Saturday, December 12, 2009


Wellington had gale force winds last night. Daylight revealed snapped-off shoots on the Jude the Obscure rose bush and tree-fern fronds hanging bedraggled to the ground. The first distresses me, the second irritates. The rose flower has a lovely scent and the two broken shoots had lots of buds which was the cause of the misfortune. We had staked the opened blooms and they survived so I blame myself. I cannot clean up and the trailing fronds look untidy and unkempt.

I realise I was and am an emotional gardener – with a fair share of contradictory feelings. A week ago I described crushing snails with relish. Here’s a poem I wrote when we were living at our previous house.

How Did They Get There?

How did they get there? Four years
ago we laid some instant lawn, not
a daisy, now it is full of them. It’s a
mystery, they’ve always been prolific
on the top lawn but that gets mown
before they seed. Beats me! Others
urge, dig them up. But why? They’re
like the spider that lurks in the car
door, spins its web across the drive
side mirror. That mesh brushed away
it’s back next day. That’s spider’s been
through several car washes, traveled
thrice to Auckland, sailed on the Top
Cat. “A squirt of fly spray will fix it”
says the garage; a tip-off I ignore.
partly admiration for the pluck of
plant & beast, partly a form of
Buddhist courtesy, be & let be; a
gardener’s double standard for I crush
still, sap-sucker, aphid, snail & oxalis.

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