Vic P | Massage therapist
Carterton, Wairarapa | June 2015
“I really love concreting. It is much easier than you think and very satisfying.“... more text below images
We live just south of Carteron on the river flats near the Waiohine River, close to the Tararua Ranges. Our half acre garden is north facing, sunny and at times very very windy.
The soil is silt loam, which I have built up over the 15 years we’ve been here, with lots of manure, bokashi, worm wee, green crops and seaweed.
I probably spend a few hours a week in the garden. Mostly by myself, but my husband has donated lots of his time and energy for the bigger constructions like raised beds and the herb spiral. He’s also a very good sculptor, and my garden benefits from his beautiful work.
I really love concreting. It is much easier than you think and very satisfying. Over the years I have edged most of my garden beds and included rocks from our local riverbed.
My mum and dad are both great gardeners and as such have been big inspirations. I am also fascinated with Findhorn in Scotland and also a local Carterton inspiration – Helen Dew - she has turned her entire quarter acre section into a self sufficient paradise.
In this location pretty much anything without a fence or a shelter will struggle in the wind. In my first year of gardening here tomato seedlings literally blew out of the soil. I was very resistant to putting up windcloth as I thought it ugly, but my mum took matters in hand spending days sewing it onto a tall deer fence at the rear of our property. When she had finished we called it “the great wall of Jay Pollock” and my garden has never looked back.
For me one of the truly great things about gardening is conversing with other gardeners. So in a way every conversation is a source of inspiration because you come away with a new idea and the excitement of sharing.
A local friend gave me a handful of tiny saffron corms (bulbs) a couple of years ago adamant they would do well for me here in the Wairarapa. I was surprised and delighted by this news as I had assumed they would only respond in a habitat like Central Otago. The first autumn I was late putting them in but the following year they produced the most exquisite purple crocus flower with of course the famous deep yellow stamen.
I just have a drying rack in a cupboard that is dark and well ventilated so I dried them in there and it seemed to work fine. I found saffron surprisingly easy to grow and harvest. The bulbs have bulked up and multiplied quickly so I hope to harvest more next year. The flowers are just so beautiful.
We keep 4 chickens, 3 bantams and 2 free-range guinea pigs.
Slugs and snails can be a challenge here especially if they get into my seed raising box. I go out at night with a torch and this usually sorts out the problem. My husband’s lawnmowing technique has had to be corrected – he was doing serious damage to the peonies for a while there.
Weeding is my worst chore, however my favourite tool - a Niwashi – about halves my weeding time. (The folk at the Claireville Nursery at Carterton told me it would revolutionize my gardening and they were right.)
Pleasure from my garden includes, the budsand promise of new life, the dormancy at Matariki time. I love growing vegetables and flowers. At the moment my favourites are scented sweet peas, Siberian wallflowers and Saffron.
Raising seeds is also incredibly satisfying. I have always been intrigued by the moon planting idea. A few years ago I tried some plantings alongside each other, some strictly following the moons cycle and others not. Overall I would say that this method gives my seedlings more resilience to both the windy conditions here and also the droughts.
The beginning or end of the day is my favourite time to be in the garden – the light is beautiful.
I really enjoy autumn as often the weather is very settled with little wind and the light amazing at this time.
My garden is an antidote to working with people all day. It grounds me.