Thursday, 26 January 2017

Save the gardens!

Its mid summer although, I read in the NZ Herald a recent proposal to move the summer holidays forward to February/March. What a brilliant idea, as I had long ago given up trying to plan a summer holiday in December/January. Everything competes with Christmas and New Years, when it's not necessary to take all your leave over that period. If you are fortunate enough to be paid working that is. Half the workforce still work anyway because retail and tourism industry are at their busiest.

February is when the Heroic Garden Festival in Auckland is happening. As previously mentioned, all these heroic gardens are in the Mt Eden or Coatesville area, which seems to grow a good crop of gardens, Henderson, not even rating a mention. Despite Henderson being famed for its vineyards and historic Kauri gum and timber mill, its twin streams and the Waitakere ranges at the foothills, the bush at it's doorstep. It was Henderson where the first trees for babies were planted, and Henderson where all the orchards were. It had a Tui Glen and you could paddle and swim up the creek. Maurice Gee fictionalised it as the country town of Loomis, peopled with rough characters in his novels. It was Auckland's fruitbowl.  Just up Great North Road was the location of the very first Palmers Garden Centre and opposite the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere, which hosts rare native orchids amongst the graveyards. Yet Henderson is far too working class for the likes of NZ Garden magazine, which is more of a Grey Lynn affair.

Henderson sits nestled in the valley by the Henderson creek and was once lush with fruit, New Lynn next to it had clay, which was where they made bricks. It was not especially rich so was no good for dairying but those that bought land after clearing it from Kauri could make a decent living growing fruit. It is hard to imagine it now, but Lincoln Road used to be all vineyards.

Anyway I'm thinking of how the land has changed since then after the suburbs have started to encroach. I'm sad that Myra's garden is going to be destroyed if it gets sold to the highest bidder and ugly apartment blocks built on her corner section. I don't have the heart to garden at her place anymore knowing that is what may happen. She has a beautiful plum tree that is so fruitful the birds try and empty it before she does.  She also has a gorgeous Australian Frangipani tree, rambling roses, and happy geraniums.
I could will it to life but it takes more than a part time gardener to look after a place.

I don't know what to do, if I start gardening I could not just leave it to be demolished. Better not start in the first place? Louise tried to dissuade me from bringing plants that 'were only going to die anyway' and tried to convince me that there was no point as it would all be cleared and property buyers do not want to look after gardens. But like Myra I was going to battle on and hug the plum tree and dig in my heels. I am not going to throw out the old plastic plant labels cos I'm still going to be gardening right up till I die! At least thats what see, she doesn't need to say anything. We both know she doesn't want to give up, even when her body is quitting.

And so it goes. I'm going to tell Louise well, these rich foreign buyers are going to give up their day jobs one day and they are going to want to relax in their own gardens rather than stare at four walls of their concrete block jail cells I mean apartments, so wouldn't a home with a garden be a more attractive prospect? Plus I've already been called by one new home owner to help her start gardening after she had no clue what to do with the place she bought. It had plants!