Back in time; the gardener’s desk

Desk; the gardener’s cottage at Tupare, New Plymouth. The cottage has been left looking much as it would have in the 1960s. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Six Word Saturday

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

The Changing Seasons, October 2019

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Kakabeak seedling No. 1. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I just looked back over my past few Changing Seasons posts, and this will be the third consecutive month I’ve talked about how cold and rainy and windy it’s been.

Consequently, once again I haven’t strayed far from home, and have taken very few photos. The silver lining though is that I’ve spent time extra working on the horticulture course I’m taking and have passed the first paper.

If I had to sum October up, I’d say it’s been a growing month. Lots of the seeds I’ve planted have germinated — including a second kakabeak. New plants that we’ve been able to shelter are thriving and we should be able to pick the first tomatoes quite soon. My gardening knowledge has grown, and with it my confidence.

I’d still really like some sunshine soon though. Especially as I’m off to New Plymouth tomorrow to explore the Taranaki Garden Festival and Sustainable Backyard Trail.

So apologies in advance if I’m a little slow to update the Changing Seasons blogroll. With luck I’ll be filling my brain with free-range, sustainably grown, nutrient-dense ideas (and my tummy with yummy produce).

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.

Update

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful\

A Wonderful Sheep

Donna at DJ Ranch

Brian at Bushboys World

And a huge welcome to …

Amy at The world in a Book

Tatiana at Travelways

Margaret at From Pyrenees to Penines

Horse Addict

… all of whom are joining us for the first time this month.

 

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

Shall all your cares beguile

rotorua gardens_1Not only music, but gardens, for a while shall all my cares beguile. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The human voice is the first and sometimes the best musical instrument. I love the music of Henry Purcell (1659-1695), and really like the simplicity of this song:

Music, music for a while
Shall all your cares beguile.
Shall all, all, etc…
Shall all your cares beguile
Wond’ring, wond’ring
how your pains were eased, eased, eased
And disdaining to be pleased
‘Til Alecto free the dead
‘Til Alecto free the dead
From their eternal bands
‘Til the snakes drop, drop, drop
Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop from her head
And the whip,
And the whip from out her hand
Music, music for a while
Shall all your cares beguile.
Shall all, all, etc…
Shall all your cares beguile
Shall all your cares beguile

I’ve heard it sung by a number of different people, and this, by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky is my favourite.

My dear friend Sarah at Art Expedition is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs for the month of June. You can see her latest post here.

The Changing Seasons, December 2018

Photo 22-12-18, 4 10 55 PM Waiting for the music. Part of the tableau inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”, created in The Masfield Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

December has been another month of relative inactivity, with few photos added to my archive.

Unexplained pain in my right leg has kept me from traveling much (a visit to Hamilton Gardens notwithstanding) — or even walking far. A post-Christmas visit to the doctor is planned.

But beyond that, I seem to be living in a curious limbo. The Big T and I have talked for years of selling up and leaving Auckland, but while our enthusiasm for a life-change is undiminished, work, families and a host of other roadblocks have continually flung themselves in our path.

At times I feel I’m living in The Eagles’ “Hotel California”

“… you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Photo 22-12-18, 4 09 34 PMThe Mansfield Garden, Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The reason for my visit Hamilton Gardens (apart from testing my pain threshold) was to see the newest creation — The Mansfield Garden  — named after New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923).

The garden recreates the setting of Mansfield’s short story The Garden Party (1922), complete with the facade of the family home, lawns, Ford Model T on the drive, a pond and a tennis court upon which a marquee has been erected to cover tables laden with carefully recreated facsimiles of the food described in the story.

Written a year before Mansfield’s death from pulmonary tuberculosis, The Garden Party tells the story of the wealthy Sheridan family as they prepare for, and host a garden party. During preparations, they learn that a working-class neighbour has died suddenly. While Laura, one of the Sheridan daughters, believes that the party should be canceled as a mark of respect, the rest of the family disagrees and the party goes ahead. Later Laura visits the dead man’s family with a basket of party leftovers, and is taken to see the body, laid out for the wake.

The story is seen as a reflection on Mansfield’s own impending death. She had been diagnosed with tuberculosis several years earlier, at the time considered a death sentence.

The Mansfield Garden is lovely; both as a recreation of the story’s setting, and as a beautiful space in its own right. It was incredibly busy when we were there, and the light was quite intense, so I took very few photos.

I guess I’ll need a return trip on a quieter, more overcast day.

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.

Update

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Little Pieces of Me

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

DP Photo Challenge #3: 

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Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“Garden as though you will live forever.” — William Kent

Gardening is both an act of faith in the future, and an investment in it. At a personal and a global level, we need plants to sustain life.

My little garden is flourishing right now and giving me enormous pleasure, as well as putting food on our table.

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Image: Su Leslie, 2016

As the Big T and I plan our escape from the city, there is quite a lot of uncertainty about where we will g, but top of my wish list (along with high-speed Internet and a good local cafe) is space for gardens and maybe a little orchard.

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Image: Su Leslie, 2016

It’s taken me a long time to grow a real connection with the food I eat, and the environment I inhabit. That is something I want to carry into my future.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is future.

Six Word Saturday: out of town for the day

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Detail, Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The Big T and I headed out of Auckland for the day to visit Hamilton Gardens (voted International Garden of the Year 2014). A four hour round trip — but totally worth it.