In Jane’s gar­den

Fei­joa mousse

NZ Lifestyle Block - - CONTENTS -

- 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.

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