Saving, and savouring, daylight

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Rural landscape, just south of Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

When the boy-child was small and had limitless, mother-draining energy, I loathed daylight saving. I spent those long evenings wrangling the solar-powered monster into bed so I could — finally, finally — stop for the day.

I think overall I still prefer light in the early morning when I’m more alert, but I can’t deny that it’s incredibly pleasant to watch a landscape slowly turn ever more golden while having a beer on the deck with friends.

Not my deck in this case — our views aren’t nearly as spectacular.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | daylight

Grounds for hope

New growth on the smaller of my road-trip hydrangeas. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The hydrangea bushes (well, full-sized plant and little stem) brought back from Whanganui are both looking healthy and have new growth.

New flowers on the larger road-trip hydrangea. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Not quite knowing how to care for my gifted plants, I’ve read and tried to follow advice both online and in print. For now, it seems that lavish amounts of attention and water have been enough.

A belated contribution to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | hope

Monday Macro

#proactivehopefulness

A special place

img_6329 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Last November I visited Taranaki in New Zealand’s North Island for the annual garden festival. Armed with my carefully annotated programme and map, I criss-crossed the provence, visiting an array of private gardens whose owners had kindly opened them to the public for the duration of the festival.

All were beautiful and interesting, but the one that has proved to be the most memorable was neither on my list, nor a private garden.

img_6316 Entrance, Hollard Gardens, Kaponga, Taranaki, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Hollard Gardens was established in 1927 by the then owners, Bernie and Rose Hollard. While the garden is now owned and managed by the Taranaki Regional Council, “Hollard Gardens is unique in the fact that it is an achievement of almost a lifetime of work by a private individual. It is a plantsman’s garden and a reflection of patience and horticultural skill.” (The History of Hollards)

“Bernie selected his plants based on personal appeal and whether they would fill gaps in his existing collections of species or varieties. The overall design of the garden considered not only the aesthetics, but whether a plant would thrive in its environment.” (The History of Hollards)

The gardens consist of several areas, including a woodland glade, avenues of lawn lined with different rhododendrons, hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs, and a kitchen garden.

It was the kitchen garden that made Hollard so memorable and special for me. It was one of several organic gardens I visited that have been designed according to permaculture principles, but the most accessible and informative.

That the garden is managed by the Regional Council demonstrates an official commitment to sustainable food production which I find refreshing and reassuring.

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge | a special spot

Also posted to Friday Flowers

Grateful for every drop of rain

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Raindrops on hydrangea flowers. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The bush-fire orange cast in our skies yesterday had largely blown away by evening, and this morning we woke to find it had rained overnight. Since no more is forecast for this week, I am feeling incredibly grateful for the little bit of relief the rain brought both to the garden and our air quality.

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Raindrops on blue borage flower. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Posted to Macro Monday

Lights on at 4pm

… and then the sky turned yellow. Parnell pool and Waitemata Harbour, around 2.30pm. image: Su Leslie 2020

The sky is Auckland has been vaguely hazy for days now, but around two this afternoon, it began to turn bush-fire yellow.

Smoke from the blazes consuming so much of Australia has reached us.

Parnell, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2020

St Stephen’s, Parnell. Image: Su Leslie 2020

View from my office, 5pm. Image: Su Leslie 2020

It’s really hard not to go all apocalyptic right now. And I’m over 2000km of ocean away from the nearest bush fires.