Tikorangi Notes: Friday 16 December, 2011

The DIY Christmas tree

The DIY Christmas tree

Latest posts: December 16, 2011

1) Gardening books that have stood the test of time (or are likely to). Abbie’s column giving recommendations old (some positively vintage) and new.

2) Please do not buy me garden ornaments for Christmas (what we are up to in the garden this fortnight, first published in the Weekend Gardener). Using plants as focal points.

3) The delightful small Chinese tree Tetracentron sinense in Plant Collector this week.

4) Grow it yourself – leeks this week. An easy crop for winter harvest.

5) The DIY Christmas tree for 2011 – step by step instructions. Though this is not exactly a spur of the moment creation this year.

The black sands of a North Taranaki beach

The black sands of a North Taranaki beach

With rain every day this week, there has been little gardening going on here and little of the current flush of blooms will survive. The one consolation is that it could be worse – as it is in other parts of the country. Mark has been busy in the shed sowing seed while I made the Christmas tree but we may start to suffer from cabin fever, unless we get some sunshine soon.

Rather than battling out to try and photograph some sodden plant or garden scene this week, I have turned instead to two beach scenes from last Friday (when the weather was gratifyingly good – sunny, calm and mild) and we headed to the beach at Tongaporutu to gather oysters and mussels for dinner. On the west coast we have very fine black sand beaches. It used to amuse me that despite only ever seeing black sand, the vast majority of young Taranaki children still paint beach scenes showing golden sand. In mid summer, the hot sand can get too hot to walk on with bare feet above the high tide mark, but this early in the season, it is not a problem. Tongaporutu is about 30 minutes up the coast from us and is a wide open beach, often completely empty of people and completely magical. It felt like the essence of New Zealand, captured in a few hours

Mark, gathering dinner last Friday

Mark, gathering dinner last Friday

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