Thursday, 26 April 2018

Keeping NZ beautiful

As I was riding past Newmarket today I saw a big billboard that said 'Mama Nature says Keep New Zealand Beautiful' but this Mama Nature looked like a hairy man in drag.
I don't know who makes these billboards but I thought Keeping New Zealand Beautiful meant picking up litter and tidying up your garden, not cross dressing. Are they trying to mock greenies? Or is it another one of those gay billboards telling us to wear condoms while advertising insurance?
I noticed there was a festival on the other weekend called 'The Kauri Karnival' but as far as I knew there were no kauri trees involved, it just seemed like an excuse to bring out big bouncy castles and sell food truck food.

Dismayed that my job description had been reduced to a man wearing lipstick, heels and a floral frock, I carried on gardening, which today involved running a lawnmower over apartment lawns, removing falling yellow leaves from green jasmine leaves, and pulling weeds from artificial turf. The apartment's body corporate had been dragging their feet over financing a garden makeover, resulting in us maintaining an eyesore while waiting for the green light to plant some plants. If they continue on in this vein, it might be summer when we get the funds to do the work, sure we can plant them then but then they will only last a few months before the thirsty plants keel over and die.

I then went home where I could do some real gardening instead of the mock/fake gardening the world had paid me to do. Since we were not trusted to rip out ever expanding dietes from the apartment gardens, I could have the satisfaction of ripping them out of my own.

Whoever sold me dietes at Kings Plant Barn surely must atone for their sin in recommending it to me, because it is the bane of gardens all over Auckland. However I noticed, with my trained eye,  that there was not one dietes present in the Auckland Botanic Gardens, nor an agapanthus to be seen. Instead the main attraction of the Botanic Gardens seemed to be grass, acres of it, and flower carpet roses. Other highlights included begonias in boats and nikau sculptures. I had called a posse of gardeners together yesterday to do a recce, plying them with feijoa pie. Most of them begged off, but Jacqui and Gilles were troopers and we braved the tunnel and highway 20 to marvel at the former farm. The Botanic Library was closed (they said they couldn't find a volunteer today!) so I wasn't able to indulge in expanding my collection of gardening books. Gilles was rather surprised that we could enter without paying. I had to explain to him that we paid our rates for this.

I was inspired by the perennial garden. From one side to the other the plants  go from one spectrum of the rainbow to the other. I noted some plants I could perhaps use in my own garden, geraniums here, catmint there, swathes of salvias there. Mum was sniff-testing all the roses. Not many passed the test sadly. We walked on through the camellia woodland, which was underplanted with a blanket of hellebores. So I had my solution of what to plant with camellias.

Two plants Jacqui was in awe of - Gordonia, and the 'Monkey-no-climb' tree. We resolved to try growing globe artichoke in our orchard, if not for the vegetable, but for the giant silvery leaves. Gilles took photos of purply okinawa spinach. While I enjoy strolling through the Auckland Botanic Gardens, sometimes I think its like a golf course trying to be a garden.  I could have packed my picnic into a caddy instead. And they do have those little golf carts giving garden tours that you can ride on but we chose to stroll around on our own two feet, because we were too grown up to fit into a pushchair. We could have kept going along the motorway ending up at Hamilton Gardens, but I had washing to take in drying on the line, so we headed back.

I might have a word with the 'Keep New Zealand Beautiful' advertising agent. I've noted that it's now sponsored by Wrigley's, McDonalds and Polypak Plastics.