For you, from my garden

You could be forgiven, when looking at these photos, if you think I must have a beautiful garden.  I don’t!  It’s a jungle, really … but it’s amazing what a deceptive web I can weave with a little bit of close-up photography, which maximises the marvellous and minimises the messy! 🙂

I don’t even know what some of the stuff is in my garden – take this, for instance, which could even be a weed for all I know (I’m counting on the gardeners amongst you to enlighten me …):

Whatever it is, those two little bugs you can see spent a l-o-n-g time inspecting and sampling it, so it can stay even if it is a weed 😉

And then there’s the odds and sods, one of which is definitely a weed, but I just cannot resist its beautiful violet flowers …

Let’s not forget the snowball tree – oh, and who can resist the forget-me-nots (even if they do have a tendency to procreate and populate at an alarming rate!):

And what about the rhododendrons, the first of which starts flowering in late July and the last of which is just coming into bud now – such beautiful colours, and they just keep on keeping on, despite receiving no TLC whatsoever from me:

I’ve saved my very favouritest (!) for last:  the clematis.  I have two of these, one of which starts flowering some time in October, and the other of which is much later (so no photos of that this time – but later on, I promise! 🙂 ):

And you know what I’m really enjoying about the garden, now that I’ve retired?  I have all day, every day, to spend out there if I want to – soaking up the smells and the sounds and the colours, with or without my camera as I feel so inclined:  blissful!  Of course, there is also the fact that now I’m retired and I have all this time on my hands, there is no longer any excuse for a messy jungle out there … 🙂



Superb Saturday!

What a lovely day I’ve had today! 🙂

Started off with a lie-in, which was most welcome after some very late nights this week watching the fabulous tennis at the Australian Open.  I was listening to a fascinating interview on Radio New Zealand National, with Kim Hill (the Saturday morning programme presenter) interviewing Willard Wigan, a micro sculptor whose work is so minute it fits on the head of a pin or in the eye of a needle, and can only be viewed through a microscope.  (Do have a look at the gallery in the link above – almost unbelievable work!)   He had an incredibly hard time growing up and going to school in Britain in the 1960s, with teachers regularly dismissing him as stupid and unteachable, as well as being bullied, which caused him to escape into a sort of fantasy world where he began constructing things, eg very small houses and furniture for ants.  He left school at 15 and started work in a factory, and then persuaded a hardware store owner to allow him to sit in the store window and carve things using tools from the shop.  His reputation grew as more and more people began to commission work from him, and he’s now a very successful sculptor in high demand, and was awarded an MBE in 2007.

Spent some time in the garden after breakfast, accompanied by his lordship, who enjoyed rolling in the flowerbed as I was taking some photographs …

As I wandered alongside the creek, I noticed how the eddies in the water were breaking up the reflections and creating fascinating patterns (which my mind immediately saw as possibilities for Zentangles …) – got quite carried away taking photos of these, but here are a few to show you what I mean:

And then when I downloaded the photos this evening, I saw different shapes in the pictures – here are a few I cropped out to show you:

Do you see what I see – two different faces, a cat, and a bird?  Fascinating, isn’t it?

After my garden rounds I spent some time looking at Zentangle patterns on the internet, which provided me with lots of inspiration and encouragement – there really is some beautiful work around.  Here are my efforts from the last few days:

This afternoon and evening were spent watching the third ODI (one day international) cricket game between the Black Caps and India, and what a fantastic game it was, with India requiring two runs off the last ball to win the game, and only managing to get one run, meaning it was a tie.  The Black Caps lead the 5-match series 2-0 so far, so game 4 on Tuesday, and game 5 on Friday, will be closely-fought matches, I’m sure.

And that’s been my day, a glorious one weather-wise, filled with lots of photo opportunities, serendipitous creative discoveries in the creek, and a cracker cricket match!  Oh, and I nearly forgot, Li Na won the women’s open at the tennis this evening, which I was delighted to see – she’s a great player with a very quirky sense of humour, and her winner’s speech was a gem this evening (not to mention the fact that she doesn’t scream, grunt or screech while she’s playing, so she gets several gold stars from me for that!!)

So, time for bed – reading a lovely book at the moment called “The Lost Art of Mixing”, by Erica Bauermeister, about a lady called Lillian who runs a restaurant which has a way of drawing people together:  some nice quirky characters in it, and I like the way the characters’ lives intersect in one way or another.  Apparently the book is a sequel to another called “The School of Essential Ingredients”, so I shall look out for that one too.

G’night, everyone, I hope your Saturday is (or was) as good as mine was! 🙂

Quiet day at home

Had a very pleasant quiet day at home today:  slept in late, did a bit of sewing, did a bit of reading, took a few photos in the garden, watched the shortened ODI cricket game between the NZ Black Caps and the West Indies (21-over game instead of the usual 50 due to rain in Queenstown where it was played, and we absolutely demolished them – way to go, lads!), went for an hour’s walk this evening, and did some Zentangling. All good relaxing stuff as I head into the last few days of my break 🙂

My latest Zentangle attached, as well as a collage of the garden photos – as you’ll see, I had an assistant keeping an eye on me 🙂

Zentangle 6 2014-01-01

In My Garden Today 2014-01-01

Christmas greetings

Whether your Christmas Day is nearly finished, half-way there, or only just starting, I hope your celebrations have been or will be safe and happy!  Our day here in Canterbury started with glorious sunshine and blue skies, but by mid-afternoon the rain had arrived and has been gently soaking the garden ever since:  lovely for my new plantings!

This afternoon has been a combination of a short snooze, a good book, and some sewing once the rain set in. 

I did get out this morning to take a few photos, including the promised one of the new flower bed constructed yesterday 🙂

Photo quilt 2013-12-25

On the twelfth day of Christmas …

Back in July 2012, Christchurch Art Gallery hosted an outdoor exhibition (amongst the rubble in Madras Street) featuring Michael Parekowhai’s spectacular installation, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” (see here for further details).  I never actually got to see it then, but the pictures intrigued me, and the raw power of the exhibit somehow resonated with many Christchurch residents following the upheavals of the earthquakes and all the damage and disruption they caused.

In September 2013, the standing bull returned to Christchurch as part of a Pledge Me campaign by Christchurch Art Gallery Trust and Westpac Bank to bring it back to Christchurch for good, at a cost of $400,000:  providing the people of Christchurch raised the first $200,000 themselves, the trust and the bank would then match that figure, and the bull would be installed in a permanent home outside Christchurch Art Gallery once it re-opens.  I’m proud to say that I pledged my support for the campaign, and along with many, many others, we raised $206,210 to ‘bring back the bull’.  I received a beautiful glossy poster of the bull, which I will get laminated to protect it, and this cute postcard showing me what piece of the bull I had ‘purchased’ with my pledge:

Chapman's Homer 1  Chapman's Homer 2

Having put my money where my mouth is, I’ll have to make sure I get down to the gallery in due course to examine my purchase! 🙂

Busy day in the garden today, making the most of the good weather before the rain sets in tomorrow for next few days – got most of yesterday’s acquisitions planted, but still have a couple left for which I have yet to decide on location, location, location … 

Don’t know about you, but I can get sidetracked very easily when I’m out in the garden – one thing leads to another, and before I know where I am, suddenly I’m working on something completely different to what I intended!  Take today, for example.  I have five worm farms in the garden, three at the side of the house, and the other two in a shed just over the creek (all five were over there originally, but I moved three of them closer to the house earlier this year, just to make it easier to feed and check them from time to time).  Anyway, I started out this morning by cleaning out the fridge to make way for some fruit and a watermelon which I purchased yesterday (LOVE watermelon at this time of year!), and thought I’d chop up some old apples, celery, broccoli and carrots that I was throwing out, and feed them to the worms.  And then I decided that it would really be much easier if I moved the two worm farms from over the creek to beside the house, so they could all play Happy Families together.  And while I was doing that, I decided to use some of the beautiful rich soil from the worms to make a new flower bed around the white clematis at the side of the house, and plant some of the grasses I bought yesterday there as well.  And then I thought, How am I going to edge this new flower bed?  And I spotted a log which came off the tree which fell on the house during the high winds back in September, and I thought, I could cut that in three, one long side and two short, and that would make a lovely rustic surround for the flower bed … So I got out the chainsaw, set up the workbench, measured and cut the log into three, trimmed off all the little sticking out bits, dug over the ground, added the worm soil, dug out some compost from one of my four compost heaps, added that as well, planted the grasses and watered them in, and hey presto, a new flower bed was born! 🙂

Photos will follow tomorrow – got so engrossed in what I was doing I completely forgot to record the project …

Had to have a rest after all that work … but I got the lawns mowed this afternoon, and then went for a walk this evening for nearly an hour, so the old body’s certainly had a good workout today!

Well, we’ve reached the final day of the Christmas photo quilt today.  I’ve enjoyed putting it together for you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the photos that didn’t make the cut first time around:  we must do this again some time! 🙂

2013 photo quilt – 12th day of Christmas

PS  Look at that:  not a single word in this post about H.L. or any other feline – that has to be a record! 🙂