Posts Tagged ‘garden’

With high temperatures forecast Christine and I chose the Botanic Gardens for our monthly walk, thinking there would be plenty of shady spots. Many other people had the same idea and the car park was filling fast when I arrived at 9.30am. I carefully backed into a vacant spot at the end of a row.

There was no wind and the gardens looked immaculate as usual. It was obvious there was a cruise ship in town, we stopped to chat with a couple of tourists, and the Gardens tour shuttles were full.

I matched the flower bed
Tourists kindly took a snap of Christine and me

We popped into the Museum to inquire about the Shift exhibition there and discovered there are discount prices for Seniors and Community Service Card holders. The helpful woman told us booking is not essential and it’s best to avoid entering at the booking hour when it can be busy. Other times are less crowded and you can stay as long as you like.

When I returned to the car park I was surprised to find another vehicle parked close to mine, on the footpath. This was blocking my driver’s door so I got in the passenger’s side and climbed across. By now the car park was full with many cars seeking a spot, and as I prepared to leave a man guided his partner into the lane so she could take my place. The access road was jammed and visibility blocked, so I asked this man if he would guide me out, feeling very glad I’d parked backwards. He kindly stood in the middle of the road and held up both lanes of traffic to facilitate my exit.

Today the park was popular
no space left for another car

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Floral Friday

My oriental lilies, planted in 1998, have opened their buds:

Oriental lilies

The lilies of the field are well-known because they toil not, neither do they spin. In my “field” they also require no maintenance, except the occasional stake to ensure they face the path. They are watered only occasionally, but every year they re-appear with a beautiful scent that assails us as we walk past.

Another newcomer this week is a tiny viola which has appeared between the bricks on the patio.

Volunteer Viola

I regularly weed between the bricks, but if I recognise a volunteer viola I leave it, and am delighted if it produces a flower.

These Friday flowers large and small
give pleasure whether short or tall

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Horotane Valley offers tree-ripened apricots for just a few weeks each summer. This morning we made our fourth weekly trip there to stock up on this delicious fruit.

Sundrop Apricots

Apricots are an absolute favourite of mine and they remind me of my childhood. Our house in Manchester Street had an enormous apricot tree in the garden. A swing hung from it and the branches were good to climb. In January we would pick huge amounts of fruit and my mother would bottle them and make apricot jam. One year in the 1950s my brother spent six summer weeks in Taieri, doing his Compulsory Military Training and learning to fly a Tiger Moth. Mother, not wanting him to miss the harvest, packed a wooden crate with apricots and freighted it down to him by rail. My brother told me years later that this had been unnecessary as he was being fed five course dinners every night in the Officers’ Mess.

In 1991 I planted an apricot tree in the Cottage garden, but sadly it has never had more than a few fruit. In 2001 I planted another, called Aprigold, but the fruit eventually turned out to be Golden Queen peaches.

Apricots are high in Vitamin A, and were eaten by astronauts on the Apollo Moon Mission.

According to legend, the apricot tree is the only tree that Noah brought from the Ark, to plant in the new soil and grow it for the people. The Flood destroyed many fruit trees, but the apricot survived.

Due to its bright, orange color, the apricot represents optimism and hope for the future. It’s also a symbol of confidence, joyfulness, courage, and abundance.

I doubt that any would dispute
this is a most delicious fruit

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Floral Friday

A clump of pretty pink penstemons is flowering in our garden today.

They are a long-blooming perennial that is drought and heat tolerant – ideal for a climate crisis – and they are attractive to bees and other pollinators. The common name beardtongue comes from the long and hairy stamen which looks like a tongue located in the center of the lip-shaped flowers.

Penstemons have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans as one of their medicinal plants. They treated toothaches by chewing the root pulp of this plant and then placing it in the cavity. They also used penstemon to prevent inflammation and accelerate healing of the open wounds.

This flower represents courage and spiritual knowledge.

Ideal for drought times is this flower
with toothache-healing secret power

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Floral Friday

These tall blue flowers are larkspur. They suddenly appeared in our garden many years ago. Friends had previously delivered us a load of horseshit, and I presume that’s where the larkspur originated. I didn’t know what they were until an English visitor identified them. Apparently all parts of the plant are toxic to humans and animals. Larkspur is an annual member of the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Butterflies and bees love it, but the fact it’s toxic puts off most other creatures.

In medieval Italy, it was said that larkspur came about when three warriors slew a fierce dragon and wiped their swords in the grass. The dragon’s blue blood and venom mingled to create a beautiful, poisonous blue flower.

According to Native American legend, larkspur got its name from an angel who descended from the heavens. The angel parted the skies, sending down a spike crafted from pieces of the sky for him to use to climb down from heaven. But the sun’s rays dried the spike causing it to shatter, the tiny fragments scattering in the wind. When these tiny pieces of sky touch the earth, larkspur flowers burst from the ground. 

Larkspur symbolizes carefree summer days, feeling lighthearted, and having fun, so it seems an appropriate plant to have, despite being poisonous.

For bees blue flowers are de rigueur
and they are fond of our larkspur

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Floral Friday

White Clover Flowers

My “no mow” lawn now hosts dozens of clover flowers. Apparently all parts of this plant are edible. The dried leaves and flowers are slightly sweet and give a faint vanilla-like flavour to baking, plus the flowers make a delicious tea. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked as a substitute for spinach. I haven’t tried it, have you?

The shamrock is the symbol of Ireland, and all shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks. Clovers are in the Trifolium family and the word Trifolium means having three leaves. A clover can’t be a shamrock if it has four leaves. Having four leaves is a genetic mutation of a three-leaf clover. Basically a shamrock is a three-leaf clover symbol of Ireland and a four-leaf clover is a symbol of good luck. I haven’t seen the latter in my garden, but I keep looking.

The Clover I remember from my childhood was the sister of Katy in the What Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge. The only other time I’ve come across the name is in the 1968 song Crimson and Clover.

Four leaves means there is one over
not a shamrock but a clover

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Floral Friday

This is the best time of year for flowers in the garden. The roses are rioting, and this bright dianthus is flaunting itself by the front steps.

It’s called Angel of Desire and was planted five years ago.

Flamboyant Angel of Desire
Def’nitely has both verve and fire

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Floral Friday

These lovely little flowers were given to me last year by a friend. She didn’t know what they were, and it wasn’t until they flowered this month that I was able to take a photo. I posted this on the CHS Hort Talk Facebook page and two people promptly identified them for me.

They are Sisyrinchium Devon Skies, sometimes called Blue-eyed Grass, and a member of the iris family. I’ve several times had useful information from the CHS page, and it is a great resource. I’m hoping these plants will spread and flower every year. Do you have them in your garden?

Although so far their growth is sparse
I’m hoping for more Blue-eyed Grass.

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daily life
cycles continue
tulips in municipal beds
scents of sweet jasmine assail those who walk by my house
determined plants push through cracked paths
remind us we are
the garden

Assailing Jasmine

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Floral Friday

Petunias make a lovely splash of colour above the table on the patio where we’ve been having all our meals on these recent hot days.

The hanging basket was a present from a friend several years ago. Each year the birds scavenge pieces of the fibre liner for their nests, and next year I will have to replace it again. I planted the cascading blue petunias just two months ago and they are all set to flower through the summer, provided I keep them watered.

An item in yesterday’s “Press” made several suggestions about creating an outdoor room. One of these said: Installing adequate UV shade is one of the most important outdoor investments you can make. Umbrellas and shade sails were recommended, but we have found the ideal is to plant a deciduous tree for shade in summer. Our patio is a much-loved outdoor room, and we enjoy the avian company there.

These flowers a deeper shade of blue
are set to last the summer through

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