Tuesday, 10 July 2018

I came, I saw, I planted

I fear I've become too much of a garden nerd. I read books about gardens. I garden on the weekend. I write emails that are all garden related. I plant all I can and then some, and recently I've been told I must  plant 50 or more native trees so I can apply for funding to plant 50 more.

No sweat, surely I can plant 50 trees somewhere. Riverpark Reserve, thats where. My old playground. And I could surely organise 250 Massey Primary Schoolchildren to be my helpers.

However, things never go according to plan. It's now the school holidays, and at work, we are supposed to help out at a high school planting natives on their bush/stream track. I really am not sure why this cannot be done in school time with the students planting everything. But this is a contract for a rich private school (I will let you guess which one - it's got the same name as a certain plant barn) and they would rather pay someone else to do it. When I was in high school I did everything I could NOT to be in the classroom, as usually inside them I would be day dreaming or falling asleep. My teachers didn't notice much because I kept really quiet, so they thought I was being studious. I think we had one caretaker, who we never saw, and there was no garden to speak of. The sloping fields were planted with pine trees that I heard have now been felled for logs. I don't remember any flowers, just bare fields and banks of carex.

In my fourth form year I took Horticulture as a subject, and was terribly disappointed to find out we did no gardening at all but just copied things out of textbooks. I know what NPK stands for but learned absolutely nothing about growing plants in the real world. What wouldn't I have given to have dug out the rugby field and created a pond habitat/bog garden? Also, we could have grown our own play lunch, instead of buying junk food from the tuck shop. There was a glasshouse and a shadehouse, but I remember it growing nothing but weeds. So much for my high school education.

Nevermind. I digress. I'm all for practical gardens. I never really got the whole 'designer lifestyle garden' because when I see those in fancy magazines it's like someones gone collector crazy and bought so much plants and crammed them into their backyard, representing their exotic travels and leaving no room to grow food to eat. These are the 'heroic gardens' designed for men and their dogs.
Maybe there's a female counterpart called 'historionic gardens' for women and their cats. I have what is called 'suburban tract garden' designed for human robots and their cars. It was just one step up from 'barren landscaped wasteland' which is just up at Hobsonville Point. They say they are affordable homes, if you can afford an $800,000 mortgage with nowhere to hang your washing.

I must keep on track with my church garden project though, and found out I have about $150 left to spend, so am going to have some planter boxes made thanks to Hone of Tat Upcycle to adorn the entrance of the church. I will plant them up with colourful herbs and flowers, and plan to have some peace lilies in pots at the church lobby, a few native trees (puriri, manuka) possibly one jacaranda, and some coloured flaxes to complete the project.

And then...I will take a holiday. I am so tired of school holidays ruining my garden holidays. Why can't gardeners have our own official set holidays and have the school children to do the gardening while we are away? We could have, instead of school holiday programs - garden holiday programs where children are let loose with weeders, lawnmowers and hoses doing fun chores whilst us working gardeners go on overseas exchanges in sunny resort style hotels complete with hammocks,  and experience deep immersion in another language and culture along with  advanced currency conversion algebra.