The greenhouse is proving its worth. My long tee shirts are useful for collecting tomatoes.
Pockets are okay too for a few tomatoes, but you have to be careful not to forget the collected ones – or accidentally squash them.
In the last few days the number of ripe tomatoes has increased.
Every vase has been called up to accommodate the sweet peas.
Yesterday’s ferocious nor’west wind threatened the second flush of roses, so I rescued this Blueberry Hill. These roses are all on one stem. The abutilon flowers were blown off by the wind.
Popcorn is broody again. She is all fluffed up, giving the impression of an abundance of feathers.
If there was sound with these photos, you would hear her muttering darkly about how cruel I am to shut her out of the nesting box. And she doesn’t let up.
In the wider backyard of our city, people are gathering for the Backyard Buskers’ Festival. Formerly the “World Buskers Festival”, border restrictions mean no international performers this year. A circus trio was entertaining a large crowd in the city today, and another pitch I passed was full of people waiting for the next performance.
We are not unaware of how fortunate we are to be able to live like this now. On Saturday, at a Christchurch Symphony Orchestra performance in Victoria Square, I noticed a person on a balcony of the nearby Managed Isolation hotel. A poignant reminder of how lucky we are – for now.
I’m not a big fan of house plants. In the seventies it was ‘the thing’ and I became overwhelmed by monsteras and spider plants which I lugged from flat to flat and which threatened to take over like triffids. The only two which I still have are kept in the garage. One is an aspidistra and the other a hoya. I water them sparingly, feed them rarely and may have repotted them once in forty-odd years.
Today, the hoya scent drew my attention to the flowers it still produces. Grudgingly, I have to admit they are rather lovely, dripping with nectar.
Now house plants are fashionable again and I have seen articles about house plant competitions, prices for desirable plants going stratospheric on the internet and people stealing rare plants from the botanic gardens’ hothouse.
I do enjoy the two indoor plants a former colleague gave me. They sit on my desk and are kind of cheerful and quirky.
One of my nieces has a collection of succulents on her window sill, but I’ve never really warmed to those sorts of plants – until I bought some on impulse to put in a difficult-to-pot outdoor hanging container my brother had given me. They look rather fetching – like a living picture, perhaps.
Trouble is, they are multiplying and really need dividing and replanting. I wouldn’t bring them inside, but I’ve considered making a small rockery for them – if I can find a space.
I picture them multiplying and taking over the garden forty years from now.
It’s Mum’s 92nd birthday today. We went to Mona Vale for high tea. Today is hot and sunny, so it was nice to be inside, but with a view of the beautiful gardens and the river and people lunching on the terrace.
We both donned our pearls for the occasion. My pearl necklace and bracelet are made from a double string of pearls which were my great-aunt Lil’s.
Speaking of greats…Mum is, as of 3.40pm today, a great-grandmother and I am a great-aunt! An amazing birthday present. That really is a treat.
Yesterday we went shopping in Kaiapoi and I was pleased to buy Mum a skirt for her birthday. It is the closest we’ve found to her beloved skirt bought for $25 from Hays many years ago. She bought two of them then, and one finally parted company with its hem the other day. The trouble has been finding a skirt with pockets. It was great to find this one, and even better that it is designed by a local company.
I took this photo to send to my sister holidaying on the West Coast, to get her approval, which speedily arrived. Isn’t technology wonderful?
After our high tea, I thought a birthday portrait of Mum might be appropriate. There are two blue velvet wing chairs in the foyer at Mona Vale.
See the little green bunnies?
We were stuffed after our generous high tea. And, from the photo at the top, I can see it must be half-rations for me now that Christmas is behind us. Clearly I’ve inherited my father’s genes.
Happy Birthday, Mum, and to your new great-grandson. There are now two of you to treat on this special day.
My first new year surprise was to discover a large, fully-formed cauliflower emerging from a mess of leaves. I’d forgotten that this is what cauliflower do: show no promise whatsoever then boom! appear like overnight mushrooms.
I planted cauliflower and savoy cabbage plants in July. I worried that they were too close together as they had to be protected under a chicken-proof dome.
As the plants grew bigger, they outgrew the dome. I improvised a barricade with bamboo stakes and sturdy bags which had held bark mulch. This proved to work, even though the chooks would jump up to peck at the leaves.
It looked as if all that would come of these plants would be leaves for the chooks to eat. The plants grew above the barricade and had long, leggy stems. Even the chooks might turn up their beaks at these disastrous leaves which were not only pecked full of holes, but spattered with poop from the birds in the nearby trees.
One cabbage was making some effort to form a heart, but the cauliflower was a delightful surprise – six months after planting.
We have now almost finished eating the first cauliflower – yes, the first. When I picked it, I discovered another one forming beside it.
Even without chickens, vegetable gardening is a challenge. We’ll never achieve self-sufficiency, but there’s something special about providing for yourself.