Category Archives: the doing of things

Garden: the hedge is dead/long live the hedge

Field and I got the rest of the hedge down this morning. It was the most difficult part, and it’d been leaning precariously over the fence and onto the roof of the neighbour’s shed since the weekend (not the best way to introduce yourself to the neighbourhood), and now it’s gone.

And by “gone” I mean “in a giant pile covering about half the back lawn”; we’ve called to get a quote on having the lot of it mulched by professionals, because fuck that shit. There are a few branches that probably can’t be mulched, plus the remains of another shrub we removed a month or so ago, and those we want taken off the property.

Meanwhile, tonight there are apples stewing on the stovetop, and roast vegetables roasting in the oven; we’re having roast vege salad for dinner, and all the salad greens and the herbs have come out of our garden. And we used our Genesis Energy Brownie Points (worst reward point scheme name EVER omg) to get the Tui Guide to Fruit Trees in New Zealand, which arrived today and is an interesting read.

We’ve got a pear tree, of course, which fruits pretty heavily but is probably in need of some fertiliser, and what Field strongly suspects is a feijoa; and we’re planning to get a lemon tree and another citrus, probably a lime. I’m also considering strawberries, once we’re a bit more organised; we probably want a couple of planter boxes or at least some old tyres for that, though. Maybe also a currant bush, since it looks as though they’d grow well here and they are very tasty.

The mint has started flowering, just a little, and the oregano is spreading nicely. The sage isn’t massive yet, but I think it’ll get there, and the rosemary is now of a size where I feel no compunction at chucking a small handful into anything appropriate I’m cooking. I should probably check on the tarragon. Of the more exotic stuff, the dragonbalm and what I think is the borage is trucking along, and the chamomile is beginning to spread a bit; I’m not expecting any of these things to really explode until the spring.

We’ve eaten some of the pak choi and of course heaps of the lettuce-y things, and I think that’s probably a lesson: plant lots of leafy salad greens, because being able to walk out and pick precisely the amount I need for a sandwich is a treat not to be sneezed at, and probably less of the stuff that goes in Actual Dinner Cooking, because I’m lazy. This might change once the garden’s more established, but I think for next spring I’ll be aiming to plant more lettuce and less chard.

House-wise, a builder came round last weekend to quote on sorting out all the windowframes, and we should get an idea of what that’ll cost us in the next few days. If we go ahead with that – and we almost certainly will, because none of the windows in my room close properly and it’s beginning to get chilly at night – that’ll be the first major expense. After that, we’ll be saving like mad things so we can rewire, hopefully by the time Winter 2013 rolls around.

Tomorrow we are making yet another trip to Bunnings, this time for drillbits. I think there’s something else on the list too, but I can’t remember what it is.

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House and garden: an update

It is about 11 degrees celcius here at the moment – about 52F, according to google – and very grey. I have been home sick with a bit of a cold and a lot of tiredness; one of those headaches which just sticks. Summer wasn’t very summer-like this year in Wellington, but I’ve enjoyed it as we’ve slipped into the colder nights and windier days of autumn. And today, being home and cold (and living in a house with dodgy enough wiring that I can’t plug in a heater in my room, because there’s only one plug and it’s running my computer, lamp, and clock already), I’ve dragged out a bunch of my winter accessories.

So currently I’m wearing:
– a purple woollen hat (cascade 220 yarn, bought at an indie yarn shop in Petone) which I made last winter
– my very favourite 10ply possum/merino/silk wristwarmers in gorgeous deep cobalt blue, also made by me last winter
– my grey cardigan, which I modified with green edging a couple of winters ago and have not yet lived to regret
– a brooch I bought at an indie craft fair early last summer, made from recycled crockery

And I’m drinking a mug of cranberry and apple tea, and I made scones a couple of weekends ago for guests, and I’ve been eating greens straight out of the garden on my lazy-dinner bagels; and Field and I are plotting spinach lasagne (possibly some in tonight’s lasagne, even, although I have got out mince bought from the local butcher); and I spent the weekend killing a hedge—

And I don’t know when or how I became such a damned hippie, but here I am, totally fascinated by the process of learning how to do things and enamoured of the idea of doing as much as I can for myself. I like having a local butcher and a local farmer’s market, so we’re making an effort to shop there (and, alright, the local butcher’s sausages are AMAZING); I like looking out my bedroom window and seeing our growing vege garden (and the compost bin, and the very straggly lawn, and the piles of Former Hedge, and the patio which really needs a good sweeping but we don’t have an outdoor broom yet).

For the record: the garden is growing really well at the moment. It’s helped by being so accessible from the house: I see it from my desk, and it’s about five steps from the back door to the herb garden. All the herbs – rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme, mint, and tarragon – are big enough to be useable, although I’m still being cautious; I chucked a few leaves of marjoram onto my spaghetti-on-toast last night. The lobelia and the nasturtium are happily growing in their respective corners, and we’re going to have to expand sometime before next spring.

Next up is borrowing Field’s mum’s woodchipper so we can mulch a whole lot of former hedge, which will be spread beneath the pohutukawa to kill the grass and weeds currently growing there and get it nicely mulched before we plant a bunch of flowers there. We’re thinking daisies, and probably also a couple of lavender and maybe a hebe. We’ve still got to get the other three-quarters of Hedge down, but it’s already made a difference to how much light the back yard (particularly the washing line) gets.