courtesy the Lovely R
courtesy the Lovely R
Occasionally I make a sweep through one of R's annoyingly numerous photo dumps, give him a hard look and ask what the fuck is this? Inevitably, some of his best images are sitting with their thumbs up their arses, utterly unshared with the wider world.
Think some of the rhododendron pics are mine- you can probably tell by the shitty exposures. R is a far, far better technician than I am but he, in common with most camera nerds, couldn't really compose his way out of a wet paper bag until I taught him the basics, so allow me a fart-huffing moment of insufferable credit-snatching while you peruse these lovely images. His eye is coming along nicely.
R sneakily posts some nice things that don't appear on my main blog so check out his page.
Flower IDs: Oriental Poppy Pictoee, unknown Azalea, Oriental Poppy Patty's Plum, Bedding Dahlia, unknown Rhododendron, Brugmansia sanguinea, unknown Rhododendron, Buttercup.
* The Lovely R * Our Photography * Photoessays * Flora *
A lovely shot by the Lovely R.
Summerinas are a recent intergeneric hybrid. We have trouble with this plant's parents- echinacea and rudbeckias- because they tend to be dry prairie type species and we are well, a dampish coastal situation on the other side of the fucking planet. They'll do alright in a hot year and then rot down into slimy little grey masses the next, which is a shame because the plants are somewhat expensive and very lovely when successful. I splashed out on two summerinas this year and they dutifully put forth both marigold-yellow and these deep mahogany red blooms; it remains to be seen if they will prove as perennial as their nursery bumf claims.
I highly recommend them if you're in a hot dry spot and like a nice showy late season daisy; their colours are pretty unique and highly saturated, providing great contrast to the fleshy turquoise and emerald of xeriscape species etc.
So don't be put off getting things started if you don't have some sort of grand baronial vision.
Just let what's there remain and add some more stuff as you go. This is the best way to
maintain a love relationship with a large bit of ground and not come to resent the slavish
efforts that whack notions of perfection will require from you.
That's not to say that our garden is a disgusting place to be; on the contrary, it has the sort of faineant, deshabille charm that can only come from a genuine lack of consideration, experience and forethought. I am never as bonelessly relaxed in a neat, deliberate garden as I am in our own shambolic tract of half-arsed wilderness. Hopefully the other inhabitants are similarly contented.
The only horticultural talents I can claim are the ability to spot the half-priced gold buried
amongst the shrivelled dross at nursery sales (an acquired skill) and to instinctively know which shit's worth getting out of bed for as far as species and variety are concerned.
But we don't have a lot of undue concern for vistas or harmonies. My rose collection looks
like it was sharted out of a My Little Pony- if it's vulgar or stripy or pink and stinky you'll
probably find it clashing violently with a neighbour at our place. It's safe to say that
Winchester Cathedral, posing so demurely directly below, is not completely representative.
If you're starting your own garden with few to no clues under your belt, or if, like me, you have been blessed with vulgar sensibilities but would like to present a more cultivated face to the world, my first and most important advice would be to stick with the older plant varieties.
I wish someone had told me that twenty bloody years ago.
I was going to start a rose review series this summer but the weather was so foul we barely
had any bloody material. Hopefully I'll have time over winter to cook up some notes with
the few decent shots we did manage and kick that shit off, because I've personally had it up to
my tits with being duped by shady breeder and nursery descriptions.
Thanks again to the Lovely R for his lovely pics.
Young New Zealand Fur Seal Arctocephalus forsteri chillaxing by the 30 sign around Back Beach.
She was a wee bit skinny and this isn't a regular haul out spot so we called DOC in case she was harassed by dogs etc. They said she seemed okay and we didn't see her again. NZ Fur Seal populations are recovering which is fantastic and it's great to know they are returning to old haunts like Otago Harbour.
The best way to tell the difference between a Fur Seal and the local Sea Lion is the former's pointy dog face as opposed to the latter's stouter bear schnoz.
Mushroom season. These are Parasol Ink caps, I think.
Unidentified Amanita shrooms, possibly.
another good detail shot by R.
I take these lovely blue (only the extreme centre has this pink flush) flowers for granted because they are so easy to grow, split up and move around. They're one of the first things to flower here in early spring along with the Persicaria knotweeds. They have a fucking peculiar smell which is quite pervasive on a still day; crushed strawberry + juiced violets + household bleach + foxy, animalic musk as per Lilium pyrenaicum.
It smells medium blue, if that's any help to you.
The Tuis visit the Banksia but seem more enthusiastic about the Pohutukawas (Metrosideros) coming into flower in our upper garden, along with every bee and wing'd insect for a mile in all directions. On a warm, still day during its luminous scarlet declamation the whole tree hums and shivers with a host of nectar-seeking visitants. Pohutukawa honey is bloody delicious- pale, thickly gloopy and almost salty, loathsome in its deliciousness. Try it if you ever come across it.
* More Photoessays * Port Chalmers, New Zealand * R's Blog *
I was standing on the steps halfway up to the top garden the other day when something large and dark swished by my head. It was a Magpie, Cracticus tibicen, unrelated to the Old World Corvidae version you might be familiar with.
We don't often see them here. They are denizens of open farmland and only occasionally vagrant to our adjoining township. This one landed on the hillside next to us and stalked beneath the trees, looking for foundling chicks and treating R's attempt to photograph it with frosty contempt.
There is something deeply and inexplicably sinister about these birds, far more so than the crows and ravens I met in Australia. They are accomplished mimics and soon master anyone afforded the dubious privilege of their adoptive company, bending them to their inscrutable avian will. I have tremendous respect, if not too much affection for them.
Watching this one stride between the pools of shade beneath the trees was like spying on a shapeshifter satisfying its appetites in an alternate form.
A native fruit pigeon or Kereru is frequenting the lower garden at the moment. It is an enormous bird, at least half a metre long, although it was chilling in a small kowhai tree the other day just a metre or so above R who was busy weeding and we didn't notice until it shat voluminously and went to sit in the adjoining paper birch.
From there it lumbered into the rowan next door and commenced stripping all the new leaves, consigning them to its capacious gullet. I thought it would prefer the flowers, but apparently not.
When it has crammed as much of the rowan as it can fit into its crop, the pigeon retires to the shelter of the alder to sleep for the rest of the afternoon, where it would snore like a fat drunk after a lunch bender, if birds could snore.
Trees are reward in themselves, but when you can stand in your own garden and photograph beleaguered native species enjoying the amenities, you know you've gone a small way towards making amends for your presence on this overcrowded planet. If you don't have a yard to plant, consider joining a local conservation org. The rewards go far beyond personal gratification.
R took this lovely detail shot.
I have three different clones of this sought-after variety; one super-large and sprawling with a weirdly cinereous, bruise-coloured flower that nudges ugliness, and two smaller, slightly frillier plants with a sweeter plum bloom, of which this is one. So not all Patty's Plums are created equal and this may account for the mixed regard in which this variety is held. I personally went to great lengths and some expense to secure this poppy, and while they will flower well in half shade and do look great with roses, all in all I prefer other varieties, like the deep reds and large whites.
My fucking poppies are flopping this year on account of all the bloody rain. Poppy flop sucks.
A very satisfying image courtesy the Lovely R. He posted it in his section too but whatever 😀
Another busy busy week so you'll be getting a lipstick review unless I get time off from designing wedding shit and property upkeep and spring cleaning etc. to write something else for you.
Someone should be paying me for something but they never do.