My New Garden
I lived in a high rise apartment and other Auckland nondescript gardenless places for at least 15 years before leaving Auckland for a rural idyll. Dreamt of a cottage with a garden and now I’ve got both. I’m a garden writer, author and florist so love growing and using things but wish I’d taken more notice of mum and dads gardening habits many years ago in Canterbury.
My edibles garden spaces are successful but lack of sun because of trees or high fences (both of which I like) are an issue. Ornamental plants are my new focus. Why did I think I could have a blue flowered garden, a white garden, and a flame garden without considering which situations these flowers like to grow in ? I noticed plants from my childhood that would not grow in Auckland like lilac, peonies, lily of the valley, japonica and wistfully bought them all without considering where they would grow at my place. In haste I bought a lot of well-priced and good condition plants from from a nursery who supplies the provinces councils for municipal parks, roadsides and roundabout gardens. Liquorice allsorts colours – bloody awful. If I’m not careful I’ll have pansies and wallflowers everywhere. However their veggie seedlings are superb.
Plants bought online while they are hibernating are another challenge. I knew what they would look like but did not realise that they may take so long to peep through the earth. And plants I dug from my rental garden took ages to emerge again too. I’ve learnt to be cautious about plunging a fork into what looks like an empty plant pot and spiking a treasure through the heart.
I saw a cute little rabbit run past my door and then it dawned on me that it would like my lettuces as much as I do. The birds get fed suet, grains, leftovers, bones with traces of meat so why would I be pissed off when they took a fancy to my beautiful fat, juicy, ripe plums and ate only a few pecks before moving on to the next plum. Cockroaches look loathsome – they’re those huge shiny chestnut ones – not the ones one sees in dicey restaurants. Harmless but repulsive and come indoors often. Cattle in a walkway over my fence have eaten my one sunflower, many bean shoots, four tomato top shoots and while I was watering my neighbour’s garden they ate the back off his apple tree, shook all the fruit onto the grass and leant on his fence so that it came away from all the fence posts (the cattle weigh over 800 kgs each). I trained the hose on them while I rushed back home to phone the owner and they were soaked but patiently waiting to finish off the tree when I returned.
Winds in Wairarapa too sent masses of fruit to the ground, tipped over pots and relocated garden furniture, not to mention ripping climbing roses off the walls and veranda, plus the veranda balustrade. I inherited roses with the house and they were not on my agenda, but once they came out and paraded around I was won over. They stuffed my colour scheme though.
In conclusion I need to say that my tiny section is paradise. My pyjamas all have stained hems because every morning I make tea and wander my estate on grass with dew or rain. All my watering with home-brewed liquid fertilizer has paid off. I’ve had built a studio on my lawn where at my computer I see garden instead of a blank wall. Neighbours have helped me. George took stuff to the dump, shared the lifting of some op-shop treasures, lent me garden tools and gave me fresh whitebait over the fence. His wife gave me lemons and plums and good company. Jamie strimmed my lawn edges which got too out of hand for my proud new strimmer – mowed the lawn too and trimmed my large laurel hedge and Jo pruned my Robinia Mop Tops with a loud weapon and gave me a daisy chain she made – we do a spot of drinking and gossiping together too.