Friday, 30 December 2011

The potager throughout the year

I've been going through my garden photos today. I have a garden diary where I record the dates of things planted, harvests made, flowers blooming, etc. Then at the end of each year I print out my photos from each month and stick them in. I realised I have a good record of potager photos from this year. The potager was only properly finished in November 2010, so this has been it's first full year. And what a year it's been, full of crazy nature hijinks... There's not quite one photo for every month, but almost. 

So, let's proceed...

January 2011
It was the summer of the potato in my garden. I grew Swift, Desiree, Heather and Karuparere.

 February 2011
A lot of the back yard was swamped with sand and water after our mag 6.3 quake. Luckily there was no permanent damage to the potager.

 March 2011
Most of the mud has been cleaned up, but dried on dust still coats the paths.

 April 2011
All the spuds are gone and the beds are cleared out ready for winter crops.

 June 2011
Frost rims the leaves, but the chillis stand tall and proud.

 July 2011
The first of two freak snowstorms. Amazingly all the plants survived.

 October 2011
The beds are now planted with summer crops. Everything is so green and lush and tidy!

 November 2011
The salad greens are doing really well, and the last of the brassicas need picking to make way for heat loving summer plants.

December 2011
On a rainy summer's day, everything is starting to look a little overblown. Soon the potatoes will be flopping over the path, the tomatoes will be crowding out the beans, and the zucchinis and peppers will be duking it out. I feel a harvest coming on!

(You can read my post about the creation of the potager here)

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas fireplace and earthquake update

I'm going ahead with this post because I already had the photos organised. Not feeling very Christmassy here though! We had another series of big aftershocks this afternoon. It began with a 5.8 which was followed a while later by a nasty 6.0. This is the fifth big quake event we've had since September 4th last year. Mother Nature, we get your point... you can stop now!

Small and not so small aftershocks followed throughout the afternoon. Malls and shops had to close, on one of the busiest days of the year. I'm so glad I was at home, not in a supermarket! I stayed home, rather than get stuck in traffic jams or risk encountering flooded roads or bridges that were out.

Our power was out for about three hours. My cellphone also chose that point to run low on both battery and credit. I was so relieved later when I could charge it and get online to buy more credit! (After the September quake I swore I would never let it get down to one bar again, but it still happened, of course.)

Lui went to ground for a while. I wasn't too worried because I knew he wouldn't go far, unlike the several scared dogs and cats I saw running down the street in various directions. I hope all the frightened pets are reunited with their people soon.

We had no liquefaction this time - BIG YAY! I'm so sorry for all the people who are cleaning up for in some cases the fourth time. That stuff really is nasty. We only got round to waterblasting the garage last month, so I'm grateful not to be doing that all over again.

I had some things I was meant to do to get ready for Christmas, but I didn't do them. Tomorrow is another day right? To be honest I forgot about Christmas today. Earthquake days just exist in a time of their own.

All these decorations are now all over the floor, and there seems no point to picking them up. The adrenaline is wearing off, and I'm getting tired. It will be a shakey night. I'll get through it though - there's nothing else to do. Hopefully tomorrow is a brighter, quieter day!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! xxx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Grainstore Gallery Oamaru

If you are in Oamaru you absolutely must check out the Grainstore Gallery. It displays the work of the Whitestone Artists' Collective, including Donna Demente - she is known for winning one of the early Wearable Art Awards shows, back in its early days in Nelson.

Downstairs, a hand painted sign points the way.

You'll need to climb the steep staircase, pausing along the way to admire the art and posters displayed.

At the top, take a deep breath and gaze around. Then lose yourself in the delights beyond. I think these photos speak for themselves, so I'll let you browse at your own speed.

How was that? Now, don't look down if you're a little unsure of heights... this is a genuine grain store after all, and the floorboards don't always match up.

Hope you enjoyed this tour, ladies and gentlemen! I have one more post from enchanted Oamaru to show you, but I think that might wait till the lazy days after Christmas.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Steampunk in Oamaru

While I was down south for the garden tours, we also took a day trip to Oamaru. Oamaru has proclaimed itself the steampunk capital of New Zealand, and they have a festival every year with a fashion show, exhibition and other fun activities. We went down to catch the last day of the exhibition, but while wandering around the town we came across this rather amazing sculpture.

Situated outside Steampunk HQ, the engine lurks in a sinister but silent fashion, until someone feeds it a $2 coin and it comes to life. It roars and whistles, lights flash inside, and flames shoot out the smokestack. It's really quite impressive.

See the little demon fellas on the engine? They seem to be enjoying their ride.

At the Forrester Gallery strange contraptions also abounded, like this Computational Steamputer.

Also the Tumeke Time Machine.

The show was called Tomorrow As It Used To Be, and you can see more of the exhibits here. I was also excited to catch the last day of Jason Greig's show The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

The batteries in my camera died as we arrived in Oamaru, so I had to enlist my mum's iPod. It didn't really like the low light inside, so my apologies for the grainy photos. (It made a great backup though... I think this means I really need an iPod of my own...)

After the gallery we wandered down to the Historic Precinct, where the Sunday market was in full swing.

The Precinct is amazing... wonderfully preserved original limestone buildings, which have recently been converted into cafes and galleries and little shops. There were market stalls selling everything from veges to soap, and people wandering around in Victorian dress (Oamaru is known for this).

I love the festive bunting.

This would be a nice spot to sit a while and watch people.

We also visited Donna Demente's gallery - I'll show you that in the next post!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

December Flowers

There has been plenty of action in the flower garden this month. Plenty of weeds too, of course, but I've taken care not to photograph those! I'm enjoying watching my new roses, although only Sexy Rexy has really managed to bloom so far. There are some small buds on Claire Rose, but Queen Elizabeth has deigned it beneath her to flower just yet. Never mind, I have plenty of poppies and carnations to enjoy.

Petunias are brightening several spots in the garden. And graceful aquilegias flourish.

Here are the glorious Angel Wings poppies. It's actually past time for me to yank them out, before they self seed absolutely everywhere, and to let more light and air to the roses.

This month I'm syncing my monthly flowers post with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Timaru Garden Tour #8

The last stop on our tour is the garden of Lillian and James Milne.
 This is another 'normal' sized garden in a suburban street. (Smaller gardens often give me more hope, as the ideas seem like they will be more achievable in my own small space.) 

I'd really like a stone-flanked terrace like this one. It's so sunny and private. I love the selection of treasures nestled under the conifer.

 Happy pansies in a decorative barrow brighten this shady corner.

 Rounding the corner of the house, you come upon the glasshouse. Concrete steps are set into the corner of the path.

 Another view of the glasshouse, and the gently terraced vegetable garden.

 The front garden is filled with sun loving plants. A small tree creates a focal point.

This pretty rose is tucked away under the tree. I don't know the variety but I thought it would be a good note to finish the tour on. Hope you've enjoyed taking a peek into these lovely gardens! Thanks to all the garden owners for creating and sharing such beauty.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Timaru Garden Tour #7

Pictures from the garden of Mr and Mrs Forde.
 Upon stepping through the gate, you are greeted with this beautiful wisteria covered pergola.

 Which frames a secluded walled garden. I like the pencil conifers marking the gate.

 I'm not sure what the trees are, but they must be stunning when in blossom! Small trees like this are great to provide interest in spring and shade in summer.

 Tucked in under the trees are the obligatory peonies. In this sunny microclimate they've obviously been blooming for ages. Gorgeous!

I had to take a picture of this rambling rose on the way out. It's screening off the tennis court. I'd have it rambling all over the court if this was my house!


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