Winter magic

Yesterday was a beautiful winter’s day in Auckland, one of those that makes you smile and crave to get outdoors in the garden (today’s not too bad either!).


Winter magic at our place




Nothing like a walk on the beach in the morning, followed by the morning coffee. It was the perfect day to sling the camera over the shoulder, grab some pics of the sun glistening on the water and lose my telephoto lens cap. Another one lost at the beach!


Muriwai beach


The garden is looking rather good too. Broad beans have shoved aside the dirt and the garlic which was only planted about 10 days ago, is already shooting skywards with vigour. Love the stuff!

I opted not to plant red or Egyptian walking onions this year – I have always been a creature of habit, so it’s good to break a few rules.


Well in saying that I learnt a nasty lesson with my brassicas. They are usually planted in April and this year they went into the dirt much later. Why? I have no idea. As they were late the pesky white butterflies had flitted off for winter so there was no need to erect the cloche to protect them. The truth is, the cloche actually keeps the confines warmer encouraging seedling growth and also offers some protection against the gastropods – think slugs and snails.

Mentioning the bane of my life – the slimeys have decided that they are having an alcohol free year, so they are avoiding my beer traps. I would never use any form of bought snail bait as we are organic and the majority of these are toxic, so I resort to the hand picking method. Out at night with the torch grabbing the suckers while they are busy dining, and then dropping them into the beer whether they like it or not. Or course I have tried an array of other things – coffee grounds, seaweed, diatomaceous earth, wood ash and wool stuffed around the edge of the raised bed and not to keep the soil warm either. Apparently they have an aversion to climbing over the wool.


Oh and for all those that love rhubarb, at long last I have finally planted one … it is sitting very happily in the garden in our backyard (the one near the chook paddock). It got stuffed into a hole with loads of homemade compost – the best stuff ever!


Collin’s offspring …


Feeding the wildlife


Our beautiful old boy Lenny …


Happy gardening!


93 thoughts

  1. LENNY! <3 I can almost hear the little tongue laps as he quenches his thirst at the water trough.

  2. Beautiful photos! Your area is really green in winter, unlike here in the high desert on the other side of the world, which is very dry and brown in winter. We are quite green as we approach the summer solstice, but I think you are still much greener in your winter than we are in our summer. So AA got to your slugs and got them on the wagon? I’ve tried various natural things to deal with the little black ants, and I have given up and tried to make a deal with them: if they stay on the floors, I’ll leave them be. It’s sort of working. We don’t use any pesticides, and instead let the critters take care of each other. I remember we were told by some rosarians when we first started entering rose shows that we would never have prize roses if we didn’t spray. We took that as a challenge and all three of us have won Queen of Show with our unsprayed roses in both horticulture and arrangements. Your chickens look happy and the kitty is looking good.

    • Hi Tim! Thank you .. I really appreciate your comments. Yes it is so green here in winter – Auckland loves raining! LOL I couldn’t imagine having a dry and brown winter. AA slugs! Oh that is too funny! Damned things … I love the story about the roses. Good on you! That is fabulous … mind you your roses are amazing Tim. Loads of TLC! 😀 Lenny is our old diabetic kitty .. such a great old chap!

      • I just thought you might like to know that I just earned my New Zealand badge from Fitbit by walking 990 miles or the entire length of NZ. It’s taken me 6 months to log 990 miles.

  3. Hooray for the rhubarb. I have had mine for about 3 years now. I wouldn’t be without it. And it seems that Lenny is a fan of bird bath water, as is my cat. Apparently it is far superior to the clean water bowl next to her food plate.

      • And the dog thinks the cat’s water bowl is so much better than his. Does this mean I should be testing out the dog’s water bowl to see if his water is better than mine? 😀

  4. Hi Julie it’s looking good and poor old Lenny still with us. I was reading about slugs and one thing they don’t like are frogs . Now living on Frogpond farm you should have a lot! So you need to get a froggery like the wormery ! Good photos as usual (Vicky ) must have passed on a lot of tips going for lessons without you!
    Lol to you both Bill xx

    • Hello Mr B … the place is looking good. Very green! Might be something to do with the rain .. 😀 Yes Lenny is still with us (just) poor old man. Hasn’t been too good lately. Hmm one would imagine living on Frogpond Farm would mean loads of frogs. Oh I love the idea of a froggery! You can be in charge of it when you come over. LOL fantastic! What about the rhubarb? More stuff for you to preserve when you are in town 😀 … Ha ha Vicky going without me … you are bad! LOL back at your Bill. Hugs

    • Hi Max .. glad you like the post. The property was looking nice in the winter sun. The walk on the beach is always special … I’ve seen some nice sunrises lately, you would love them 🙂 Take care too

  5. You’re having a beautiful winter by the looks of things. Oh, don’t you hate those teatotaling slimies? They could at least have the decency to get good and drunk and die. The ones here seem to have the same disposition as yours. I need an urban pond with a good frog spawn (since I’m not that keen on snakes in the garden). In England we have hedgehogs and song thrushes which eat the suckers, but no such luck here in Van, so the war rages on! Happily, they don’t seem to be getting at the strawberries this year and it might be because they’re raised above the soil on the straw. No idea what that’s all about, but this is the first year I’m using straw so I’ll keep you posted. Speaking of straw, it’s working brilliantly as a mulch around the kale, leeks and potatoes. I’ll try to use the straw everywhere else too because I’ll be leaving for E at the end of the month and so hopefully it will help Chloe keep the garden from drying out for July and August while I’m not here. Speaking of England, one year the slugs and snails actually climbed up and stripped an entire branch of our plum tree which bent over and touched the ground!!! Death to the slimy suckers!!!

    Darling Lenny is so sweet. My Sasha lived with me for 21 years and then he was a young cat when I rescued him and he loved the bird bath too. My Milo loves to get into the bird bath and have a drink too. He likes to get into the waterfall fountain and the old pump fountain too, but won’t touch the cat’s water bowl…go figure. Morgan on the other hand, wouldn’t be caught dead drinking from something that wasn’t crystal clear and in the right kind of container. Maybe this is the difference between boys and girls? 😀

    • Hey V .. so far so good with winter. But Auckland does like surprising us. I know, shame on them for their sudden aversion to beer! They enjoyed it last year. Yes the war is on .. I’m out there every night unless I have watched a thriller on TV. Then no way known, I suddenly become very scared of the dark! Gosh your slimeys got stuck into your strawberries. Thankfully they leave ours alone – too interested in my brassicas I guess. Your comment reminded me that I must get mulching. I have been particularly bad with it this season. How exciting that you are heading off to England at the end of the month – great having Chloe there to house sit. Lenny is such a great old bloke – grumpy, but hey I would be if I was his age too! Thanks for stopping by Miss! 😀

  6. What a setting Julie! Gorgeous. I pray that I never have slugs. They sound miserable. But I do enjoy the thought of you out at night picking them up with a flashlight and dropping them into beer 🙂

  7. Julie, my goodness it looks like you are having a lovely winter. Fantastic photos! The beach is looking rough – time to get out your surf board. You are really going to enjoy your rhubarb. Lisa makes an awesome rhubarb and strawberry pie. Good luck with the slugs – if they are as big as everything else you grow you have your work cut out for you! Take care. Bob

    • Hey bob, glad you like the pics. 🙂 Winter so far hasn’t been too bad. Now that rhubarb and strawberry pie sounds yummy. Any chance of grabbing the recipe? Those slugs thankfully aren’t too big – it’s the little dudes that hide under the leaves that I loathe. Great to see you here as always 😀

  8. Hi Julie, such beautiful pictures on such a beautiful day. I missed it as I had to go to the city, which I wasn’t too pleased about. It is so lovely to see all your hills as we are quite flat! I hope we get some more days like it. Cheers Sarah : o )

    • Thanks Sarah … I crave for flat land especially for our veg garden which is perched on a hill. But then at least the water runs off and there is plenty of that in auckland! 🙂 I have my fingers crossed for more fine days. Enjoy your weekend Miss

    • Those broad beans will survive the winter (well I hope so 🙂 ). I haven’t grown them in a few years but they don’t seem to mind the wet and it doesn’t get too cold. The only thing that might be a problem might be Mr Frost. Glad you like the garden .. I do enjoy sharing it 🙂

  9. Hi Julie, Your house and surrounding garden looks so lovely and inviting. The slugs and you have a thing going- mine hate sand and wood ash- that’s usually enough. And thanks for the beach shot- making it a really special Julie post. Shame about the lens cap- maybe it will wash up with the tide one day.

    • Hey Miss … woohoo a pic! I didn’t know it was you until I read your blog today. Ah sand, I hadn’t thought of that! I’ve done the wood ash and it works a treat until it rains. Another reason to visit that beach then 😉 … I can’t believe I have lost yet another one. It fell from my pocket and I went back to find it. Black lens cap on black sand? Good luck Julie! thanks for stopping by …

      • Mr T always buys those little cotton straps that attach the lens cap to the camera, otherwise mine would be all gone too. He does have his uses!!
        Oh yes, woohooo a pic of me. I thought it was time but now feel totally paranoid and may have to either find a better shot, turn it into a cartoon image, or go back to the scary hand.

      • You are so funny! Don’t you dare take it down .. I love it! I can’t stop laughing. Nuts .. you shouldn’t be paranoid. And in response to your comment about lunch – as it happens I’m coming to Melb again very soon. I would love a lunch catch up 😀 Are you free?

      • Wouldn’t that be fabulous? It depends on the date. we are heading off again up North on June 24th to Cairns, travelling slowly down to Brisbane and get back here on 25th of July. Does that fit in with your travels to Melbourne?

      • Shame! I get there on the 10th July and leave on the 17th. But I’ll be back and would love to see you! Now that trip up north sounds fabulous F – what a great time to get out of Melbourne 🙂

  10. While I enjoy all your photos, I had a laugh at your one called ‘feeding the wildlife’…your chickens look like they don’t mind sharing too! A lovely visit as always – thanks.

    • Those sparrows are amazing. They sit and wait at dinner times and then flit down casual as you like and steal their tucker. And no the girls don’t mind at all. Glad you enjoyed your visit! 😀

  11. Good luck with the rhubarb – it is such an easy and worthwhile crop.

    Oats, apparently, are another way of stopping slugs and snails.

  12. Oh Julie! I was just about going to say what a magical place and yes how good it is to break the rules sometimes and not to grow the usual onions, and that is all wonderful stuff . And then I saw those two beautiful white fluffy feathery things….. Oh oh oh!!! and then the beautiful grey furry kitten thing lapping (You said before is really quite old …..) and now all I can do is sigh! Please understand…..xxxxxx

    • Oh I do understand .. absolutely. I know exactly what you mean. And thank you Gill. You are such a treasure. I so enjoy your blog, pics and prose. What a lovely place you live in. Isn’t it wonderful being able to share?

  13. Hi Julie, Great post, as usual!!

    I have been nominated in a challenge to post my three favorite quotes, one each for three consecutive days.

    With each post I have to nominate three bloggers for the challenge. I’m sorry, but it is not required to accept. 🙂

    If you accept, you have to recognize the blogger who nominated you. 🙂

    I have nominated you as I love your blog. I hope you don’t mind and hope (if accepted) you have fun with it.

    bCL Photography

  14. Love seeing the overview of you place and surrounds. Beautiful!
    Really enjoy seeing all of your creatures too 😃
    There are plenty of slugs here too now, although nothing for them to feed on. Everything has shut down for winter here and its been raining, so everything slimy has come out to play. Ewww!
    Oh, good to see your timber beds too. We’ve been pondering the same idea, so I can actually grow some vegies once again.

  15. Slugs in recovery. Damn them. We’ve had a bad year here I think because it was such a warm winter. They annihilated my dahlias- first time ever. And I’ve got only a smattering of beets and carrots. Oh well. Always have to look on the bright side and this year the garlic, potatoes and fava beans (broad beans) are getting their moment in the spotlight. cheers x

    • Good news about the garlic, spuds and fava beans. Those slugs don’t seem overly interested in my dahlias, mind you it’s not the right time of year for them – no, they are enjoying my brassicas and salad garden. 🙂

    • Thank you. It is very green something to do with all the rain that Auckland has 😃. I think a white winter would be lovely . Don’t know if my garden would like it much though. Thanks for stopping by ..

  16. Great post with lovely photos. Sorry about the slimers – they and mosquitoes are the devil’s gift to gardeners.
    Overall, though, I could handle winter very well if it were as nice as yours.

  17. You are so funny! we too have those white cabbage butterflies as my hubby calls them. I chased one off yesterday as it wanted to make a landing.. and then talking about slugs, I went out to pick some lettuce and found the biggest one I have ever seen. Ever such loveliness at your place..

  18. Interesting that your slugs and snails are avoiding your beer traps. Do you think as a community they are learning / sharing their new lessons? Fascinating!

  19. It’s a wonderful time of year for gardening! Your plants are all looking so healthy (regardless of those snails!) and I love your pretty white chooks. 🙂

      • I’m looking forward to adding a chook pen to our yard, but those plans have been put on hold for a few months, as my son is getting married at our place in September! I’m keeping an eye open for different varieties though, and can’t wait to be collecting fresh eggs each morning. 🙂

  20. Lovely!! Such beautiful colours.
    We are waiting for the rain.. I think I had my second or third heatstroke of the year yesterday… Bloody hell… I am becoming old!

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