Tuesday, August 28, 2018

And so to Queensland for a house sit

So, ladies and gentlemen, ‘tis time for a resurrection.

Time has passed. Gardens have grown and Janice and I are now house sitting in Cleveland, near Brisbane, Australia for a couple of months.
This place is so lovely I thought I’d share some images and maybe comment about the gardens here over the next 8 weeks or so.

So to start, some photos I took on local walking tracks :

This is Hillary’s creek, close to our house sitting house.

And a couple of “Bottle Brush”  Callistemon citrinus flowers

So, for the next few weeks I will use this blog to document the walks and other adventures Janice and I have on our holiday down under

Still Alive

I started a post on this blog in 2016 and somehow got distracted so I’ll finish it now and start a new one.....

My last post was six and a half years ago, in December 2010.

Putting that into context for New Zealanders, it was before the Christchurch earthquakes.
For North Americans, Obama was coming up to the end of his first two years as president.

Remarkably, the Mars Rover Opportunity has been doing science on the red planet for twice that long.

Whatever the reference I use, it is still 6.5 years. A lot has happened. Not the least, like Opportunity, I am still alive. When diagnosed with lymphoma in 2007 I doubted I would see today. No only do I see today, I love it and expect to see many, many more of them.

In the last 10 years I have enjoyed chemotherapy as well as back and heart surgery, had the luxury of travelling widely, bred some exceedingly gorgeous delphiniums and all in the wonderful, constant, loving company of the beautiful, in every sense of the word, Janice.

But in all this time probably the most monumental thing that has happened is that I've retired from real work, not, come to think of it, that I ever actually did any. My work was my hobby, was my fun, was my obsession. Time to move on,

Dowdeswell's Delphiniums Ltd is sold and in the hands of a younger person who has the drive to move it on too. That is as it should be.

Janice and I have moved into a small, old, lovely wee house in Wanganui, close to the river and in easy walking distance of the CBD, shops, pubs and restaurants. Life can be so tough at times.

Shortly after going into business in 1982 we were paying 25% interest on borrowed money and looking forward to the day when we could retire with a nest egg and earn half that. Now we are lucky to get a tenth of those rates. But things change. That's ok. We are very lucky, relatively well off and enjoying life to the full.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Trying publishing from Picasa

The first, rather scruffey delphinium of the season. This malformed individual would have initiated this spike before winter .
Posted by Picasa

I bought a new camera today and am just playing with it

Mmm I wonder if this will work
Seems to. So here's another.

And another

I wonder if I'll get back into this?
The problem was that the i-phone and  Facebook came along.

We'll see.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In which A Puppy Rules my Life - Part Two

Ergo laughed at the gate to the nursery and slipped right under and through it.

Ok, so I covered it with fine mesh chicken wire. Cool it worked! For a whole hour. Ergo simply found a gap in another fence a way off from the gate and sneaked through. Right, so I blocked that and extended chicken wire mesh about 10 metres from the two gates (one to the road and the other to the nursery) that were causing problems. A day passed and no puppy visited.

Delphinium "James" and rose "Sweet Perfume"
Two days passed. Yay! But on the third day a little wet nose rubbed against my arm while working in the greenhouse. I put him back. He came to visit. I put him back. He came to visit. I put him back. This was becoming boring but I persisted. I was not going to be beaten. Ergo is strong willed. He wasn't going to be beaten either.

There always has to be a crunch time. Crunch time in this instance came when a passing cyclist returned Ergo from where she found him, wandering on the busy main road playing "chickin" with the logging trucks. Well, I tried folks, but in the end had to resort to the same solution that finally deterred Kaz some years ago. New Zealand is the home of the most efficient electric fence units for use with stock and dogs do not like electric shocks. Farm dogs all over the country quickly get used to the white electric fence signifying a no-go area. I really wasn't wanting to use this option but to fence the whole house area off with conventional wire fencing (either sheep netting or chicken wire) would cost serious money and be quite a chore. Sorry Ergo. Let's have some rheas under the elm.

Well, it was the dry for the last half of October and it's been the driest November on record in Wanganui. Furthermore we've had no rain in December yet either. Ergo obviously knows something about electricity. He knows that without a good earth electricity will not flow to ground. He also knows that dry soil does not provide a good earth. He must have been talking to Robert, my electrical engineer friend who is passionate about animals. "Ergo" Robert must have said, "don't use your nose, push under the wire with your hairy back and you'll be all right, the ground's dry".

The elder dog Kaz is no saint either though. Here she is pinching unripe apples.

The result was that by and large the fence simply made him frown and wonder what the neat little tingle was that was happening every time he visited me. This morning I even saw him roll under the electric fence wire, stand up and scratch his back along it.

Three days ago I lined the existing seven strand wire fence along the road frontage (all 200 metres of it) with what we call sheep netting.

This is wire mesh designed to keep sheep contained, and should be a tight enough weave to keep Ergo in. I have an electric fence in front of that. So far Ergo has not been on the road, that I know of, nor has he visited me in the nursery. I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In which a Puppy Rules My Life

This post is tangentially connected to my garden and will eventually lead there.

Things are happening at the moment. For a start, there is that rather nebulous affair called "life' which is in full swing wherever I look That's ok, I love it. I'd love it even more though if it would wait for me! I'm over Janice's fabulous significant birthday dinner, anything that is happening at Janice's Quilt Club or the Rotary Club to which I belong but would not belong if it were an arch-typical Rotary Club. I'm over my mother not being able to remember where she put her teeth or left her fag. I'm over dad not having any memory at all except for the occasional, unforgettable smile when he just might, just for a split second, remember me. I'm over a back that wore out 20 years ago and despises me for ignoring that fact and I'm over a garden that has grown 6 month's worth in the last 30 days, which have been far too busy to even get the next crop of radish seed sown. I'm over the delphinium seed crop plants that are in full flower - and will be so for a few months as we have a staggered crop this season and I'm over last weekend's once a year open days, but, what I'm not over is Ergo.

I love intelligence, weather it be in people, electronics, omnipotent entities or dogs. Ergo is very intelligent, probably more so that any omnipotent entity come to think of it, and I'm lazy. That's the crux of the problem.

Our garden is large. The road frontage is over 200 metres long. Fast cars patrol the road. Don't worry, Ergo is fine! We have a fence, that is good. The fence was erected in the days when our garden was part of a farm. It was made to keep large animals in. That is bad. Ergo is not a large animal. Yet. That creates some tension between fence, road, Ergo and me.

Initially we could leave little Ergo with big Kaz in the small courtyard, as even a small yard is big to a tiny puppy and an old, lazy dog (sorry, no quick brown foxes here). As Ergo grew however this situation became untenable because although Kaz could retain food until we took her for a walk, Ergo could not, or at least did not feel so motivated. Then there is terrorism exacted on the garden. The solution? Well perhaps the fence on the boundary would not be challenged until Ergo grew a little and the gate to the delphinium nursery would have sufficiently small spacings to prevent Ergo from coming to visit me at work. "Yeah Right" (Well known New Zealand saying that means "never  in a million years!).

Right now I'm going to bed and will leave you hanging mid story. Stay tuned folks!

Monday, November 29, 2010

That Time of Year

Janice has had a very significant birthday this week (tomorrow actually) and you're not getting to know how significant either. Last Sunday we had a great  seven course degustation dinner in our house cooked by a leading New Zealand Chef and enjoyed by our immediate family and two good friends. It was wonderful. I hope to blog about it this week. Below are the hors d'oeuvre:

On garden matters -  the only downside of being involved with growing plants for a business is that when summer comes, it comes and ordinary busy becomes frantic. Gardening gets left behind.

This year summer has arrived a month early. November, normally a cool, windy month has been decidedly hot and dry. The soil, initially still moist with the left over excess rainfall from September is now beginning to dry out, but not before fueling a massive growth spurt from all the plants in the garden. I have no intention of listing them all but this is "Diamonds Forever" flowering again

In the delphinium business we've been busy planting the last of the flower trials and viewing older ones

but in the home garden I've been sowing more vege seeds and harvesting a whole raft of mature crops.The image below is not a vege, it's a Yucca, a campanula and a sedum (I think) growing happily together

 It's wonderful to have a large range of salad plants and herbs once again; the fresh, sweet, new season peas are particularly nice. But I must get more salad veges sown..now!

The flower garden has been left to its own devices but doing well none the less. The horizontal elm is enjoying shading the house.

 I have been very lax in reading and commenting on blogs I like to loosely follow so if any of you are reading this please excuse this lapse.

I love our rustic fence