Honey Andersen | Head Chef
Dunsandel Store, Dunsandel, South Canterbury, New Zealand April 2013
‘For me it is all about nurturing, if you look after your garden it will look after you.’
My garden is set on stony Canterbury soil that is just too hard to dig – hence the raised beds. I grow veggies at the back and flowers and fruit with edible under-planting at the front of the house. I’ve had the garden for six years and I spend about a few hours in it after work. Its seasonally dependent but often I find that I go out to feed the chooks and two hours later I come back in.
I love gardening, my grandpa ‘pop Drawbridge’ sits on my shoulder when I garden – I have happy memories of helping him when I was young. He was a great vegetable gardener. These days I mostly garden by myself but sometimes I have the company and help of my grandchildren – I’m hoping that one day I’ll be sitting on their shoulder!
Blackcurrants, raspberries and garlic all grow really well here, I usually manage to grow my year’s supply. I have 7 hens – with one missing in action – a beehive and a wormery.
I don’t like using chemicals and nothing is a chore for me really. The size can get overwhelming but I think that if your garden becomes a chore then its not working for you.
I like going out and finding stuff, hunting and gathering around the garden for what’s available and then knowing what I am going to have for dinner.
I love spring in my flower garden and autumn in my veg garden because everything is coming together and ripening and I’m spoiled for choice. Time to preserve and squirrel away like mad for winter.
My hands are my favourite tool – they are well used.
For me gardening is all about nurturing, if you look after your garden it will look after you. I want to spread that peace and contentment that you find in small things through my family. I have done with my kids and now I am doing this with my grandchildren.
I like to have people round for pizza nights . Neighbours and friends come round with toppings and we all make our own pizzas in the outdoor oven – its fun sharing. I also have fun playing hide and seek with my grand children, I inherited some hideous concrete frogs which one of us hides and then we all have to find.
Now and then Dunsandel has a gardening competition which I entered and then won a trophy. The day the judges came the garden was looking very pretty – full of forget-me-nots. Meg my, then five year old, grand daughter came with me to the presentation and held the trophy aloft and shouted ‘Yes!!!’ – it was very inappropriate but so funny! My favourite gardening moment so far.
In my garden mulching is most important of all. Along with old carpet, compost, autumn leaves, pea straw and pants that have gone to seed I have even used big rocks and blocks of concrete as insulation for my plants.