Monday, 23 March 2020

Crazy times

Preparing for lockdown...

The Massey Garden Ramble has been cancelled but that wasn't before I had distributed the flyers. At least people that have them now know where the gardens are - Woodside Road, Jadewynn and Triangle Park.

I said to Mummy Cat she had better get to work now the humans are staying at home. Before the shops close except for essential services tomorrow, I stocked up a bit on things like seed raising mix, potting mix, seeds, cleaning products, more flower bulbs, books and food for the week. I have decongestant essential oil (eucalyptus, peppermint, camphor)  and oregano oil for immunity. And hyssop plants, because that was all that was left in the herb section. All the veges seedlings had sold out.

Garden Planet is still going to air as scheduled but the next four weeks will be broadcasting repeats, but I have picked up relevant shows  to air so keep tuning in if you missed them the first time.

With mum and dad both home I expect they may be driving each other nuts, but I am thankful I have my garden. Or our garden. Mum might have to stop deriding my kale and attempts at growing food. She learned that dandelions are good for her liver and Dad is mowing less lawn. So I am hoping some good will come of it while we ride out the worst of it. Martha will be fine as it's not bird flu this time.

 Am going to take a hot bath and go to bed early. I looked at my posts from last year and it was around this time that everyone was catching some virus (or is it just the same one that keeps coming back every year?)  But as I am still here to tell the tale I think I will be ok.

Stay home and garden everyone, and if you are locked up, you are in safest place. Hebrews 13:3

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Lightbulb moment

I had made it my mission to plant bulbs today, as the moon calendar indicates it's the right time.
So I've picked up Grape Muscari and two kinds of Dutch Iris.
I usually don't go shopping on Sunday, but I've had to after working on Saturday that I can't face doing a round of more shops after working in one for four hours. This has kind of thrown my schedule for a bit, but then, everything changes anyway thanks to Coronavirus. People are probably going to be predicting everyone's going to have the Mark of the Beast some time soon. (If someone asks me I'm just gonna say no thanks).

All I know is, when spring time comes around I need to have planted my spring bulbs in March!
My beds are now all mulched in seaweed, and I've taken cuttings of daisies and pelargonium in hope that something, anything will grow in Mary's bed.

I came home rather exhausted and I'd only just walked up the road. I have also been asked to be on a committee. A flower committee. They say they need someone younger but I'm wondering what I can contribute. In general people don't really like flowers I've found. Fruits and veges get the star treatment in the gardening world but flowers tend to be ignored. I had once suggested lets grow more flowers in the community garden but that kinda went down like a lead balloon. The last time I went there everything was weeded until an inch of it's life and I felt if I had planted some bulbs there it wouldn't go down well.

So I am just sticking to my own patch for now. I think it's safer. I read in the paper that people were voting for the best garden at MetLife care and you could win $5000 from Mitre 10. When I worked at MetLife care retirement villages the ladies were constantly having fights over who could pick the flowers.  Some of them HATED the flowers like euryops which were 'too yellow' and jasmine was called 'that smelly plant'. I haven't been back there to see what it's like now but I can imagine that that giant hydrangea is still there and the lady who lives next to it, if she's still alive, is still complaining about it.

I personally believe flowers can contribute to a better world, if they can inspire kids living in the Bronx concrete jungle possibly they could do the same thing here, but in my experience kids in NZ get more excited over slime than flowers. We possibly have too many flowers, and half of them are gorse.

Mum has given me a mushroom kit that someone at work has given away so I'm going to attempt to grow some mushrooms. The kit comes with 3 pages of dense instructions but the bags are not labelled so I can't tell what is spawn and what is compost mix and what bag is meant to go with what. If I were creating a mushroom kit I would just have 1 page of instructions, with 3 steps, and pictures, and everything clearly labelled. So I might just have to email the mushroom kit creator and admit my complete cluelessness and say um can you explain how to grow mushrooms again? In less than 100 words? Cos you have given me a thesis here and I'm mentally challenged. Thank you.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Trade and exchange

Well my garden didn't stay bare for long as Rose the school gardener offered me some purple irises which I have now planted in the place where the cabbage and ponga have been cleared. I will be adding more lambs ears and statice if I can source it, and mint. I moved the monstera slightly and tidied up the spider plants who were threatening to over run the place. The carex have been trimmed back to pom poms and their cuttings were used as mulch.

Rose said she has space for a grapevine at her home as the school already have some. So we arranged a swap . I have cut down the gaura and have made cuttings of it so plonked them in the corner bed. Lucky the rain came, and it has now been wet overnight, hooray!

This is just a quick report as  I have some research to do on the history of gardening in New Zealand. This is a bit more ambitious than the history of my own garden which is now in it's sixth year so I have to pick my moments. I didn't realise that the Maori and European land wars affected so much of the land we see today but as I am neutral I won't take either side. It got me thinking that maybe God has a purpose and thought New Zealand/Aotearoa just needed more colour apart from green so He got people to live here and to bring all their plants too.

We ought to send more cabbage trees and pongas to other lands in exchange for potatoes and eggplants? I can lay claim to one plant success story from Chinese lands planted here, the humble kiwifruit aka Chinese Gooseberry, which made some kiwis very rich. It is a pity the PSA virus put a stop to much of that now, and what with this Coronavirus going round maybe we've had too much of a good thing. However I am sure the cure is waiting to be discovered, possibly made from all the privet we have, after all, some people have actually found a use for gorse. Makes a great mulch.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Goodbye Cabbage Tree and Ponga

The big dry meant some of my plants succumbed, so Mum got the spade and saw out and toppled the ponga, and the cabbage tree which was threatening to sway into the spouting of the house. I also saw she had her eye on my arch...

Nothing like a bit of death and destruction to satisfy her inner compulsion to lay waste my garden. While she was doing this she berated me on my plant choices. Those spider plants are ugly! Why did you plant that cabbage tree there? That plant pricks people!

Nothing I said would appease her so I just stayed out of her way.

Now there is a bare patch to be planted so everything has to be knee high to a grasshopper, so it seems it's going to be succulents, libertia, statice, and lambs ears. I thought of sneaking in a dwarf gardenia perhaps.

All is not lost however as Mum has been helping me gathering seaweed from the community garden. We've done two bucket load trips so far and my garden is now mulched and waiting for the rain for all the good minerals to soak into the soil.

I have one Albany grape vine to plant somewhere, just wondering if it will be allowed at the community garden, but I have to make it past bureaucracy and the silent majority first. If I risk planting it myself, I will then get irate texts questioning why there is a new plant in the garden. I can't just claim garden fairies planted it there, as they don't like to be questioned on their gardening decisions, otherwise they will stop helping.

My new job means I won't be able to make it to the garden on Saturdays. But who says Saturdays are sacred for spending time in the garden? I will just garden on Sundays instead.

I am rather sad that my pongas did not survive, I really wanted my garden to be iconic and kiwi-ish and what could be more so than ponga ferns and cabbage trees? Mum didn't believe me when I said the cabbage tree blew over from next door and started growing there. I pointed out some swan plants growing in the cracks and said they blew over too I did not plant them. I'm thinking she's starting to be a bit xenophobic about plants and I'm not sure I like the way she's insisting they all have official passports before they are allowed to take root here. But, that is the way it is with some people. I said if they don't grow here, weeds will just grow in their place so you better think hard of other plants that you want growing here instead.