Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Labour weekend nearly upon us

Which means...a whole 3 days of uninterrupted gardening! Hooray!

Hold on, aren't we meant to have a day OFF labour? Isn't gardening hard work and labour intensive?
Well I suppose that's the difference between gardeners and non-gardeners. We are gluttons for punishment. We're the PD workers that are happy to be there. Community service is actually a great day out for us.

You can have your movies and your shopping and whatever else you do that's not gardening on your days off. I wouldn't know, I'll be outside enjoying the sunshine (or the rainclouds).

So as with anything I have a list of things To Do.

1. Plant up planter   actually, already done, I did it this evening, its full of chives now

2. Sow seeds..I've got packets ready, and seed trays waiting

3. Check on church gardens. Jennifer was mighty cross with me for going AWOL on her, but she never rang me to check if I was still alive. I'm still not sure I want to set foot on St Giles soil or if I will be allowed, so, unless they call me I don't know if I should go. The only thing they contacted me was to remove the fridge library, so I thought OK I will do that. Not a word about the garden. I think they are hoping it will just die and then they can have concrete and weeds back again.
However...that doesn't mean I can't go to Henderson Baptist and do theirs. Just the spider plants and the front section, which is now full of weeds. Not sure what to plant there yet but I will think of something. The heaven's breath is going great guns. I knew it would outlast them all.

4. Read  up on the history of gardening. Karyn has prepared a 2 part lecture series that I'm sure will have me heading to the books wondering where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are now.

5. Harvest lavender

6. Make a start on mosaics by smashing up china, and collecting pebbles.

7. Work on getting sponsors for Garden Planet. If we want to go for another year, I might have to do this otherwise we may have to wrap it up (sob!) because I won't have any money to fund it. Or I could win lotto, but, the chances are less than zero since I don't buy lotto tickets.

8. Lay back and look at the clouds. Unless its raining, then I will have to bring all the washing in.

9. Snails are eating the books at the Woodside Fridge library. It's terrible, they are faster readers than I am. I am considering relocating that fridge to more stable ground. Of course, I wasn't allowed to put it IN the community garden. It would have been an effective snail decoy if, again, I was actually allowed to do anything there, like sit and read a book. Maybe at the new Riverpark playground, by the bench.

10. Have fun in my garden. Because life is too short to wait around for someone else to have fun. By the time they get to you, half the day is gone. And there's no way I'm driving in that Auckland traffic or waiting hours for the bus, which, on arrival, doesn't go anywere, you can't open the windows and start to slowly suffocate in the noisy air con. The fun thing  to do at the moment is to stay at home and  chase the neighbourhood cats away. I know you want to come in kitty, but Mummy Cat lives here. Ask your owners to make you their own garden.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Rainbow colours and miracles

Dad took a liking to my watsonia, I know a flower is spectacular when my Dad, who usually takes photographs of trains and buses, and occasionally the moon, thinks its worthy enough to photograph.

He doesn't take photos of me now. I'm not cute anymore! Besides, when gardening you don't always look your best. Jo wanted to take a photo of me and Karyn for Garden Planet and we were like no way, I'm wearing my worst clothes, haven't even brushed my hair, and I've got dirt under my fingernails.

Take ones of the flowers we bring you instead.

So anyway watsonia, which can become a weed in places simply because it grows so well, likes to be noticed. It grows taller than the magnolia tree beside it.  Well Iraena was quite tall. Now she has family beside her. I heard her mum recently passed away. I hope she's at peace now.

I have been thinking of missing children lately, having read a memoir of Madeleine McCann that was in the fridge library. Her case reminds me a little of Ainsley the little girl who drowned in the creek not far from here. Her parents were not watching for a minute and that's all that it takes. I think parents need to make sure that they can be reached by their children at all times. Ok Iraena was 25 years old and supposedly adult but she wasn't ringing her mum or dad who would have immediately calmed her down. Poor Madeleine, whatever happened to her is unknown but even if she was yelling and screaming her parents would have been too far away to hear her. Children just want to be loved that's all it is, they want you around and they want to see you and just know you are there for them. If they cry and act up its because they need you.

Plants are much the same way they all want to grow and they do much better given care and attention otherwise they can run a bit wild. Plants are very forgiving though if you do accidentally kill a few, its not the end of the world.

I'm doing much better this season with plants and don't have quite so many casualties now I've learned how to look after them better. Have been watching the Eden Project which is a place in  Cornwall, England which used to be a china clay pit they have transformed into a garden and huge greenhouse that looks like a geodesic dome of bubble wrap.  The original founder had made a fortune in the music industry and had this idea to create a garden, much like the Eden Garden in Mt Eden, out of an old quarry site. Now there are so many plants of all kinds there and they use the venue for concerts and as an educational charity, and its gets millions of visitors each year. Quite inspiring.

Am looking forward to my Floral Circle trip to Te Awamutu in 2 weeks time. There are rainbow colours everywhere in my garden. Have just added two passionfruits between the plumbagos on the wooden fence, and Dad has just painted up a box planter that mum is going to grow coriander and chives in. Mum is actually going to do some gardening and grow things! Miracle. I just knew if I kept giving her flowers and taking her to gardens and stuff that maybe she would catch on. Only the other week I took her to the library and amazingly she wanted to borrow a book. They have books in Chinese at the library. In all my years of being a librarian she had never expressed any interest in using the library and actually borrowing books. She's borrowed 3 books on my card so far. Well if she keeps on like this she might need to join up and have her own library card! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Round Rotorua

Spring Bedding display outside the Library and Visitors Centre
Pongas amongst the Redwoods
Went down to Rotorua for the weekend for my getaway. The town was in it's spring glory and there were so many tulips in the Government gardens that they made your eyes water. My main aim was to check out the Redwood forest which has a really cool treewalk you can do suspended above the ground but Mum wasn't keen (or to pay $30 for the privelige) so we stayed on the ground but it was still an awesome experience amongst the tallest kinds of trees in the world. Ponga ferns make their home amongst the redwood trees and they make a wonderful combination.

No chance of growing any redwoods at home though, some lifestyle blocks out west do have them. The tallest in Rotorua was about 75m and still growing. I love Rotorua there is so much interesting things to see there as well as hot pools, mud and geysers. Too bad the mud out our way isn't bubbling or a worthy tourist attraction but I'm working on it...

I'm meant to be doing some seed sowing soon but just preparing the ground first, have dug a whole lot of narcissus out - earlicheer and not sure where to put them for the moment as I am rearranging everything. I have created a spider plant bed in Fluffy's garden corner under the Kowhai and Manuka, clearing the undergrowth, and put a few clivia in the driest, shadiest spots. Martha was digging some holes for me so that was handy.

I pruned the tangelo tree, letting more light and air into the tree and removing some of the leaves that were infested with whitefly and aphids, as well as dead branches, so now more birds can get in and eat any remaining bugs. The neem I sprinkled last season seemed to be doing it's job building up resilience.

Now that I've tidied up most all areas of my garden I only have the sugar cane left to plant somewhere, too bad it's banned from the community garden, I'm always wanting to grow plants there  like choko or asian herbs except I'm not allowed to as nobody else eats them or they grow too wild. I eat them, do I not count?? I have given so many plants and time there to have it thrown back in my face isn't really my thing. I dealt with enough bureaucracy at church and local govt. :-(

I was thinking maybe I could join another community garden that didn't have so much restrictions about what you can or cannot do but they would be too far away, and Ranui is probably full as it's one a rent a plot basis. I suppose dreams are free!

Friday, 4 October 2019

Spring Fever

Was so busy spring cleaning the past few days that holidays are now upon me and I don't want to leave home. But since hotel is booked, I actually have to make myself go.
Rotorua, here I come. I may get to see your gardens this time!

Ellen kindly dug up some banana pups for me and they are now going to be planted with the other bananas at Woodside. She also gave me a sugar cane which I am thinking would make a nice hedge at home. Ellen's recommended 'Compost Queen' Bex to have a chat on Garden Planet so, we're going to have a super composting session next week. Bex showed me the Pt Chev community garden's snazzy new compost bins, which retail for over $2000 but...will last 10 years longer than their homemade ones out of pallets.

Speaking of home made. I have created a new corner bed by digging out some buxus and putting in all my non leafy ferns in hopes they will sprout again in the furtherest corner from the house. That meant I had to reshuffle my plants again, so it was like dominos, once I move one, all the rest need to follow suit.

The buxus I placed in a pot and topiaried it to a lollipop shape. Plants had to come out of that pot so I rearranged all the pots. Nandina and geraniums are now in new pots. Nerines are hidden away out of sight now their leaves are yellowing. Spider plants all came out of Sock's bed,  as they were getting too much sun into the flaming bed. They were replaced by renga lilies, which were getting munched by snails but now they are in a drier spot I expect them to not be so devastated.

Boronias all went in to the bed by my bedroom and out came all the aloes which were getting fried in direct sun. I've potted a few up but have way too many.

To do - find another hessian coffee sack for my wall planters, find more pots for my spider plants or create some kind of hanging web arrangement, or maybe make a spider plant border by the deck. 
I wonder if Rose the school gardener would like more spider plants or if I can get away with more in the library...I can't get rid of them any other way, nobody at the Floral Circle were the slightest bit interested when I bought them in for the trade table. That's the thing, if you've got too much of one thing, everyone else seems to have it as well. Both church gardens have them...and they aren't edible so Woodside don't want them. I'm eyeing up Planet FM studios. Maybe Terri could do with some??

Won't hurt to ask.