Bye bye Bill

It seems like I haven’t blogged in ages when the truth is, it has only been a couple of weeks. We battened down the hatches on Sunday as Cyclone Pam which caused devastation in Vanuatu was headed our way. Thankfully the Auckland area was relatively unscathed despite gusty winds and some heavy rain. The Gisborne district on the East Coast of NZ received the brunt with high seas and gale force winds, a blessing that the damage was only minor. Cyclone Pam is enroute to the Chattam Islands. I hope she runs out of puff.


Yes it’s a lemon! 

At this time of year most things are looking on the tired side. The zucchini machines are winding down and only popping out the odd shaft – while their leaves are sporting powdery mildew which I snip off and poke in the rubbish. My cucumbers more often than not are on the bitter side, even though I water them daily -even the chooks turn their noses up at them!

I shoved my hand into the one of the potato beds last night and hauled out rather small purple heart spuds – hmm. I suspect that the insanely dry weather we have been experiencing may well be responsible and also the fact that I planted them later than usual. Into the corner Julie!

jack be little-1130644

Not all is bad though, we are munching on delicious butter beans, beetroot, the jack-be-little pumpkins are looking orange, jalapeño chillies are being frozen for later :), habanero chillies are finally getting some size, the bananas are growing nicely, as are the figs, feijoas and quinces! So all in all I’m very happy.


Yes, I’ve pegged a self seeded tomato to the bean trellis!


Habanero chilli

I keep saying I will haul the beans off the trellis so I can poke peas in the ground – the good news is I’m half way through doing this ..


My seeds germinated 3 days after sowing and are now reaching for the sky. Daily watering and lots of TLC are in order.

That compost lasagna got turned a few days back – it was nice and hot in the middle. Perfect! So I scattered about more blood and bone, hosed it – gave it some words of encouragement and then tucked it in with grass clippings! LOL


Bill, hubby’s Dad, has gone back to the UK, but he left us with a wonderful selection of preserves, jams and jellies! His company and fine meals are greatly missed! Hugs to you .. and thank so much for all your help 😀


Happy gardening

69 thoughts

  1. Happy to hear the storm passed you by. Those are really cute pumpkins. While we can grow pumpkins, chiles of all kinds, tomatoes, beans, etc., we are too high, dry and cold for bananas, lemons, figs and such (we could probably get some lemons to produce indoors). Nice photos and I love the seascape.

  2. Thank goodness the cyclone missed; it looks bad on Vanuatu. The only good thing to come out of cyclones is that I find out about tiny groups of islands around the world that I’d never heard of.
    Your pumpkins look good. I discovered that the reason ours were so large last year was because Bill bought Hundredweight Pumpkins! Apparently the only others were pumpkins especially for carving and decorating. I reckon that 99% of pumpkins are grown purely for halloween and then discarded. All I want is a tasty little pumpkin to eat.
    Enjoy your preserves – they look a glorious colour.

    • Hi Anne, I love pumpkin! Just wonderful stuff – no way would I be wasting any of it. These little guys are incredibly tasty too! I’m looking forward to winter months and enjoying those preserves. 🙂

    • Hi Dan … I’m pleased it missed us too. We copped a storm in December which knocked down a couple of trees – I was sure more of this was in store. Glad you like those pics 😀 I use the habaneros to make hot hot chilli sauce which I love .. and I don’t mind them on toasted sandwiches either. LOL

  3. Wow that salad on your header looks fabulous! It’s so interesting that you seem to have something growing whatever time of year it is – so different from our experience where we get 6 months of growing if we’re lucky!

  4. I love lemons! Beautiful and interesting pictures of your garden Julie!
    We had 20 degrees today here in Munich and I started the warm garden season this afternoon with….the biggest ice-cream sundae!! With cream! Best regards, Josephine.

  5. Good news that you were unscathed by the cyclone. And the produce in your garden looks so good…. Only seems a few days ago since I first found your blog and you were just preparing for spring.

    It occurred to me that you won’t have (native) pumpkins for Halloween?

  6. Hey Helen – I know, we were so very lucky that the cyclone missed us. Gosh, spring seems such a long time ago now as we motor into autumn. No I certainly won’t be having pumpkins for Halloween! The ones I have grown are midgets (LOL) and the others planted in a rather daft spot with no water supply didn’t produce. Shame!

  7. Oh my gosh Julie, I’m so grateful you rode out the cyclone with no damage. And look at your lemon. I’m so jealous. The few times I’ve broken down and bought a lemon the darn thing has always come down with scale and I ended up losing the battle. (Actually, more like giving up on it and composting the plant) I hate scale to the max.

    How lucky for you that you had dad Bill for a visit. Lovely to the max for the company and the preserves. Robert told me he’s down to the last jar of hedgerow jam at our’s in England. I think I didn’t make as much as I did is years past. But he’s still got the plum preserves and some frozen apple crumble. And, while I was organising the freezer for the house sitter, I came across the last of the peach crumble form last year’s peaches in Vancouver. Mmm, that’ll wait for C and me to get back from Mexico. (Actually, I can’t believe I missed that…lol…if R saw that when he was in Van over Christmas, it wouldn’t be there now!) That reminds me, you knwo when I got those peaches? My daughter Kerstin brought me a massive box of them last June, three days before I left for England for two months! That was a massive undertaking of canning, pie and crumble making, I can tell you. That child knows how to pick ’em.

    Also, the rhubarb is starting up again, which is good because I made the last of it into crumble over Christmas. I love rhubarb. But no gardening for me for a week! At the moment, the only flowers round here are three plumeria blossoms and a sprig of vivid fuchsia bougainvillia in a wine glass beside my bed in this hotel room. 😀 (wonder if I can smuggle a cutting into Canada) 😀

    • Hi Veronica .. I’m thinking of you in Mexico and I’m very jealous! LOL We have a lemon tree which is sadly dying – citrus borer have nailed it. Such a shame. I’ve had scale before on lemon trees – not my favourite.
      Yes Bill is such a treasure and he enjoys doing it too! Hedgerow jam sounds interesting .. what’s in that V? I love peach crumble too – in fact any crumble is good isn’t it? Oh you are so good freezing, canning, pie making – I run out of steam! Enjoy Mexico 😀

      • Hedgerow jam is a mix of what ever is growing wild at the time. Usually it’s damsons, apples, blackberries, hawthorn berries, elderberries and maybe some pears or some of our Victorian plums. Also, maybe some left-over bought fruit that I don’t think we’re going to finish before it goes off, like a peach or something. Plus sugar. I usually eyeball it so can’t tell you how much of what. I usually peel and finely chop the apples, or, if I’m using crab apples I’ll only use the juice (can’t be bothered peeling crab apples. Stuff like that. Ends up delicious to the max. 😀

  8. It’s good to hear from you when we can. A farmer’s wife is a full time! So we understand. Thank you for the great photos and love hearing about what’s what in the garden…

  9. Hello Julie. My goodness the ocean looks lovely but rough! Wonderful post and photos. The jars look great. In our neck of the woods we trade our homemade preserves. I’ve been known to turn pickled beans and Huckleberry Grand Marnier Preserves into wine and and chutney. I’ve even turned them into smoke on occasion! Good to hear the worst of the bad weather missed you. Take care! Bob

    • Hi Bob … so good to hear from you. The sea was really rough that day .. I’m so pleased that you like the post and the pics. Ah, I shall miss Bill! I like the idea of trading preserves! Turning pickles into wine and chutney sounds brilliant! I’m pleased the weather missed us too! Missing you in the blogging world Bob 😀 You take care too

  10. Happy gardening to you too, frogpong – lovely to read all the things you are still harvesting.
    And loved “the zucchini machines”. – that’s exactly what they feel like sometimes, little over-productive machines!

  11. I think I missed this post last week Julie. More lovely treasures from your garden. The zucchini machine- I like that expression. And II also like the way you leave us with an inviting seascape- the coast of NZ is truly stunning.

    • Hello Miss .. always so good to hear from you! They are treasures aren’t they? And those zuccs are machines – no doubt about it! Glad you like that seascape Francesca .. the coast of NZ is beautiful. We are so lucky! 😀

  12. I love your blog Julie, your garden always inspires me. I’m trying a new variety of pumpkin this year called “golden nugget”, it produces small fruit and is supposed to be a smaller bush; all the same I’ll be training it up a trellis as pumpkins have a habit of taking over!
    I’m off to plant some seedlings x

  13. Glad you stayed safe!
    Your pictures are alwasys a visual feast. It is such a pleasure to drink in all that beauty. I love everything of course but those preserves are so pretty. I am going to borrow your clothespin idea for tomatoes.

  14. Poking around your farm must feel, at times, like being on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find, what’s just around the corner! Beautiful beach shot there Julie. How you must love calling this place home! 🙂

  15. Jules, Im so glad you werent affected by Cyclone Pam.
    Everything is looking great as usual and youve got some wonderful preserves there. Good man Bill. Love seeing all youre doing as always 😃

  16. So glad you and yours were not affected by the cyclone. Your photography is stunning and I would like to borrow that wonderful father-in-law of yours.

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