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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

What to do with clay soil

Answer - make pots.

This is what one man did up at Matakana and became the famous Morris and James Pottery. We toured the factory and marvelled at the giant pots that are featured in every high end gift department of the garden centre. I do have a piece of Morris and James myself without realising it - the glazed pukeko garden ornament my brother gave me one Christmas.

Not to give away any trade secrets - go have a look for yourself, but making something useful and beautiful out of mud and clay is inspiring. I then went on to investigate further reading a biography of Ant Morris 'The Mud and Colour Man'. It turns out he's retired although still living on site and others have taken over the business, but he's now on a spiritual quest and making a mud brick non denominational chapel.

Another interesting thing about Matakana is the village plantings. There's a stairway leading down toward the Farmer's Market that has a flowing water feature down to the river. It's planted with begonias and mondo, then there's camellias and ligularias, down to irises and goldfish at the bottom. It's a very classy streetscape and well maintained. Even though the cinema is a bit of a fleapit, the brilliant village bookstore makes up for it. Then they have a deli, various sculpture/art galleries, floral shop, gift shop, a tramway cafe, and further down the road, the Four Square and some surfie shops.
Even a garden centre by the name of 'Tumbleweeds' which I couldn't resist checking out, although again mum henpecked me as soon as she heard I was enquiring about plants.

We weren't there on Saturday to check out the famous Farmer's Market where Auckland foodies flock to find fresh organic produce, but we found Charlies' Gelato garden for yummy gelatos, bought cases of grape juice from Heron's Flight winery, and stopped off at Puhoi on the way back home for some beautiful handcrafted cheese. The tiny Puhoi library is always nice to visit too.

Then it was home sweet home and back to work. I decide my job description isn't just 'gardener' anymore. When people ask what I do, I am going to say 'Keeping New Zealand Beautiful'.