Stating the obvious


From the ODT:

Dunedin’s Botanic Garden should be a place to savour the wafting scent of rhododendrons – not the aroma of urine and vomit, Dunedin City Council staff say.


Fine country fare at Centrewood fete


It was almost raining when we parked at Centrewood Estate for its inaugural spring fete yesterday morning. But once we were inside the shelter of the mature trees which surround the historic homestead we forgot about the weather.

The 140 stalls lining the manicured lawns presented a dazzling display of clothes, rugs, home ware, plants, garden accessories, jewellery, food, books, toys, gifts, art and sculpture.

The range of goods for sale was wide and the quality high.

We spent more than four hours happily wandering from stall to stall, catching up with friends, sampling the fine food and wine and generally enjoying ourselves.

Ewe chew


The lamb paddock needed chewing down and we had a mob of old ewes on hand to do the chewing.

That would have been fine if they’d stopped there.

But no-one had checked the gate between the paddock and the garden and the ewes discovered it was open  . . .

And the castle is . . .


The St Andrew’s Day video of Scotland the Brave generated discussion on which castle was shown.

Richard enlisted the help of the Black Watch forum who came up with the answer: it’s Drummond Castle in Crieff, Perthshire.

It was built in 1491 by Sir John Drummond.

The gardens  look stunning and there are lots more photos here.


Oh, sweet peas


The sweet peas which normally bloom bountifully from mid-summer were slow to start this year, but they’ve also been slow to finish.

However, I think these will be the last until next year.

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The Garden in Autumn


We were still enjoying summer yesterday but the temperature dropped over night reminding us the season has changed and prompting this choice for today’s tribute to poetry month.

The Garden in Autumn  by Elizabeth Smither comes from The Earth’s Deep Breathing, garden poems by New Zealand poets  edited by Harvey McQueen and published by Godwit.

The Garden in Autumn


Summer comes to abandonment.

Winter to total abandonment.

Spring to total lack of control.


But autumn shows the way to go

like an old-fashioned usherette

in an old-fashioned cinema


when a torch was required

and a gentle, ‘Follow me, ;lease’

and the light directed back


at your feet while hers remained

in the darkness as she stepped

unfalteringly down the slope


until it shone on the row

‘Two in the middle’ or ‘Two from the end’

and the torchlight turned and went


bobbing again up the slope

with more grace than many films.

So autumn shows us how


to go about gardening. It clears

a path for the virtuous

to follow and pull a weed.


– Elizabeth Smither –

Why do my dove trees die?


My mother told us she’d like her ashes put under a dove tree when she died and gave me some money to buy one . I planted it, as she requested, in a paddock with a view but it died.

A tree expect said it might have been because it had been too exposed so I bought another one and planted it in a sheltered spot in the garden. My father died shortly afterwards and we put his ashes round it but by the time Mum died nearly two years later that tree too had died.

The funeral director said that wasn’t unusualy but he didn’t know if that was because of the ashes or just coincidence. In case it was the former, when I I bought another tree, this time not a baby but a teenager, and planted it in a different place and for five years it grew happily, but now it’s died too.


I’m planning to buy another, but before I do, I’d like to know why they die and what I can do to ensure the next one survives.

Where have all the flowers gone?


Not wanting to let accuracy get in the way of a headline with a musical allusion, I’ve asked the wrong question.

This isn’t a case of where have all the flowers gone, but why haven’t they come?

I planted the sweet pea seedlings at the end of November and they’re usually covered in blooms by early January, but here we are half way through February and there’s only a few flowers.


The seedlings did have a bit of a difficult start thanks to the rabbits, but they recovered once I covered them in bird netting. I removed the netting once they were established and the rabbits have left them alone, though it looks like they’re still nibbling the lobelia edging.

We’ve been away often, but I’ve neglected sweet peas in dry years in the past and they haven’t sulked so I don’t think lack of water is to blame.

Normally if I keep picking them they give me blooms well into May, but some of the plants are already beginning to look a wee bit past it before they’ve even started flowering.

So what have I done wrong and what should I do to ensure next year’s sweet peas bloom in profusion as they normally do?

Meandering mint


Deborah has been growing mint over at In a Strange Land and she’s very sensibly contained it in a pot.

That’s what I ought to have done when I took a few roots from my mother’s garden after she died.

Instead I just popped them into the garden where they grew and grew and grew and now the mints has taken over the rest of my herbs and is threatening the vegetable garden too:


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