Translate

Monday, September 29, 2014

Garden Neglect...the explanation.


I’ve been known to make excuses in the past for why my garden’s looking a bit untidy or unkempt. But lately my garden has been looking the worst it ever has. In addition to the damage caused by a couple of mid winter storms this year the situation has been compounded by months of neglect. 

Observant readers of this blog may have heard me make subtle comments about the various distractions that were keeping me from the garden at various times, and more so probably in the last year or so. Up until now I’ve refrained from going into that on here, but now it's time to break my silence. 

Sadly, the reason is because my wife Izumi who I sometimes mention on here, has been battling cancer since Nov 2011 and despite the efforts of many good people to help her, she finally lost the battle on August 27th (about a month ago) and has now gone to rest.

Izumi loved the Garden, visiting it every day to seek out something for dinner or in more recent times to gather whatever was available for juicing, in an effort to keep her immunity strong. Believe it or not there are still some vegetables growing in amongst all those weeds...somewhere.

But I couldn’t possibly allow myself to do another blog post on here without first acknowledging her passing and crediting her for much of what I was motivated to do. In many ways she was the inspiration for building the garden in the first place, a huge project which took years of painstaking effort.

I got a great deal of satisfaction out of her reaction to everything I did. Without her encouragement it probably never would have happened the way it did. She took a great deal of interest in this blog too although she was adamant that she didn’t want her picture shown on here — at least not her face, probably because most of the photos taken of her in the garden didn’t show her at her best. But also because she preferred her privacy and was more comfortable staying in the background.

Many of the ideas we incorporated into the garden came from our visits to various parts of the country usually during summer holidays. Like the time we visited Russell in the far North of New Zealand which is where we got the inspiration to grow a Bougainvillea vine over a pergola.


Or there was the time we joined the Great Greenhithe Garden tour where we got lots of inspiration from the private gardens we visited. On that tour I also got this poignant shot of Izumi walking down a long tree-lined driveway into the distance. I never imagined at the time how seeing this less than a year later would bring home the deep sense of loss I feel now that she’s gone.



Goodbye Izumi — you'll be missed!

Now spring has arrived... closely followed by daylight savings, so it’s time to get back out into the garden and start tidying up — if only the weather would let me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Another Storm Hits Auckland

We’ve been expecting a few days of rain which came as forecast. However one thing forecasters didn’t mention was the Gale force winds that arrived last night which almost turned our place upside down and were the strongest winds I’ve ever experienced in my 50 years living on the north shore.

It wasn’t until I awoke after a sleepless night that I saw the extent of the damage.

Here are a few pictures...


A tall Acmena tree on the front of our neighbours property got blown over onto our driveway which took out telephone lines on the way down.


We lost a piece of plastic roofing after it came loose and was flapping around in the wind. It kept me awake most of the night as it’s right outside by bedroom window. It finally shattered into dozens of pieces that were strewn around the property along with many other bits of vegetation including  branches off trees.


Part of our trellis fence got completely blown apart.


The door on our emergency bathroom out the back got it’s door completely blown off its hinges...


Literally!


This tall willow tree on our neighbours property got blown over. Thankfully it didn't blow over in the direction of my sleepout otherwise it would have crushed it. It came to rest on another large tree. It’s going to take a bit of work to untangle that, I reckon.


Besides this there was a bit of damage done to a few other trees around my garden. It’ll probably see us right for firewood for the next 12 months or so.


The 2 bed bases I had my broad beans growing on fell over ruining the crop. Power was cut to half the north shore until around midday.

So there’s going to be a bit of work to do tidying this all up.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dealing with Aphids

Aphids are a real problem in my garden, as you can see by this infestation on my Kaffir Lime bush.


There are a number of different plants around my garden that seem to get infested every year with Aphids, especially when they’re putting forth tender new growth. It seems to get worse when the weather’s damp. The problem is compounded by the fact that we also seem to have many ants around our place, which is not uncommon in Auckland’s volcanic soil. Apparently the ants 'farm' the Aphids, using them the suck nutrition from the plants, which the ants then harvest.

It’s quite hard staying on top of this, especially as I don’t like using chemical sprays. I spoke to a garden advisor about this who recommended spraying soapy water on the plants. In particular he recommended Sunlight soap which is a common brand used in the typical New Zealand home laundry — so it's not a bathroom soap. It’s very SOAPY soap! You don't need much of this stuff to get a lather going.


So I thought I’d try it. All I needed was a spray bottle. I just filled the bottom of the laundry tub with warm water and washed my hands with the soap, just enough to make the water soapy then filled up my bottle with the soapy water.

I gave everything a good spray with it, then repeated the process again 2 or 3 days later. It seemed to do the trick. I’ll be sure to do it again next time if I see the aphids come back.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Harvesting Myoga Ginger

One thing I wanted to do when summer rolled around again was to make a short video showing how we harvest the Myoga Ginger as there seems to be a lot of interest in this plant and most examples on U-tube are mostly in Japanese.

So here’s the link. I hope you find it interesting and useful...

Watch U-tube Video