Sunday, 29 December 2019

5 Minute Gardener

I've turned into a lazy five minute gardener. The heavens are now opening up and that drizzle like rain is coming down, just right for some wildflower seeds I have just sown in my newly mulched bed. Sometimes I open packets of seed and find there is hardly any in the packet. I feel a bit gypped King Seed. Will I be successful in growing field poppies? Watch this space.

A miracle has happened next door. The neighbours have planted a gardenia in the space where the camellia used to be. The gardenia doesn't look like anything much but, it's a start. Of course, it's really the wrong time to be planting anything like a shrub but I will watch and see how it goes. Sometimes you can't give advice if people haven't asked for it. That brings the total number of plants at their place to four. One bottlebrush, one feijoa and one lemon. Now one gardenia. Everything else is weeds and kikuyu.

I'm pleased with my butter bean crop so far, have had two meals out of it.
I'm planning to head to the beach one day and gather seaweed and sand for the garden. Just needs the right time. Otherwise I'm just chilling out at home.

Roll on summer!
Mum gave me my Christmas pay packet and I'm trying to resist the urge to spend it on plants. I'm going to save it for the ferry ticket to Tiritiri Matangi.

My tamarillo and watermelons down at Woodside are coming away. It looks like we may need to fix the arch as Jacqui found it pulled out and snapped in two. Monkeys! I wanted to grow beans on it but they didn't really have a chance, and the passionfruits decided they didn't want to grow there but in the beds somewhere else. I've decided we need to grow more parsley at Woodside. But it doesn't do any good to plant anything now cos then I get irate texts saying who planted this here? Now they need watering! It seems its ok for others to plant whatever they see fit without telling me or asking my permission but when I try to do it it goes down like a tonne of bricks.

Sometimes plants just want to grow - who am I to stop them? I sometimes wonder if the types of people that don't want too many plants and not fussed about using weedkiller are also pro-abortion and have no qualms about it. Family planning right?

As one unwanted extra child to another, I declare for my right to grow.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Celebrating trees

It has been quite a week. I am absolutely exhausted.
Unfortunately, I have left behind the snake plant and hoya at school and wondering if I am able to sneak in and rescue them or would that be breaking and entering the school? I had zero energy after the big end of year party and plain forgot to go get them. Going back to school after coming home just seemed too hard.

I have harvested my beans and got a quite a bit of chamomile, lavender, yarrow and dusty miller for dried flower arrangements. Statice and lamb's ears too. Yesterday I decided Sock's bed was looking rather bare so I mulched with mint and planted some lavender and sage that were languishing in another spot. The thing is my lemon tree appears to be dying, not sure from what, transplant shock or drought, I don't now, but nothing seems to revive it. So I thought I would plant some other plants around it that will hide it while it's recovering. It looks pretty skeletal at the moment.

I still haven't got round to organising my own garden party yet but I promise I would have at least one barbecue this summer. Which will be announced on the day due to the famed fickle Auckland weather. So if you happen to be in town, come on over. Too bad if you are in London, New York Melbourne or Bali!

My other thing to do is to get to Tiritiri Matangi Island over the summer, to birdwatch and plantwatch. Now I know some rongoa, I can go pointing out this and that plant in the bush and say confidently, if you make a tincture of this, it will get rid of all your mucus and give you super powers!
Everyone needs a good mucus reducing plant, considering all the snot and slime I've had to deal with in school this year. On second to last day, one boy threw up in the rubbish bin, luckily I got him there in time, otherwise, the library would have smelled very bad.

Karyn has invited me to stay at Albemarle Manor with three chickens and two cats. So I will be moving up in the world, or rather, going up Don Buck Road to Massey, where I can look down on the Ranuians and Hendersonites. Who knows I may get used to living the high life and become feverish with the altitude and not want to come back down again. Life amongst the mangroves can sometimes be a drag. We're forever being inundated with supermarket trolleys, a problem I'm sure Karyn does not have up in Massey.

Tomorrow I'm not sure what is happening, all I know is there is going to be big feast, my contribution will be to make a potato salad out of our garden potatoes, as symbolic of faith being like potatoes, hidden until harvest and to pick the Christmas Lilies, that did not toil or spin, provided they open just right on time. And Garden Planet does appear to be broadcasting tomorrow, so we have a special message just for you. I will give you the link in case you are googly challenged: click on Garden Planet. You will then find out why you MUST have a second Christmas Tree.

Monday, 16 December 2019


I took my spider plants home from the  school library for the holidays, and the parlour palm. Tomorrow I'm taking the snake plant and the hoya, even though they are succulents and would possibly survive the 6 weeks break, but I'm not taking any chances.

I know people want plant sitters and house sitters and pet sitters when they take THEIR holidays, but I'm not going to be paid a cent so I can't afford to be looking after their ones as well. Maybe if they leave out icecream and jelly and chocolate for me, but honestly that's not enough to live on.

And so ends my school year. I survived. I will graduate next year. I graduate every year, and I'm still stuck in Primary School. It is like an eternal childhood for me, when I even get children asking me how old I am, just to make sure I'm not the overgrown child who somehow got kept back every year,  to work in the library as my punishment for reading too much. Some children think I even SLEEP in the library. They can be forgiven for thinking I stay overnight as I had set up pillows and blankets, just in case I somehow get kicked out of home and have nowhere to go. There's gardens at school, with veges, so, I probably won't starve.

Maybe I missed my calling to a  boarding school. I can just imagine, living at school forever, writing my seven part series of school yarns featuring snarky children who talk back to you and swear in another language, thinking it's funny, children who's parents split them up between aunty, uncle, grandma, stepmum, step dad, cousin, and the women's refuge, children who's parents don't let them go to the library and stop them from reading books, children who are unvaccinated,  children's who's daddies are burglars and mummies are drinkers, and children who don't  even know where they are going to live next year. It's enough to make me want to play a mindless video game all day too.

Sometimes I walk home and the children see me and wonder why I don't have a car. But I just like to use my legs. One child asked me how much I got paid, was it $200? I said, I don't know, I will have to check my payslip. Why did she want to know? As of next week, I won't be earning anything so, it will be a grand total of zero, and not much help over Christmas.

I tell some of my Bible study ladies that I'm looking forward to the break, but don't quite know how I will survive over the summer. One suggested I do some gardening work, but I am not going to touch another lawnmower. (See previous entries over dramas with lawnmowers and paid gardening jobs) The others said why not be casual at the public library. But they don't know the Auckland Council cut staff already. The last thing they want is an out of work school librarian trying to take over their summer reading program.

I'm just going to stay home and eat as little as possible, and not go out because every time you go out,  it costs $$. My plants though, will love all attention I am going to give them now, and I could possibly go dumpster diving if worse comes to worse. I can get creative with scraps. I'm a gardener, just give me fish heads, potato peelings, old newspaper, vaccum bag dust, lawn clippings and chicken poo.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Season's greetings

 The beans have now climbed over the wall since this last photo was taken and I'm not really sure where they can go next unless we string them from the roof, but they have taken off.

I also have tomato and watermelon, which I have planted at Woodside and given some to school as there is not much room at home.

I bought some thyme and a lemongrass to maybe plant behind the strawberries by the frangipani but I'm not certain the soil is good enough to sustain life there, as I suspect there's still old plastic underneath all the mulch I've added, that's killing anything that might grow there.

The days are getting warmer and soon it will be time to have bbq or garden party, not to mention Christmas celebrations. Although I do remember one year mum banned me from Christmas as she thought I had gone overboard with decorating the house. Apparently you only meant to decorate INSIDE not outdoors and not put 'Merry Christmas' on the fence.

I'm on watering duty at Woodside on Fridays and have planted my tamarillo amongst the citrus too. Again there's no room at the inn..and no beds available at home so it's bedded down in a manger of car tyre and mulch.

I have just been admonished for not being on egg watch while I was trying to sort out library homework and now am not allowed to eat any of Martha's eggs which she kicks and pecks as soon as she lays them. I don't think it's a big loss though as she clearly doesn't like anybody else except for her own sweet self eating them. After mum's tirade of being the daughter who never does anything I just about ran away from home again. Tonight I may be lucky to have dinner on sufferance or I will just drive up to KFC or Nandos and get my revenge on Martha by tucking in to a finger-lickin good meal ALL BY MYSELF.

Ah the joys of living at home. Peace everyone.