Middle of February

Still not a lot of rain, but lots of gusty wind – the corn & potato plants have taken a battering, mostly flattened. Fortunately the potatoes are all underground & fine – have harvested a third lot, a couple of late season Rua in there too.

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Those & the grape tomatoes are the big winners so far. Still waiting on the other tomatoes to ripen, but the grape tomatoes are giving off enough to use in salads.

The dwarf green beans are flowering and so hopefully will get some beans out of them soon. I’m worried this latest temperature drop means our summer is coming to a close, but hopefully a few more weeks is left in it…It is time to start thinking about pulling out some of the summer plants to make way for the cooler weather veg. I also need to cut the ends of the pumpkin & squash so they can concentrate on making bigger fruit rather than more flowers & stalk.

I went to visit a woman’s garden today – she’s been gardening in the same place for 24 years. Her garden is pretty amazing, she’s terraced it & divided it into sections – cottage type, a tropical part, veg garden, woodlands etc.

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Stunning masses of different types of flowers – that’s a kind of dahlia on the right, and Helenium on the left, which I just love – so cheery. I also got to snack on a cherry tomato – Honeybee, a yellow variety – it was sweet & delicious, so have added it to my seed list for next summer! And she gave me some poppy seeds, one of the dead heads off a red poppy in her garden; the dried shell is gorgeous itself – hollow with little air vents all around the head that the seeds fly out of – ingenious method really!

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She laughed when I said I wanted to see what a ‘finished’ garden looked like, since I’m only getting started. “It’s never finished!” Which is what my dad has been saying too, that as long as I’m enjoying it, it’ll just grow & morph around me, and I can always change things I don’t like about it or try new different things.

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This woman also grows rainbow chard – and in fact, apparently it was her father that bred the first seeds; Johnnyseeds in America came to NZ to organise buying seeds regularly off her dad, and now they’re sold all over the world! I’ve got some seedlings just starting out in the windowsill, so I look forward to them looking as bright and cheery as hers do!

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It was a beautiful way to spend an hour or two though, and I really appreciate how readily other gardeners open their gardens & share their knowledge with strangers. I look forward to one day having a garden that other people would want to visit!

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