Summer reflections

I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I’m undisciplined and they never seem to happen. Hence ‘I must post more regularly in 2017’ is off to a rotten start!


How is your garden growing? Our summer is up and down like a yoyo. It started out with gusto and then it seemed as though someone flicked the switch and it disappeared. Mind you … it is a gorgeous summer’s day so I’m feeling guilty grumbling. Did I say we need rain?


My zucchini sad to say are slow out of the gate. We have only eaten two, can you believe it? My toms look ridiculous – spindly, scraggy things with fruit that seems to rot rather than ripen, so much for the baking soda spray. All is not bad though, we have beans for Africa, gorgeous tasty dwarf and runner beans, loads of cucumbers, spuds (yet to be dug up), lettuce, beetroot, herbs and more herbs and lots of gorgeous flowers to admire and gloat over.


Hubby dug up our self seeded elephant garlic (I shan’t tell the vampires it isn’t the real stuff) which resides next to a garden bed tucked in conveniently near our forest. The reality is, this garden is a fair distance from the house which makes TLC hard to administer to the local residents; yacon and a solitary pumpkin which screams for water.


Reflections at Frog Pond Farm

We had such a wet winter, followed by a damp windy spring, so it’s not surprising that our orchard is out of sorts. The peach crop is much smaller than previous years, the quince tree has only a handful of fruit and rusty leaves, a pear tree has forgotten to fruit at all and my pathetic attempt at spraying the apple tree with neem oil hasn’t worked, so there are still woolly aphids and lots of the suckers.  The plums are disappointing too … with the exception of the Damson which is smothered! More jams and jellies are on the way.


Life is grand isn’t it? I have promised myself this year to get out more often with my camera. I often feel as though you will get bored with my pics as they are often much of a muchness.



As happens when you live in the country .. you help your neighbours, the sense of community here is strong. So it was all hands on deck the other afternoon to haul in hay bales for a great gal Karen. 620 odd bales were transported down hills and safely ensconced in her barn which would have been heaving at the seams. There is nothing like the smell of fresh hay .. which I dutifully shared with my chickens, stuffing the sweet smelling stuff into their nest boxes.


Did I tell you about our latest acquisitions? We now have four new Coronation Sussex chickens.  The youngsters are about 17 weeks old now and were purchased as hens. In saying that, it looks much like those chooks aren’t going to be devoid of a man in their lives after all! I suspect the old girls might be in for a bit of a surprise – get my drift 😀


Oh and some beach shots … just because I can!


Beach reflections


Muriwai Beach


High and dry at Sandspit beach

Happy gardening

86 thoughts

  1. It’s cold here as we are in the middle of winter, but Laurie bought some Jazz apples today, and we learned they were developed in NZ. I have never made new year’s resolutions. Being a man I know I’m not going to change, so why pretend? Love your photos, and I’m jealous of your garden. Happy New Year!

    • And a very Happy New Year to you too Tim! So nice to hear from you .. Yes those Jazz apples sure are from here. Very tasty. Ah so your aren’t into NY resolutions either 😉So pleased you enjoyed the pics …

  2. Hard to imagine getting tired of your photos! Since I’ve always imagined your place as a type of garden of Eden I’m sorry to hear about some of your gardening issues. Fresh hay – love it! Ours is feeling a little tired as we face the worst of winter.

  3. Well Julie im here your garden is looking ok we have lots of beans and zucchinis i cook some tonight. Photos are beautiful as always. Folks the farm is looking so nice it’s good to be back you both work so hard to keep it in great shape. Looking forward to the damsons and making jelly and jam. Lots love to you both Bill xx

  4. Hi all at frog pond . Beautiful photos Julie , as always .i bet Bill is fusing together loads of those fresh ingredients !

  5. Hi Julie, do I detect a touch of a low? Bet it’ll be gone by the time you read this as you’re such a cheerful, happy person. No year in the garden is the same, great one year, a pain the next but there are always things to cherish, no matter how small. And yes, life is grand indeed – I feel so privileged to be able to live in a country where peace and freedom reign. Something that should be normal everywhere but it isn’t. Have a happy new year, Julie, and continue to share your love of life, nature and garden with us all. Best wishes xx

    • Hello Annette .. no year is ever the same is it? Although I’m seriously thinking of not wasting my time with tomatoes again. My zuccs will come good for sure 😀 Oh life is grand .. more so if you are a gardener I think. Yes you are right, peace and freedom should be abundant. Happy New Year Annette, love your visits my friend ..

  6. Lovely post. Opening statement made me laugh – me neither. Don’t worry about people being bored of your lovely photos – dropping by your site (if irregularly) seems like catching up with an old friend.

    • Glad it made you laugh … it’s true! LOL Loved your comment about an old friend. Isn’t it lovely being able to do that and share with others. I adore your blog – your photos are such a treat!

  7. I’m with Celi. I never get bored of your garden photos. Love them to pieces. Love your beach photos as well. Let’s just face it, you can’t really do anything wrong by me…lol. You know, last year I chose the word action to help facilitate 2016, except my brain saw it as ACTION!!! and I was a bit disappointed at the end of the year for not having achieved enough. So this year I’m going back to my old faithful ameliorate. Mostly ameliorated is what I’d like from 2017. Nothing pushy, just a little bit better. That might help you in your New Year’s resolutions. Mind you, I never make NY resolutions and have always repeated the one for years and year: to stop running out of time and start running into it instead. Seems to work. The cosmos are just shining there above the squash bed. I love them. I must try to grow some next year. My across the street neighbour grew a beautiful verge of them as pollinators along with calendula and bachelor’s buttons. I loved all the bees in them. Also, peaches in this rainy climate are absolutely hopeless. The best we can do…not me personally, but the botanical gardens do…is grow them flat against a wall under a roof. Even then the rain causes rust and peach leaf curl and all sorts of nonsense. And in the garden in England we have a large hedge crab apple which is full of woolly aphids, (much to the birds delight), and I’ve given up on treating it. The good thing is though that the poor sacrificial lamb somehow holds all the woolly aphids there and away from the other apple trees. Anyway, here I am writing a novel again! Oh if only you knew how much I have to say and restrain myself…lol. So, my dear, I’m happy that your new year is off to a lovely start with new chickens and your friend’s barn full of hay for the winter. I love each and every one of your post. Big hugs.

    • Hello lovely … oh so you know those little suckers do you! Funny they are only in one tree too which is such a relief .. We shouldn’t grow peaches in Auckland as it is so humid – always prone to fungal issues. I suspect the weather is due to their poor crop this year. Oh V, so nice to know you enjoy my pics .. I love popping over to your blog and seeing what you are doing. How I wish I was creative like you! I feel as though I know your house so well … Yes, do grow cosmos .. and zinnias, marigolds, calendula and and … I adore flowers in my veg garden.

  8. Happy gardening?!? Ha! I managed to kill the huge Rosemary plant I was given this fall – we have to overwinter them indoors. So ,I couldn’t decorate it as a second Christmas tree. Otherwise all is under ice and snow, freeze and thaw. Your beans are beautiful and your side hill planting looks very lush. Enjoy.

    • Oh dear .. sounds like me wiping out my lavender (same family as rosemary). We gave it a haircut which was needed and it didn’t like it one bit. Time to propagate and grow some more. Thanks for stopping by Bunty 😀

  9. There’s nothing boring about a regular glimpse into paradise. So are you saying that some of the girl chickens are actually boys?
    Sharing way too many veggies with the bug life has pretty much put me off growing things, and the things that turn out okay all come at once and it’s impossible to deal with it quick enough, because I work full time!

    • Hey Gilly … no no, the 4 new chickens, I suspect one of these is actually a lad! He is starting to look a tad different than the others. Gardens are hard work .. I thank my Dad for my green thumb! Mind you, I’m not much good at sharing with the wildlife either – won’t be long now and the turkeys will be driving me nuts. So pleased you enjoy dropping by 😀

  10. My dear Julie, the winter days going very strange, last week we had snow and it was really so hard, and now it is like an early autumn days… We are between up and down temparatures.. gardening is not easy, I know this because of our village home. Not a successful gardening for us, now. I hope and wish a nice rains there… But your photographs fascinted me. Especially the reflections are amazing. Thank you, have a nice day, and nice summer days, Love, nia

    • Hello dear Nia … so nice to see you at Frog Pond. Yes you have had loads of snow .. I can’t imagine. The weather is so strange isn’t it .. the ups and downs with temps. So pleased you enjoyed my pics. Nice day to you too Miss 😀

  11. Your photos are never boring … “much of a muchness” is good. Living this past 18 months waiting for the new house to be built – renting without a garden of my own – yours is a wonderful reminder of what I need that is missing right now. Wes

  12. I don’t ever think “boring” when I see pictures of your lush garden Julie, Ifeel I know the place, as though I have walked there with you many times having a chat. I catch a sense of you feeling a little blue, or a little glum….that can turn our thoughts quite critical. Hope that has passed already…and please don’t stop posting garden pictures, its very uplifting to see them and remember that in six months my garden might look like that, instead of the bare branches and soil which is out there right now!!

    • Hello Miss … yes it is a lush garden. How lovely it would be to have you here and have a chat … ah imagine! 🙂 No I’m good thanks Miss .. a tad disappointed with a few veg in the garden and I do tend to be a bit tough on myself ( does it show 🙂 ) Oh I don’t think I could ever stop posting pics of my garden though – regardless, I just love it! So pleased that you find it uplifting. Good!

  13. I’d never be bored of your photographs, actually the fact that they are fewer I think make them even more lovely to wait and see ^-^ If any they are lovely as always : ) I think besides that there are vampires among your readers so by now they know about the garlic : D Best wishes in your blog and in your life for you and your loved ones, dear Julie. c:

    • Hey Francis .. hello my friend. Good pleased you won’t get bored, I do wonder though as they always seem to be similar. Ha ha loved your comment about the vampires! Thanks for the comment .. I hope all is good for you too!

  14. Are you tomatoes rotting from the bottom? I bet they have blossom end rot, a result of uneven watering. If you pull off the rotting toms and water deeply two or three times a week it should take care of the problem. Tomatoes need calcium and can’t bring up enough through the roots when the soil is dry.

    I found you through a comment you made on Rita’s blog and couldn’t resist a visit to a place called Frog Pond Farm. It’s lovely! Your photography is beautiful and I love your style. Subscribed through Feedly and will be reading regularly from my frigid, snowy side of the world.

    • Hey Robin so nice to hear from you. Ah a keen gardener! No they don’t appear to be rotting from the base but all over if that makes sense. The stems also were showing signs of rot and the leaves looked much like they had blight – or some sort of wilt. I suspect that due to our rather damp start to summer that they have got some fungal nasty. I did try spraying with baking soda but to no avail. I was tempted to haul them out, but decided against that. They get watered most days – I never spray the leaves, ground only. Plus they get loads of TLC – ah, but no calcium. Probably a good idea to throw about some lime. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Pleased to know that you will drop by again! 😀

  15. We’re finally having the winter we were promised here,and I’m trying to coax some ferns and assorted plants to forget it is close to freezing. Living in an apartment only gives me freedom enough for some pots and planters.
    For the rest, may your fowl multiply your trees hang heavy with fruit and I’ll wait for more pics! 😊

  16. We had four pears on our trees and the squirrels ate three of them! Your beach shots are beautiful as ever and always a welcome bonus when I’m sitting here on a cold grey day.

  17. My wife is always talking about wanting a garden but the soil and the heat and the restrictions on water around here make it mostly impractical if not impossible. As for your photos often being much of muchness, well, I’m always complaining about mine and saying how I should be taking photos of new building and people and shaking it up a bit. But I shoot what interests me! The same old stuff! Time after time. 🙂

    • I think you are right … I do shoot what interests me, or what’s about. I don’t live near a city .. so farmland, gardens and beaches are it! Doesn’t really sound too bad does it? 😀 We are lucky here, while the soil isn’t brilliant (I have added lots of organic material to my veg gardens), Auckland rains a lot (not so much in summer mind you …), and thankfully it never gets too hot!

  18. Hi Julie, those damn roosters will do anything to sneak into a henhouse, including impersonating the gentler bird! Nothing like throwing bales while the sun sets. I hope you cut the sleeves off your shirt to admire your working arms or ‘guns’ as we call them in Canada. Sorry to hear about the tomatoes. Every year seems different. Very fine photo of Dan and Andrew walking the beach. I was able to recognize them by their, respective, hairy and toned calves. Good to hear you are enjoying summer. There is never a season the same, that’s what makes them such gifts. Take care. Bob

    • Hey Bob .. ha ha after all my prattle about no rooster at Frog Pond, I go and bring one in disguise! LOL And you are so right – there is nothing like throwing a bale of hay around (with a long sleeve shirt mind you) – no guns on this gal! Yep still miffed about my toms, so as of next year I’m growing them in pots. Glad you like that pic of Dan and Andrew .. ha ha hairy and tones calves! Enjoying a rather windy summer. And you know what Mr E, they sure are gifts! Great to see you here as always

  19. That last photo really shows how much you are in need of water, Julie. Your cloud scapes are incredible with one (I believe the first one you showed) had me just staring being transported to other realms. Wow! LOVE your gardens as always and believe me, I am NEVER bored when I come here. The reflection of hubby at the beach is SO cool! Don’t worry about the blogging because life is just too darn short as it is. I’m basically in the same position right now and am finding I must adjust my blogging to cater to my life. Not easy to juggle sometimes. Thank you for this glorious post!!! 🙂 <3

  20. Hi Julie, you have captured some wonderful shots from your farm! Glad the summer days are great with interesting activities over there. Have a lovely weekend and week ahead. 🙂

  21. I always enjoy seeing your photos from your side of the world! Some years the weather just doesn’t cooperate with the gardener. Insect infestations are the worst! I don’t want to use chemicals since we feed birds and invite butterflies and other pollinators. Nature provides some help with them, thankful for lady bugs and praying mantis. Now if I could keep the birds from eating the butterfly larva!

    • You are so right! The weather often doesn’t cooperate … I’m a huge fan of ladybirds too and just adore watching pray mantis! There are also parasitic wasps which are wonderful to have in the garden. So pleased you enjoyed the visit ..:D

      • I hadn’t thought of parasitic wasps being beneficial to the garden. I guess they keep the caterpillars and other pests from eating everything–though I see them as decreasing the butterfly population. 😉

  22. Love your pretty photos…no matter the season you live in a lovely part of the world. Sorry about your orchard…a rainy spring is never good for fruit trees.

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