Morning meditations

Morning is my favourite time for browsing about the garden.

I get out of bed when the chooks are asking for breakfast at sunrise (just after 7 am at the moment). With a jersey zipped up over my pyjamas, and gumboots on my feet, I put out their mash and sprinkle some wheat before cleaning out their houses. Then I get the newspaper from the gate, and wander about the garden. It’s a lovely gentle way to start the day.

It’s autumn, but there’s plenty of new life despite that. The roses are clearly not done yet.

The New Zealand myrtle,rōhutu, is covered in berries.

Lophomyrtus obcordata

The blueberry is simultaneously fruiting – for a second time – and losing its leaves.

The autumn raspberries just keep on going.

I look at work I have done to tidy up the tired late-summer growth – bulbs and winter colour in pots – and note new growth on the tomatoes, a fox glove stubbornly emerging from the side of a barrel, and buds on the camellia (it is flowering on the other side).

The tomato plants in a hanging basket (another of the many strategies to protect plants from the chooks) are still producing flowers and fruit.

Chrysanthemums and broad beans among the rainbow chard are flowering. The bean plants popped up all by themselves when I followed advice to ‘chop and drop’ the old, finished plants. Another of many examples of plants in the garden with the will to flourish.

I hope for winter harvest of spinach, kale, pak choi, and salad greens from the plants in the green house and the vertical garden.

My morning meditations on the energy and beauty of living things helps get the day off to a good start. I have become tolerant of the ‘chaos’ of nature too, because we now know it’s meant to be. Even chooks’ dust baths in the ‘lawn’, giving more of a farmyard look than a manicured one, make me happy.

To top off this morning’s garden browsing, a bellbird, korimako, burst into song above me as I reached into the nesting box to retrieve a warm brown egg.

Thank you, bellbird. Thank you, Betty.


POST SCRIPT: Since we’re on the subject of new growth despite the time of year, here’s another example. This is my brother’s new little puppy visiting us last week.


It’s heart-breaking to think our future on earth is threatened by our foolishness when nature continues to be amazing and new life is emerging in the garden. Blackcurrants, strawberries, globe artichokes, blueberries, tomatoes, beans, apples and grapes are beginning to develop, fresh and green.

Each morning is full of promise when a garden is full of flowers.

With plenty to spare for a vase inside.

And in the nearby park, huge trees spread a canopy of new green against a blue sky.

Home sweet home

It has felt quite good to be retired (note the qualification). Being at home has always been something to look forward to, such as at the end of each working day and during holidays. Now that we have to stay home, home remains a sanctuary for me.

There was a southerly blast last night and I’m pleased I photographed the roses before they were blown about. There’s a nice autumn second – or third – blooming happening.

The abundance of Japanese anemones or wind flowers brightens the whole garden (once you’ve got ’em, you’ve got ’em). At night, the flowers close up forming lovely nodding heads.

Loads of cranberries, framed by Japanese anemones – and parsley, chives, swan plants, Cecile Brunner, pittosporum, kowhai, and lilac which is turning to autumn colours.

There are white anemones too, with one of three rhubarb plants behind.

Herbs, fruit and vegetables are doing pretty well despite, in some cases, the ravages of chooks and caterpillars.

It’s rather nice to have hens to keep me company when I’m out in the garden. Yesterday, I picked the seventh bowl of raspberries, and a few blueberries. The chooks don’t like raspberries, but love to jump up and pick low-hanging grapes. Mostly, they prefer to scratch about for bugs.

I felt sorry for the hens when it rained the other day. They didn’t go into their little house for shelter. Instead they huddled under trees or scratched about in the rain getting quite wet and bedraggled. So I found an old umbrella and tied it up over their perch. There it sits quite fetchingly under the banksia rose and behind the abutilon and fairy rose. Even Popcorn, the white hen, matches the colour scheme as she turns pink under the umbrella!

Making a “home sweet home” for the hens is calming somehow in these days of uncertainty and anxiety. My WEA course on Sustainable Living has been cancelled (with two sessions to go) but now I can practise what I have learned at home.