Tag Archives: Garden


My Sunday Photos | Winter flowers inspiring prose

It’s nearing the end of winter in New Zealand, with the days getting noticeably longer and more fine days in between the cold fronts, but still, when the southerly whips up from Antarctica, we need a little hopeful reminder of spring and summer to come.

This weekend, whilst away in our holiday home in Martinborough, in the beautiful countryside of the Wairarapa, I was delighted to find many unexpected blooms of colour in the garden.

Winter colours in the garden in Martinborough.

I pretty much spent the entire weekend, between showers of rain and looking after a poorly child, taking photographs of flowers, cutting them to fill vases and writing poetry!


The poem below is about the Hellabores I found in the garden.

Poem - First meeting with Hellebores



Linking up with -

roses lingering on in autumn in Martinborough

The Photo Gallery | My Back Garden


This is the garden of our home in Martinborough, where we escape to as often as time allows. It’s our weekend retreat in the countryside, where the climate is frequently several degrees warmer than our place in Wellington – on the beautiful, but often wild and rugged south coast of the North Island of New Zealand.

We only took ownership of the property at the beginning of this year and the roses are thanks to the previous owner. I love their colour and scent, but hate the thorns. We plan to have them moved to another part of the garden and push the grass area back further, to make room for more summertime play with the children.

The girls adore making flower arrangements with them, and the other flowers in the garden.

flower arrangements from the garden

I love the lavender bushes that line the deck.


On every visit to the house I pick the fresh lavender and hang it to dry, making me feel instantly relaxed.

Lavender hanging to dry

Once it’s dried I place it around the house, in little pottery vases, like this one I discovered in a gorgeous shop called ‘Vintage Treasure‘ in Martinborough.

Lavender and pottery

It’s always lovely to bring something from the garden into the home, especially as our days are shorter now that Autumn is here in New Zealand. I do love the late afternoon light – I just wish it would last longer.

Afternoon light

The garden in Martinborough is also blessed with lemons, limes and other fruit trees. The climate is kinder to them there. I brought home a basket of goodness from the back garden to enjoy in our Wellington home, until our next visit.

Treasures from the garden

Looking at those lemons makes me think of a ‘G&T’ first and foremost – just what I need to warm me up on what is a very windy day in my Wellington back garden. The silver-birch tree is losing the last of its leaves with every gust.

In our Wellington garden - autumn


Linking this post with the lovely Tara at Sticky Fingers blog for ‘The Photo Gallery | My Back Garden‘.

The Photo Gallery | Green

I used to think blue was my favourite colour, like the ocean and a perfect summer’s sky, but more and more it is green that really rocks me. I love all the contrasting shades of green in nature, and the vibrancy of trees after a heavy rain. I love the inviting canopy of a lush, grassy, field and how it makes me want to run and run till I can’t run any further. To lay on my back in the shade of a tree, staring up through the canopy of a tree heavy with leaves, gentling moving in a warm summer’s breeze.

The closest I’ve come to any of these, in the past week, is watching the heavy rain falling in my garden on the beautiful Punga tree ferns.

Punga fern in the garden, New Zealand

After the rains, the calm returned. The greens all the more vivid from the rain. Maybe it was my childhood, growing up in the green countryside of England, that first ignited my love of greens. I spent most of my childhood running on expansive green fields, climbing trees, seeking four-leafed clovers (which I wrote about in ‘Hope, Faith, Love & Luck‘) and adventuring on my bike in the countryside.

In my adulthood I’ve been happiest far away from civilisation, tramping in the bush of New Zealand (on incredible walks, such as the amazing ‘Milford Track’ – which I wrote about here) – where the lush, jungle of greens, twisting vines, ferns and moss, seem impenetrable in their depth – as well as comforting and restorative in their full embrace. The past ten years of parenthood have sometimes been frustrating, as I’ve been so dedicated to my children that I’ve never given myself time to retreat, on my own, to the bush. I’m starting to restore the balance now, little by little.

I’ve only ever spent one night away from my children – and that’s when I had two children, not three, back in 2008 with a friend – an amazing weekend in the Marlborough Sounds. In ten years, one night! That’s just crazy – no wonder my sanity is crumbling!!

Thankfully, a little dose of nature, be it in my garden – or a landscape as I drive around hilly Wellington – helps to keep the balance.

Wellington from Shelly Bay

But, very soon I’m going to need to venture out again on my own, for longer than a moment, more than a night, – just as my growing children are slowly (very slowly!) starting to do! xx

Green punga frond sculpture outside 'The Chocolate Fish Cafe', Shelly Bay, Wellington, New Zealand


The Gallery

Things I’m Loving…

A Monday that started with rain and wind, where the only sign of summer was the strawberries on my muesli, gave us a breather in the afternoon. Sunshine peeked from between the clouds as Sophie and Alice ran around Katherine Mansfield Memorial Park playing ‘peek a boo’ with their little wooden dolls.

Peek a boo

After school pick there were gelato ice-creams and giggles with a school friend of Charlotte’s who came round to play. The garden was full of laughter and children playing – as a neighbour’s children came to join in the fun.

Tuesday morning started without purpose. It was one of those mornings that I dressed with colour, but didn’t feel it within. I projected the image of a happy hippie – but felt a black gothic look inside.

Finding my colours

But a phone call from a friend soon put the morning straight. She came round with her two children – one the same age as Sophie, the other Charlotte’s age. Sophie and her friend did maths practice over a game of darts (as six year old natural learners like to do), played animal rescuers, played some music and took turns hanging in the hammock.

The older sibling took some cool photographs around the garden and is always good company.

Thankfully, by Tuesday afternoon, I did find my colour sparkle – just in time for a visit to Charlotte’s school, where we had the opportunity to see her work and admire her poetry.


A catch up with a neighbour, and two of her children (around the same age as Sophie and Alice), on Tuesday after school was immense fun. Sophie baked a cake with her friend, whilst I played with Alice and her young friend. I think I got off lightly supervising the two year olds – as the cake the older girls made involved a lot of mess in the kitchen (but the results were yummy!).


A glorious day greeted us on Wednesday, with a partial eclipse of the sun and a Royal visit to Wellington too (blog post about that here)! We spent the morning at Scorching Bay before welcoming Prince Charles and Camilla to Wellington.

Sophie at Scorching Bay

In the evening I enjoyed the chance to walk around the beautiful coast-line, so close to our home.

Coastal flowers

So happy to have a moment to myself to watch the sun-set at Princess Bay and then return home to a happy family and be read a bedtime story by my six year old (she’s started the ‘Judy Moody‘ series).

Watching the sunset


Thursday was full of moments in the garden, from morning till sun-down, with baking before breakfast and shared time with the man of the house, after Charlotte had finished school.

Baking before breakfast

We met up at The Chocolate Fish Cafe at Shelly Bay, where the girls ran and jumped on the bean-bags…

Run! Jump!

And Dan tried to stay focused on his work under a ‘Middle of Middle Earth’ sky.

Dan trying to stay focused on work under a Middle of Middle Earth sky at Shelly Bay.

Back home in the garden we made rainbow wishes for a summer fine.

Rainbow wishes

Watering our strawberries and vegetables with love every night.

Strawberries, peas and tomato plants

In the garden

Enjoying the beauty of freshly picked flowers from the garden arranged in a vase.

Flowers from the garden

And lovely gifts from an old neighbour, Shayne, who had made a surprise visit that morning!

A lovely gift from our old neighbour Shayne


We finished up on a Thursday evening with energetic sprints around the garden, from one place to the next… with the older girls enjoying the new trapeze bar I’d picked up earlier in the evening (and some sand for Alice’s sandpit).


And now it’s Friday and a fine day here in the Middle of Middle Earth. I have Frances round to help me out. Having two children at home full-time I really need a couple of hours to myself to keep me sane. I’ve been for a lovely jog this morning, enjoyed an uninterrupted stress free shower, and now a little time to catch up on all the good parts of the week.

Friday morning

Charlotte went off to school with her speech on a New Zealand artist all prepared in a self-made carry case (she’s adorably kookie at times!).

Charlotte's speech

The man of the house is working hard and going out for some deserved beers this evening. I’m going to be busy entertaining little people in the garden (or maybe they’ll entertain me). Either way… have a great weekend!


Here’s hoping we have a splash of BBQ & hammock lounging weather too xx

Hammock & BBQ time!


Joining in with…

Walk through the tulips with us…

It’s nearly Spring Festival time in Wellington’s Botanical Garden and the tulips are as glorious as ever.

It’s impossible not to smile when faced with all this joyful colour – from bright sunshine gold…


To carpets of pinks…


They always surprise me with their resilience against the seasonal spring battering of Wellington wind and intermittent heavy rains (which played havoc on the roads Monday morning!).


The day after the rains they stood bold and strong in the sunshine, bringing an air of happiness to all who visited them.


Young Alice, two, was in obvious awe at all the colours and fell into a fairy like world of her own as she danced from one bed to another.


Accompanied by her older sister, Sophie – age 6, who has been visiting the gardens every since she was babe in arms – watching the seasons turn, each one bringing its own magic.


Looking for fallen buds and petals to add to her magic potions.


Running barefoot on the grass, arms wide, imagining what it would feel like to fly between the buds of colour, like a butterfly.


Stepping through the gardens, so peaceful, filled with the joys of this season and the excitement of summer days soon to come.


Climbing trees made for fairy like feet…


Peering through branches heavy with blossom…


Being in the moment, aware of every sight, smell and sound – feeling the soft texture of petals scattered on the ground.


These little fairies of mine know how to unlock the secrets of spring in the garden. I’m so thankful for having the time to see into their world and linger there a while.

I hope you enjoyed walking through the tulips with us x


Grass | LOVE | Photo a Day May *Monday & Tuesday*

Couldn’t resist combining these two, as I LOVE the varied GRASSES of New Zealand. So many colours and such varied textures – from coarse and spiky, to fine and wispy.

In my back garden we have a steep bank, where nothing much else would grow successfully, and the native grasses that carpet the surface of the soil move like rippling waves in the breeze.

Grasses rippling in the breeze in our garden

In other pockets of the garden a blend of grasses meet native flaxes and a rock wall – made with rocks from the local quarry.


The native tussock grasslands, with their clumping growth form, and stems fanning up and outward from a central bunch, are hardy and beautiful – reflective of the light, mood and atmosphere.