Tuesday, 30 May 2017

On weeding and listening

I'm glad I was able to garden the last few days before the rain sets in.   It looks like the largest azaela is staying put for now although I did manage to clear away the grass that was growing through it.
I worked on clearing the applemint that was taking over the dietes and cut it back, using it for mulch around the rosemary, which now has a clear space. Hopefully the applemint will grow in the new spot and come back better next season where it was as it was growing leggy. Two tyres have come out which I may donate to Woodside. Three carex sedges are ringing the rosemary and hopefully the applemint cover will inhibit any creeping buttercup, which I have dug out and removed.

I was thinking while I was cutting back the applemint and how when people say 'I must cut back on spending' or eating sugar or any modern evil, well what happens is if you cut back plants it only means later it will grow back again more bushy. If you really want to give up or stop something, you have to pull it out by the roots! And then plant something to STOP it coming back. So I am very sceptical about people who always say 'I'm cutting back on alcohol' or whatever addiction because you just know it won't last...they might be alright for a while but then a few months down the line they binge eat or drink and then it's just as bad as before. If you really want weeds out of your lives, you must pull them out by their roots. Don't go the lazy way and just poison them, because poisons can kill the other plants and half the time it isn't effective anyway.

Don't put the noxious weeds in the compost either unless your compost is super hot, burn them or smother them, take them to the tip where they cannot escape. And then plant something better in the spot you have just weeded.

I've had to reprimand Dad who is of the 'cut weeds and leave them to grow back' type of gardener, doesn't really want to do the hard work of pulling them out by their roots, he dumps GOOD things in the trash, like potato peelings that could feed my worms and then dumps BAD things down the back of the creek. ?? Sigh. I can't always tell if he listens to me, like most people that are older than me have hearing problems and don't listen to anything I say. I can't be bothered yelling at my parents because maybe they just see my mouth opening and closing and sounds coming out, while pretending to listen by saying 'mm' 'oh, okay' and nodding and smiling. Then they just keep doing the exact opposite of what you told them.

Parents. Can't live with them, can't live without them.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Earthsong part 2

I was back at Earthsong to give a payment of labour to my garden angel Cathy today. Cathy got me weeding a swale - a ditch that hold rainwater run off from the tank. The swale was infested with kikuyu and creeping buttercup. Managed to get most of it out of the mud and planted day lilies there instead. It also is planted with oioi, a small papyrus, and bog sage. Now  the weeds are dumped in the hot compost and the rest that is not kikuyu and creeping buttercup in the cold compost. As I was working by the pathway several people passed by and they all said hello.

Cathy's garden is of course intentionally designed permaculture garden that's always a work in progress. She'd got flowering lemon grass, vireya rhododendrons, tamarillo in a pot, a kaffir lime she doesn't use, a horseshoe shaped hedge, loads of vegetables in the ground and in waist high raised beds, a cavendish banana, other exotic fruits in pots, iresine, small flaxes and lychnis. She is going to share a passionfruit vine fence with her neighbour and designed her garden as well. Some of her plants are frost tender so she whips out the frost cloth for them. I cannot remember where I stowed mine away and if I need to use it for the lemon tree or perhaps the new guinea impatien but it looks like I may have to hunt for it soon or buy a new one. Just in case!

On the south side she had flax, ajuga, some tree ferns and azaleas. One word, we can grow most things anywhere if we create the right microclimate for them and group them with like minded and companionable plants.

I was thinking on this today and had more design ideas for my backyard, while I did dare to pick Cathy's brain a bit more on what to plant and where. She suggested espaliering dwarf apples on the chicken wire fence, and perhaps another citrus in the northeastern corner. Riverpark is on a former apple orchard so maybe more apples will do well? I only have one at the moment a ballerina apple in a pot. I did have it planted in the ground but it looked a bit odd just with one perhaps should buy several more.
I had the idea that I would plant more blueberries  although three I planted down the back fence didn't take I think it was because they were too close to the fence.  Theoretically they ought to grow and fruit, it's boggy, it's acidic, and it's cool.

Will have to study up on it further.
Work done today included - shifting azaleas near the camellia, shifting the ferns into a group together, shifting the prostrate rosemary, manuring with sheep pellets and planting up the vege bed, which has now spring onion, silverbeet, chinese cabbage and parsley.  I am going to start keeping proper notes and records in the Growing Veges book Sarah the Gardener gave me.

The APW Design brief is due next week so I better start thinking and collecting photographs of my progress. I've started making sketches and site plans and asking designer orientated questions. And all this before winter begins and it's too cold and wet to do much.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Busy bees

Now all our timber is here the Woodside Gardeners have been busy planting and building. I got the spinach and pak choi in, and there were also carrots, radish, red onions, silverbeet, beetroot, and peas being sown.

Back home Mum said she didn't like the bamboo trellis I had put up so I removed it, it wasn't likely to stay anyway as I had improvised some magnets and cable ties, but I tried. I may attempt some strong magnetic hooks and wire or maybe have hoops as support. I have covered the beds with chicken wire and mulched with lemon balm clippings, while planting the rest of spinach, and sowed a row of broad beans. I also planted a line of taros at the bottom of the garden hoping they will have enough damp and shade and won't be killed by the frost. They had multiplied at Woodside but there was nowhere to plant them so I was happy to add them to my subtropical looking corner.

My choko vine didn't do well by the driveway so am going to attempt for next season planting by the back fence. Louise said she had beginner's luck with hers and had enough to give away, so I am going to make choko soup with her recipe. She's given me two recipes, one is made with tomatoes and the other has potato. Since I don't have any tomatoes (well, just two from my vine) it looks like I will have to make do with the potato and choko recipe. I've never made choko soup before, so it should be interesting.

Hydrangea is now near the front by the feijoa in the shade and I've found a spot for the fruit salad plant, hopefully it will like it there by the house and can sprawl against the wall. I have also shifted the rosemary to where the lemon grass was hoping it will have more room to be a hedge by the manuka.

There was such a lot to do today that I had no time for going out, to shift everything in their places before the frosty June weather sets in and it's too wet to plant and sow. I am on church flowers again tomorrow and I'm hoping the red canna lillies that are just coming into bloom might open up tomorrow in time for church. Otherwise I have no other flowers except for tiny red busy lizzie and pineapple sage!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Making my bed..

My garden beds have been made. And I didn't have to pay a cent either, because I made them out of woven rosemary branches, cardboard, worm castings and home-made compost. Perhaps I won't need My Backyard Garden project after all?! I've already started it. However I won't say no to free soil!

Of course mum was not pleased. "You'll rot the garage, it will rust " she moaned. "It's a hazard. How many times have I told you not to do any gardening? Are you going to pay for a new garage?"  And then more grumbling in Chinese. I've decided I will just not hear what she says in Chinese anymore as it's mostly just cursing. I wish I didn't understand what she says though.

I think she's just jealous as she never does any gardening except hacking and butchering the maple tree, saying it's too big. Well hello a Canadian red maple is not a dwarf. Live with it. It all falls on deaf ears. Although having said that it's more of a yellow maple not red. I'm not sure what my brothers were thinking when they planted it. We live in NZ, not Canada, and do not owe any allegience to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Why maples are allowed and nikau palms are not is anyone's guess.

Mt Asher magnolia has now got a circular edging of wisteria vine and I planted more cyclamens underneath. End of season cyclamens are $1 a pot at the Warehouse (pick ones that are still alive) so I bought five.

Dad took lots of photos which I haven't got round to uploading or downloading to this blog. Because stuff keeps happening. And I've got a job interview next week..which is promising, at the Waitakere Gardens retirement village. My gardening magazines have arrived and I've also won a Herb special edition, and free sweet pea seeds, which I have just put in the ground (there weren't many, I sowed them in a clump next to the new garage trellis). So far in my new bed are - sweet peas, passionfruit, lemon grass, one tomato, a sage and lots of worms. I'm planning to put in lots of garlic this year. Or maybe strawberries. It's in the sunniest spot and raised, what can go wrong? One word - Martha.

Buffie gave me a whole clump of calendula seedlings which Martha quickly decimated the instant she saw them. Time to bring in the chicken wire and cloches. She's as bad as a PD worker..ignores the weeds and pulls out all the good plants. I could lock her up in her cage but I don't think she's allowed to be in jail for the rest of her life.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Brimming with ideas

Permie expert Cathy Angell (her real name!) aka my Garden Angel visited yesterday to give me tidings of great joy by offering mentoring/tips/advice on design and plants in my garden.

I was up all night brimming with ideas.
So after having a think about it, am going to put pencil to paper soon but here are some things that are going to be in the plan!

In no particular order, but will number them so, I can refer to them later..

1. trim box hedges so they are in proportion and to the paths
2. shape feijoas, can cut back hard
3. train wisteria along fence, cut back all suckers and top growth.
4. put permanent edging around magnolia, perhaps a brick edging to keep mulch in and plant more cyclamen as underplanting
5. plant cyclamen or hellebores under maple, and also try astelia
6. daffodils in pots also can go there
7. place fruit salad plant in Sock's bed, under feijoa
8. move azaelas and flowering shrubs like hydrangea to near wisteria
9. create a north facing flower/herbs border for birds, bees and butterflies and edge with achillea, salvias, leafy greens and parsley
10. place a low fence to stop weeds encroaching on our property
11. create native bush corner repeating manuka, carex and kowhai plantings, incorporate flax and other natives. Use a hosepipe to create the margin for easy mowing.
12. place keyhole access points and a focal feature..could be birdbath, or sundial (still hanging out for one)
13. create corner for picnic table
14. create horseshoe shaped raised vege beds next to garage
15. place a trellis entranceway to the back yard, and grow sweet peas or gourds over it
16. hedge off back entrance...using buxus..? or nandina firepower
17. finish carpet bed with more natives leptinella and pratia (might have to give up on thyme and chamomile) and have the rest as pebbles
18. hen and chicken ferns near the house on shady side
19. more hanging mangers on alcove garden
20. cut back mulenbeckia
21. plant more abutilons
22. have one more attempt at growing chatham island forget me not on south side rocky windy corner
23. forget about clianthus! (kaka beak). Caterpillars decimate it.
24. wait till the olive plant dies. Cathy didn't think it would last. She also wasn't keen on my enthusiasm for Chinese toon. Too many suckers! It doesn't grow well where I put it anyway.
25. forget about having a pond, but put oil in birdbaths so mosquitoes don't breed in them. Done!
26. think of espaliering a fruit tree against sunny north facing brick wall, a dwarf citrus perhaps
27. tack jasmine to fence using pins
28. dig out old lemon that might have had borer.
29. try growing a rata or clematis up peach tree (which is old and may die off in future)
30. keep leaves in a bucket next to compost and add a layer each time food scraps are added to keep off flies
31. move lavender to sunnier, dryer spot, perhaps near washing line
32. move lemongrass to warmer frost free spot
33. think of themes for formal English style garden at front, eg foliage bed, silver and white
34. move the remaining rose at the back with the other roses at the front
35. trim rosemary to keep it bushy
36. do little and often - don't make a rod for one's back!

By planting up more of my backyard, I may make less work for dad. He's always mowing and clipping and when the grass reaches over 10cm he gets all worried. I didn't realise that he works as hard as I do in the garden but it's not creative really its just cutting the same old lawn all the time. Also I may encourage mum to take an interest if my raised beds are just at hip height so mum won't have to bend down to do any gardening when she gets older which she threatens she will (get old I mean).

Phew. I am consulting my native planting guides and old Waitakere City Council eco-sourcing manuals. Maybe my idea of bringing back the bush (minus nikau palms) may come true after all. In return am going to do some gardening at Earthsong eco-village. So unless it's pouring with rain will be there next Monday.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Or maybe just start a pottery business

The latest APW was about Tree Cropping, where we found out all about what tree crops will do well in Auckland.
I've learned that Auckland is rainforest and since it's an isthmus it gets windy, rainy and humid all at the same time. Also although we don't have freezing winters, it's temperate, and we also can grow subtropicals in the right microclimates. Therefore we can grow bananas and avos, as well as apples and pears? Confused? Well don't be because this all works if you have rich volcanic soil but if you are on clay like 99% of this years intake of Permies are, you don't have a chance.

Or you will have to work ten times as hard.

Well this is just great. Not wanting to work ten times as hard as the people who live around Mt Eden (except they spend a lot of the time hauling out volcanic rocks) I considered...upping sticks and moving to where there's good soil, (not an option because I am not a millionaire) or...asking God to improve my lifespan ten times, so that I can stay where I am, and still have a garden.

But there might be another way..with my small and slow solutions principle, getting 9 other people to help me. I just need some kind of miracle Jesus power to have at least 9 other people follow me. After all Jesus had twelve disciples right, I could hold permie workshops and tell people to leave their jobs and come follow me. If I can get 11 people to go on a Tip Top Ice Cream factory tour, I could probably get 9 people to come and do my garden.

Counting up all different the gardens I've worked in for other people, I've done about 9, so I figure, all those people I've gardened for could come return the favour. They can all take the day off work, just like I've taken the day off job hunting to work for them.

I will bake them gingernut biscuits and my other specialty, crinkle cut chips or bbq garlic and herb mushrooms, while I direct them to planting bananas, avocadoes and cherimoyas..tea hedges and of course, some bamboos, chinese toon and cultivating a rice paddy. It has to have good Feng Shui.  That's just at the back. Round the front another team will do the English style garden and set about putting in a fountain and Shakespeare quotes, set amongst an ambitious border of herbaceous perennials along with a summerhouse, topiaries and Luytens seat.

Come on folks, it's just clay.  I'm sure it's possible to have a garden on clay and if ten of us all work it will just be like a days work done for me. I really don't get it, why are so many houses in Auckland made of wood, which they chopped the forest down for and these houses don't last, yet we've got all this clay  that turns to mud and lasts forever, because it's so sticky but no houses are made out of them?!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Wanted: White Willow

Karyn's on the hunt for White Willow bark. I thought there was a tree somewhere by the creek round Riverpark but, we walked all along it today and couldn't see any. She wants it to grow cuttings of lavender for the Woodside garden, apparently  stimulates growth, if you steep the willow bark in water. But alas, no willows. Had the council gotten rid of them? Sometimes the council makes strange decisions like declares a plant a weed when it's actually quite useful, like mangroves, agapanthus and ginger.

I will keep my eyes peeled for a willow though, I know there is one by the Henderson creek unless someone has chopped it down. They grow in damp places and have medicinal qualities. Despite the Council crackdown on willows,  I have noticed that some new trees have been planted in Riverpark reserve, these weren't there last time I looked. I don't know what specimens they are exactly will have to go back again to have another look.

In other news I've heard through Buffie about this new Backyard Garden Project.
It's a local community initiative to get Ranui families into gardening and eating fresh vegetables. I am going to have a FREE garden veggie bed in my own backyard put in with soil, a compost bin and even four hands on workshops teaching me how to look after it! Plus the veggies I grow will be entered into competitions like the most giant pumpkin and the fattest corn.  Hooray, because trying to grow veggies on clay soil is really not happening. Sure they can grow, a little, but any chance of good root crops like carrots and onions, garlic and potatoes is not really happening.  And dad isn't good at digging. I have told my friends and they're keen to have one in their backyard too. There's only 30 places so, be in quick!

I am still working on my chamomile and thyme lawn. At first I thought hooray the chamomile seeds I sowed are sprouting, but on closer look it turned out it was just Onehunga weed - prickles! Great. I scraped them all out with the wonder weeder, and went to Mitre 10 and got some more groundcover, this time, ruby thyme, and a purple bidibidi. I'm hoping these will take because the previous chamomiles and thyme did not. The red clover is growing, and has actually partly overtaken the rest of the thyme and chamomile that doesn't get squashed by the car tyres but the rest of my green carpet of leptinella and pratia is all knitting together nicely. It's nice to have a  carpet you don't have to mow instead of bare soil and stones underfoot. I'd like chamomile to grow as when you walk on it it releases a lovely pineapple scent. It grows well in another patch by the fernery but doesn't seem to like being squashed so I thought I would try the bidibidi, seeing as perhaps a native might do better and be robust.
Anything is better than a prickle lawn!!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Calling in the Permie expert

I am bringing in the experts into my garden - well..just for suggestions. I need help, and not just with Shakespeare quotes and a fountain. Being short-sighted is wonderful if you are a librarian like me and read a lot of books, but it doesn't help in seeing the big picture and long-term vision for my garden.

I'm trying to imagine, as in the book, 'Where the Wild Things Are' what it would be like if a the forest just overtook my bedroom. I mean garden. Would wild things start swinging from the trees? At least I would have my hammock.

I decide I will start small (Small and Slow Solutions, principle no 9)  and just do that narrow strip of lawn for the back to front house and turn that into a herbaceous border full of bee and butterfly attracting perennials..so I may be spoiled for choice come church flower Sunday. My yield is going to be flowers and possibly other herbs for perfume, medicine and keeping my underwear drawer smelling nice.

And possibly the neighbours will have a nice vista and appreciate the bees coming to pollinate their vege patch too.

I have drawn up a site plan from the Geo maps of our property and am hoping permaculture expert Cathy Angell can help me look at the space and make some plans on paper. So I may have a 'designer garden' after all and not just one I created by planting plants randomly.  In return I am going to do 3 hours gardening at Earthsong. How is that for a deal?

In other research am watching Alan Titchmarsh take me on a guided tour of Gardens of the National Trust in England. Since I am not financially in a place to go to England myself, I just borrow DVDs from the library and imagine myself there. The English are very good gardeners don't you know. Obsessed even. The Chinese, well, we're good gardeners too, we garden everywhere there's space and do market gardens before the Europeans even heard of the concept. But if I were to have a Chinese Garden I don't know if mum would like it, because bamboo spreads everywhere, we don't have any pandas to eat it, and turning our backyard into a rice paddy might be against Council regulations. I think I'm much safer going with a traditional English style, since I can't get rid of the box hedges.

Monday, 8 May 2017


Mitre 10 has generously supplied our Woodside Garden with free timber for our raised beds! Nicole and I picked them up yesterday and so now Mark, Roy and Gilles (and Mike and Pierre?) have their work cut out for them. There's a dozen or so to build and then we can get stuck in with our winter veges, the ones I am growing in punnets are spinach and pak choi.

I have cleared the grapevines of their dying leaves and cut it back. I would like the secret of sweet grapes, we had a good harvest in terms of abundance but..the grapes were kind of tart. How do I make them sweeter?

Dad has been sweeping up autumn leaves to put in the compost and I have been diligent in feeding my worms who have now started to produce worm tea.

Now finally I am onto the final Permaculture design Principle number 12 - Creatively use and respond to change. Vision is not seeing things as they are but what they will be

hmm maybe this means...it's autumn, and soon will be winter. I've got to get bulbs in. And the church garden started. Otherwise we won't have enough flowers for the next spring. I'm planning hydrangeas and bulbs, and also perhaps hibiscus. Also a few trees like fig and olive and some flowering cherries or apples.

I have no idea what to do for a design brief yet but it might be I can do St Giles Church. I have been reading Permaculture in a Nutshell and Worms Eat My Garbage boning up on sustainable practices. We could have worms eating the leftover morning tea crumbs at St Giles and possibly a  nut tree grown somewhere on the church grounds, which will drop free nuts, so more people will come to our church..for the nuts.

Since there is a church already there I cannot grow a tree church like this guy did near Hamilton. But maybe I can do a flower church? We had giant cyclamen and fuzzy licorice plant last Sunday, as well as manuka and new guinea impatiens. I am not sure what to do next Sunday, perhaps a creative display of autumn leaves? As there don't seem to be many flowers in my garden anymore!

Friday, 5 May 2017

I have no idea what to do now.

Mum was in a rage this morning and threatened to rip out my fruit salad plant, which I had moved to closer to the camellia near the stormwater drain. She also didn't like that I had put pots that collected water or the birdbaths in the garden, saying they were breeding grounds for mosquitos. I have yet to see any mosquitoes anywhere. The birdbaths are for bees and butterflies. They need drinks too. However she was furious and could not be reasoned with.

I biked to Woodside where I could garden in peace. I have had it with control freaks who dictate what you can or cannot do in a garden.

Then I realised I had the church flowers to do tomorrow but no flowers. I had decided on giant cyclamen in pots so those were what I bought..seeing there were no big blooms to be had in my own garden.

It is never a good thing to go shopping on a Saturday - the stores now have their Mother's Day campaigns everywhere. Aside from me NOT being a Mother and having it rubbed in my face I was born on Mother's Day and thus my own birthday gets subsumed by my mother. I just don't feel the whole Mother's Day thing anymore. If I go to church I am reminded that my own mother could not care to go with me, and everyone else's mother is feted and praised for doing motherly things but my mother wouldn't kiss or hug me with a barge pole.

Of course not being the perfect daughter is a crime. Perhaps I cried too much as a baby. I can picture it, me crying in my cot and feeling vulnerable and alone, and my mother sick and tired of it and wanting me to shut up. I have a distinct memory of being abandoned in the dark and being totally ignored for hours. Cut to present day - I don't think much has changed, I'm still the nuisance daughter who is not perfect, and had the gall to be sickly, weak and not a boy. I think it's a Chinese thing. If you not Chinese you  may not understand.

Why they have no daughter's day I don't know. Anyway.
I was asked while I was out shopping what I was doing by someone I hadn't seen in ages behind the counter of the Manna Christian Bookstore. I should have said 'shopping'. But I decided to give a new answer this time and that was in answer to what do you do, I said 'gardening'. But before I can talk about the wonders of gardening, this person assumed I garden for other people and was interested in me to because her own garden was 'out of control'. I paused, thinking, OK, is she hinting she wants a  gardener to come and do her garden...and will she pay me or expect me to do it for nothing? But before I could come up with an improvised business card, she had moved on to the next customer.

I ended up going home confused. What is the right answer to 'what do you do?'. Do I become a walking salesperson for my gardening skills and set up gardening deals for time poor people saying how much I charge? Or did she just want advice. Because I have good advice - close the shop,  quit working in the weekends and get stuck into your own garden and then you won't need to pay others to do it.

I am going to have a nap.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Common Ground

I'm excited to be meeting up with author Janice Marriott soon for Book Chooks to chat about her gardening books. Common Ground was recommended to me by Margaret and it's a bout two old school friends who write to each other about their lives and gardens, Janice lives in Wellington with a townhouse garden and her friend Virginia in North Canterbury presiding over a sheep farm so it's very interesting to read the book which consists of their personal correspondence! Janice now has moved up to Auckland and living in Mt Eden so I can actually meet her now (without risking being blown away in Wellington). Rest assured she is now creating a new garden while busy with her new role as active grandmother.

Common Ground was serialised in NZ Home and Garden magazine and then made into a book with several sequels. Part of the thing with Rambling Garden Diary - this blog - is to have a record of my garden but also to reach out to other gardeners and compare notes. However, it didn't work out that great for me because my email correspondent then decided she was too busy and didn't actually want to know about my garden. Hmmph.

But it was she who suggested I write for her blog (no longer in existence) and after she told me basically to stop writing to her another of my email friends or rather my English teacher said, why not make it into your own blog and so here it is!

The only thing is nobody here writes back to me with their own stories of their gardens so it's a bit one sided. I need someone like Virginia to write to. Perhaps Sarah the Gardener (living in Waiuku) is a likely candidate.
However she's not an old school friend but then I did not have many friends I remember from school who moved to the countryside and now have gardens. Or maybe I do? Who knows. Shall I hunt them down on Facebook?

Don't worry, I'm quite happy with comparing notes with my practical gardening mentor Buffie for the time being. She's cleverly wangled 30 hours garden labour from me for doing APW. Yesterday we weeded the Ranui Community Garden new flowerbeds, mulched around the broad beans and planted peas.

I have done some wangling (or is it wrangling?) of my own and Mitre 10 Lincoln Road have generously offered Woodside Garden free timber for our raised beds! Hooray we don't need to hold a fundraising sausage sizzle after all! Because the next available slot for a fundraising sausage sizzle at Mitre 10 (we don't even have any sausages) is in February 2018.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Worried over nothing?!

Yesterday I looked at my magnolia, the leaves going crispy at the edges and holey and looking decidedly raggedy. I thought oh no! It might be dying. Or something's eating it. I looked up online and found some information that said well your magnolia might have too much salt and you planted it in the wrong place.

More urgent than a dentist (or a pap smear for that matter) I decided would ask the plant doctors at Kings. They just said she's deciduous and going to lose her leaves anyway, and it's entirely normal.


I went for a second opinion at Palmer's Planet. Much the same thing.

Now feeling rather foolish that I expected Magnolia to be permanently pretty I realise sometimes plants have their bad hair days...or months. The prettier they are the worse they look going into dormancy.

So I needn't have worried anyway. But then, I suppose its like going to a dentist with holes in your teeth and being told don't worry they are all going to come out anyway. I could just have false teeth instead. And I suppose a fake christmas tree or magnolia will look kind of out of place on my front lawn.

In other news there is a chill in the air and ice on my car this morning. We may be in for frosty mornings all this month, and I have just planted up around the camellia so she's got companions - fruit salad plant, begonia, tree ferns, heuchera, spider plant, foxglove, bluebells, angelica, cyclamen blackcurrant. All these plants were already in my garden, I just moved them around.  I have moved my two palm stumps to this bed to make a sort of sitting feature, or somewhere to rest your bags on while fumbling for the door key.

The next big thing to worry about is church flowers for May. What am I going to do? I thought of having bunches of daffodils and sheep grazing them. Tete a tete daffodils are $12 a pot. Or I could have giant cyclamen. They look like they swallowed a whole lot of growth hormones to get that big. They are also $15 a pot. Anyway I won't think about it now, I will think about it on Sunday. No point worrying about things four days away.

Now what do I need to worry about today? Getting dressed and braving the autumn chill is my next order of business.

Monday, 1 May 2017

High turnover

It's nearly 11am and have just done my gardening jobs for the day, which was to turn the compost. I have relocated it and given it a good shakeup, added comfrey leaves, some worms, and shredded paper (thanks Margaret!). Great news my worm workers have multiplied and have even given me worm tea to fertilise the garden with.

I may have some more gardening jobs lined up as Buffie wants me back at the Ranui Community Garden although not sure when I will get there perhaps this afternoon after a spot of lunch, or maybe I could recruit Louise again for next week. Apparently Myra's garden is going great and all her bulbs which she was afraid we had chucked away have sprouted, so that's good. You sometimes never know if you doing the right thing with cranky widows, to be honest. However I now have a job with what I presume to be a widow, who pays me to garden and she mostly leaves me alone to get on with it, giving quite clear instructions, her only vice is smoking in the house with cigarettes so I don't go inside, and it is not too taxing because she's kept the kikuyu at bay AND she has a green bin where all the clippings goes. Plus it's nice and shady, like a woodland garden.

 On Saturday at Woodside were having a working bee in which our local MP was supposed to come in his gumboots, but since it was raining and he had to do some door knocking, he predictably didn't show. I was not in the least surprised at this, because broken promises are de rigeur for politicians who open their mouths to say things they don't mean because they are such people pleasers.

This infuriates Jacqui who expects everyone to have integrity but in politics I'm afraid absolute power corrupts Absolutely Fabulous. Or something.
At our meeting last night we heard of more political shenanigans when it seems like the promised upgrade of our Riverpark playground didn't happen because somebody decided to use the money earmarked for OUR playground for something else.

I am really tired of going to that park and having to sit on some bark chips while waiting for a turn on the ONE swing. Also, if I want to go to the toilet or have an incontinent child/elderly person/coffee addict/bulimic I have to tell them to go in the bushes. Or wait till we get home. (I do not use the slide because it's just too small).

And there seems to be nowhere to lock up my bike. So I just bike right on through and don't stop until I get to Woodside. Wouldn't it be nice to have somewhere to stop and sit that's not on dog poo?
Well you think it would but it does not occur to politicians or local govt to care about people who did NOT buy new houses in the last ten years that we need proper playgrounds too.

Until that time, no wonder I didn't have many friends growing up in Riverpark there was nowhere safe to go. Ok so maybe 30 something years later now I am all grown up do you think it's too late to actually do anything about it?!