Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Very Merry Guru Christmas

From Garden to Garden,

and Heart to Heart,

from one Guru to another.

The Warmth and Joy of Christmas,

brings us Closer to each other.

To all Garden Gurus, both far and wide, across our home - Earth.

May we all have much pleasure
this Christmas as we celebrate the

birth of the
greatest Garden Guru of us all - ever!. Have a

wonderful festive family time!

Merry Christmas Gurus!


Gurus Keith and Milli

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Frosty foliage and flowers

I took these photos two and a half weeks ago! Then my laptop died and I kind of forgot about them, oops!

The morning after I took my Frozen Desert photos there was still a lot of humidity in the air, combine that with freezing temperatures and we had a beautiful frost! In this photo in particular the frost looks more like sugar crystals than ice crystals. Some of my Japanese maple leaves fell down and landed on my mums, I thought it was quite pretty.





Here's a frosty echinecea seed head with just a few petals left.









Here's the same red rose that you saw in the previous post topped with snow.




These are my neighbors' red maple leaves that blew into our yard! I guess I can't complain too much cuz I took some nice photos of them, and later I used them to mulch some of my flower beds.





I've noticed that water on the back side of red maple leaves bead up, look out how the beads froze in this photo! Cool, yes?





Lastly, here's some Japanese maple leaves that had fallen on my sweet alyssum. I thought about using this image in my blog's title line/box, right under where it says "Amy's Ukalichick's Que Syrah, Syrah!" but above my greetin but not in the box that says, "Welcome to my site". Can anyone tell me how to do it? I haven't figured it out yet. EDIT: Never mind, I figured it out.


Frosty Japanese maple and alyssum with greeting


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First snow!

Our first snow was actually yesterday morning, so although I took these photos yesterday I was too busy cleaning up from our weekend celebrations to post them. LOL! Better late than never, right?

I got up just before dawn so I could take some photos before getting the boys off to school. This is our swimming pool and deck--does it look inviting? Don't you wanna jump right in? LOL.

For a short while it actually snowed pretty well, which was fun for the boys who have never seen snow falling before. Earlier in the fall we had some flurries that melted instantly, but not like this.



I let Casey out on the balcony and he seemed to actually enjoy the snow! Can you Alan in the photo down on the ground? Casey probably would have stayed out on the balcony all morning if I hadn't picked him up and brought him in. And his little feet were so cold!





Should I prune my roses?  Back in the San Francisco Bay Area we don't prune roses until the end of January, but I don't know about my new colder climate.






Soon after the boys left for school the sky cleared up and I knew I had only a short time left to photograph the snow before it all melted.





Is this a bird bath or a bird ice skating rink? I feel like I should get a miniature Zamboni.









I continue to be amazed by how beautiful and healthy my sage looks in spite of the constant frost, freezes, and now snow!





My mums are looking tired, but they are pretty topped with snow.



The snow was all gone by 10am but it was fun while it lasted.






I hope you enjoyed my photos!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gardening on an Island

One has to adjust their approach to gardening when you live on this Island. First it is because of the non-existent topsoil, just a heavy yellow clay that bakes and cracks in the summer and becomes a sticky yellow porridge in the winter. Then there are the wallabies who, though they prefer grass, like to try their taste buds on maybe something more exotic, so there is a need for fencing. Our reliance on rain-water means that water often is used twice over, once for the washing of whatever, second for the gardens.
And then there are the Wekas, a native bird about the size of a small hen that The Department of Conservation have released here to breed and later have some of their progeny released back to the Mainland. Those birds can make their way under fences to scratch a garden into oblivion in the early dawn before the dog is awake to chase them away. There are rats and opossums too.
Various gardeners overcome these challenges to grow more than shrubs or trees in different ways. Some build big chicken-netting cages, like a bird aviary and plant inside. Some make timber walled gardens. Some put up chicken netting around their more precious plants, but most of us plant into big tubs that are high enough to keep their claws out. Tubs also mean that we have imported good soil/compost for them and watering is monitored with minimum wastage.
I have given up hoping to harvest strawberries from either the garden or in tubs, because the Wekas smell them out. Instead they sit safe in their plastic bags, high on the terrace handrail.  The potted lavender is to attract the bees their way.

Island Gardeners


“This time I insist

I really do, please resist

introducing any tree or plant

that needs anything more

than a hole and stake”


But gardeners are surprisingly deaf

to listening to their common sense

- each week hidden kilos of rich potting-mix

weigh down your back-packs

- and the tree stuffed, oh so casually

into the bottom of a Woolworth’s bag

is not a Pohutakawa or Callistimon,

it’s another tender green experiment

and under your breath you’re repeating

over and over, this is the very last time,

it won’t happen again.