Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Growing An Angel In Your Garden

Hello there!
Well we've reached the chilly bit of our winter now. You know, when there's frosts & snow (well a day of it) & all the leaves have finally fallen off the trees and even I wear a hat & a scarf & a jacket to garden. I think that the Chinese have a good point about keeping your "wind points" covered. Scarves are a very good idea to protect your neck from rogue winds.
But it's also the time when we all start to go on about how we can't wait for the spring bulbs..but hold on, half the bulbs are flowering very nicely already.
My friend Ruth grows wonderful narcissus...many of them of the jonquil variety. Here are just a few, in all their lovely glory.
I thought I must show you our snow (since it's quite an event), up on Te Mata Peak just last week.
Wind chill factor kicked in making the temperature -6 degrees C about this point; brother's know these things!
One recent morning I happened to be in the kitchen looking out the window when I heard a great commotion & immediately thought that Whistle had finally captured Elijah, our visiting racing pigeon friend. Here he is, just yesterday...
He's still wandering around the neighbourhood visiting where-ever he pleases. We often spot him meandering along the footpath. But, no it wasn't Elijah at all. It was a Kereru, a native wood pigeon. I shouted quietly for Rob to come quickly, as this wonderful bird had landed in our olive tree right outside the kitchen window. The Kereru then dropped down on to a buxus bush below & promptly squashed it!
We've never seen a one in town or in our garden in all the 26 years we've been here, until now.
A little nibble of an old wrinkled fig,
a quick drink from the bird bath. Lucky he didn't tip it right over!
And then a wee rest up in the frangipani tree before departing.
 I am so grateful that I live in a place where I can be a Garden Fairy the whole year through. I love sharing my plants & seeds & cuttings & sometimes a little knowledge with others through Trade Me. Sweet violets are one of the most sort after of my listings. I love the little stories & memories that people tell me about violets; usually from their childhood & their favourite aunty or grandmother. The fragrance evokes the memory of connection in a heartbeat.
I received an email enquiry form a customer (oooh, I have customers!) a while back asking me for a little assistance as she had searched the internet for tips on growing the seeds that she had bought from me, but hadn't been able to find a thing. She'd been searching for a plant called "An angel in the garden". So funny & utterly delightful! On my seed packets I write the name of the seed & then where it says origin I write "An angel in the garden".
It's quite amazing when you keep your eyes open, what you find in the garden that does actually flower through the winter.
We both love cyclamen.
Every week I bring home bunches of rainbow chard from Gay & Robert, the organic growers at the Farmers' Market.
It doesn't grow like this in the summer! Such stunning colours full of goodness.
Finding a good movie to watch is such a treat. We loved "What We Did On Our Holiday" so very much. "We're all ridiculous, really", says Billie Connelly, as the grandfather. I agree!

In late autumn I harvested ginkgo leaves just as they were turning to yellow. Only trouble was...I popped in to a funny little park down the road where I knew there was a good big tree & as I jumped up & pulled down a branch to gather the leaves there was a loud crack & a large branch broke right off & nearly conked me on the head. Oh dear, what to do. I couldn't very well just leave it there, so I grabbed it back to my car & stuffed it in the back seat & drove it home to deal with it there. It took me weeks to get rid of all the leaves that fell off in the process & dispersed all through my car. However..I now have an almost mature ginkgo tincture that I plan on taking to see if it might improve my menopausal brain function. Now wouldn't that be something to look forward to!
I friend posted this wonderful turmeric milk recipe on Facebook a day or two ago. It is so delicious & really nourishing & warming. I popped the recipe in the kitchen blog just here.
As an angel in the garden I have even taken up the role of cupid...what fun. I had a random enquiry for assistance from one romeo looking for purple peonies for his sweetheart. It turned out that I could help with purple flowers (as they had to be live) & manage a delivery too. All just down the road from one of my gardens. There were some theatrics & a little drama but all ended in pure delight. It's worth remembering that a gathering of live plants can be much more economical than a picked bouquet. This little lot only cost $20 all up. The hyacinth was just about to come out & had 8 beautiful stems/buds. Good old Rob spotted it at Bunnings when he went to buy building bits.
"So...let's make this garden this year more lovely than it's ever been." Yes please!
As to the experimental present free with every order. Perhaps it'll be a packet of An angel in the garden seeds? Wouldn't that be lovely!
I am so glad that you popped in for a visit. Thank you!! Wishing you all a week with happy bits of learning something's so much fun!
Much love Catherine x0x0x0x


  1. How lovely to see you in my inbox this morning Catherine - I have missed your posts. Your kereru is just beautiful, I am guessing you used a long distance lens to photograph him?? Yes we have had the snow & the frosts here too - & more forecast for next week. I too would love some Angel in the Garden seeds please :-) How wonderful. I wish you lived closer as I could give you the chard for free - I have it prolific in my vege garden at present - I call it Rainbow Beet - am thinking its the same thing with its rainbow coloured stems??. We have been cooking it up with spinach as well. Thank you for the tumeric milk recipe - am off to town in morning so hope to gather the ingredients. I see on Wendyl Nissens newsletter today, she also had a tumeric milk recipe for winter coughs & colds. Stay warm my friend - take care - sending hugs, Julie x0x0

  2. Like Julie says it is nice to have you back. Another lovely colourful post, what a treat having the wood pigeon in your garden, we used to get them in our kowhai tree before the tree died :-( You must have a fabulous camera. I always enjoy seeing your garden.

  3. I have missed your posts too - I loved seeing the posy of violets - reminded me of my mum as she always had them in bunches round the house when they were in season- you never see them in flower shops in the UK any more. That is a fat and cuddly old bird! I would encourage him, hope he keeps visiting. Betty

  4. Hello darling dear! I'm sorry I didn't call you when we were in your land. I was usually without Internet or staying in someone's home where I needed to be fully present.
    I did love it SO much! I thought of you so much!
    I want to see that movie. It looks good!
    Love love love you!


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! So sorry if you've tried to leave one & it hasn't worked. You are welcome to email me at instead, if you'd like to, much love Catherine♥

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