“… taken in wine is good for melancholy”

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Buckwheat flower (fagopyrum esculentum). Image: Su Leslie 2019

According to Culpepper’s English Physician and Complete Herbal, buckwheat also  “provoketh urine, increaseth milk, and looseneth the belly.”

And to think, I just planted it to attract the bees.

Friday Flowers

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
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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
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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

Regular Random: five minutes with a rhododendron

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Image: Su Leslie 2019

It hasn’t been much of a week for walking, so I was extra-grateful for the absence of rain yesterday morning. Not a long walk, but enough to see what is happening in the “street-of-beautifully-kept-gardens.”

Lots of the camellia flowers are gone — lost to the wind and rain. But the single rhododendron that I can photograph without actually trespassing is looking really good.

Regular Random is a photography project hosted by Desley at desleyjane pictures. There are two versions:

Version 1:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to not interfere with the subject, instead see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and
  • ping back to Desley’s latest post

Version 2:

  • choose an object
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • put the object in different locations to see how the background or surroundings can change the way the object looks
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s latest post

And since it’s Friday … #fridayflowers

Friday flowers

Yuzu blossom and fruit bud. Image: Su Leslie 1019

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. — Michael Pollan

On the bright side …

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Raindrop on manuka flower. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The first six months of 2019 were the driest on record in Auckland, and now August is looking like being the wettest — with rain on 19 of 23 days, and more to come.

I’ve stopped worrying about parched soil and the water level in our tank, but I think I might need some taller gumboots (wellies, rain boots, Regenstiefel, botas de lluvia; whatever they’re called in your part of the world).

And of course raindrops on flower petals are rather pretty.

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Manuka flower. Image: Su Leslie 2019

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Manuka flower. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Friday Flowers