Lately, My Garden hasn’t had the attention it deserves because my Mum has increasing palliative health care needs. She remains in her own home with support. It’s important my brothers, sister and I are there for her in the time she has left to her. We talk about her family and childhood upbringing in England, Dad and the farm, gardening, books, her seven great-grandkids (numbers eight and nine are on the way) and eleven grandchildren, high humid temperatures, community gossip, you know – the stuff of life. Mum always sang about the house and in the community, so it must be sad for her that she no longer sings in the local choir or no longer has the energy to play the piano now. My sister and I maintain her small garden – the roses continue to make a great showing outside her lounge windows where Mum can see them.
In contrast, my own climber roses are wind-blown and are not dead-headed. Triffids is a description that comes to mind when I look at my garden. I can barely keep up with picking rhubarb, zucchini, apple cucumbers and scarlet runner beans. The coriander and other herbs are rampant and producing seedheads. The Luisa plums took a battering in the easterly winds from a tropical cyclone that recently hit Northland. I pick up the fallen fruit and ripen them in the kitchen. I don’t get into a sweat about this – such things happen.
At the moment, Himself is head down in the tractor engine doing mysterious machinations with some wiring. He’s setting up an electric motor to drive a spray pump unit. A noxious weed Wandering Jew, carried onto our place with flood debris has been rapid in its growth and invasive in its spread.
It thrives in damp shaded areas and has carpeted our stands of native Totara trees along the stream banks. Leaves and stems grow roots on contact with the ground. Aquatic birds that inhabit our stream – Pukekeo and Paradise ducks also spread this weed in their webbed wanderings on land. Anyway, we now have a major noxious weed problem under our trees and along our stream banks.
It’s choking our regenerating native ferns and tree seedlings. So sadly, we’ll have to spray using a herbicide as advised. Because we don’t like to spray we usually grub, smother or hand-pull weeds. This is a last resort decision for us. By now, you’ll have worked out that this is big stuff that we do sweat about.