Garden in the sky

Dwarf MandarinI’m tired of being unable to garden. All my childhood, I used to read magazines like “Home & Garden”, or take out books from the library on the proper way to prune citrus. I love gardening and I love plants. Sadly, though, for the last 6 or 7 years of my life I have been living in a flat/apartment well above ground level, where there is no possibility of having a garden of any sort. Well, this morning, I said “bollocks” to that. I have money, I have the time and the inclination and so I am jolly well going to have a garden!

I went to King’s Plant Barn and bought about $200 worth of supplies, then carried them up in about 6 trips from my car park to my apartment. I was so excited I started planting before I had half of the materials upstairs. The first thing I planted is a dwarf mandarin. It’s an ordinary mandarin tree grafted onto dwarf stock. This means it grows happily in a little 40cm pot to around 1 metre tall but produces normally-sized fruit. At its base are little rosemary and thyme plants. The idea being that they will give a nice interesting contrast in size, colour, texture and aroma from the plump round mandarins.

Tropical ImpatiensI then brought up my nice large “window box” and planted it full of tropical impatiens (busy lizzy). One of my fond memories of my grandmother was walking around her large garden with her, cross-pollinating her busy lizzies with an ear-bud. Granny would cross a red plant with a white one, resulting in red and white striped petals or other interesting combinations. She would remember which plants had been pollinated and then later on, when the seeds were ripe, we would collect the pods and pop them over areas without any flowers. Sure enough, in time we would see blooms that were literally the descendents of the plants we’d pollinated. I guess this genetic science was one of my first introductions to gardening and probably what helped start my interest in it.

Finally, after a productive day in my new garden, I decided to go for a drive and take some pictures of Auckland. The most beautiful one is this one, of Rangitoto Island. Though I was lucky enough to catch a New Zealand Kingfisher as well.