The wild & the weedy

NZ Lifestyle Block - - From The Editor - Nadene Hall, Ed­i­tor

THE DREAM gar­den of my youth was full of buxus hedges, stan­dard roses with bob­ble heads of snow white blooms, and lots and lots of crunchy shell chip un­der­foot.

Now I have a gar­den of my own, it’s a dis­as­ter. I could blame the three dogs who run around it at a thou­sand miles an hour. Bis­cuit likes to slams on the brakes at one par­tic­u­lar point. She then turns on a dime in such dra­matic fash­ion, she has cre­ated a large, smooth hole in one spot, with a deep, rut­ted track lead­ing up to it.

But no. My bare land­scape is more to do with a com­plete lack of de­sign con­cept, and if it’s a fine day, my mo­tor­bike calls louder than my trowel.

Which is why I have come to love the self-suf­fi­cient flow­ers. There’s a swathe of sweet, pink dahlias which smother the front of the house in huge beds. All I need to do is throw snail bait out in early spring.

Then there was a mys­tery plant, an amaz­ing sur­vivor from a wild­flower mix I sowed 10 years ago. No mat­ter what I did, it lived. That in­cluded spray­ing out the area (for an in­fes­ta­tion of this­tles), grad­ing large ar­eas back to clay, spray­ing it sev­eral more times (again for this­tle), then com­pletely ne­glect­ing it through a cou­ple of sum­mers that were so dry, the whole area looked like a desert.

Yet, what I now know is bor­age bloomed, and it still does. It is def­i­nitely the star of my gar­den de­spite be­ing quite messy, tip­ping over mid-sum­mer. It’s a rogue, but I’ve grown to love that too. Ev­ery sum­mer the whole gar­den is lit­er­ally hum­ming with bees, right down to your bones. It’s al­ways cheer­ful, and it’s so faith­ful.

I’m wait­ing on my new sow­ings of white bor­age to say hello. It will be a de­light.

I got hold of the March magazine quite late, the rea­son for the late let­ter.

Art, beauty and weeds are all in the eye of the be­holder. In the big New Zealand book of weeds, manuka is clas­si­fied as a weed. Puha, which we all trea­sure so much up here, is of­fi­cially a weed.

The ben­e­fi­cial uses were men­tioned in your ar­ti­cle about sting­ing net­tle, but not that it is so healthy, blood-cleans­ing, iron­re­plen­ish­ing and prob­a­bly much more. We should add it to our diet all the time.

Last but not least, it makes the best anti-aphid spray and a very pow­er­ful, al­beit quite smelly, liq­uid fer­tiliser. Gwen­do­line Langert, Far North

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