Monthly Archives: November 2011

Genealogy in a garden

As the garden bursts into more colour, leaf and flowers I have been around it this afternoon and taken photos of plants that have family history attached to them.

This Campanula or Canterbury Bell plant was my maternal grandmothers. My mother took a cutting many years ago and by my reckoning shifted it to at least 4 different gardens she kept. After her death I brought a cutting home to my garden and here it is many, many years later still flowering nicely from the original plant.

This variegated thyme has come to my garden from my mother’s final garden. She saw the plant growing well in a garden of one of our country’s large airports and commented that she would like a piece of it. The story goes that my Dad quietly bent down and plucked a small piece and once planted, it romped away in her garden. (Note here – my Dad was a very law abiding citizen but he enjoyed this wee story and his daring!) Again it shifted with her several times and it now lives in pots in my garden. It is pretty, delicate and smells lovely when touched.

And here are the chives that Mum gave me a clump of many years ago. I divided the clump last year but here they are growing apace and putting up the lovely mauve flowers that the bees just adore.

“Snow rose” was one of the first carpet type roses and keeps a very low growing, spreading profile. Its position here does not suit it that well but the hardy wee thing keeps on. My parents gave me this plant back in the early 1980’s and it transplanted to this garden in 1988 very happily. As its name suggests it can look like snow when the small papery white flowers cover it.

These lovely carnations are from a plant Mum gave to her good friend. After Mum died her friend was happy to give me some cuttings or slips to try and get these flowers established here. I don’t have the perfect spot for them but after several failures they are now growing well. Mum used to bring us bunches of them when she visited. It is wonderful to have them as a reminder of her and her abilities as a gardener.

The last photo is one of the more recent “historical” plants in my garden. Again it began in Mums’ garden. It is a Nemesia, one of many different colours in this useful plant’s family. My Mum enjoyed seeing the results of all her gardening work but she also took great delight in cutting things back to stimulate new growth and to keep the garden tidy.

Her advice to me on Nemesias was to give them a “good haircut with the hedge clippers” once they became leggy and seedy. I was a little cautious the first time I did this but her advice was correct. The plants bounced back with renewed vigour and began to flower prolifically again.

Another bonus and one Mum also enjoyed as a gardener and thrifty person, is that Nemesia seed easily and so new plants pop up in all many of spots, resulting in a ready supply of new plants to pop into gaps.

Some Nemesia have a lovely scent which makes weeding and gardening near them a real pleasure.

And I posted about the lovely miniature rose that bears the name of one of my children.

Do you have genealogical history in your garden I wonder?

Yippee a honey bee!!

I was alerted to an agitated buzzing sound on one of the windows this morning. Hmmm I thought that does not sound like a bumble bee or a wasp. Perhaps it is a fly feeling the slowing effects of a fairly chilly start to the day.

However I am delighted to report that it was a Honey Bee! I scooped it gently out the window and wished it well as it flew out into my garden.

Why am I so delighted about seeing a honey bee? Our beehives in New Zealand have been decimated by the Varroa Mite and this has meant a dramatic reduction in bees and I have particularly noticed their absence on the past 2 or 3 years.

Our garden has lots of bee friendly flowers and plants but if the bees are struggling for survival they will not be here doing the wonderful work they do for us in terms of pollinating and producing tasty, healthful honey.

I hope the local hives are regenerating and that the helpful bees will be back in my garden in large numbers very soon.

The sound of summer

After weeks of grey skies, lots of drizzly rain and gale force winds yesterday was a bit brighter and warmer. I was visiting a friend who lives nearby and I was delighted to hear the sound of a cicada.

Cicadas herald summer here so perhaps come December 1st we will begin to enjoy a lovely, warm summer.

Cicadas are native to New Zealand and it is the male who makes the loud crackling song which ends in a click as he flicks his wings. On a hot summer’s day the air can be filled with the deafening songs of hundreds of cicadas singing loudly for their mate.

The Greek poet Xenarchus wrote: Happy are cicada’s lives, for they have only voiceless wives”.

The weather today has been even better with little wind and warm sunshine all day. The two cherry tomato plants which have been growing apace in my kitchen waiting for warmer and calmer weather are now planted outdoors and staked firmly to withstand the wind if it returns. We also planted another crop of lettuce.

Roll on summer!

Chorus cicada

Bridal shower

As I mentioned in my post “Backyard Cricket and Barbeque” it was the women’s turn to gather a week later and honour the bride to be.

So last Saturday a dozen or so invited women gathered at the bride’s parents home to enjoy a Bridal shower. It was my first experience of a bridal shower. I was more familiar with Kitchen Teas so it was with some relief that the invitation asked us to bring a Xmas tree decoration for the bride to decorate her first Xmas tree. Note: the wedding is a calendar month away today. Yes, a Xmas eve wedding.

In terms of organization, compared with the men and the Stag do the previous week, this event was an example of a well-oiled, highly organized and skillfully arranged and prepared celebration. The bridesmaid had done a superb job handling the whole thing from start to finish.

We played some really fun games, we ate from a groaning table with lots of food, and some specially made to accommodate dietary needs. There were prizes and surprises and to cap it all off we were entertained by four talented female singers from the choir Nota Bene. The singers had been given a list of the bride to be’s favourite Xmas carols and songs and from that they selected numbers that worked well with their voices.

While the men had scurried about and found various articles of clothing to wear to the stag do that fitted the theme, we women agonized over the old chestnut of what to wear. Did we dress right up, go casual or smart casual? I am relieved to report that we all looked fine in what we wore and the bride to be looked radiant.

So the countdown is really on now. I am off to write a list of things that need to be done before the wedding and Christmas. You will understand why my blogposts have thinned out lately…..there is a lot to do.

Test results

Some of you might have wondered what I was testing for yesterday when I posted the word “Test” and nothing else in my post yesterday.

I had heard from another WordPress blogger that Facebook was not going to publish any WordPress blogposts after 22 November 2011. I wanted to check that out and so in haste simply sent the quick post.

I am pleased to report that I can still publish to Facebook so my loyal readers can still access my blog that way. The other way is to subscribe using the “Email subscription” widget on the left hand side of my blog.

It is nice to know you are reading my blog. Thank you, it makes a real difference in my life:-)

Synchronicity today

We have a birthday in the family today. A year after this child was born, my parents gave us a miniature rose bearing the name of our one year old. The rose has survived a shift to our current garden and a little over three decades of life. I grew a new bush from a cutting off the original a few years ago and we now watch the two plants to see whether they will flower on cue.

This year the buds have stayed tight thanks to cooler temperatures and cloudier skies for the past week. But yesterday the signs were there that the buds were ready to open and sure enough they have bloomed fully today, marking the birthday.

We have enjoyed the synchronicity.

Walk this way

The mayor of our city is the youngest mayor in New Zealand. He is young and innovative and has been showing the way to healthy fitness and weight management by walking and swimming.

Last night in my suburb, which has a network of walkways, the first of the Mayoral walks was undertaken.

“Join the Mayor and “bend his ear” on the Porirua Mayoral Walk Series
Porirua is home to a beautiful harbour and a stunning array of spectacular landscapes and – but often we’re too busy to take the time to explore everything our city has to offer.
Mayor Nick Leggett has organized a series of “Mayoral Walks” that will allow residents, community groups and businesses to join him in taking full advantage of Porirua’s awesome natural assets – and help keep fit and healthy at the same time!” Source: Porirua City Council Website.

The route through our suburb included our street and we watched as 40 people participated in the walk with the Mayor. I’m not sure how much talking to the Mayor was happening as we live in a hilly part of the area but it was good to see a new approach to celebrating the walking tracks in our city, led by the city leader and some of the councillors.

Backyard cricket and barbeque

The groom-to-be in the family had his stag “do” on Sunday. He decided he would like a barbeque after a game of backyard cricket, to be held at a park area a little up the coast from here.
Instructions to the invited men included that they were to come dressed as their favourite cricketer.

There was much hilarity and nostalgia here on Sunday as the cupboards and drawers were rifled in attempts to find suitable clothing to fit the desired look.

Out came a hand-knitted, cable-patterned sleeveless pullover that I had knitted a long, long time ago and which now fits the owner rather too snugly. A machine knitted wool jersey appeared that my mother-in-law knitted many years ago to help keep out the mean cold winds that can sweep our cricket grounds even in the height of summer.

And then a variety of white floppy sun hats and caps with various embellishments were tried on, laughed about, memories shared and selections made.

A real find for the male being honoured was a precious t shirt he wore with much devotion as a child in the 1990’s. The t shirt was printed in recognition of a national cricketer’s retirement, noting his service to the game.

How that ever fitted him on Sunday is beyond me but I gather our “groom” squeezed into it and wore it in good humour. He was also required to play the whole game with his dominant arm/hand tied in a sling, in order to even up the play as only one or two of the gathered number play cricket regularly today.

The game had various “rules” that were altered as the game went along, keeping in accord with backyard cricket games and certainly not to be found in standard rule books. No one knew who won but it sounded as if they had a lot of fun and mercifully no injuries were sustained.

As for the barbeque the meat and bread and tomato sauce were the popular items. A lolly cake was devoured with gusto but the strawberries and salad hung fire…..no surprises there.

It was good fun standing back and watching the preparations and noting the differences when men organize “dos” and share food together.

This weekend it is their turn to watch and smile as the females gather for the bridal shower!