Tea Garden

there's always something to do

vegetable garden – planting underway

I haven’t written here for ages – a) the winter (see also: rainrainrain), b) travel and travail, c) life’s been busier than usual. It’s not that I haven’t been gardening, it’s that I haven’t been writing about what’s been going on. If I get a chance I’ll backfill so it looks like I’ve been writing […]


springtime, in the…

…well, deep in the heart of Texas actually. Oh to be in Austin, tomorrow, for the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling. Now, folks, if you´re within striking distance of this event, get your good self down there. You haven´t got a ticket? Don´t worry. Just tell them Lynsey sent you. I find the best approach is […]


vegetable garden

I’m working away, in the spare moments (yes, both of them), on building a vegetable garden. It’s been something of a laborious process as I’ve winched myself up the learning curve. I wish my Dad was here, he would’ve knocked it together in an afternoon – he of the ‘I built my own pig sty, […]


hedging, my bets

The Tea Garden property doesn’t have a regular/rectangular shape and the hedges are somewhat disrupted as well. Unfortunately former owners have attempted to use some conifer – I think it is the Lawson Cypress (Cupressus/ Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) for hedging. It’s not suitable for a suburban garden, my opinion. It’s trying to be a tree – […]


Austin in Autumn (or Spring)

Having just returned from Austin, Texas I can thoroughly endorse the hospitality of the people of Austin. True, we did get into trouble, regularly, by taking photos, but hey – we’re tourists, that’s our job! And now it’s your turn – a bunch (now there’s a good gardening term that also sounds appropriately Texan) of […]


spring showers

An unexpected joy has been finding an iris managed to survive the rain and winds of spring, growing in a pot. We love iris – the embodiment of the rainbow. Today was also my Dad’s birthday. When the odd flower (Dad loved odd flowers) appears, or the tui calls, or especially if I hear a […]


whispers of spring

The roar of spring hasn’t started just yet, however I did take the opportunity of the sunshine to mow the lawn at the Tea Garden this morning. There are bulbs popping up everywhere, not just the ones I planted, and some are beginning to flower. The camellias are opening, and a rhododendron is floating clouds […]


blackbird returns

When we moved into the Tea Garden I was surprised by the lack of blackbirds. Our last place had blackbirds a-plenty, but here, in what I would’ve thought was an ideal suburban environment – hedges, lawns, shrubs – so, where are the bids? Well, to my ‘joy’, the birds have arrived and have commenced doing […]


Apple Snow

We had our first light dusting of frost yesterday here at the Tea Garden, and to celebrate the frost, and Matariki ( a few days back – on the 16th this year), I remembered apple snow. I’d never made it before, but I can remember the delights of it from when I was a kid […]


Wartime home food prodction

According to A History of the Garden in New Zealand, Wartime had also encouraged home food production. The Press of 5 October 1939 carried a report about a meeting conducted in Christchurch the previous evening by the Canterbury Horticultural Society to promote the production of vegetables in home gardens: ‘Home gardeners could materially assist in […]


Preparing a school Victory Garden

Click to play flash video 4.77 mb, duration 2:08 minutes I interviewed John Quirk at his home on 19 May, 2007. John remembers how he and a group of his fellow students developed land at Wellington College in 1940. John and his mates were boarders, and is possible the headmaster simply found something for the […]


Lions in Winter

Today has given us all of the joys of Winter. The wind has been ripping and roaring and it’s not difficult to imagine lions romping around – disporting, as my neighbour would say – in the Tea Garden. I went out to make photos the Bowen Cemetery at lunchtime and found that despite the rain […]


Darling buds of May

My projects for May were: Plant bulbs – now getting increasingly urgent to get the last of them in I did manage to get the last of the bulbs in place. I’ve planted tulips (assorted), purple crocus, daffodils (assorted), dutch iris, cyclamen, muscari, blue hyacinth, gladiolus byzantium (the cerise ones), narcissi (assorted), and some white […]


Dig for Victory

Click to play flash video 6.68 mb, duration 2:43 minutes Part of an interview with Ruth Gedye (my Mum) recorded at the Tea Garden on 7 May, 2007. Ruth shares some of her memories of the New Zealand approach to Victory Gardens (the ‘Dig for Victory’ scheme from the 1940s), what was grown, and how […]


What Katydid next

When I was a kid I kept katydids (Caedicia simplex) in an insect box. I fed them on rose petals and kept a plastic lid with fresh water for them to drink. According to Landcare Research they make a “feeble chirp in the evening”. Granted, they’re not exactly canaries, but I used to find their […]


Tui (Prosthermadera novaeseelandiae)

Last night the stars were sparkling bright – should’ve been a frost but for the warm still air. We’re not very far off the Winter solstice, but what I’ve learned is cloudless skies, warm evenings – bad weather on the way. Sure enough, this morning dawned bright but cloudy, and as this evening has worn […]


How do I hate thee?

Let me count the ways… Taking photos at lunchtime I was amazed at the huge numbers of wasps getting the last slurps of nectar from a shrubbery of Fatsia japonica. Dozens of wasps (either the German or the common wasps – I was unwilling to get close enough to confirm which) were speeding in, ignoring […]


May – things to do

The darling buds of May here don’t mean blossoms, rather coloured leaves giving the clear impression that Autumn is here, and Winter is on the way. There’s a lot to do in the tea garden at this time of year. I’ve already brought in the very tender house plants – the anthurium and the spathiphyllums […]


autumn aphids

After the late summer’s warm and dry weather, the first showers of autumn has seen a flurry of aphids on the roses. Some roses appear to be very attractive to aphids, others less so. I don’t know what variety of roses are in the garden as yet – there were no tags and I’m a […]


you do know what you’ve got…

Back in January 28, 2007 I wrote over in Marginalia about the subtle erosion of the low tech/high sophistication expertise. To be honest the experience of researching and then writing the article uncovered something that has nagged away at me ever since. I always wanted to be good at history – it was my Dad’s […]