Gone in a flash

At last, a long overdue garden update, just as well I don’t have to hold my breath between posts.

I hope this doesn’t become a tiresome read … I can’t promise it won’t though, especially if you dear readers aren’t gardeners.

Hubby planted these – gorgeous aren’t they

We enjoyed an epic summer that was hot and dry requiring daily watering of our vegetables. To do so, one must be prepared for the onerous task of hauling 20 metres of hose around a hillside garden. You may raise an eyebrow in wonder, why would this be so tough?

a) the hose always gets caught in corners of the raised beds
b) the hose gets caught and twists stopping the flow of water
c) the hose gets tugged causing damage to corner side plants
d) the tangled hose gets ‘cracked like a whip’ also causing damage to plants
e) it’s not uncommon to slip and fall into a bed while tugging hose
f) expletives help
g) I wish I would stop singing the same song when watering .. mind you Six60 are a great band!

I think you get the general idea.

We got away with friends for 3 days. Our first trip in over a year – the Kari Kari Peninsula

In my herb & salad garden, my oregano grew as if on steroids, the celery’s performance however was shameful, the parsley didn’t make it past gate one thanks to four legged critters. Self seeded flowers and a couple of tomatoes have done famously, as have the chilli plants in this space, which I know are going to be hot.

Everybody needs someone to carry their camera case when on holiday

A delicious glass of vino enjoyed at the Carrington Vineyard – Kari Kari Peninsula

My chilli / capsicum bed is another matter.  There is more calendula in here than anything else, zinnias which relish toppling over and flattening plants below, while several of the chillies are stunted, producing little. All is not bad though, the banana peppers are in abundance and are divine pickled, sliced and served on cheese – any cheese!

The carrot bed was a huge success and no I didn’t thin them! I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Next door to them were the dwarf beans, more calendula, zinnias and cosmos. There is also a cloche here with silverbeet and spinach – grown as a treat for my chooks! Nuts right? Oh my chickens are very well too – the young additions have fitted in nicely.

Love this, even if it is a lousy shot, hubby feeding the chickens

You may recall I mentioned runner beans growing up my sweet corn plants. They produced brilliantly. It’s just such a shame that they got so damned bolshy, hauling the corn to the dirt like some sumo wrestler. Next season, it’s back to the trellis for them.

Blue meets blue … waiting for the Challengers Cup to commence. America’s Cup 2021

Guaranteed one of my plants over the course of summer will make me cry! This year it was the tomatoes. Six healthy plants went into the dirt, were fed and watered – note to self, not feed enough.  It didn’t take long however for a few leaves to brown and curl.  Even studying the pest book ensured that I was none the wiser.

Then to add insult to injury, I found that my plants were covered in what I thought was a white fly … hmm truth is another blogger suspects that it might have been tomato physllid! Whatever it was, it absolutely nailed my tomatoes.  Birds and chickens added to the pain. The only plants that did famously here are the basil (planted as a companion to the tomatoes) a purple zinnia (my fav colour) and more of those self seeded calendulas.  

The zucchini garden was in full production most of summer, so it really came as no surprise when the powdery mildew appeared and there was plenty of that, leaves were quickly removed and binned. Oh and growing a cucumber up a trellis – you may recall my excitement, that was short lived.

And to think I haven’t even mentioned our orchard – still interested?

a) the peach trees were on strike this year
b) there was a glut of plums and damsons
c) trees are laden with figs, quince and pears
d) a pathetic crop of crab apples – apples in general actually
e) I need the tissue box again – we won’t be harvesting olives

I need to thank hubby for his work in picking the majority of our fruit. Even though I would pull faces when he would say with glee, he was off to pick yet another bucket!

Yes we have both been super busy preserving our crops this year (Bill’s absence assured that) :-  plum sauce, damson jelly and jam, the world’s best spiced plum jam made by moi of course, and lots of poached plums with balsamic vinegar, sugar, star anise and cinnamon .. plate this up at night and serve with ice cream and yoghurt  – heaven!  Yellow contenders, with chow chow and pickled peppers.

Beautiful Grace

I guess you have worked it out that Bill didn’t make it this summer. Not by choice mind you! I even considered bagging up some of our produce so he could preserve it on his next visit, but yes I resisted. As always you have been missed!

Happy gardening

72 thoughts

    • Hey Jenny so good to hear from you! Has been ages .. Time just zooms by. Much love right back at you. Take care lovely Julie xx

  1. Julie, You just have to identify some of the flowers in the first and second flower photos!! They are stunning and I would like to add them to my greenhouse plantings this year!! Good to hear from you!! You’re like me, too busy to post every day!!!

    • Hello, in the header shot there are snapdragons, asters and petunias. I’ll check with hubby in case I’ve missed any 🙂 … I’m so pleased you enjoyed your visit! Gosh I remember when I used to post weekly – I wonder at how organised I used to be. What has happened? ha ha … Always great to see you at our place.

    • Whoops missed the flowers in the second shot – they are zinnias and white cosmos! Love the colour and the cheer in my veg garden 🙂

    • Hi Tim, thank you! I couldn’t agree more, she sure is a lovely cat. Bit of a princess though, but much loved! Good to see you at Frog Pond. Did you ever decide on a tree for me? 🙂

  2. I am not gardener but I am a consumer, hehe I watch with delight gardens, I even liked to watch a man his daily videoblog of “garden updates” and as so I am quite grateful for the ammount of work your garden has to require to be so beautiful. The adventure with the villain, the 20 metres of hose, certainly bring me memories of the Anaconda movie. I am very happy to see the blues and greens of your corner across the world, is very soothing, Julie. Thank you n.n

    • Hey Francis! I always enjoy your visits. So you are interested in gardening? That’s good to hear … I’m smiling too, when I think of all the work they require. In fact, I’m heading out right after I’ve finished answering this to water that garden with the villainous hose! LOL .. Wonderful that you liked the blues and greens. You are so welcome 😀

  3. wow…hard work…I barely grow here in the north…you know….but all the issues faced always tough…nice to see the flowers and your hubby and the chickens….feels like I’m there Julie…so delightful and educative…sending you winter sunshine from Etown ~ hugs hedy…so nice to see ☺️❣️🤓

    • Hello Miss Hedy .. so nice to be able to share with you! Oh yes hard work, no doubt about it, but so satisfying and very tasty too. Pleased you enjoyed your visit I always love my visits to your blog. Sending lots of summer sun your way my friend! Hugs 🌹☀️

  4. Well you two have been very busy. And it really shows such beautiful flowers 🌺 not that they aren’t always. But I think you both have excelled. Yes I remember trying to water the veg garden. I think I had to give that up a few years ago now. You need to wear boots with crampons on to get round there! As usual the photos are just something. And seeing the Carrington winery, takes me back to some of my visits to the North. Sorry I couldn’t help with the preserving. But I know you both are proficient at doing it. And it’s such a rewarding chore when you see all those jars full up. I’ve woken up at nearly two am. Couldn’t resist looking at the blog. But I will wait until later to send it on to my friends around the world.
    Lots of love ❤️ to you both. And thank you for such a cheerful blog, in these difficult times. Also for the help with my story.
    Bill. xxx

    • Hey Bill … so pleased that you found it a cheerful blog – good! I had fun writing it. Yes you are right, you did used to water the garden, but the hillside makes it tough going – I can attest to that. The Carrington winery has such a super view doesn’t it? The day we were there was so hot .. but the food and a glass of vino was yummy. Yes, you should be sorry about the preserving – your skills in the kitchen were missed! We got by, but it wasn’t the same without you there. I have to agree, there is something so rewarding about getting those jars full .. other than the fact, they taste terrific! Keep up the great work at blog distribution – thank you! Big hugs from Frog Pond xx

      • All sent today I don’t think I missed anyone. Yes Joyce would have love the peninsula. Of course I have visited it many times going to see Robin. And enjoyed the wine and food at Carringtons . How did the jelly turn out? I bet the freezer is full up now. Are you doing anything with the figs other than eating them?
        I have some replies already will pass them on. I’m sure everyone is so pleased to see a glimmer of hope for all of us.
        Once again lots of love ❤️ and best wishes to you both.
        Bill xxx

      • Thanks for sending on the blog! The jelly has turned out well … added orange zest to one the other day, divine! No the freezer isn’t full .. we still have a stack of fruit from previous years. Figs aren’t ripe yet .. eagerly awaiting for them, just like the birds! Hugs

    • Hi Hien .. great to see you at Frog Pond Farm. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post 😀 Thanks for your kind comment!

    • Hey Leanne .. .we have had another amazing summer. Way short on water though. Bet I regret saying that soon ..Auckland is humid not good for the veg garden! How is yours going? I’ve had a slightly challenging season, but that’s gardening for you! Great to hear from you

  5. Your garden is bountiful compared to what little we can do here, but it inspires me to keep trying. It won’t be long now until we can start preparing and I’m so looking forward to it.

    • Hi, lovely to hear from you! I enjoy the preparation too .. always fun. Selecting seeds, planting plans, prepping beds … ah the joy of gardening! Thanks for stopping by ..

  6. Hey Julie, glad someone else gets hose-rage. Honestly it’s like they conspire against us. They have one job!
    I grow sorrel under a cloche just for the hens so you’re not alone there either.
    Beautiful colours and textures in your flowers. x

    • Hey Rom, so good to hear from you! Laughed when I read ‘hose rage’ oh that is so appropriately named! LOL It is so damned annoying. You would think by now that I would have nailed it or at least been less impatient with the task at hand. I nearly wiped out some mint last night 😀 Oh aren’t you good with the sorrel for your girls. I used to grow it too and my chooks used to enjoy it .. Glad that you enjoyed the pics! Always love your visits …

  7. A beautiful post and glorious photographs Julie, it’s always a joy to visit and if we could help with the hose we would! So glad you had an opportunity for a trip to the Kari Kari peninsula and great to see sweet Grace looking so content with the world. Much love to you all from the sunny Highlands 🤗💖 xxx

    • Some help with that hose would be appreciated! It is the highlight of my day … LOL Thanks for your kind words, I’m so pleased you enjoyed your visit. It’s always fabulous knowing that you stopped by. Getting away for a few days was fun – just not long enough. Isn’t Grace sweet … Much love right back at you from Frog Pond Farm ☀️❤️

    • Hello Herman … isn’t Grace cute? I thought you would like those pics. So good to see you here and I’m pleased you enjoyed the photos! Hugs

  8. It’s great to have some news of you guys. I knew you’d be busy preserving all those treasures. Glad you got away for a few days too! Your pics are beautiful as always, I love the one with your hubby and the hens too 😀 . Monsieur thinks flowers and veg don’t mix but I love it although they tend to smother the veg at times. Did you ever try a milk-water-mix for the mildew on the courgette? I did last year and it certainly helped. I also will have to protect crops more from our greedy Rudolf and his extended family who ate most of the curly kale. 😂 But as you know, gardening is about sharing, even with creatures we appreciate less. Big hug for you both and keep enjoying your little piece of paradise xx

    • Hey Annette, about time that I posted! It’s been another busy season preserving and trying new recipes! I couldn’t resist that shot of Andrew and the chooks, even if it is out of focus .. I love flowers in my garden, I know that my dad would be horrified to think that I dedicate so much space to them. 🙂 Yes I have tried the milk prep, but I believe that it works better if you start using it before the mildew is apparent. The trouble is Auckland is so humid! And my follow up with organic preps aren’t isn’s as regular as they it should be 😉 You are so right, gardening is about sharing, and over the years I have done so much of this with the wildlife. I don’t mind at all as long as they don’t get greedy! Hugs lovely so good to hear from you! xx

  9. I always, always, always love seeing your blog arrive in my mailbox. Then to open the pages–the photos are stunning, the colors make me wish for summer here. My hands clap with joy for your wee little trip! It’s such a delight to see your flowers and Grace. She is just beautiful!

    • Hey Linda .. oh I just loved your comment! I’m so pleased you enjoy my posts. About time I posted again too, right! You are so kind. We both loved getting away, even if it was only for such a short time. Aren’t the flowers stunning? Andrew planted the garden box which full of gorgeous blooms. And you know me, I have to have flowers in my veg garden. Divine. Isn’t Grace a cutie! Wonderful to know you stopped by. Big hugs my friend 🌹

  10. How nice to see your post dear Julie. You are very busy people in your farm. But doing great… and beautiful flowers, I really don’t know much about gardening, but I love to watch… The season changes once again, Summer is going to end there, and in here the Winter. I wish you all to have a nice Winter days. I hope you are all ready for Winter. In here we had lots of snow this year. Dear Julie, in this post there is one amazing, lovely, beautiful hitting piece for me, and you know this, I fall in love with your cat’s photographs… Blessing and Happiness. Thank you, Love, nia

    • Hi Nia .. so good to hear from you! Yes summer is coming to an end for us. It has been hot and dry and my veg garden is starting to look jaded. Autumn is knocking on the door and there are already leaves scattered on the ground. You did have lots of snow didn’t you? I really enjoyed your photos. Yes my dear friend, I knew that you would love the pics of my sweet little Grace. Blessings to you too Nia …

  11. Always good to hear from you Julie, and I love the garden reports. You have a variety of things planted, and even in a bad year, something always comes through. We see the same here. You should be coming into autumn soon, as come into spring. Enjoy the last of the harvest and the beauty around you. <3

    • Hi Lavina always good to hear from you too! Glad you enjoyed the long overdue garden report. It was fun writing it. Yes, we are so fortunate with our plantings – although some years aren’t quite so good as others. We left the pears too late and when hubby went down to pick them they were gone! Autumn sure is here – leaves are already scattered about. I have just looked up and I have four rather naughty chickens in my backyard. Time to go and feed them. Lovely to see you at Frog Pond Farm.

  12. Great to see a post from you and what an interesting post it is!
    First of all, bravo to hubby – such pretty flowers he grew.
    And I hear you about the hose, sister – been there and had the expletives and scratches to show.
    Seems to me that despite the lack of rain, lost of great things grew or happened.
    You win some, you lose some. Sounds like farming and gardening, right?

    Really nice to hear from you, Julie! Take care of yourselves. Your country seems to have managed the pandemic well, so maybe I’ll not say ‘Be safe” this time, but Be Well!

    • Hi Cynthia oh I laughed when I read your comment on the hose! Hilarious … what is it about hoses? 🙂 Yes even despite the lack of rain things do grow. With help from the hose of course! LOL Farming and gardening is all about sharing whether you like it or not. Hubby went to pick the pears yesterday and there were none … zip! Stolen right from under our noses. So nice to hear from you too as always. We are back in lockdown for a week … hmmm. Stay safe and well my friend

    • They are lovely flowers! Hard not to be a flower fan. My father would be horrified if he could see my veg garden! The chooks always enjoy their treats, very spoilt indeed. Great to see you at Frog Pond 🙂

  13. What a gorgeous garden you have. And it seems like summer has been good to you – even if hot and dry. As we have struggled with cold and winter (but I like it, so I am not complaining).

    • Hi Otto .. ah so you like the cold do you? I’m an autumn girl – I just love the colours of the season. And after this scorcher of a summer, the chill in the air will be appreciated. I’m pleased you enjoyed the garden pics. Thanks for stopping by

  14. Such wonderful colours! It is nice to hear an update from Frog Pond, and certainly not a tiresome read. Great to hear your carrot patch turned out this year. You anticipated my comment about thinning them. Sorry to hear of your tomatoes. Grace sure looks comfy sleeping beside the woodpile. I hope to start a few seeds inside this week. Keep up the canning. Very fine update. All the best to you and Mr. Bonner.

    • Hello Bob, so good to hear from you! Glad you liked the Frog Pond update – about time right! Glad you didn’t find it tiresome .. So pleased with my carrots! I can’t believe how they turned our – amazing and given they were crampled .. LOL Yep, the tomatoes were a different story – not growing the suckers next year! You won’t believe what I’m doing .. recooking jam that wasn’t set properly … ah the joys of preserving! All the best to you and Lisa

  15. Love reading you gardening exploits, especially as my knowledge is ‘they’re green, they smell/taste nice’ and if all works – look nice. Unlike my wife, I don’t have green fingers. Remember making an effort in Oman, seeds, well dug soil, water and all seemed well, then shrivelled, gone dead. Here in UK, I just carry out instructions/guidance and sit back with a glass of vino and admire her efforts. I admit defeat when it comes to the garden.

    • Glad you enjoy my gardening exploits. I also have those green fingers which I’m sure I inherited from my father. Sounds like a great idea enjoying a glass of vino and admiring your wife’s efforts! Don’t give up on the garden though! So nice to see you at Frog Pond Fam ..

  16. Hi Julie and Andrew
    What lovely photos you have taken , it’s so nice to see the nice summer colours of the plants , nice to see Andrew feeding the chickens and the winery looks well worth a visit one day .
    Thank you Bill for passing on the frog pond blog . Let’s hope very shortly we can catch up and have a pint in the local Croxley boozer !
    Take care Julie and hopefully some more beautiful photos in your blogs to come ,
    All the best
    Martin and Esther

    • Thank you so much Martin … glad you enjoyed the photos and the summer colours, although they are fading fast now. I love that shot of Andrew feeding the chickens – they are hilarious the way they chase after who ever has the feed bucket! That winery is quite lovely – and they make a lovely Rose. So pleased that Bill passed on the blog to you. I do so hope that you both catch up soon! Lovely as always to hear from you .. regards to you and Ester

  17. It’s pure joy, being here…always makes me long to travel to your part of the world…I totally get you about the hoses. I worked as a gardener at a large estate in NY state, years ago, and I’ve been there! Sympathy!! I love your purple zinnia, which looks almost like a big aster to me – lighter and more delicate than a typical zinnia. Grace looks like she’s not exactly suffering…same for the chickens…and even hubby looks reasonably content, hauling your gear. It’s nice that you got away for a few days. I understand what you mean by the photo of him with the chickens – the intimate pictures of people we love doing everyday things don’t need to be perfect – they are gems that touch the heart. I saw that before I even read your words. I feel the love here, Julie, and so I thank you for sharing it. 🙂

    • Hello lovely so good to hear from you and what a super comment!! Now if you ever do get to this side of the world, you must pop in and see me, that’s a given! What is it about hoses? I was having problems yet again today .. LOL good to know that you are well versed. 🙂 I think the bloom you are admiring is in fact an aster! Hubby planted them and they are just gorgeous. The zinnias are showing off in my veg garden with the white cosmos. Oh it is nice to get away for even a few days, and even better when someone offers to carry cases! I so agree, it is those day to day shots of people doing everyday things that sure are gems!! But then so are you by the way! 😀

  18. Dear Julie, I have just heard the earthquake in there, I hope and wish you are all fine, Much Love, nia

      • Dear Julie, I am so happy to hear this, first off all I thought of you, but this is so scary, hit again, 8.1 and lasted long I think. I hope and wish nothing bad and no one died or injured. My thoughts and prayers for you all there. Love, nia

      • Hey dear Nia … thankfully no one was injured. The 8.1 earthquake struck near the Kermadec Islands which are about 800Km away from NZ. Thank you so much for your concern my friend, all is well. Big hugs

      • You are very welcome dear Julie, I am so glad to hear all your good news. But as I understand, New Zealand as being a country and also her people are really great, it seems that you were all well prepared for this kind of situation. This is what we wish to see in everywhere. Especially in my country. I can’t imagine how it would be 8.1 in here… Thank you again, Blessing and Happiness, Much love and Big Hugs, nia

  19. Julie, I laughed out loud with your description on the hose. Oh yeah, I get it. Every year I lug out ours to manually water, then with water sprays but that long hose gets twisted and caught and well you know. As with each year as you also know you never know what is going to do well and what is not. For years I’ve wanted a vegetable garden but the critters are so bad here, hubby would have to make full cages, inclusive of the horizontal piece. It is enough battle as it is as I run around with an all natural rabbit/deer deterrent to protect my flowers only for it to wash off in the rain and then I must do that again. It’s never ending. Sorry about your olives. I felt your pain on that one! And sorry about Bill not being there. That’s a huge bugs! Your photography …. what a delight to the eyes. I love the one of the chickens running after your husband. Too cute. And what a shot of him holding your camera bag. Ahhhh what a gentleman!!! Thank you so much for this post. Loved every word and every picture!! xo

    • Hello Amy how lovely to hear from you! What is it about hoses? LOL .. Don’t know what I would do without it, but truly it can be such a pain (or is it me)! Sorry to hear you have a serious critter problem. We also have visitors to the garden – which means protecting some of my crops where possible with netting. Not always possible though mind you. Ah the joys of gardening 😀 Thankfully, we don’t have deers visiting our place .. that sure would change things! I know, I’m so disappointed about the olives. I think this will be the third year without a harvest! They are going to get a serious hair cut this year. Hopefully that might spark them up. So pleased Amy, that you enjoyed the photos – I love that one of hubby and the chickens too! Lovely to see you here my friend! xo

      • Keep on staying connected to Mother Earth, Julie. You just cannot go wrong. She is my Teacher, not man. My heart guides me and through Mother and all She gives me, I learn what is most important to learn. I have so much respect for both you and hubby for all the work you put forth every year. I’m always amazed that you can do what you do. I KNOW how hard gardening is. I just invited a Red Tail Hawk today to our property to get the mice and rabbits that are proliferating all over the place. There is a rule however I told him. No birds are on the menu. LOL

  20. Julie, it’s always great to hear of the tales of Frog Pond Farm. It does sound like you’ve been busy and doing a bit of photography too. Glad you were able to take a break for a while. Those lockdowns seem to happen so randomly.

    • Hey Mr Draco I always enjoy your visits to Frog Pond Farm. Yes it sure was a busy summer, and now the joys of pruning, garden clearing and replanting. I do need to do more photography though, what about you? Yes, the lockdowns sure do happen randomly. Hope you are well ..

  21. Julie, I’m so sorry I missed this post! I read every word and savoured every moment of your summer gardening experience. As you know, we had rain galore over summer! Now I am popping out into the garden whenever I have a spare half-hour to pull out a few weeds. It’s the best time of year to get into some new planting now it’s cooler, so once the weeds are gone and the garden beds mulched, a-planting I will go! I hope I have as much success as you did next spring and summer with my flowering plants. Currently, I have a native pear tree that has some promising fruit growing on it, and my lemonade tree is covered in fruit now. 🙂

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