From time to time Hubby the Un-Gardener has meetings with clients away from home and more often than not it is at a café location that roughly halfway between them both. So, this week when he told me a client suggested meeting at the wonderful café at the Auckland Botanic Garden, I told him he wasn’t going there without me.
The weather this week was forecast to be intermittently dodgy, but that didn’t bother me, I have a raincoat so nothing would stop me going along. Fortunately, we woke to a strangely warm and sunny day, which was a bit of a shock as it was the last day of autumn and should have been a touch chilly. I packed a raincoat just in case, because knowing my luck if I didn’t bring one it would have rained. The weather did turn grey and bleak the moment we got home, so the whole thing seemed like it was meant to be.
We arrived early, before the client and Hubby the Un-Gardener bought me a takeaway coffee and a muffin and sent me off before I tarnished his posh business image with my garden visit appearance. (I was so excited about going out I changed my outfit four times – it was a bit like Goldilocks– too hot, too cold, too posh, and just right.)
So, I took my coffee and skipped off into the garden. The hard bit was knowing where to start – it is enormous and there is so much to see. Fortunately, I’ve visited several times before, so it didn’t matter if I didn’t get to see it all. By instinct I gravitated to the vegetable garden. I always check out what they are growing and compare it to my garden. Some of their plants look a little better than mine, but theirs haven’t been bashed by the wind. I found myself admiring the brick wall around one section thinking to myself ‘hmmm… maybe I need a brick walled garden – I could manage this… I’ve done some bricklaying before…’
After all of the work I have been doing on The Palace Garden, I noticed the hard landscaping just as much as the plants, but in the past the plants were the stars, and I barely noticed the solid things holding it all together. I took plenty of photos to help give inspiration for inklings of ideas. Although the beauty of being a local government run garden, I looked at some aspects of it and thought how lovely would it be to just have a fraction of the budget to dream grand dreams and make them happen.
After checking out the edible section, I wandered off to the native area as I have challenged myself to sharpen up my knowledge on the less obvious natives. The Rimu, Kauri, Totara, Kowhai and Pohutukawa, and others are the super stars of the bush – everyone knows who they are. But in the midst of the bush there are plenty of mid layer plants with interesting leaves and a story to tell. That is the great thing about a botanic garden – everything is labelled, so all you have to do is remember them.
And then I wandered aimlessly, it didn’t matter where I went, it was all good. I found myself drawn to the rose gardens and in spite of it being winter the very next day, you could smell the wonderful scent of roses long before you could see them. There weren’t all that many left and most plants were bereft of blooms and leaves, but some were as full and lush as a midsummer’s day. I made a mental note to myself to come back again in the height of rose season as this would be a sight to behold. I also made another mental note to get more sweet smelling roses in my life.
By now I had been wandering for a good couple of hours – time that just zapped by and I enjoyed all that I had seen and my own company. But I thought that I should head back to the start as Hubby the Un-Gardener’s meeting should be coming to an end. I skipped quite a few garden sections with little more than a backward glance as I cut through the kid’s garden, which would also be a fabulous place to linger and indulge the inner child – they’ve made it so exciting. But my time was up, and I had a rendezvous with Hubby the Un-Gardener at the starting point.
With a camera full of photos, a head full of ideas and legs a little on the tired side, I babbled away excitedly all the way home.
Come again soon – life is just a bit more ordinary, and another storm is on the way.
Sarah the Gardener : o)