Saturday, 23 November 2019

Beanie Babies

Dad took some photos of my beans, after helping me string them up. He painted the planter, which mum got from Leyton, so it's a family affair.

I'm hoping to have a good crop this year. They are climbing butter beans. The packet said they are
Gourmet Range' and  'Melt in your mouth taste'. So I have high hopes.

I found out in my companion book that beans don't like onions or garlic, and I've put shallots and chives in my planter. Oops. I hope they don't fight each other. The mint is also trying to come through. I put applemint in the bottom as a drainage layer. Of course its trying to take over the garden but I figured if its in planter it can't really go anywhere. However coriander might not be too happy with it close by.

Manuka is awash with flowers at the moment. I am loving this season so far. Only took about 5 years to get most of my home planted up but I think I can say I have a real garden now...!

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

From caterpillars to butterflies...

Corinna my business tutor said that was what she pictured us students the beginning, hungry little grubs that ate and ate and ate... scared and afraid of everything, but...eventually we would cocoon ourselves and be totally transformed into amazingly beautiful butterflies free to spread our wings when we graduated from our course.

I am so relieved that I had my final presentation and am already thinking of when the next GARDEN PARTY will be. I had been so busy that all my sweet peas flowered and died and I only picked about three bunches. This weekend is the Flower Show featuring sweet peas and I have no sweet peas to show for it. Alas! There are other categories but perhaps I won't be in the running this year. If I could just remove Christmas from the calendar and move it to June I could have a more relaxing summer, but no, now everybody's asking for secret santa gifts and I just don't know if I can continue playing pass the parcel for another year.

I've already missed several birthdays, but I suppose thats why there's Christmas so that everyone who was too busy to have a birthday gets to have one on the 25th. Which brings me to topic of Christmas Trees. I did once ask, if I could please have a pukeko in a ponga tree for Christmas, but only got one pukeko and no ponga. However, later on in the year, my prayer request was answered when Margaret dug one out for me from her garden, which is only just now starting to show some fronds. I thought it had died from transplant shock but no, it's still alive. So, Santa does not always run on schedule.

How to fit in the garden party with all the other parties scheduled? Am not sure, but I'm sure that's another Garden Planet episode in itself (How to throw a garden party). Must do some research. How does the Queen do it? And who am I going to invite?

This weekend I am finally going to be free, and my to do list isn't that long now the big stuff is out of the way. Now its just small stuff like

Transplant watermelons
Water community garden
Look after Beth's plants (not sure if she will drop them off, but the ongoing saga of her tiny house hasn't quite ended yet)
Get 15% off anything at Kings Plant Barn (thanks Floral Circle)
Sow bees and butterflies mix

Because I am simply going to ignore big stuff like

Organise Eco West Festival garden ramble
Move the pop up fridge library and make a raised garden bed out of the old fridge
Save the entire planet by gardening

Just for the time being. I need some time relaxing in hammock I have yet to acquire with cucumber slices on my eyes from cucumbers I have yet to grow. Next year, instead of a business course, I am going to do a laziness course. Certificate in Laziness and Procrastination Management. After six years of continuous study

1. proofreading
2. english second language
3. horticulture
4. permaculture
5. money management
6. small business

I think I really need to enrol in this. I don't want to fail it by doing too much study and homework.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Bless you!

I had a wonderful time with the Floral Circle in Te Awamutu but came back with sneezes and a cold?! So I wonder if I'm just not used to all these flowers as everyone else did not need hankies seeemed quite alright. We saw many gardens and I am designated official journalist/reporter for club next club night for those who couldn't make it.
Karyn, who hails from Rosetown herself, declined coming along to visit her hometown but I think she missed out on some fabulous gardens. If you like colour and kitsch, Te Awamutu is your kind of place. Gnomes are not an embarassment, and the more colourful the garden, the better. One lady in her 80s gardened her whole berm and has filled every inch with flowers. Another took over a weedy hillside and gardened the entire bank. Once you start, you can't stop. There must be something in the water? Everywhere we looked there were irises and the town's pride and joy, roses. The Te Awamutu Rose Garden was started by a husband and wife team who were mad on roses and just kept going and going. I have to say they were the biggest roses I've ever seen, really healthy and lush. Not like my spindly looking lot.

Te Awamutu gardeners aren't dictated by the whims of landscape designers they just plant what they like. And if they want to plant a tree church they will - nobody has to commission anyone else to do it. And so on Sunday we stopped by, it was the first church I'd been to that had an actual bell and as it rung we were called to worship. Silence fell over the congregation as we sat in awe, and the birds started singing for us. The cats were lying in the pews and seemed content. There were roses clambering up the walls. Oh St Giles, you don't need to build a bigger church, you could have just grown one! We exited by the birches that are especially scrubbed each week and explored the surrounds, which included a labyrinth, avenues and rounds of maples, and a colourful perennial garden of irises, granny bonnets, and lady's mantle.

On way home I started plotting my own sanctuary. I picked up brachycombe and scabiosa at Payless plants (only $6) and Cenny bought a rose for Jennifer. I think I need to watch out for Cenny. She left her phone at Tall Poppies, she bought her wallet but it had no money in it, and she nearly left behind her wonder weeder. Thankfully her friend Stephanie was there to chaperone too. She's thinking of joining the club.

The sheep are friendly down in Te Awamutu although the cars drive a bit fast. I don't know if they can really handle a busload of Aucklanders in their main street we were kind of standing out like sore thumbs but now I know where Karyn gets her gardening obssesion from. It's not a paddock it's a potential garden!

Kia Ora Te Awamutu!

Floral Art

Sheep eyeing my cardigan
The Tree Church

Let's colour in the garden

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Labour weekend nearly upon us

Which means...a whole 3 days of uninterrupted gardening! Hooray!

Hold on, aren't we meant to have a day OFF labour? Isn't gardening hard work and labour intensive?
Well I suppose that's the difference between gardeners and non-gardeners. We are gluttons for punishment. We're the PD workers that are happy to be there. Community service is actually a great day out for us.

You can have your movies and your shopping and whatever else you do that's not gardening on your days off. I wouldn't know, I'll be outside enjoying the sunshine (or the rainclouds).

So as with anything I have a list of things To Do.

1. Plant up planter   actually, already done, I did it this evening, its full of chives now

2. Sow seeds..I've got packets ready, and seed trays waiting

3. Check on church gardens. Jennifer was mighty cross with me for going AWOL on her, but she never rang me to check if I was still alive. I'm still not sure I want to set foot on St Giles soil or if I will be allowed, so, unless they call me I don't know if I should go. The only thing they contacted me was to remove the fridge library, so I thought OK I will do that. Not a word about the garden. I think they are hoping it will just die and then they can have concrete and weeds back again.
However...that doesn't mean I can't go to Henderson Baptist and do theirs. Just the spider plants and the front section, which is now full of weeds. Not sure what to plant there yet but I will think of something. The heaven's breath is going great guns. I knew it would outlast them all.

4. Read  up on the history of gardening. Karyn has prepared a 2 part lecture series that I'm sure will have me heading to the books wondering where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are now.

5. Harvest lavender

6. Make a start on mosaics by smashing up china, and collecting pebbles.

7. Work on getting sponsors for Garden Planet. If we want to go for another year, I might have to do this otherwise we may have to wrap it up (sob!) because I won't have any money to fund it. Or I could win lotto, but, the chances are less than zero since I don't buy lotto tickets.

8. Lay back and look at the clouds. Unless its raining, then I will have to bring all the washing in.

9. Snails are eating the books at the Woodside Fridge library. It's terrible, they are faster readers than I am. I am considering relocating that fridge to more stable ground. Of course, I wasn't allowed to put it IN the community garden. It would have been an effective snail decoy if, again, I was actually allowed to do anything there, like sit and read a book. Maybe at the new Riverpark playground, by the bench.

10. Have fun in my garden. Because life is too short to wait around for someone else to have fun. By the time they get to you, half the day is gone. And there's no way I'm driving in that Auckland traffic or waiting hours for the bus, which, on arrival, doesn't go anywere, you can't open the windows and start to slowly suffocate in the noisy air con. The fun thing  to do at the moment is to stay at home and  chase the neighbourhood cats away. I know you want to come in kitty, but Mummy Cat lives here. Ask your owners to make you their own garden.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Rainbow colours and miracles

Dad took a liking to my watsonia, I know a flower is spectacular when my Dad, who usually takes photographs of trains and buses, and occasionally the moon, thinks its worthy enough to photograph.

He doesn't take photos of me now. I'm not cute anymore! Besides, when gardening you don't always look your best. Jo wanted to take a photo of me and Karyn for Garden Planet and we were like no way, I'm wearing my worst clothes, haven't even brushed my hair, and I've got dirt under my fingernails.

Take ones of the flowers we bring you instead.

So anyway watsonia, which can become a weed in places simply because it grows so well, likes to be noticed. It grows taller than the magnolia tree beside it.  Well Iraena was quite tall. Now she has family beside her. I heard her mum recently passed away. I hope she's at peace now.

I have been thinking of missing children lately, having read a memoir of Madeleine McCann that was in the fridge library. Her case reminds me a little of Ainsley the little girl who drowned in the creek not far from here. Her parents were not watching for a minute and that's all that it takes. I think parents need to make sure that they can be reached by their children at all times. Ok Iraena was 25 years old and supposedly adult but she wasn't ringing her mum or dad who would have immediately calmed her down. Poor Madeleine, whatever happened to her is unknown but even if she was yelling and screaming her parents would have been too far away to hear her. Children just want to be loved that's all it is, they want you around and they want to see you and just know you are there for them. If they cry and act up its because they need you.

Plants are much the same way they all want to grow and they do much better given care and attention otherwise they can run a bit wild. Plants are very forgiving though if you do accidentally kill a few, its not the end of the world.

I'm doing much better this season with plants and don't have quite so many casualties now I've learned how to look after them better. Have been watching the Eden Project which is a place in  Cornwall, England which used to be a china clay pit they have transformed into a garden and huge greenhouse that looks like a geodesic dome of bubble wrap.  The original founder had made a fortune in the music industry and had this idea to create a garden, much like the Eden Garden in Mt Eden, out of an old quarry site. Now there are so many plants of all kinds there and they use the venue for concerts and as an educational charity, and its gets millions of visitors each year. Quite inspiring.

Am looking forward to my Floral Circle trip to Te Awamutu in 2 weeks time. There are rainbow colours everywhere in my garden. Have just added two passionfruits between the plumbagos on the wooden fence, and Dad has just painted up a box planter that mum is going to grow coriander and chives in. Mum is actually going to do some gardening and grow things! Miracle. I just knew if I kept giving her flowers and taking her to gardens and stuff that maybe she would catch on. Only the other week I took her to the library and amazingly she wanted to borrow a book. They have books in Chinese at the library. In all my years of being a librarian she had never expressed any interest in using the library and actually borrowing books. She's borrowed 3 books on my card so far. Well if she keeps on like this she might need to join up and have her own library card! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Round Rotorua

Spring Bedding display outside the Library and Visitors Centre
Pongas amongst the Redwoods
Went down to Rotorua for the weekend for my getaway. The town was in it's spring glory and there were so many tulips in the Government gardens that they made your eyes water. My main aim was to check out the Redwood forest which has a really cool treewalk you can do suspended above the ground but Mum wasn't keen (or to pay $30 for the privelige) so we stayed on the ground but it was still an awesome experience amongst the tallest kinds of trees in the world. Ponga ferns make their home amongst the redwood trees and they make a wonderful combination.

No chance of growing any redwoods at home though, some lifestyle blocks out west do have them. The tallest in Rotorua was about 75m and still growing. I love Rotorua there is so much interesting things to see there as well as hot pools, mud and geysers. Too bad the mud out our way isn't bubbling or a worthy tourist attraction but I'm working on it...

I'm meant to be doing some seed sowing soon but just preparing the ground first, have dug a whole lot of narcissus out - earlicheer and not sure where to put them for the moment as I am rearranging everything. I have created a spider plant bed in Fluffy's garden corner under the Kowhai and Manuka, clearing the undergrowth, and put a few clivia in the driest, shadiest spots. Martha was digging some holes for me so that was handy.

I pruned the tangelo tree, letting more light and air into the tree and removing some of the leaves that were infested with whitefly and aphids, as well as dead branches, so now more birds can get in and eat any remaining bugs. The neem I sprinkled last season seemed to be doing it's job building up resilience.

Now that I've tidied up most all areas of my garden I only have the sugar cane left to plant somewhere, too bad it's banned from the community garden, I'm always wanting to grow plants there  like choko or asian herbs except I'm not allowed to as nobody else eats them or they grow too wild. I eat them, do I not count?? I have given so many plants and time there to have it thrown back in my face isn't really my thing. I dealt with enough bureaucracy at church and local govt. :-(

I was thinking maybe I could join another community garden that didn't have so much restrictions about what you can or cannot do but they would be too far away, and Ranui is probably full as it's one a rent a plot basis. I suppose dreams are free!