Thursday, December 31, 2020

Wonderful Lily.


Sometimes plants really excel.
Lilium Oriental -Zalmira is one of these.  Flowering  and perfume are larger and  stronger than I expected.
 Luckily I got it tied back early on when I saw where it was headed.
 I think the perfume would be too strong inside so it can be admired outside . 8 blooms on a really sturdy plant.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Pohutukawa Trees.

 This year so far some of the smaller New Zealand Christmas Trees ( Pohutukawa ) seem to be the brightest.

 This one in a neighbours driveway.
 This one next door in our neighbour's garden. I can see it best from our upstairs window.

 This one can be seen from the New World Car park at Brookfield in Tauranga.

 There are also some fabulous bright Jacaranda Trees about. I haven't photographed them as I am usually driving when I see them.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

High Winds.


 Garden damage last evening during quite gusty winds. This flowering cherry will need quite a bit of repair to be safe again.

  To save their necks I picked 4 of my lovely lime Gladioli and put them on the bench to admire.  This year they are free of thrip damage so I am pleased about that.

 Outside we have been busy over the last 2 weeks pulling out box.
 This corner flower garden which I have planted over the last 2 years had only the rhododendron behind a box hedge when we came here. Now we have pulled out the rest of that box hedge which extended around the corner.( to the left ) 

 Here it is now minus the box hedge and newly planted with Carnations , geraniums  ( I grew ) lobelia and other seedlings. The sweet peas are self sown from last summer and the daphne and dahlia I planted 2 years ago. The difference is now box plants aren't  stealing all the nutrients from the soil and I don't have to climb over the hedge to get in there and weed. The pluses are also I now have a bigger area to grow fragrant picking flowers  and  we don't have to continually trim the box hedge.  This garden area already had a concrete strip along the front.
 I now have all the garden beds I plan to have and will just maintain and enjoy them. 
 There is now just one box hedge left on the property.
 The vege garden is producing well and Grandsons enjoy finding and picking strawberries   ( lots ) and blueberries ( just a few ) when they are here.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A Completed Project.


 My friend Helen had made a needle case ( for packets of needles ) with a 3 rows of tiny hexagons across the middle and ribbon ties to close it.
 I took the measurement and changed the way it looks by designing my own felt Iceland poppies for the outside covering.

 On the inside are pockets for packets or whatever I like.

 To close it, it folds into 3 and because I didn't want ties spoiling my flowers I have used 2 domes. on the corners. The binding is a pretty batik fabric I already had. Apart from sewing the binding on it  and defining the pockets it was a hand stitched project ( very portable ). It used up some of my large supply of felt and embroidery cottons.
 I am really pleased with the results.
 Despite throwing lots of rots ( caused by last weeks heavy rain ) on the lawn for the birds 

 I managed to pick this bowl of strawberries. I have left some big ripe ones for the 2 grandsons to find ( and eat ).

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Mystery Trip.


 What a slack Blogger I have been lately. I have been mostly gardening not sewing.
 Last Friday which is my regular Patchwork and Quilting Group day some of our ladies ( 24 in all ) set off on a "Mystery Car Trip," organised by Marilyn . It meant an early start. I was quite spoiled as my friend Dorna offered to pick Jenni ( who lives near me ) and me up so we didn't all have to take cars.  Strangely we got to the city in really quick time ( this road is usually SO slow in the mornings ) I then changed cars and was driven by another friend Shirley with Helen navigating. All she was given to follow was an address...for rural Whakatane...which turned out to be Pins to Patches, which is a very well stocked Patchwork shop, now at the owners own home ( in the country ).

 I didn't spend much during our various stops at shops, only getting things I had run out of like green cotton and also some large domes for my nearly finished needle case project. I shouted myself some new very thin pins ( so now I can throw some of my not fit for purpose ones away ) and a magazine.

On our return journey we stopped at Blueberry Corner. I got 2 punnets a huge fresh blueberries at a good price and the ladies all got a berry cream freeze. They were huge - even the small size, and took some eating. They were delicious ,but too big for me.( above some of us sitting in the shade licking fast ) Jenni took the photo. We all arrived home safely. I was tired despite not driving. We had a happy day together and all get on well. ( I think we might do it again some time in the future )

 My new secateurs. ( made in France I see ) After about 20 years of faithful service in garden and orchard my very expensive ones began to mal function and R couldn't fix them this time so he got me a new much cheaper pair. They won't get anywhere near the use the other orchard ones got. So far they are cutting clean and easy so I hope that lasts.
I'm off to bake now.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Flowers, Veges and Baking.

 These sweet smelling bright sweet peas are on the end of the kitchen bench. They are a bonus as they came self sown from last years ones. I endeavour to have a small vase of something perfumed in that space at all times and inhale the smell often.
 I have been spending hours and hours in the garden, but am happy there. I do have to limit the time or I get too tired.
 Our long sloping driveway has a curved garden on both sides at the top. The garden surrounds  the trunk of  2 Grandiflora magnolias  - one can be seen in the photo. Gardening around and under these trees presents it own problem. - mostly roots of every size. and dropped leathery leaves. Every time I work these 2 garden I can't help thinking maybe we should have cut the trees out before I ever started.
 I now have the bones of each garden in place and will carry on fleshing them out with small annuals or perennials.  
Plantings include Vireya rhododendrons, azaleas, hellebores, deutzia, gerbras, hostas, small red flax, geraniums, heuchera, tiarella and cyclamen. ( also daffodils that pop up and flower then die down. ) Across the front are white polyanthus and salvia. I have just respaded the edges to neaten it all up. Colours are mainly red and white.. The white vireya are perfumed. Nothing else planted here is  especially pleasing to the nose..
 My perfumed plants are closer to the house. ( roses and carnations, daphne and sweet peas)  Lavenders abound but they were already here.
 As I have done for over 40 years, I keep a garden book where I record every purchase - where I plant it when and how much. It is useful to refer to. I always take the labels off and keep them in a box.
 I started a new book when we moved here 2+ years ago. 

 Inside. The new oven is working well. As well as cooking meals I have successfully made short bread and fruit cake and mouse traps.
 In the bread maker some dense yummy seedy , fruity bread.

 My hand sewing is progressing well. I have started on the inside pockets of my needle case and have almost finished the poppies and leaves.

 Now I am off out to pot up little New World seedlings ready to harden off..
 My strawberry patch is looking really promising and we have been eating asparagus in small helpings.      There is always lots to do around here.
 I have just read 2 not so wonderful books  - can't win them all!. Its Great to have the Listener back weekly. I get very good value out of that.
 Stay safe - things are a bit scary again.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Happenings Lately.

 All the rhododendrons that were in this garden are the same. A nice small bush and one I had at the orchard called Unique. They are starting to flower and look lovely.

 I won all these goodies packed up in a basket last Patchwork and Quilting day It was the September raffle.( 2 fabrics, little scissors, serviettes, a rotary cutter, a coaster, a lovely rose mug and a little purse size hand sanitizer that smells of peaches.) Lucky me!

Elder Grandson had lots of little friends to his 5th birthday party held at a climbing place called Rocktopia.

 Here he is having a go. All activities required harnesses  that then allow the climber to push out and get down.. A really great place for little people. The noise was loud! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Hand work Project.


 This is my latest project. It is a needle packet roll. My friend Helen had made one with tiny fabric hexagons across the middle. I am over hexagons at the moment and wanted to try one of the current ideas of combining felt with cotton fabric. I have 3 file boxes of felt left from my felt embroidered ball making, so some of that needs using.
 As I love Iceland poppies and have been studying their form closely I am using them as the theme for this work. 
The photo below shows where I am heading to cover the entire width of the pale green fabric.  I need to make lots and lots more stems and buds and maybe some half open flowers.
 I am not following a pattern just making up my own design which is the way I prefer to work.
 The felt forms are being hand sewn onto the cotton which has a layer of batting behind it. ( needs a press as it has been rolled up in my bag after sewing group yesterday.)

 My little science project started on the kitchen bench when I sliced the end off a kumara that was sprouting/ I sliced a few centimetres off the end  and sat it in a saucer of water. Roots quickly grew. The shoots just took off. Now I have planted it in a bucket of rich soil mix and given it bamboo sticks to start it's climb. I hope eventually to get Kumara under my plant.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Something New.


 For some weeks now our old stove had only the top grill element working. ( it was  in the house when we moved here and it was a crappy stove anyway with it's light near the bottom so one could never see if the top of something was browned without shining a torch in or opening the door )
 Yesterday our now Electrolux oven was delivered and installed. It is self cleaning and has 3 lights. They took all the packaging and the old stove away. We both like cooking  and would have liked a double oven but it wouldn't fit in the space  so this is the one we decided on as we didn't want the bother of altering the bench etc. Once we had  heated it for 20 minutes + with nothing in it and aired the house ( very smelly )  we last night had a lovely roast meal. So far we are really pleased with it.
 Now I can get back to making  foccacia bread, scones, muffins etc.

 I finished making the wee blanket and little grandson now has it for his little bed.

We  have had some relations  from Palmerston North visit which was a good catch up and I have been buying plants and gardening. Some lovely sunny days allowed me time outside to edge and weed and plant.
 This garden called Cherry # 1 is looking bright with white  Iceland poppies and in your face bright cinereias. ( love the deep purple one ) 

 The netting covers are to stop rabbits and birds scratching. The roots of the cherry make some spots unable to be dug. If the roots are small I chop through them but I don't want the tree toppling over.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Using up left over Wool.


After sorting through my bin of left over wool I was surprised to find I had quite a lot of Double knitting ( 8 ply. ) Mostly these days I knit 4 ply for little people's hats and jerseys  so something on bigger needles would be a change. A blanket seemed the most likely item to incorporate lots of colours. I had more dark / dull colours than softs or stripes it is. Not wanting to repeat a pattern I had done before but also not wanting anything complicated ( I can do complicated ) as  I knit at night while watching TV., I looked around.  I of course googled it first then visited Ravelry website where I found this free pattern.  Some of the wool is quite old. Gosh what a difference there is in the feel between the different brands and ages,
 Needing more brights and softs I have ordered wool on line from Skeinz a NZ company in Hawke's Bay. It has not yet arrived. I hope it comes soon as I need the yellows and orange and reds I ordered.

 Janice we saw the snow near you on our TV last night! Brrrrrr.

 I picked one of my Iceland poppies to copy it's face for my sewing project. The detail fascinates me. I have always liked their fragile form and hairy buds.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Staying Inside Weather.


I finished a second slightly larger hat and they are now both in a postie bag ready for the mail box but it's such a wet day they can wait till one of us needs to go out.
 I have now started a bigger project;  a small blanket ; using left over wool from other projects ( over many years ). Its in DK so that's a change for me.
 I have also started a hand sewing project -  (nothing worth showing yet.)
The garden is getting a big drink today. This vireya rhododendron  photo was taken last week and it now has 3 other heads of flower out. It has a wonderful perfume. Not all vireyas do have - often it is the white or pale colours that do have the lovely almost heady smell. ( similar to the deciduous azaleas )
 Staying in. Keeping warm .
 I hope you are all safe and well! 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Blowing in the Breeze.


 I nearly forgot to show the finished photos of my "Lockdown, " ( community/ charity ) quilt.

 The back with a small label. ( almost gives a stained glass effect in the bright sunlight. It has a good quality cotton batting for easy laundering.

The first pickable freesias smell so lovely in a vase along with the last of the roses. I pruned the roses  so kept any buds for the vase. I only have 6 rose bushes now - one very new one which took 10 snips with the secateurs to prune it.
I also knitted a tiny hat for a young friend expecting a babe very soon. I have a 2nd one on my needles.
 The sun is still shining in alert level 2.
 I have broad beans set! Finally !

( Blogger is doing strange things with my photos. )

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

3 Flowering Cherries looking Wonderful.


 Today is rainy so I hope the beautiful blossoms don't get trashed.

 Some delicate pansy faces look bright beside the vege garden in an old  container

Late in the afternoon yesterday there were long shadows on the lawn when I finished tidying the edges around this circular bed. It is around a cherry but not one flowering. It blooms a bit later,
 The netting covers are to stop rabbits digging small plants out.

  The ferret count is now  5 !

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

After very mixed weather today is one to be enjoyed. Here one of 3 flowering cherries coming into bloom looks really lovely. The Tuis and Wax eyes thinks so too and are busy getting nectar.

 I have finished completely my lock down quilt but haven't taken any photos get ( maybe later today ).

 4 ferrets have been caught in the same trap!

Some  of my new hellebore.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Lots of Wet Days.

Lots of wet days have meant I am spending more time inside. ( Not as wet as you have had Raewyn and ladies up North ).
  I have begun quilting my community quilt. Straight diagonals to start with. As one of my aims when I started making this was to use up fabric and supplies I had in my stash I had to make do with this on the backing.
 The mid green fabric was long enough but not wide enough so I split it down the middle and added in 12.5" squares of colour similar to those on the quilt top.
 It's a while since I quilted anything of size on my Bernina but am managing okay. My shoulders told me when to stop at 10 to 5 yesterday. Green  thread is the next thing I an going to run out of so I am using up bobbins already wound . ( In pale colours ) Finding enough fabric that works for the binding might also be a challenge.

 Good weather for duck and also visits from the local Royal Spoonbill population. 2 here by our jetty. We have seen 15 further out.( still hoping for a really clear close up photo  - I am getting closer as they seem tamer )  Walking along the estuary front at the moment is best  done in  gumboots , but where we added more drainage across our part has worked.

 I am watching this new flower shoot on my pot plant emerge. There are 2 new shoots coming on.
 I have been reading more than sometimes. My sister who briefly visited about 3 weekends ago( lives 5 + hours away ) lent me 4 good books. I have finished them all.3 were really engrossing. I will up date the reading list on my right side bar shortly.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Got You.

This Ferret had been seen next door so other neighbour, the keenest trapper, set a trap a week ago and finally this got caught overnight on our bottom garden down near the estuary. They are vicious killers and eat birds eggs. It is no more. It's a pity they are such a pest and bad predator as it has amazing fur.( and deadly teeth and claws )

 A storm is forecast so I picked the first proper daffodil that was out - called Tahiti, and some of the jonquils and paper whites.
 The kitchen now smells very much of jonquils.
 Yesterday I planted this new camellia called Itty bit. I had it at the orchard and know its a good one that flowers for many months and is pickable with its quite tiny flowers.

 Also I planted a new rose. Using the hustler to pull,  R took out 8 more box hedge plants to make a wide bed space with less root competition and more area beside the house  for me to put in  a very healthy looking Abraham Darby plant. 
( looking forward to the great perfume )

 Sewing since I finished the coasters has been making some more letters for my alphabet. 37 so far.
They are mini quilts really, measuring 6"
These are the components for a letter C.
 A front fabric, an backing fabric, a square of batting, a length of binding and a letter shape cut out of fabric with firm iron on. Using this type of bonding the letter needs to be reversed. It is then ironed on,  machine stitched,  bound and hand quilted.
 In order to make more sentences and family names I am making more  upper case and also lower case letters.
 When not forming a hung up banner, grandson  4 3/4 likes to make words he knows how to spell especially names. I need a few more letters for our long surname.