Nothing but water between here and South America

The Pacific Ocean, Otago coastline, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2018

You realise how isolated New Zealander when you can stand on an east coast beach and know that the nearest landmass beyond the horizon is Chile.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | vast

Friday flowers

img_5823 Image: Su Leslie 2019

One of the more unusual gardens included in the Taranaki Garden Festival was actually a cemetery — Te Henui Cemetery.

On the edge of New Plymouth’s CBD, Te Henui is the city’s oldest cemetery, with graves dating back to 1861. It occupies almost 10 hectares (24 acres) and is extensively planted with fruit and ornamental trees, while flower beds bring colour, texture and fragrance to the (mostly heritage) plots.

img_5826 Image: Su Leslie 2019
img_5836 Image: Su Leslie 2019
img_5822 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Large-scale maintenance is done by the council’s park’s’ staff, but the magnificent flower-plantings are entirely due to the efforts of a small group of volunteers.

img_5827 Image: Su Leslie 2019
img_5837 Image: Su Leslie 2019
img_5825 Image: Su Leslie 2019
img_5824 Su Leslie 2019

I find cemeteries fascinating; sad and poignant, and full of glimpses into other people’s lives and families. Sadly, in New Zealand at least, I don’t often find them beautiful. Graves that are lovingly tended by partners and children quickly become neglected as generations pass on. Many of us don’t know even where our grandparents and other members of the wider whanau are buried, let alone have the ability to visit and care for their graves.

Through their wonderful gardening efforts, the volunteers at Te Henui are dissolving time and distance. The beautiful, tranquil, contemplative space that they maintain and watch over helps connect the present and the past, and remind us all of our humanity.

img_5835 Image: Su Leslie 2019

The Changing Seasons, September 2019

hokianga heads1001 Hokianga Harbour, above Omapere. The sand dunes on the far side are gradually being covered with forest. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My September began in Omapere, on the Hokianga Harbour — a long weekend for the Big T and I revisiting an area we first explored in our early days together. Without knowing it when we booked, we even stayed in the same place, though it has been transformed from a small motel into a larger hotel complex.

In the thirty years since we lasted visited, the giant sand dune on the western side of the harbour has begun to disappear under vegetation — an environmental success, but making the dune a little less spectacular.

On the other hand, the foreshore at Omapere is disappearing into the sea. Along the beach was clear evidence of massive erosion, including several houses and large areas of reserve that have collapsed into the beach. Enormous concrete barriers have been placed on the lawn of the hotel to “protect” the building, but I suspect that if T and I were to visit in another 30 years, we’d need to find alternative accommodation to stay on dry land.

My gardening efforts this month have been very modest; lots of planning and tidying, some helicopter parenting of a few seeds and seedlings, and trying to enjoy the spring flowers before wind and rain destroy them.

T and I celebrated my birthday with a few days in Wellington — my favourite home away from home. T hardly ever visits our capital city, so it was fun playing tourists together. As always seems to happen when I visit, the weather was good for most of our stay and the clouds were rolling in as we left — perfect.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Because I’ve been a bit slow this month, four of my fellow bloggers have already posted their Changing Seasons;

Ju-Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Jude from Life at the Edge

A Wonderful Sheep

Please pop over to see how September played out for them, and also:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Brian at Bushboys World

Gill at Talking Thailand