1 year on from my Walden experience of living off-grid in 100 sq ft for 1 year in 2 countries, 2 continents, 2 hemispheres, I have returned to living in a house. The experience influenced my choice of house and it is a modest 1500 sqft, which is still too large but was the smallest I could find at the time. Houses have gotten larger and nothing under 50 years old seems small. But what I have retained from the experience? what have I discarded as impractical? Thoreau spent 2 years...
Some wild flower displays to enjoy while most are reading seed catalogues and shoveling driveways. Some of these I recognize, others I have no clue about.These are all non-native New Zealand species (except 1) which are growing just below my forest property in what is the occassional gravel pit and may have been a dumping ground for garden ‘waste’, hence the spread of these flowers which normally would never have been seen in this landscape. There is the odd native plant (we...
Snow peaked mountains Peach blossoms:
Some have asked about the Feb 22, 2011 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. I am fine. I am well north of Christchurch since I moved to Murchison, which is about 240 miles (400km) to the north. I lived in Christchurch up until June ‘09 and sold my house there which was on the northern part of the city near the beach. It was a concrete building built on a sand dune. I haven’t been back since but I assume it has either cracked or liquifacted into the sand as many have in th...
Mid January sunset over Murchison, New Zealand. Sun setting in the southwest at about 9:30pm. Mt Mantle in the distance at 1400m. ...unseen fairies are at work in my garden The peaches are suddenly ripe and ready. Not too many this year but much more than last year. The tree is only 3 years old. Golden Queen variety. First peach! An update on the sorghum bicolor – broom corn red sorghum. It has literally grown an inch a day. Planted on 15 November, 2010,...
The New Zealand Flax is completely unrelated to the flax which produced the flax seed ( linseed) but was so named because of the similarities in the properties of the fibres and its uses. The Maori had discovered the 1001 uses of the NZ Flax or Harakeke long before pale-faced Europeans showed up.Actually related to the lilly, it sends up shoots of flowers at about the same time as the lillies bloom.The plant can be quite large, some are over 3m tall and 2m wide. The flower stalks can b...
The brachyglottis is a genus of the Asteraceae family and endemic to New Zealand. Not so much a weird plant but an extraordinarily well adapted, tough and beautiful plant. The brachyglottis greyi shown here begins to bloom in December and continues well into the fall. It’s tough as nails being extremely drought tolerant. Our 8 week late spring drought and heat didn’t phase it one bit and it’s flowering on schedule. It loves it hot and dry in the summer and can take fr...
Known as the Tree Fuchsia or just the Fuchsia, the Kotukutuku is the Maori name for the largest fuchsia found in the world. On the west coast of the south island, the local Maori called it a Konini. Its technical name is the Fuchsia excorticata. It can grow to 13 metres ( over 40 ft) and 600mm in diameter ( about 2 feet). If that wasn’t interesting enough about this plant (tree) it has the following odd characteristics 1. It is the one of the very, very few NZ native t...
Lancewood (Pseudopanax crassifolius) This is another plant which has confounded the botanists when first discovered. This indigenous plant is highly heteroblastic ie: its form and shape morphs as it ages. It has a distinct juvenile stage, an intermediate ( its teenage years) stage and and an adult stage. To the first Europeans all three forms were thought to be different plants and were all named differently. Who could have believed they were the same plant? If New Zealand had any histor...
Spring means flowers but these flowers are all from fruit trees in our yard and around our small town. Our newly acquired Nashi pear tree: Golden Queen Peach: Cox’s Orange Apple: Cherry trees around town ( the first is ours) cherry blossoms:
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