Sunday, August 29, 2010

In which a fence is made and almost forgotten

Wow! Two weeks went. It surely is spring. Both life generally, garden and work in particular have been extremely busy this past fortnight. You can read about the garden here. You can read about the work there.

Daffs and tulips are on the go (didn't recognise them did you?)

Unfortunately I can't properly show the thing that took most time in the garden as I forgot to take a photo and it's dark now. All right....get the camera, change the lens,down stairs, open the door, outside, take a hand held time exposure, back inside up the stairs download the image, here  it is:

Over the past two weeks I've been constructing a rustic fence and gateway to replace the temporary electric fence that was erected to keep the dogs out of the garden. The construction phase is now almost complete and the painting of the gate stage about to begin. First I have to water blast it, then Janice has offered to paint a something beautiful on it. This may take a while however as she is busy with work and quilting. This is her latest one under construction:

Spring is quickly unfolding as can be seen by the tulips stalking up in front of the metal whatsit flower.

Some of the plum trees are bursting into flower and the native wood pigeons are having fun contemplating what will be, come January. Actually this one is just catching its breath after some pretty spectacular mating flights.

While up at the nursery today I took a shot looking down on the house and garden from the north. Here it is, clothesline, trolley and all. The white line draped across the bottom of the garden is netting to keep the birds off my radishes!

That's all from me today. Oh, and thanks Kyla, for following!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bloggers Bloom Day August 2010

This is my first foray into the world of Bloggers Bloom Day and I'm looking forward to sharing what's happening in the garden in our southern hemisphere, cool temperate maritime climate. While I've been blogging generally, silently and sporadically for a while at Delphiniums Down-Under it was only after discovering BBD that I decided to break out and keep a dedicated garden blog. The Upside-Down Garden is that blog and knowing it may be read by members of the community around BBD is a great incentive to keep it up.

Why The Upside-Down Garden? As I explained in my first post here it is called "The Upside-Down Garden" because New Zealand is one of those places referred to by northern hemisphere folk as "Down Under" as in "At the Bottom of the World". It follows that any garden "Down Under" must therefore be upside-down. 

Before reading on I invite you to view the posts "Setting the Scene". They are not  "Lord of the Rings" type epics (This was of course Bilbo's Baggins' authoritative classic about ring culture in the undergardenworld) and will give you some idea about the site, situation, orientation, geography and the general mess I term a garden - a sort of let's get to know you before we dismiss you entirely opportunity.

Did you read "Setting the Scene" yet?

Ok, so what's happening then? Remember, it's very early spring here.


This hollyhock is flowering in mid August. That's the equivalent of mid February in the northern hemisphere!

The most noticeable evidence of flowering plants has to be this slough of pine pollen  on the concrete pad outside the front door. This of course comes from the pine trees surrounding our house and garden.

Dear Daphne odora is in full bloom and filling the air with her knockout fragrance of spring which drifts through our open folding doors and into the dining room. Unfortunately  our bush is  on her last legs and will need replacing once the flowers are gone. The plant to the right is a corokia.

Promiscuous hellebores are blooming of course. These are simple blooms from plants that have been allowed to "socialise" among themselves for a few years. Isn't gardening fun!

Just up from the daphne is the Puriri tree (Vitex lucens) go on, look it up! This gorgeous, slow growing, long lived tree is beginning to produce a flush of nectar producing, small, red flowers that will attract birds from near and far. The native New Zealand wood pidgeon (Kereru) will become drunk on the berries later.

Daffodils, gazanias (of all things) cowslips, the first tulip, stocks and paperwhites are also showing off. Janice and I look them over  while eating dinner, or breakfast, or lunch or just about any excuse for food at all. Please tell me, what is the difference between paperwhites and jonquils?

In the orchard the early plum is well budded up. There are the odd myosotis goodness knows whaticas (can anyone identify it)  that seem to bloom year round here and dissipates it'self via the most extraordinarily clingy seed -  they leave velcro for dead and ruin woolen socks.

My favourite of all however Anemone hupehensisis, commonly known as the Chinese or Japanese anemone, which has finished blooming and is now puffing up her beautiful seed heads.

Ok, finally we'll have the native New Zealand plant garden. The only plant flowering there is the tree lucerne  (Tagasaste), also beloved of the kereru.

Did you read "Setting the Scene" yet?

And I can't finish without showing an image of, well, what is this?

I hope you enjoyed our winter.



Monday, August 9, 2010

To the West

Our house is on the valley wall and set such that the ridge of the roof is a few feet below the level of the flat land above the valley. The view to the west is therefore uphill. Looking west from the house you see the garage, behind this a rough driveway for garden vehicle access, and then gardens, orchard and a few Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa - or New Zealand Christmas tree).

 Below is the view from just to the west of the garage.

Then from the bottom of the drive behind the garage looking towards the native garden.

To the left (south) of the garden vehicle access is a small garden of native plants.

 On the top flat is what can loosely be described as lawn. It could also be described as paddock, wasteland or untended fairway. The lawn is a playground for hares.

The garden doubles as their larder. They especially love day lilies and tender new shoots of almost anything. Beyond the lawn a pine tree hedge reaches almost as high as God. Beyond the pines is a road. Sometimes the hares play on the road, but not often enough!

Our main driveway is to the north of the house and offers access as well as an opportunity for strenuous exercise should we feel the mail needs collecting.

When we arrived some 10 years ago the area between the garage and the Pohutukawa  was all pine trees and lawn. There were no retaining walls.No, I do not have a photo!

You may notice some radical pruning of the fruit trees. This was necessary as they grow extremely quickly in our climate and I've been ignoring them for the past few years.

Right now the first of the plums are about to flower, the tulips are well up and almost awake, the nasturtiums are wasted by the frosts, azaleas close to flowering and dahlias, delphiniums and other summer flowering plants are asleep.

It all looks rather damp and dull right now but it will change..soon...really!

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 2, 2010

To the North and East

So, let's look at the garden and house as they are now, August 2nd 2010.

The two images looking up to the house are from the northeast and east. The paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus), cinerarias and cow-slips (Primula veris) are beneath the elm tree which in turn is behind the Puriri (Vitex lucens) seen in the portrait shot to the right. Now, as I abhor order I refuse to have more than the barest minimum necessary to be mildly coherent so the use of Latin names will accordingly be quite random (aleatorio).

Below are a couple of images taken from our balcony (seen from below in a previous images)  looking down to the northeast and east over the vegetable and flower gardens, not to mention the superb view of the washing line, sans washing.

 By now you will have realised that, being an upside-down garden our seasons are inverted too, so while northern hemisphere gardeners are praying for the last of the humid summer heat to leave them we are keenly awaiting the arrival of spring. According to the calendar it is still winter. According to the paperwhites above  it is spring already and they wouldn't mind a good weeding thank you very much. Likewise, when we look north we look towards the sun (when it deigns to show it'self).

Beneath the elm and to the northwest is our fish and galvanized delphinium garden. Not everyone has one of these you know!!!