Winter nesting

Winter nesting

At three years old, Mira has just had her first birthday party. There was so much to wonder at: the cake with its candles, the ritual of being sung to and then blowing them out. And then of course the presents. I gave her a set of nesting dolls. Here she is, wondering...
What do ants love best?

What do ants love best?

Last year, in autumn, I posted about the ants that were invading my home. Several people offered useful advice through their comments, and my favourite one was from an anonymous visitor who said, try out different foods, and mix them with borax, and this will help to...
The bird with no head

The bird with no head

As I walked along the waterfront yesterday, I spotted a strange sight: a bird without a head. I came closer, and saw that it was a shag. It seemed to be have been taking a nap, but as I approached it moved,  and opened its eyes, taking a look at me to see if I...
The gift that grew

The gift that grew

When I first moved into my apartment nearly two years ago, I sat there amidst the boxes and bare rooms, and had this thought: ‘I wish someone would bring me flowers.’I’ve always liked to grow flowers for picking, to bring life into my home.But here I...
A splash of yellow

A splash of yellow

It was wild and cold out here on the west coast this weekend. The rain was lashing my face, and the lens of my camera as I sneaked it out for some photos. The rain squall intensified as I attempted to photograph the hill across the stream.But when I returned to the...
White carrot

White carrot

I haven’t visited the bach garden for a month. When I pulled up this vegetable, I thought it must be a parsnip, although I didn’t remember planting any. But no. It’s a white Belgium carrot. Suddenly I remembered: in the autumn I was unable to buy...
Two seasons

Two seasons

It’s been bleak; a week of storms, twisters, snow falls and on the west coast, immense surf. The wind has been biting. Yet, winter delivered a surprise. On my walk, I discovered a young magnolia had burst into bloom, just two minutes away from the grey sea coast...
Serenity and gratitude

Serenity and gratitude

In the Wintergardens, on that inhospitable day when I took refuge in the warmed pavillion, this is what I saw: waterlily leaves that seemed to be made out of bronzed silk. A golden highlight shone on them from above, bringing out their luminosity, and a single flower...
Winter smiles

Winter smiles

It was a cold, windy day with grey skies. Leaves were being scraped along the ground and tossed in the air. I pulled my coat tightly around me as I left an appointment and prepared myself for two more – dreary ones, like the day itself. With an hour to kill...
Sun berries

Sun berries

This winter I’m noticing things I’ve never seen before. As I drive down a certain Auckland street, I see that the melia trees are in full berry. They are like lots of little suns, all over the trees, and they seem to light up the whole street on gloomy...
Where are the bumblebees?

Where are the bumblebees?

My jade plant is just as gorgeous as it was last year. Its little flower heads are pink and open. They are  putting out a soft, sweet fragrance. They’re just hanging out, ready to be pollinated. But where are the bumble bees? Last year it was smothered with...