there are periods of great happiness and light, and times of quiet reflection. There is, in other words, all the chaos, joy, sorrow, and splendour of being alive.


Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist and author. She is also the director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism and coordinator of the Masters in Journalism at the University of Melbourne. She writes on media for numerous media outlets, and has published 11 books. She has always loved to garden, and this is not her first ode to horticulture. It is though, I believe, her most personable. She says in her opening page of this beautiful little package of a book: ‘Sometimes you reap what you sow. Sometimes you reap what other people sowed. Sometimes you haven’t got a clue what you are sowing, and sometimes you just get lucky, or unlucky. All these things are true of life, as of gardening.’

And so begins a seasonal diary of sorts about her tiny garden oasis in Melbourne, situated behind a drive-through McDonald’s and a car park. Margaret shares gardening tips, but also thinks about her friends and family. She reveals the state of her complicated home life and how all the will in the world cannot stop a turnip from appearing. Here her writing, and the cultivation of her garden, is about the virtuosity of pondering, and becomes meditative in its approach. By using all the available space, including eccentrically placed pumpkins (on the roof) and coriander (in the laneway), Simons’s garden allows her to feed her family with the freshest of vegetables – sometimes.

This is a considered and meticulously observed book written by an author who is willing to share the tribulations and joys of a blended family, a fast-paced life and the endless smell of French fries. By doing so, she permits us to consider our own plot – in life and in gardening.

Chris Gordon

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