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Author Topic: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere  (Read 699 times)

Lesley Cox

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January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« on: January 02, 2022, 11:38:26 PM »
It's a long time since I started a New Topic but I have had so much pleasure (and instruction) from the Forum in the past that perhaps you won't mind my sounding off somewhat as I feel a need to reconnect with old friends and bring a new dimension to my life.
It is supposed to be the middle of summer here but we have had a lot of rain in the south at least and some parts of the country have been seriously flooded. The temperatures have been quite low for the time of year but it was just yesterday that at last we had some heat with low 30s giving hope of things to come, like shedding clothes, swimming in the sea and eating outside.

Recently my gardening has consisted of digging and potting many plants, taking a lot of cuttings, passing some things along to friends who will look after them for a time and especially searching for and digging my precious bulbs and rehousing them temporarily in every pot I can find. I find to my horror I have over 30 named forms of Galanthus though I never meant to become one of "those crazy snowdrop people who grow so many ever-so-slightly different kinds."

I'm going to add to this, as Part 2, since it's time to go and have a sandwich.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Lesley Cox

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2022, 12:29:12 AM »
The fact is, I'm moving and that involves house and garden. I have wanted to move for a number of years for various reasons but the main two now are a partner who has become, always was really, totally unsympathetic to any hopes or ambitions I had for the garden which is, after all, the thing which most contributes to my mental health and gives me reasons to stop topping myself. The other cause of this distress is rabbits. I hate rabbits which dig and eat everything I plant. They don't eat rhododendrons (they're mostly out of reach anyway) but there is literally nothing else they won't have a go at and it breaks my heart to see alpines ripped to shreds and holes dug which undermine whole plants, (including dwarf rhododendrons), primulas, hostas, chewed to the ground, almost anything else left in tatters by rabbits as they feed in hundreds in the garden and on the farmland around us. There are stiff penalties set by local councils on farmers and others who fail to control their rabbits but no-one inspects or takes any action. The obvious answer is for me to protect my plants in various ways but my personal resources don't stretch that far and my partner's attitude to my plants is indifferent bordering on hostile so he won't spend either time or money helping me to control the problem.

Very recently some circumstances have arisen which give me an opportunity to leave here, both partner and rabbits and having thought about it very long and hard, I have decided to do exactly that. I shan't bore you with what the circumstances are but they are compelling and give me hope I'll be able to live the remains of my life with out rabbits at all and a good deal of happiness in other ways.

Here endeth Part 2.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2022, 12:31:00 AM by Lesley Cox »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Robert

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2022, 02:37:01 AM »
Lesley,

You have such courage to move forward when the going is likely challenging. Life and ones talents are so very precious. Your gardening abilities and years of experience are greatly appreciated on the SRGC Forum. May your new endeavors bring you personal satisfaction well beyond your best dreams! We look forward to the wisdom your share on the SRGC Forum.

Many Blessings,

Robert Barnard

Dear Ms. Cox,
     My sweet husband made sure to share your submissions with me.  Of course we both laughed about the Galanthus, one of the few plants we lovingly agree to disagree about.  Since it was suppertime, I wanted to know about the sandwich.  I guess I was hungrier than I thought.
    To struggle with rabbits like that!  We have squirrels and deer, and jackrabbits have been along the river too, but the mountain lions do pretty good at controlling all of these.  Other gardeners complain about their cockatiels, cockatoos, and kangaroos.  The kangaroos I am particularly glad I do not experience.  Rabbit, squirrel, and deer do sound more like a dinner—ah, there I am with food again.  To think I am vegan! 
     Humour aside, congratulations on your courage.  Of all the challenges, the one least acceptable is an unsupportive and hostile partner.  I am so thankful that despite cultural and religious pressure to settle, I did not.  I am so thankful to share my life and heart with someone who is a true companion and partner.  We might be the only people who are delighted with COVID lockdowns, because we enjoy each other so very much.  Currently Robert is more active in the garden than I while I whittle away at a huge undertaking.  I am primarily responsible for the birds—budgerigars, cockatiels, canaries, and Lonchura finches--although he helps by serving as their perch while I clean cages.  A true relationship is each partner is 100% committed to the relationship and supporting each other fully.  This is what you and every person on this planet deserve.  Anything less is not a relationship, much less deserving of the name.  I look forward to hearing more of the wonderful journey you are on!

Jasmin
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Lesley Cox

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2022, 03:06:57 AM »
Refreshed by a tomato sandwish and black coffee, I'll have a go at a thrid and final part to this item.

So I am moving to the Mid Canterbury town of Geraldine with how things are turning out.. It is a little bit inland in the central South Island and may be a little colder in winter than my present home and can be very hot in summer. I'll be living with my son who will turn 50 later this year. Since my daughter and her husband are moving to the South Island soon and will be only an hour and a half by car away, I'm very happy with how things are turning out.

John's house is roomy and will be able to accommodate both me and some 3000 books which pleases me as I thought I might have to dispose of many and books are one's friends as much as plants or people by the time you get to my age. Furniture and picture will go too.

I'll also be able to take troughs and without emptying them first. There about a dozen hypertufas, home-made in 1992 and 93. They're a bit  shabby now but really still quite sturdy. Then there are 6 hypertufas in perfect condition I bought from Hokonui Alpines, maybe 15 years ago. They were a Christmas present from me to me and it has from the start been a case of "where I go, they go." Finally there are about a dozen of solid limestone. It could be as much as 40 years ago now, Members of South Canterbury AGS were given permission to make use of a collection of limestone blocks which had been salvaged from the demolition of a bridge. The contactor happened to be the husband of one of our members and the blocks were perhaps 1.5 metres long and about half that wide. We used cross cut saws to make the troughs to various sizes, wasting nothing. Then we used chain saws and hammers and chisels to cut out the centres leaving walls and bottoms about 5-10 cms  thick. They needed no holes cut in them as the stone was porous. When mine were home I filled them with water from the hose and it was all gone by morning. From limestone, and with a limey mix in them they;ve always looked and worked wekk with plants such as encrusted or Porophyllum saxifraga, the smaller Dianthus and caqmpanulas. One big one currently has as its only occupant a large plant of Daphne kosaninii in a pink form, now re-named with a girl's name which I can't recall at the moment. It was grown from Vlastimil Pilous seed, the only one of 10 to germinate. I am currently picking 20 or 30 seeds from it each day, little dark seeds each covered in a fleshy orange coating which I remove as it begins to dry as it inhibits germination.

I am doing cuttings from quite a few small trees or shrubby things as mine are too big to move, like Rosa moysesii 'Geranium' and Rubus x Tridel 'Benenden.' The rose had grown great arching branches and was magnificent each late spring with fflowers of a shade of red I've not seen elsewhere, followed by bottle-shaped hips which lasted well into the winter but it was recently cut hard back without any word from me and I thiink is the only plant destruction I've ever cried over. The Rubus I have valued highly since 1981 when on my first trip to the UK (for "Alpines 81") I was able to import a plant with many others most of which I still have. It came from Peter someone I think, in Dorset. I've no idea if he or the nursery are still there. It is in many NZ gardens now and always lovely with its large, single, rose-like flowers. Though a blackberry , it has no thorns, does not set fruit so no seeds and make no wandering suckers or stems. It is very fine on a wall or fence, to about 2 metres high and wide, if trained outwards. After two or three drought summers in the 20 10s, and with neither rain nor watering, it simply died and the young plants I had at that time were eaten in total, roots and all by you know who, so I was very pleased to be offered some cuttings by a friend from her garden. They are looking good now and are well covered from the voracious enemy. I hope to replace a few things like the scarlet hawthorn Malus ioensis 'Plena' but will need to talk with John first. I'll be living on just 650 square metres after all. There are no trees on it at all yet and if I only want to add 3 or 4.....?

Somehow I will need to make a rock garden and as always I expect to have a lot of pots. A tiny nursery has been mentioned, enough to supply salestables and the like. We shall see. In the meantime I am just looking forward to thge changes I will have. Geraldine is close enough to Dunedin for me to visit for the occasional long weekend and see friends, go to the odd meeting or concert. Given continued good health (it's fine at the moment but it has been a turbulent year, or 7 or 8 years in fact) I hope to be busy and to enoy a few more years yet. On the other hand I don't want to count chicken before they are hatched.....


Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Lesley Cox

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2022, 03:31:08 AM »
Dear Robert and Jasmin,
Thank you both so  much for your notes. You are both very generous with your comments. I never felt wise, Robert but when you get to my age there's a fair bit of experience happened sand it's always the plant-related things I remember best and appreciate the most so some things stick with me.

My husband died in 1983 after just 11 years together and this second relationship was a mistake from the start I think. It started 31 years ago so I should have reconciled to it by now but not.

I am often horrified at the trials of some fellow forumists and the animals and birds they have to deal with, Anne Speigal's deer for instance, Yet I suppose in some crazy way it's a privilege to have wild animals visit one's own habitat. We in NZ are always happy we have no poisonous snakes - or any snakes at all, no man-eating cats, only one small and very rare poisonous spider, and in fact almost nothing at all to make life difficult. I think we are complacent about such things - until a pandemic comes along.

I may well say more as plans fall intp place and are achieved (unless Maggi say's I've used too much Forum space!) but for now, my thanks again and I do wish you both a happy New Year with good gardening and a fine springtime to come soon.

Kindest regards
Lesley


Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Maggi Young

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2022, 02:35:56 PM »
Wishing you every success with your plans, Lesley. I echo what Jasmin says, a supportive and loving partner is a GREAT boon and you deserve better.  A new life with your son John seems an excellent idea. Even better when your daughter moves closer too.

Up and at 'em!  :D
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2022, 04:25:33 PM »
Dear Lesley

I wish you a very happy future and good gardening at your new home. I think it’s brave to tell your story and no one should be made miserable. (Having some experience)

Good luck
Akke & Spot
Mostly bulbs. Gardening in containers and enjoying public green.
Northern part of The Netherlands, a bit above sealevel, zone 8a normally, average precipitation 875 mm.
Lots to discover.

ashley

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2022, 04:43:55 PM »
What great news Lesley.  Congratulations on taking such a big decision and going through with it. 
Seconding all that Jasmin, Robert, Maggi & Akke have said, I wish you the very best for this exciting next stage in life.
A new (& rabbit-free!) garden will also bring fresh opportunities that we look forward to hearing about.
Ashley Allshire, Cork, Ireland

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2022, 02:36:31 PM »
Hi Lesley,
I've sent you an email. Best wishes for the move - sounds huge!
love
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2022, 09:04:11 PM »
Dear Lesley, wish you all the best and much power for the future with many great
plants in your new garden.
Rudi Weiss,Waiblingen,southern Germany,
climate zone 8a,elevation 250 m

Lesley Cox

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Re: January 2022 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2022, 01:12:52 AM »
Thank you all so much for your best wishes and encouragement. I sometimes have a feeling of "am I teally going to do this?" but nothing has yet made me think it's the wrong thing to do.

The potting up continues apace though it's hard work in recent temperatures in the low 30s. So I'm doing that in the morning and evening  and watch cricket in between, when there is some. I must go on a "goodbye" visit to my friends at Hokonui. It will be the first time I've been there without returning home with a car full of plants. Or will it? As the autumn approaches Louise always has a great selection of super plants but I'll have to be strong and resist until a new home is ready. Then in mid February my local Otago Alpine Garden Group will have its first meeting for 2022. This will consist of a picnic tea in the Dunedin Botanic Garden. It's always a lovely time to visit the DBG with the very first tinges of autumn colour in their wonderful collection of deciduous trees. So that will be a good chance to chat with members whom I've known for upwards of 40 years in many cases.

I'm very lucky in that when I went to see John in Geraldine 2 weeks ago, and took with me some pictures which were bought over many years or inherited from my mother and she in some cases had from her mother, who died before I was born, and when I said to John I'd bring the rest next time, he said "Take my car Mum." I did that, (his is a Holden (Australian) Commadore, almost new and larger than anything I've driven before, while mine is a little Hyundai Accent, manual gears and will be 22 this year. John also has a brand new Toyota Hilux Utility as part of his job and rarely drives his own car so my little car (Lola) sits in a garage in Geraldine pro tem. One of the pictures is a very large seascape of somewhere off the coast of England circa 1884 by one David James R.A. Mother's pictures I've known literally since I was born so it's a great relief to be able to take them with me.  Interestingly, when I stayed in Alan Bloom's home Bressingham Hall which at the time (1992) was being run as a Bed and Breakfast, there was another seascape by David James, the same size and subject matter, in the entrance hall. It was a great conversation starter when I met Alan. What a wonderful man he was, at that time still working 12 hours a day in the nursery/garden centre even though in his eighties and with such knowledge of every kind of plants. He had agreed without knowing or even meeting me, to look after the many alpines I was planning to import to NZ, while I went off to Greece on an AGS tour led by John Richards. I remember Alan being quite excited by the plants I'd already collected up, including my precious Weldenia candida. For two weeks he guarded and watered about 300 plants and then when I was back from Greece, arranged with people he knew in Cambridge, for an inspector to come  to provide the necessary paperwork I had to have, to take the plants home.

Enough of reminiscence. Another sandwich then back out to the oven-like heat.  We are offered some light showers later today but I doubt they'll eventuate so tonight in the garden I'll be attached to the hose.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 01:22:59 AM by Lesley Cox »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

 


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