Thursday, 13 February 2020


Talking with a seasoned gardener like Terri has me thinking I don't know if I can do what she does when I get to be her age. She's crazily gardening in this heat while I am kicking back and not even daring to put in any new plants in till at least April.

Somehow she's ordered plants by mail order and they had arrived and they all needed to be planted or die in their pots. I'm sure she knows the all the tricks though, soak the roots, plant under cloud cover and mulch, but the desire to have everything looking good and green while the sun is drying plants to a crisp seems to me counter intuitive. I suspect it's Terri's green fingers that make the difference.

While I welcome the sun and this lovely non-humid heat it means the plants are now ripening and drying out, ready to  chop and drop to use as mulch to build up beds for winter and to prepare the ground for spring. The dried out plant matter will return carbon to the soil and provide enough bulk and air so that water can be retained in the cracks appearing in our clay ground.

Watering seems to be a dry sum game, if theres no water, well sorry plants, your roots had better be well established to cope by now. I did drop into Kings to buy some seaweed booster to water in the soil as a tonic though as sometimes I forget as well as water, plants need food and they love eating seaweed. Surprisingly it cost only $3 since I had earned lots of points on my Kings card.
Karyn had sent the council workers in to our community garden to provide us with seagrass they had gathered off the shores of Saint Heliers. I was given some tips on taro (divide and conquer, they like it damp) and when I shared news about our garden calamity, it was suggested that one of our rival community gardeners may have sabotaged our garden. After all, we are having an open day in March for eco fest where we join with the other Massey community gardeners for a garden ramble. Could it be...they don't want our garden to out-green theirs?? I don't know but then I don't want to think gardeners would do such criminal underhand things. Mike seemed to think they acted rather suspiciously when we all won the bronze at the NZ Flower and Garden Show like they wanted to claim all the glory for the win for the joint prize. Hmm

Shall I put it past them?

Anyhow, enough blather, after considering a long list of plants that cope really well in the sun and heat I decided our plant of the week is going to be Gazania. Good old gazania, stalwart tried and true. Never needs extra water and if you want to see a particularly gorgeous specimen of it, go down Alderman Drive past the Falls hotel on way to Henderson on the corner near the crossing it just covers the berm with a riot of yellow flowers year after year. Great groundcover and cheerfully brightening up roadsides wherever it is planted.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Garden Nanny

Mum would be happy as all last month I haven't done any planting. Aside from watering the garden,  and gathering flowers to dry, I have hardly done anything at all.

There are no new plants added and everything just looks the same only growing where it ought to be. Except the lemon tree. I think it's on last legs. I don't know if it will survive. Sorry lemon. Mum wanted you to be planted there but it seems like a dead spot where nothing grows. I suspect it may have something to do with Mary's grave.

However, my echinacea has survived and may even flower soon. Hooray.
It's back to school time so I am taking my hanging spider plants back to the library. Also the peace lily but I don't know about the parlour palm yet. It was looking a bit worse for wear so I cut it back and has grown some new fronds, but I'm not sure it will handle the onslaught of children yet.
Hoya seemed happy growing on the tallest shelf. I hadn't watered it in about 4 weeks.

I have started a new job at PaperPlus to earn some extra income since support staff are not paid during the school holidays (and also cos I love books) so I have had to give up the community garden this year. As this will be on Saturday mornings. Yes yes I know everyone wants me to live at their place and do all their hard work for them and garden and do all their sewing, cooking and pick them up and bake cookies and basically just BE THEIR MAID  cos they don't have the time but sorry. No.

I'm not moving anywhere, and I'm not gardening anyone else's place when my own plants cry out for attention.  The money is going to go toward Garden Planet anyway so it will be win-win for everyone who lives on the planet who listens to the show so they can be empowered to do their own gardening. Right?

One thing I did do was drop into Myra's new place at the retirement village where Louise is growing heirloom tomatoes for her. Both seemed happy with that arrangement but personally I am not sure I can handle oldies again. I don't know if she's forgiven me for her disappearing flower bulbs of which I have no idea where they would be. So I was a little wary, I guess its like parents who have children and when they turn 5 they just send them off to school  and don't have to be parents anymore from 9 till 3 and us poor teachers and librarians are then lumped with the task of needing to look after them for 6 hours every day...when they are most active. 

I am very tempted to say if you are going to have a garden (or children) you need to make sure you are going to look after them or just do what you are able to do and not rope in anyone else. Cos once you've done that you've handed it over and they are not really yours anymore. Because what happens is you will fall in love with the garden or the children you are looking after and you will never want to let them go.