Here in Upper Whakamarama in the Kaimai on the rural fringe of Tauranga you don’t need the weather forecaster to tell you that Ngahuru-Autumn is here. It’s the time of year when those we share the environment with start to look for a warmer winter home. Rat-scurrying in the ceiling and the first small grey captures.
It’s not heartless to have a capture system – the damage one small field mouse can cause around the house is unbelievable. The last rat that was brave enough to venture into my house, through the garage door and up the hall, ran back out to avoid my loud and persistent screaming when I discovered it happily hiding in a pile of work clothes. Rural life is not all sitting on the terrace wine in hand watching the sky shade pink and grey over Tauranga Harbour.
The wind has started to dislodge the birds’ nests. I’ve two now. Superbly crafted. The second one is a small avian house and garden wonder with a moss-covered exterior. My favourite flowers are here. The balletic Japanese Anemones. White and waving delicately around the garden. I love this plant which is loathed by many because of its ability to unasked increase its presence – something I find endearingly helpful in smothering less welcome invaders. I knew Summer had gone when, despite the continuing blue sky and lack of rain, a white cyclamen appeared outside the door. Like the Peace Lillies inside some of my plants and their containers are much travelled and horticulturally geriatric. I adore cyclamen for the same reason I stand and watch the anemones. I also admire their irrational persistence appearing year in and year out wherever they are.I’ve started taking cuttings from the lavender row in the paddock. Despite my “careful” naming of previous cutting trays my row is comprised of more than one variety. This year I’ve tried to capture the biggest flower heads and the longest stems. If you’ve ever wondered what I look like up here – this is it. Not avoiding the current international scourge but trying to avoid being written off by the potting mix. Blue food-prep gloves complete my ensemble. This is the first year I’ve done this.
I’ve eaten the peaches from Andrea and Ludi and I’ve kept the stones. While these peaches may not have managed to enter the doors of a supermarket, they were the most beautiful, fragrant fruit and small though they are, worthy of an attempt at growing – I’ve a small box of peach stones on the kitchen bench.I’ve picked the lavender (but it keeps on flowering) and the hydrangeas. The sage is dried and stored in brown paper bags in the airing cupboard. My first 2020 pumpkin has come to rest in the kitchen. The boxes of kindling are increasing. The hedges in the paddock are being cut and I’ve stood and enjoyed the strong evening fragrance from a curly leaved native shrub. The holes for new native shelter are being dug. Autumn is when you start to get ready for Spring and Summer – it’s an end but more importantly it’s a beginning. This year that seems even more important. Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
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