Category Archives: Gardens

Saturday Again

Six word Saturday buttonIt’s Saturday again and so time to rejoin the gang at Six Word Saturday.  If you’d like to play along just click on the badge above.

SO THE SECOND SATURDAY IN 2016

And what a beautiful day it has been.  Summer has kicked up her skirts and her heels and come back to New Zealand where she belongs.

Lawn mowing was the order of the day.  And if you know me you’ll know that lawn mowing is as rare an occupation as silver cleaning.  But it’s a very small garden and so armed with a new, small lawn mower I set to work.  But not before I had to go back to the shop where I purchased the mower earlier this morning.  I couldn’t get the danged thing to work.  Two charming young women at the store sympathised with me, connected the machine to the power, turned it on and hey presto! you guessed it, it worked.

So sheepishly I took my leave and came home.  But I still couldn’t get the thing to go.  Capable daughter to the rescue.  She pushed the switch and again hey presto!  Apparently, I had been pathetic and hadn’t hit the button hard enough.  So again, egg on my face but at least the grandsons were not on hand to see the fiasco.

Lawn, mostly weeds after the jungle was cleared, is now mown (mowed?) and things are looking much better. Task  No 2. I had purchased a garden storage box online and you guessed it, it comes as a flat pack.  Obviously,  I’m not the most practical person around but it looked easy enough to put together – no tools needed, read the advertisement.  Well, what an impossible task this was.  Grandson No 4 (16 years old) came to the rescue but after about 15 minutes declared he couldn’t put it together. So back to me.  Of course, I couldn’t do it at the second attempt so Grandson No 4 called his mother, the ever capable, but she threw up her hands in disgust.  This is honestly the very first flat pack she hasn’t been able to put together.  So now begins the no doubt protracted dealing with the supplier to take it back and refund my money.

But this is only the second Saturday in the year there are another 51 to get through.  Happy Saturdays.

Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine,
freedom,
and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen

Autumn Colours

October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came – The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.
George Cooper.

Theresa at run-a-round-ranch  posted photos of spring wildflowers yesterday and as we are now in autumn/fall I decided to post some photos of our trees in all their glory.

IMG_0320 The Fern Leaf Maple is certainly changing colour and almost daily.

IMG_0321The beech forest is a perfect backdrop to the Lacy Lady Maples, but the Bloodgood Maple is looking very sad except for the new leaves sprouting.

IMG_0322The Architect used to live two sites down from where we are now and this is the drive down to that house.

IMG_0347The Pin Oak in the neighbour’s garden

IMG_0348View of both neighbour’s houses with their trees looking beautiful.

So while we are happy for our friends in the Northern Hemisphere who are enjoying the Spring, we are enjoying the Autumn/Fall here and its almost daily changes of colours to our trees.

Note – Please substitute May for October in the opening quote as we are in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Tulip Time at The Botanic Gardens

It has been a perfect Spring weekend – sunshine, warmth and little wind. In Wellington we are very fortunate to have not only the bush and the Town Belt in which to wander but also The Botanic Gardens. Today we took ourselves off to the Gardens to ooh and ah over the magnificent display of tulips.  Words are not necessary…

TulipsYellow tulips

The Gardens were teeming with people; young couples, older couples and definitely old couples, families with children all sizes and ages and dogs of every breed and some unknown breeds.

Pesky Weed

Gmail has been having fun with my inbox recently.  There have been days when very few emails have come through and then others when they just keep arriving.  So I have been catching up on my blog/post reading today.  By the way, if I don’t seem to have commented on your posts for a while, please check your SPAM folder.  No SPAMOne of the blogs I follow is Crowing Crone Joss and when I read this post from her today about the Borg Vine, I immediately thought of my pesky weed, the ivy.

Somebody, in their wisdom planted ivy around this house many years ago and it has now reached epic proportions.  It climbs up the side of the house and threatens to enter the bathroom and study widows.

Ivy at bathroom window

Ivy encroaching over bathroom window

Ivy at study window

Ivy at study window

At the rear of the property is a high bank.  A flight of brick steps gives access to a sitting area and here the ivy is rampant!

Ivy at sitting area

Ivy at sitting area

Some months ago I  had a contractor come to kill the ivy but to no avail.  I think he liked the ivy and wasn’t sufficiently ruthless.  So now we are taking really drastic measures.

Ivy

More ivy

As you will see the “branches” of the weed are really quite thick, so we will cut as much of it back and then douse the cut ends of the branches with undiluted woody weed killer.  As soon as we have a forecast for a couple of dry days this will be done.  And then once again we will be in control.

But while writing this blog I have thought about how tenacious this ivy is.  In the face of several  many onslaughts (and those that I have mounted cannot possibly be the only ones over all the years since it was first planted) it has survived.  I then thought about the tenacious people I have met over many years.  They are like this ivy.  They are determined to hang on and thrive and they do.  I have met many people like this in real life, and many more in the blogosphere.  A few days ago I wrote about being in awe of the things that many people have suffered and overcome.  Some people have had ghastly childhoods; some were unwanted by their mother’s second husband and treated very badly; others have lived with alcoholic and violent fathers or mothers, and some have become involved with the wrong people,  but what they have in common is they are survivors.  In my years practising as a Life Coach I met many people whose problem boiled down to lack of self-esteem and often they had often been brought to this state by the way they had been treated.  With time and tenacity on their part, most were able to rediscover their self-esteem, and some keep in touch so that I know how well they are surviving and succeeding.

“Even in its darkest passages, the heart is unconquerable.
It is important that the body survives,
but it is more meaningful that the human spirit prevails.”
Dave Pelzer,  1960 – author of A Child Called “It”

So again to all those who have survived and moved on in their lives I say congratulations and well done and whatever happiness and success you now enjoy you most certainly have deserved it.

But unfortunately for my ivy, it will not succeed. I shall be keeping a close watch on the weather forecast and as soon as two dry days are forecast there shall be War on the Weed!!

Associated Posts

It’s Six Word Saturday Again

Six word Saturday button

How quickly the weeks pass and it’s already Saturday again and time for Six Word Saturday.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

SWEEPING THE PATIO – CLEARING THE LEAVES

At the beginning of my blogging adventures I wrote a post about Gardening and Other Pleasures and bemoaned the fact that I had a tree that dropped its leaves all around the back courtyard.  I quickly reminded myself that I should be grateful that I had a back courtyard and the lovely tree to drop its leaves.  That was in April.

By May I had the offending tree cut back ( not down because the tree man thought its roots were probably holding up the bank) and I wrote a blog What a Difference a Day Makes about the patio minus the leaves.  Now some 14 months on and the tree is sprouting (and has been for some months) and dropping those bl–dy leaves again.

After days of rain when leaves and everything else is damp underfoot,  today dawned bright, sunny and dry.  And the temperature even climbed up to about 15 degrees Centigrade (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit) so we swept up the leaves again.  What a difference looking out the dining room doors now with the leaves gone – until tomorrow or Monday that is.  Yes, I am reminding myself again, just how lucky I am to have this pleasant, safe and secure, warm house, a courtyard and trees and of course, my faithful companion Lotte.  Not to forget my friend who willingly helps me with these chores.

Courtyard

Leaves have gone

So now the next job is to paint all the brickwork white.  As you can see parts of it were white at some stage.  And from that post in May last year :

“A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit. ”
D. Elton Trueblood, 1900 – 1994,
noted 20th century American Quaker author and theologian.

A Walk in the Bush

View of bush

Bush as it was before settlers came

It had been a beautiful morning and I had been at the computer for hours.  So I decided to take Madam for a walk in the bush.  What is ‘the bush’? In New Zealand, it is the native forest, which once covered most of the land. Dense and dark, it was alive with birds, insects and lizards, but sometimes impenetrable to humans.

Much of it was cleared by the settlers but here in Wellington we are fortunate to have the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve.  This is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to New Zealand native plants.

BushwalkThe reserve consists of 100 hectares of native forest, and five hectares of plant collections. Some of Wellington’s oldest trees are here, including an 800-year-old rimu.  The reserve is owned and managed by the Wellington City Council

Bushwalk 4

The area now known as Otari Wilton’s bush was originally covered in forest.  The name “Otari” is Māori for “Place of Snares”.  The bush/forest was cleared by the settlers for farming and timber.  Then in 1860 a far-sighted local farmer, Job Wilton, fenced off a 7 hectare block of land from cattle.  This was the beginning of the reserve.

Bushwalk

Paths have been created to allow one to walk freely in among the trees.

Bushwalk

This is a native NZ flax with strange bright flowers growing on it.  I couldn’t find the name tag for the plant alas.

By the time we arrived it had started to rain but the dense bush gave good shelter to us.  At first I was surprised that there was little birdsong but once the rain stopped the birds came out and we saw many of them flying around.  Native birds here include tui, kereru, fantail, silver eye, kingfisher, grey warbler and morepork.

We spent about an hour wandering the paths and taking photos with my trust i-phone – how I love that small phone.  Then it was time to go home, but Madam aka Lotte and I shall return again soon.

Home again

Another exciting day for one small dog, comes to an end and she finds somewhere to rest her tired little legs.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Sunshine, Wet Towels and Gardens

It’s a lovely summer day here in Wellington.  It’s Saturday and the sun is shining, and the whole day stretches ahead of me.  I can choose how I spend this day.

House through trees

A bit of a problem to start the day.  I live in this lovely old (1914) cottage with all mod cons except that the washing machine empties into the laundry tub.  And yes, you’ve guessed it, something was left in the tub and I was greeted by water rushing to meet me as I opened the door.  As the laundry is tucked away in a cupboard in the bathroom, I now have the cleanest floor tiles in Brooklyn.

Today was Suburb Cleanup Day.  This is apparently an annual event and they/somebody will take away any household items you no longer want.  Of course, they don’t take garden or household refuse.  So bright and early I put a few things that I wanted rid of out at the gate and looked up to see the many things that neighbours had discarded.

A golf bag (minus clubs) across the road; a child’s pram at another house; an armchair at another; and the girls next door put out the dog kennel.  I guess they decided that as George, their little pooch, never goes ito it they may as well get rid of it.

Then a friend called to say that if I was going to work in the garden he was happy to come along and help.  Great friend!  Before we started I had to borrow some shears from my neighbour and as is the custom here, before starting work the three of us sat in the sunshine on the patio and had coffee.  It was so lovely, no wind, which is unusual for Wellington, sunshine and pleasant company I didn’t want to move.  But then we did.

We cut back several decades of ivy from a sitting area at the rear of the house and then weeded the brick steps leading up to it.  I ruthlessly cut back much of the growth that was keeping the sunshine from the back patio and now there is more light in that area and into the house.

Then lunch and my friend left because I had to finish my blog for the day before we go out to a fireworks display for Guy Fawkes night.  Heaven knows why we continue to celebrate this treasonous act but here in New Zealand we do.

fireworks

Many families have parties on this day and let off fireworks.  One of my grandsons has a birthday on November 5 and so they always have fireworks.  The City Council has as firework display each year in the harbour.  So we are going to visit friends whose house overlooks the harbour to view the fireworks.

Frankly, I don’t like fireworks and think they should be banned except for properly organised displays.  When I was very young I saw a child lose an eye and have hated fireworks ever since.  You will understand then that my children were never allowed fireworks.  On the odd occasion that their father bought some, the children  were kept inside well away from any trouble.

End of rant for the day.

“Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason while gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.”
Traditional English rhyme – 17th century.

Lunch in the Garden

Monday was a holiday – Labour Day – so we took ourselves off for lunch with some friends.

It was a dull, overcast, windy day in Wellington when we set off, but when we arrived there some 1.5 hours later the sun was out and lunch was set outside.

lunch settingA really sunny spot in which to have lunch.

JasmineLots of paths to wander.  Jasmine with its strong and distinctive scent,
always reminds me of New Zealand whenever I am away.
This one was growing up a tree trunk

Blue potThis old blue pot was nestled snugly amongst the ferns

Seat and rhodosSeats are scattered around the garden where one can sit to take in the scene

bluebell pathA shady plot under the trees

StudyThe studio has its own outside seating in case one wants to sit in the sun

the garden pathWe can see where this path leads

a place to sitA shady place to rest on a hot day with a cool drink
after tending the garden

water featureAnother seat with another view

As you can see my friend is a keen gardener and has turned this 3/4 acre garden into a virtual haven.

It was a lovely afternoon; great food, good company, loads of laughter, fantastic scenes and fine wine to quaff as the day wore on.  What more could one ask for?

“After all, Eden was garden… the garden is a place to go for quiet contemplation, a source not only of food but also of spiritual renewal and intimate contact with life’s most basic processes. 
Ed Smith “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible”

Note – all photos taken with my trusty I-phone with the blessings of the gardener and her spouse.

What Lurks in Your Garden?

Coffee.  Garden.  Coffee.
Does a good morning need anything else?
~Betsy Cañas Garmon, www.wildthymecreative.com

The rain had stopped and the sun was trying really hard to shine.  So I put on my gumboots and went out to look at what damage the hail and rain had done to my patio  garden.

Garden

I was amazed to see just what lurks in my tiny patio garden.

Fly on ranunculas

The fly was just having a rest in the sunshine. 

LotteLotte was checking things out

Statue sistersThis statue always reminds me of the closeness of my sisters
and has moved with me many times over the years

Mexican thingIt’s sad that this thing has lost it’s tail and has to rely
on the pot to hold it up

GnomeThis was the most hideous thing you have ever seen
given to me as part of a joke by 2 grandsons last Christmas.
Fortunately Unfortunately, it has lost all its colours

DuckThe duck lurks in amongst the planting

MexicanThe Mexican sleeps among the plants and weeds

StatueMy daughter bought this at a charity auction and it has
now been in four different gardens

Most of these things that lurk in my garden have been bought for me by the family.  Some as jokes such as the gnome and the Mexican but all have special memories attached.

So what lurks in your garden today?

A Day With the Boys

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends – and hardly ever our own grown children.
Ruth Goode, author 1902-1997

The boys are on holiday from school at present and we decided to have a day together.

After picking up two boys from their house and then meeting the other two at the railway station, we went to Mary Potter Hospice.

A call went out the other day for volunteers to do some gardening.  The Hospice had been given a flat of black and white pansies and wanted to plant them urgently to make an  “All Blacks” Garden.  They needed help in moving plants from one garden bed, removing them to another and planting the new plants.

The boys entered into this wholeheartedly and were officially crowned the Youngest volunteers at MPH.  The Hospice grounds rang with the laughter of four cousins enjoying themselves.  James, the eldest commented that if he ever has a house of his own, the grounds will be all concreted.  He thinks his Granma’s patio is just about right.  Little planting, many pots and exposed aggregate.

There was a husband and wife team already there when we arrived and it took hardly any time (approx 1.5 hours) to do all the planting, removing and weeding necessary to make the beds look great again.

Unfortunately, somebody had carried the mulch/blood and bone through the complex instead of taking it around the outside.  The smell that greeted us was truly awful  It smelt like a bad case of diarrhoea but the smell dispersed in a short time.  dreadful while it lasted and of course, each of the boys made a comment as you can imagine.

Cold drinks for the boys, coffee for Granma and we were off to the food court at the mall for lunch.  I tend to forget that growing boys need constant feeding.  The food court is great because they can each choose what they want to eat from whichever concession they like.

The next stop was Hang Dog, an indoor rock climbing arena where the boys showed their prowess at scaling walls.  More laughter as they worked out how to manage the harnesses, belaying etc.

 

 

 

After two hours they decided they had ‘done’ Hang Dog and so we went to my daughter’s house where they spent a further couple of hours playing ‘Black Ops’ on the PS3.

Two teams.  The oldest and youngest vs the other two.  A very serious undertaking quite different from the other things they did today.

More memories to keep and take out later when they have grown up and maybe won’t want to spend a whole day with their Granma.