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