My Garden ~ a Kiwi's take on life

Life is a lot like a garden


‘I speak for the trees’ ~ quote challenge

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.  Dr. Suess. The Lorax.

We happen to share our place with many Totara trees, some about 80 to 100 years old and still growing. We are mindful of our custodial responsibility. Trees have deep meaning reflected in Maori forest mythology a site where Maori have many whakatauki or sayings that use trees as metaphors.

Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness, wrote  Kahlil Gibran.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy at the end of his address to delegates at the Anniversary Convocation of the National Academy of Sciences, told what the French Marshal Lyautey said to his gardener:

“Plant a tree tomorrow.” And the gardener said, “It won’t bear fruit for a hundred years.” “In that case,” Lyautey said to the gardener, “plant it this afternoon.


I could not decide on one quote hence I include three in my second challenge post. Thank you Carol  for nominating me for a three-day quote challenge. Please check out Carol’s Food For Thought post at

In the fun spirit of voluntary participation of the challenge, nominees may choose to

  • Post for three consecutive days
  • Posts can be one or three quotes per day
  • Nominate three different blogs per day

 Please check out my nominees’ wonderful blogs:

Keith Garret Poetry

Ockham’s Razor

The Lemonade Chronicles



My Garden ~ living legacies from our parents

Sometimes I think I must seem to go on about trees being planted and trees being felled. Trees are the ultimate plant. In my previous post, I quoted Al Gore: “… the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth”.  Planting any tree is an action that forges a deep connection between human emotion and the well-being of ecological environment.

The significance of growing a tree has its roots in the mists of time. In this country, we have a taonga – a treasure, a living legacy. Tane Mahuta is a giant kauri tree growing in Northland’s Waipoua Forest and is considered to be more than 1,200 years old. Imagine. In its lifetime what has occurred on this earth. And it still stands, silent and statuesque.  According to Maori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tane was the child that tore his parent’s parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have here today. All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tane’s children. We need to know this story. We need to be reminded of a dimension of life that is greater than ourselves. We need to understand the importance of what we do now and the impact it has in the future.

I’ve just read a moving post written by in21 who beautifully  describes the impact of her father’s concern for the future.

Quote: … he told me his goal was to plant a tree at every house he ever lived that would outlast his time in that place.  He had a notion of leaving behind a living legacy. I have re-visited the houses where I grew up and there are beautiful trees in each lawn – a 40+ year old red maple in one place, evergreens and a gorgeous crabapple at the other.  His most recent home has had its challenges with pear trees that break apart.  But he is still working on leaving his legacy behind, even as he enters his late 70’s. I had to tell him that his legacy would continue through my efforts and I fully expect through the efforts of my children. 

A flick through my posts and I see I’ve mentioned planting trees in relation to feeding the birds, shady spot for sitting under, remembering births of grandkids, fruit, firewood, shelter, carbon sink and visual appeal. Trees give so much.


My Garden ~ UNEP campaign to plant for a billion trees for the planet in 2008

“Plant trees, lots of trees “
An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore

Willen Van Cotthem writes in his Desertification blog how more than billion trees were planted in 2007 as part of the UN Environmental Programme Plant for the Planet: One Billion Trees Campaign. This year, UNEP seeks for more people and organisations everywhere to pledge to plant another billion trees.

Let’s do it.

In 2007, I fulfilled my online pledge as part of this campaign to plant trees.  I personally aim to build more carbon credit-worthiness. I’m conscious of the compelling connections between the health of the planet and the health of the people.

“The symbolism – and the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth, and it is a way for individual men, women and children to participate in creating solutions for the environmental crisis.  Al Gore, Earth in the Balance


My Garden ~ trees as living connections

Trees are very much on my mind at the moment. It will be soon time for planting. Last year when my three-month old grandson was born, Pohutukawa trees had started flowering as they do before Christmas. Later towards the end of autumn, we’ll plant a pohutukawa – our gift to celebrate this baby boy’s birth. The placenta will be put into the hole and planted with the tree. In this way his tie will be especially forged to the land. The tree variety chosen will suit our inland situation – and won’t grow as large as the coastal specimens. This tree won’t be planted in isolation – I plan to plant it as part of native grove that will include trees for his cousins and two-year brother. Trees evoke strong natural connections with our life experiences.

My sister planted a Rimu sapling when her son was born three decades ago. Decades ago, my Dad, who saw active service during WWII, planted Golden Totara, inspired by a memorial grove planted in remembrance of local men who did not return.  I think it was his quiet way of remembering and trying to restore the land. My sister-in-law has this most wonderful cherry tree – my mother-in-law would have loved the fabulous blossoms and bird life. Each of us has this strong sense of connectedness with the land.   

On another note, some tree felling will have to happen soon. A stand of Leyland Cypress  were originally planted as a roadside boundary shelter belt about 25 to 30 years ago (well before our time here). As with the row of trees lining our drivewway that we had felled in the summer of 2005, these are on borrowed time and are showing signs of rot. Himself will be able to get his chainsaw out again. Lots of firewood to cut. I’m thinking nature abhors a vaccuum. What trees can I plant?