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Friday, 19 January 2018

New Gardenland

I didn't want to see another sausage ever again but looked in the fridge yesterday and Dad had bought another packet. So it might be I will have to fire up the bbq this weekend. My own one - not the Mitre 10 one. I am sure we made a profit and now can spend it all on the garden - hooray!

After another windy rainstorm Dad helped me dismantle my rusty arch and now the hardenbergia is flopping all over the buxus hedge. I want to put my new, trade-tested arch up but mum insists that I don't. What do I do? I need supports or spikes to put it in the ground but the thing is its not the right size for that gap in the hedge. That means I can't put up this more solid arch up unless I cut out some of the hedge...arrgh. And I can't transplant the hardenbergia somewhere else it was doing so well there, but if I leave it there it will just tangle itself into a mess.

Now the most obvious solution the one mum has been insisting all along is to get my own house/place. But where, Dunedin? You cant grow much in Dunedin. Its not like next door is vacant so I can just move next door and just bust the fence down and extend the garden. So I'm thinking mum is either being unreasonable or joking or she just doesn't like me living here.

It's very disconcerting to think your own mother just doesn't like you and wants all your plants dead. But that can't be true because I have seen her watering my capsicums. Last week we found a mother in laws tongue in a pot chucked out in one of the gardens at work and we were going to bin it BUT I rescued it because Mum thought I had chucked away her one. I did not, but there is no reasoning with mum. So I offered it to Mum and said do you want to keep this plant otherwise it will be chucked away. It is now sitting under the tangelo tree in its pot along with a succulent from the South African Garden at work that mum asked me to take a cutting. The ladies at the Waitakere Garden said it was ok to take a cutting and offered me one. So that is there too.

Perhaps the solution is to divide up the land into separate countries, one can be called Selina's land and the other can be called Mum's land and Dad can have the lawn. I thought that we might be able to share it but perhaps we can make a subdivision without telling the council. I will have to have my own letterbox, cooking facilites (bbq) and toilet (composting). If we do tell the council I they need to supply my own recycle bin and rubbish bin (except I attempt to make zero waste, so probably won't need it) and pay rates which probably won't be a third of the current land but just as much as everyone else is paying. I will then become an official landowner and can tell others to get lost as they are trespassing on MY property. There probably needs to be a wall or boundary erected and some flags waving and a new anthem to say my land is separate from the rest. I will then christen it 'New Gardenland' which sounds a bit like 'Gondwanaland' which the whole world used to be before the land was divided. My original name for this continent was Iranasea but now that I am reclaiming the lawn (the grassy sea) and making new island beds I think New Gardenland is a more apt name.

It currently has a population of one human and one cat. To attract more inhabitants to this land I am considering opening it up to immigrants, but at present birds and butterflies are free to visit and they don't need a passport.
















Friday, 12 January 2018

Dizzy Lizzies and sizzling sausages

One of the ladies at the retirement village calls 'Busy Lizzies' 'Dizzy Lizzies' which I find quite amusing. I don't know if she thinks that is what they are called or whether she invented a new name for them. Names for plants are easily mixed up. For example my workmate always confuses lobelia with libertia, and ajuga with gaura. I remember being told off by one of the Bunnings sales assistants that I didn't know the latin name for Snow-in-Summer. Oh you mean Cerastium?

Even my boss said after giving me a long list of tasks to do that I could mess around with pots after you planted the ageratums. What ageratums, we don't have those. I thought we were planting alyssum! (He doesn't like to be corrected).

Some people are exceptionally well versed in latin names, especially the Oratia Native Plant Nursery man. He knew the latin name of each and every native plant and it like were were was talking another language. Or an encyclopaedia.  Every time I would say a common name, he would counter with the latin. Spleenwort. Asplenium obfastatum. Kowhai. Sophora tetraperta. Kauri. Agathis Australis. Nikau. Rhopalstylis Sapida. Cabbage Tree. Cordyline. Flax. Phormium.
  I was walking by all his plants when I saw a groundcover. Its that violet? He said yes, that's a native violet. But it's white, not violet. He said yes well they still call it a violet even though it's not violet.

I am considering having latin names for everything. So instead of a calling a spade a spade I will call it a pala nutrum. We are not going to have a sausage sizzle we are going to have a farciminis sizzle.
And nobody is going to be confused how anyone says tomato or tomahto because I will call it a solanum lycopersecum. Anyone who asks for tomato sauce will immediately be corrected. Oh you mean solanum lycopersicum sauce?

If this catches on Daffodil day will be renamed Narcissus Day. Instead of poppies for Anzac day we will be wearing papaver.
We won't call weeds just weeds anymore we need to be specific and call them by their real names like taraxacum officinale and cannabis sativa.

By the way if anyone is reading this today the Woodside Gardeners are  having a farciminis sizzle on at the Lincoln Road Mitre 10. If you are hungry will be selling them for $2. You get bonus extra sauce if you can give me the latin name. We will start at 10 and catch the lunch shoppers crowd. Don't be impatien or will start calling you a 'dizzy lizzy'.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Through the storm

The rainstorm on Friday wrecked havoc on the peach tree, Dad said it will need to be cut down, it is over 40 years old and rotting at the base. He may need a chainsaw. This year it looked like it has some fruit but it is probably past it's best. Last year was fruitless.

Another victim was my hardenbergia arch, the Kmart arch did not stand up and many of the struts have snapped and rusted away, so I will have to figure how to remove it and put my new Edwardian arch up. Without mum knowing its been replaced of course. I will have to untwine the climber without damaging any of the shoots.

However good news the ground is damp and it seems like new seedlings are emerging. I wandered round Kings today just window shopping because all the prices are back up except for roses which are 50% off. But its not likely I will plant anything yet, according to NZ Gardener's moon calendar, it's a barren period all week. So I really should not go into work tomorrow....

I have red pom pom dahlias one of my permaculture classmates gave me now blooming. Mum actually said she liked these flowers so, am thinking I should plant more red flowers to keep her happy. Helen kindly gave me more busy lizzies which I have planted in the edible patch, I have hot pink, apricot and red.

I have lots to do in my own garden and wonder if I will have the energy to plan and plant the church garden this year, as well as working full time. I could scale down my commitment to the other contracts I suppose, until the gardens are relatively self sustaining. Its always a big thing to plan and start a garden from scratch.

Some gardens you fall in love with and are a breeze but others, usually planted by someone else who doesn't like change, you feel like its a never ending battle of wills. I still remember  people throwing fits and swearing and cursing because someone chopped their lavender that was growing all over the path, and definite mistrust when a pile of junk is moved, and then there's mum who says I must 'get my own place' if I am ever to put up an arch. I had one lady after we planted up the area around her apartment give me a hug and then whisper in my ear 'wouldn't it be nice if all this was grass', while another would say one day we are doing a great job and the next complain loudly in front of everyone that the roses are looking the worst they've ever looked and we never look after them.

What to do, well I'm feeling rather tired so perhaps will sleep on it and see if I've still got the energy to go to work tomorrow. I suppose things could be worse, I could be working in the Mt Eden Prison library with no budget and sorting out books behind bars.









Friday, 5 January 2018

Beth Beth Beth

My friend Beth came over on New Years holiday and gave me more bromeliads, and two other baby houseplants. I showed her this blog and she was very disappointed I did not feature her especially in it so this post is all about BETH.

Then she can google it and her name will come up and can tell everyone she went to my Rambling Garden and contributed many of the plants there.
Beth's donated plants include three manukas,  a maidenhair fern, several tree ferns, balsam, fruit salad plant, mother of millions, potted geraniums, spider plants, begonia, flaming katies, various succulents and a peace lily. I am richly blessed to have so much plants for free (although I have given her cups of tea and lunch for her trouble). I almost thought she was going to move in as well since half the contents of her house and garden is here too with shelves and pots, hanging basket, greeenhouse and a rug but it seems like she has other plans.

When Beth came over she noticed a hedgehog under the picnic table looking like it was thirsty and so she gave it some water to drink. Then she had a tour of the garden which has grown so much since she first came here. Mummy Cat is always pleased to see Beth as she talks to her in cat language.

Beth is one of those original 'Tiny Home' people who will be moving her entire house again later this year when some land up in Kumeu is freed up. She says she is going to have a bigger porch so she can fit all her plants on it. I had called it the log box because it looks like one long box. Originally it was in the bush in Swanson which is why she could give me so many ferns.

Left you can see the picture of her deck and plants which all had to be moved! So I am babysitting some of them, mostly the geraniums in pots. (Which aren't in these photos)

They did get a bit of lashing from yesterday's rainstorm but seems to have survived, a branch off the peach tree looks like it has broken off and a pot was smashed, but otherwise the rain was really good for the garden. Hooray no outdoor watering to do and no lawns (for now).



I have potted up a whole lot of spider plants for the Waitakere Gardens hanging garden, ended up with about 30 of them, so that kept me busy and out of the rain. Beth had loaned me several plant books including 'The Conservatory Gardener' which has a section all about trailing plants for indoors so am getting quite good tips from that. I had an idea, if we do have the budget or maybe even just take cuttings (since many of these places actually have no budget for new plants) that of the three levels of hanging basket/troughs the top level could have geraniums and succulents, the middle busy lizzies and the bottom in the shade could have spider plants and tradescantia.

Orchids and begonias would also be wonderful too as there needs to be a mixture of foliage and flowers and they need to also be tough, withstanding mealy bug which took out a lot of syngoniums (or arrow plants) because watering three times a week can take at least an hour! So Beth if you reading this thanks for all your plants and inspiration and encouraging my green fingers. I hope your new home will be settled soon and you can get your garden growing again.




Saturday, 30 December 2017

Ferns and Grass

Went to the Oratia Native Plant Nursery yesterday and bought two ferns - an asplenium obfastusm and a blechnum.  Which if you know your ferns are very cool ferns to have but to most people they are just ferns. I was actually looking for Shining Spleenwort but they didn't have any in stock. The fronds are shiny and it does well in dry shade, while the blechnum has an orangey tinge and is ok with sun.

Mum came with me and tried to stop me buying these ferns claiming we had enough plants already. Well she gave me a christmas pay packet and then tried to stop me spending it. So I said I will just plant them at church or the Waitakere Gardens. This changed her mind quick.

Why more ferns? Because ferns like to have other fronds I mean friends not just all the same. See my garden is becoming very biodiverse not just bog standard landscaper paint by numbers.

Mum was given a Michelia by my brothers but she said it was too big. It is rather huge size and they have nowhere to plant it. People if you going to buy plants please plant them somewhere not leave them in their pots to become root bound, dry out and then die. I have the same issue at work where lots of plants are left over yet, because of time limits of the job I cannot plant them all and so they are left in their trays to die. It is because people think lawns are more important. But truth be told I do not care too much about lawns because I don't really see oldies romping barefoot in the grass. There is even fake lawn for them to play bowls and petanque on and if really pushed maybe they could join a golf course. But I don't want to be mowing lawns when I could be gardening. Next thing they might be asking us to wash windows.

Maybe I will just say for health and safety reasons I am going deaf from noisy lawnmowing and can I please have a quieter job tending plants. Perhaps in the new year. I'm still annoyed with whoever mowed over the hydrangeas at church so I might just make a display with stalks of paspalum grass because we have no flowers.











Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Art of Frugal Hedonism

I didn't go to any Boxing Day sale as my body said it needed rest. Besides, usually sales are on every weekend anyway so I don't know that the Boxing Day ones are any different, except for trying to clear the tinsel and chocolates from the shelves. I ended up spending most of my Christmas pay packet on petrol...and food for lunch.

However I did buy hopefully my last 'Wonder Weeder' and have hooked it onto my belt with a carabiner since I've lost about three so far out of my pocket.

Next gardening item on agenda is sausages for Mitre 10 sausage sizzle but given the paperwork wonder if it's such a good idea, we may need a council permit, observe Health and Safety Regulations (still no safety shoes!) and to pay a $50 bond before we sizzle any sausages. I didn't know this and I'm not sure I have the time to go buying sausages the night before since they have to be kept somewhere...and to sell at least enough to pay for the bond...! We aren't allowed to sizzle chicken it has to be sausages. I thought of sweetcorn on the cob but no it has to be pre-cooked sausages. Which I am not the biggest fan of. I thought maybe instead of sizzling sausages could we just ask Mitre 10 to give us more wood for raised beds as the money raised from sizzling sausages will just be buying wood from them anyway. And we still have to buy sausages, which Mitre 10 do not sell...

Besides, wouldn't it be more fun to have a bbq at my house and if people want to donate money in return for bbq supper that could work? They could have salads and drinks and it wouldn't be just sausages... and they wouldn't have to shop at Mitre 10. Maybe I am just being lazy and don't want to be selling sausages to hungry shoppers when I could be...sharing bbq with friends.

It was like when we were asked to keep a shop at the library. I don't want to sell cards and jewellery. Why can't people just borrow the jewellery and have the cards for free. I am the worst salesperson, and I don't enjoy being a cashier. The world wants me to be a consumer I suppose but honestly I don't have the time or inclination to be wandering around shops aimlessly buying anything that takes my fancy, fingering merchandise and being sold things I don't need. Also I don't really have the money, but even if I did, I wouldn't be spending it just because I can.

My Permaculture teaching is rubbing off and have now started reading another of the core texts - 'The Art of Frugal Hedonism'. It's about how we really don't need to buy stuff to be happy.You can be happy NOT buying stuff.  Of course I already knew this and it's probably preaching to a choir but it's nice to be affirmed in your thinking, to declare that shopping really is a drag and to say no next time anyone tries to drag me to a mall of no return.

Anyone who's ever tried to garden or clean house for a hoarder will be put off indulgent shopping forever. As well as those people who don't bother taking the price tags off their plants, or buy the plants then just leave them in their pots to die cos they have nowhere to plant them. There are so many people out there who would appreciate being given a plant who have none and if you have so many that you leaving them there to die in their pots then maybe think a bit more carefully before you go out shopping!






Monday, 25 December 2017

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (and ladies)

Hallelujah its raining!
Christmas day was full on at my brother's home with both sides of the family over for lunch and then dinner, but I did manage to fit in naptime so I do feel rested, today is Boxing Day and then it's back to work (groan), the only thing is...so tempting to go to Boxing Day sales since Mum gave me my pay packet yesterday for the year. Of course I have been a good daughter!
She also gave me a lunch bag and matching notebook which I will use for work.  And dad paid my AA membership. I don't know why it always falls near christmas to renew, that can be annoying. My sister does not even have a car and lives in London yet Dad still pays for her AA membership anyway which I am not sure why since the AA doesn't really need to be called out to London.

So with money in my wallet I can make my shopping list before I go out. I can't buy safety shoes however until after 8 January.

Petrol for car
Flowers and herbs for edging church garden bed - alyssum, thyme, candytuft, lobelia, gazania, petunias
Wonder weeder (keep losing these!)
Toolbelt
Decent spade for making holes - the straight sided ones aren't the best for clay, needs to be rounded
Aromatherapy fig and olive lotion for dry hands
Orchid for mum
Paper shredder
Outdoor rug
Mulch
Vases and pots
Lavender 'grosso'
Sausages (for Mitre 10 sausage sizzle)
Water cooler flask
Darn tough socks

One gift someone gave me for Christmas was some black fishnet stockings. I have no idea who gave them to me as the tag didn't say. Santa must have got his lists mixed up as, I had not asked for them..? Sure I am a working girl but not THAT kind of working girl.  But I suppose I can use them to -- go fishing or tie up trees. They aren't big enough to cover the grapevine! Or maybe catch butterflies with them. Maybe Santa thought I needed some hose, but wrong kind of hosiery!