Monday, July 26, 2010

Setting the Scene - Part One

Of course it has to be set, otherwise you'll have no context in which to place this blog, my garden and what happens in it.
The Upside-Down Garden is of course situated on an upside-down hill. These are commonly called valleys. Ours is not common at all. You need some history here. The land to the NE of the city of Wanganui was originally sea-bed and an extremely level one at that, like a billiard table in fact but on a much larger scale and without legs. Time happened and the sea-bed rose up gradually forming a plain of some 4-600ft elevation. It also rained - quite a bit by the look of it.
Now, the composition of the land (not sea-bed now) was varied with much sand and loose material interspersed with harder clay and soft rock and as heavy rains fell (probably round about the time of Noah I'm guessing - or a tad before) the loose material was scoured out. This left perfectly flat tabletop land dissected with many steep and deep valleys. Looking down the valleys, so scoured and sharp, it seems they are like steep hills somehow turned upside-down.This of course proves my point. We live on an upside-down hill and our garden must therefore be an upside-down one too.
Once the sea bed was land it began to grow stuff, and very well too.  This is because that even before it was land there was a deep base of sediment washed down from the higher country. It was rich in organic matter too. Ok, some of you may think this is a load of rot - you'd be right, because rot it did and in doing so became one of the best soils in the country. Things grew. The above-ground growth dragged gasses and nutrients from the air and combined them with nutrients that rooty bits below had brought to the surface.  There was an explosion of plant life. Animals and birds got in on the act too. Then man came and set fire to it all!
More time passed, the fired land was settled and farmed and then houses were built on small "Lifestyle" blocks of land just outside Wanganui. In 1999 Janice and I found just the right block for us to move our nursery business to -  ten minutes from the city centre - Ok, twelve - to fifteen. We came to break away from growing cut flowers and plants and see if we could make a living from breeding delphinium plants and selling delphinium seeds which had been an expanding side of the business. We're still here. I guess it worked.
Since 1999 we've slowly developed a garden and this year I'm determined to tidy it up a little, introduce some order and have a lot of fun in the process. Through this blog I hope to share that fun with you.



1 comment:

  1. Wow!

    There must be an upside down version of your story to explain why the soil where we are is pretty dead.

    Good side, I suppose, is that we can take 100% credit for all that we grow (knowing we've had to grow the soil first).