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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Dandelion Dilemma

Climate Crisis could be diminished if we all stop mowing our lawns.  Yes, it’s true!  The use of petrol-powered mowers creates carbon.  A study in New South Wales found that lawn mowing accounted for 5% of carbon dioxide emissions on a single summer weekend.  Even using an electric mower, or a hand mower as I do, can contribute to air pollution.  That fresh cut grass smell comes from organic chemicals which oxidise and contribute to air pollution.  If we leave our grass to grow long the number of bugs living there increases, and they provide food for birds and lizards.  So it all helps the planet.

My small lawn hasn’t been mowed for several months, and I’m wondering whether I might just leave it alone, but I’m uncertain what to do about the dandelions.  Previously I’ve dug out those that were noticeable, and picked the flowers off others before they had time to seed.  If I want to leave the lawn alone should I let the dandelions provide a splash of colour?  I know that dandelion leaves and flowers are highly nutritious, but I’ve never harvested them.

A friend tells me her chooks keep her grass at a low level, but much as I’d love them we don’t have room for chooks.  I plan to experiment with not mowing and see what happens.  I’ve bought a packet of bee-friendly cornflower seeds and will try sowing them in patches in the lawn, hoping a flowery meadow will emerge.  That means I’ll have to water the l;awn until they grow, something I’ve not done before.

I do wonder how I’ll get on with walking across the meadow/lawn when the grass is high and wet (not that we get much rain these days).  Maybe I’ll need gumboots.  We shall see.

I plan to try a no-mow lawn
and wait to see just what may spawn

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This is the view today from the window beside my computer desk.  The Stella cherry tree is covered in blossom, and in another three months it should be covered in cherries, provided that there are sufficient bees to do the necessary pollination.

By the Bridge of Remembrance there’s a new bed of giant tulips.  I suspect they may be lit up at night.  Has anyone seen this?  It all adds to the image of the Garden City.

The cherry blossom looks just great
the fruit requires a three month wait

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Cherry blossom in Harper Avenue

The cherry blossom’s out, so today we walked in Hagley Park, rather than on the beach.

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Our path took us through the golf course and the Botanic Gardens, past a talking tree, to the Daffodil lawns.   The talking tree was an artwork Post Hoc by Dane Mitchell.  It’s actually a stealth cell-tower tree which continually broadcasts lists of millions of lost things.  There are three of these trees in the central city until 1 November.

We went to the Arts Centre in search of coffee and came across the Harbour Singers, part of the weekend’s Songfest.  After a restorative hot chocolate at The Lucky Cup we headed back to the car and a restful afternoon.

We had not expected to see
amid spring flowers a talking tree

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Floral Friday

Bluebell on footpath

The first bluebell is flowering, and it’s a rogue!  It’s pushed its way through the asphalt on the footpath, and is determinedly flowering there.  I love the way these bulbs go where they want to.  No flowers on the bluebells inside the fence yet.  They must be less rebellious!

So good to see this rogue bluebell
who chose a site au naturel

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Fairy doorways

Fairy doorways have materialised along the path to Waimairi Beach.  They delight children and adults alike, and remind me of those I found along the riverbank a couple of years ago.

I think the fairies may have been at work in our garden too, as this narcissus has suddenly appeared.  I’m sure it wasn’t there yesterday.

Narcissus

The other day it wasn’t there
today there’s magic everywhere

 

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The year’s first snowdrop appeared today – more correctly called a snowflake.  I’ve been waiting patiently because they seemed to be later this year.  Last year the first one flowered on 29 May, but back in 2007 the first one appeared on 12 March.  The beauty of having a searchable blog is that these dates are recorded.  I used to put such milestones in a garden diary, but these days I just rely on the blog to tell me.  The first snowdrop is always worth mentioning, as it’s a sign that spring will come.  Today is cold, but the rain has stopped and the sun is peeking through.  My Victorian woman is out on the verandah for the last day of the Porch Placemaking week.  I’ve been to Weft Knitwear to buy some more possum-merino socks, and Stephen’s made French onion soup for lunch.  Hope you’re all keeping warm and dry.

The temperature has dropped today
inside by heat pump’s where I’ll stay

 

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Feral Flowers

My section is small, just ten and a half perches, or one-fifteenth of an acre, so garden space is limited.  We’d been here a few years when I started to crave more space.  Because we’re on a corner we have a long fence line, and we had replaced the ugly corrugated iron fence with pickets at the front and wooden palings down the side.  The gaps between the palings allow us to see out and others to see in, plus they help to mitigate the force of any winds.

I soon had the bright idea that if we were to nail horizontal planks outside the fence the space could be filled with soil and give room for more plants.  I refer to these spaces as my Ground Level Window Boxes.  They provide a year-round home for geraniums and alyssums, and at various seasons they hold bulbs, sweet peas, petunias, and hollyhocks.

Right now there’s even a fruiting tomato plant that arose from compost.

Strictly speaking my Window Boxes are probably on the public footpath, but no-one has ever mentioned this.  After the earthquakes it’s quite possible that lateral shift has changed the boundaries anyway.

Passers-by seem to enjoy the sight of my Ground Level Window Boxes, and they definitely enhance the streetscape.  Some years ago they led to Living Streets giving us a Fencing Award.

Beside the path my plants encroach
to welcome you as you approach

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This garden shop is a wonderful place to visit and meet new plants.  Luckily we don’t have much space in our garden, so it was easy to withstand temptation, plus I’m wary of new plants that will need constant watering.  Most of our garden is trained to survive with little water (except the vegetables, of course).

We bought a punnet of petunias to replenish the hanging basket, and also tarragon and coriander which we will nurture on the kitchen window sill.  I’ve tried growing coriander outside, but never had any success.   We saw a woman buy a small lemon tree with one enormous lemon hanging on it.  I wouldn’t have minded a new geranium, but the prices seemed high and I can thriftily beg cuttings from friends.

Luckily we’d managed to park in a shady spot, and after stowing our plants in the boot we went to the Terra Viva Cafe for refreshments.  This is a popular spot, with a delightful conservatory area.  On a hot day this shaded airy place was just perfect.  I enjoyed an apricot and ginger scone with a berry smoothie – dietary regimes don’t apply when one is eating out!

Terra Viva Cafe

It is a lovely place to stop
the Terra Viva garden shop

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This bed of sunflowers is a feature of the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church.  They have grown there for several years, and are always a welcome sign.  Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity.

I love these flowers so bright and gold
they are a pleasure to behold

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Floral Friday

Sweet William

This plant is a member of the carnation family.  After the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the victorious English are said to have named it ‘Sweet William’ after their leader William, Duke of Cumberland.  The defeated Scots retaliated by naming the noxious weed ragwort ‘Stinking Billy’.

In the Victorian language of flowers Sweet William symbolises gallantry.   Its flowers are edible, and it attracts bees and butterflies.

The Scottish folk did cock a snook
by naming ragwort for the Duke.

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