In Jane’s garden
- Jobs for May - Art as a practical gardening tool
1/3 cup sugar ¼ cup water 2 tsp gelatin 600g feijoa pulp 360g ricotta method Combine the sugar and water in a small pot and place over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Set aside to cool. In a food processor puree the feijoas, add the gelatin mixture and the ricotta and process briefly (or stir to blend). Pour into individual glasses and refrigerate for at least six hours.
As the first days of winter get close, the bright colours of exotic trees make their mark, shining out on overcast or rainy days in all their fiery glory. It reminds me that I may never go back to the Canadian and US eastern seaboard but I’ll always remember being wowed by the colours during a 1979 Greyhound bus ride.
What we enjoy here in Aotearoa may not be as vast but we can be thankful for the beauty of many plantings made by settlers and others down through the years, particularly the ones that don’t include gorse, thistles and blackberry.
With the diminishing daylight hours and falling temperatures of late autumn, the chlorophyll made by the trees’ leaves lessens, allowing the reds, yellows and oranges to come to the fore. Each leaf is like a mini solar panel, gathering the sunlight to make food for the trees through photosynthesis, the conversion of water and carbon dioxide to oxygen. Some years the colours are more intense which is in direct correlation to the chill of the evenings and the warmth of settled autumn days. All this biology and chemistry mixes together to create beauty.
As the autumn sprawl dies down and the garden lowers itself with the approach of winter, the clean-up and cut-back cycle begins again. As it progresses over the next few months, gaps appear and the bare soil is an open invitation to weeds. I’m all in favour of the jungle look but not when it’s weeds that seem to establish themselves far too quickly. Pulling them out results in gaps and this is when a bit of moveable sculpture is handy. Mine are usually finds from the beach or river, rocks that I’ve lugged, knotty bits of hardwood picked up and carried home on the horse. These get moved around the garden on a seasonal basis, acting as markers for plants, covering bare ground and adding another element. Bulb markers are similar but smaller and not moved at all.
Other static gap fillers I have are the little domestic scenes around the garden. I have trouble throwing out kitchen utensils like plates and bowls, cups, casserole dishes and cast iron kettles; they have given good service but are past their use-by date, so out into the garden they go. They get overgrown in spring and summer so it’s like finding small treasures when I uncover them.
Each leaf is like a mini solar panel, gathering the sunlight to make food
Gap fillers doing their job. A dull wet day on the verandah, enlivened by the marble bust,
vases and bowls. The driveway in autumn has its own beauty to enjoy.