Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Iris delight

The irises in my garden are a source of much pleasure:

It must be at least ten years since these last flowered which was before we packed up our Auckland home and moved south.  They originally came from my childhood home in the South Island so were valuable enough firstly to take to Auckland, and then to pluck up once more when I moved back.  Before being planted here a couple of years ago they had most unfairly been wedged into a single pot with a bare covering of earth - watered, yes; fed, no!  They survived - what tenacity that shows! And now they are blooming fit to bust.  I'm pleased to have this connection and continuity from the garden that nurtured me as I grew up.  It reassures me of the goodness in life.

The colours are enchanting.  To the golden-brown, mauve-blue and purple from home I have already added one of buttercup yellow and have arranged to exchange some of my purple with a some of a friend's who has a grove of them in royal blue.

Their petals are tissue thin and delicately shaped.  We've had a lot of wind lately and as I've sat looking out on my garden I have watched them being battered relentlessly.  To my surprise most of their petals survived intact with few signs of bruising.

Dividing and planting irises is described here in very simple and easy-to-follow terms:


The rest of the garden is coming on well.   My runner beans are climbing their framework and the silver beet seedlings get bigger every day.  The tomatoes are romping away.   I'm ever reluctant to trim things back, so have missed taking off some of the laterals which I should have done at least a fortnight or so ago.  I love so much to see things grow, it seems a shame to pick things back when they are doing so well - I know I'm being (a bit) impractical!

My nettles have gained height, and each day I look among them for the caterpillars of the Admiral butterflies.   The Admirals have been about so the eggs should be hatching soon if they haven't already.

My main job just now is to get the gooseberries in jars - some as preserves, and some as jam.  Gooseberries provide one of the many glorious nectars of summer.

The garden is an enduring source of well-being and pleasure: when I look out on it and especially when I'm out in it I breathe in its beauty and vitality and bless its bounty.   I give thanks to the Good Earth - how fortunate we are.

...I've just been outside and noticed again that the hedge by the front door is humming with bees. They've been very busy there lately.  They're all over it, along with many other insects. It's a rather untidy hedge but covered with flowers at present, hence the bees.  We need these bees, make no mistake, and the butterflies and other insects.  They all participate in the vast web of life which makes our lives possible, some pollinating our fruit and vegetables, and others breaking down dead matter.  At one time our landlord suggested pulling out the hedge in favour of a fence.  Now, although I know that fences have their uses, in my view a hedge is almost always a better choice: a fence is made of dead wood, whereas a hedge is alive and supports other life.  Choose life, I say.

Click on the link below to find my other articles about gardening:

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