NZ Lifestyle Block - - In Jane's Garden -

We are still out and about this month, in the deep reaches of Te Wai Pounamu, the South Is­land. We are cruis­ing hap­pily in our trusty, old, self­con­tained van. We have a wood burner to cook on and keep out any south­ern chill. There is also the op­tion of gas or cook­ing out­side on our lit­tle home­made stove pipe cooker. Sam the dog is along too and it’s her first real chance to ac­quire trav­el­ling man­ners.

I read about apart­ment liv­ing the other day and the ap­peal of turn­ing the key and walk­ing out to be in some­one else’s bit of par­adise. It’s not that easy for us when there are an­i­mals, gar­dens and projects, busi­nesses and home as­pects that keep us en­thralled and we en­joy our daily round, so go­ing on hol­i­day for us takes a bit of or­gan­is­ing; thank good­ness for gen­er­ous, ca­pa­ble friends and neigh­bours.

The flower gar­den is eas­ily left to its own de­vices in au­tumn. There are still plenty of flow­ers around such as dahlias, naked ladies (ner­ines,) se­dums and one that is rel­a­tively new for me, toad­flax. It’s a great name and this shade-lov­ing, easy-care peren­nial is now es­tab­lished in a cou­ple of places. I find the fleshy-look­ing leaves very at­trac­tive and the speck­led pink flow­ers – which look like some­thing be­tween an orchid and a tiger lily – give me great plea­sure.

When trav­el­ling we miss the mid-au­tumn flow­er­ing at home and we know there are bound to be rogue weeds tak­ing ad­van­tage. I have a lot of ‘to do’ lists be­fore we leave, usu­ally in­clud­ing a quick cut back, a skim­ming sort-of weed­ing, har­vest­ing of any­thing es­sen­tial that won’t wait, and the rest we trust will be wait­ing for us when we get home.

Trav­el­ling is a state of mind and whether we are at home or fur­ther afield it’s about hold­ing an open mind, bal­anced against what life has al­ready taught us, and I be­lieve the same ap­plies in the gar­den. I look at how oth­ers use their patches of land and the ways they make life easy (or hard) for them­selves. Gar­dens are such a per­sonal thing so there is plenty of va­ri­ety.

Once we’re home, we’ll be pre­par­ing the vege patch for spring, a bal­anc­ing act of har­vest­ing and plant­ing a bit more for win­ter, plus re­plen­ish­ment and pro­tec­tion of beds.

Bare soil is highly un­de­sir­able, but es­pe­cially when win­ter is com­ing. You might have heard that Mother Earth ab­hors a vac­uum and it’s true. Earth never stays bare; the weeds and seeds ar­rive via breezes and birds, from fallen plants, an­i­mals and peo­ple and very soon a haze of green

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.