Sunday, 26 February 2012


Yes, I know it has been over a month since I last posted; life has been incredibly busy, and (work-wise), just a little bit stressful (two major projects with drop-deadlines in the same week, on top of my day job...). I've not been sitting down at the computer so much on a general basis, as evenings where we don't have our usual social activities have been spent playing with my new toy.

Just before Christmas, the orchestra acquired a bassoon, and spent a month or so using contacts to try to find someone who could play the instrument, didn't have one of their own, and, far more importantly, wanted to come along on a Monday evening and play for us. Unfortunately, there was no-one in the neighbourhood who wanted to join, even with the lure of a bassoon, and so I volunteered. There were slightly selfish reasons on my part; I am one of four oboes in the orchestra, one of whom is ex-professional, so the chances of having anything 'stand-out' in the near future are slim (and, to be honest, the tone that our lead oboe gets from his instrument is just stunning, and there would be no reason for him *not* to have the solos); four oboes is a huge amount for the size of our orchestra anyway (we are not a quiet instrument at the best of times, and four of us does tend to rather unbalance the woodwind section); and, when I was 11 and choosing my instrument, I had originally wanted to play the bassoon, but circumstances meant that I ended up with the oboe instead. Not that I am unhappy about my choice, far from it, but the chance to have a go at the instrument I'd always wanted to play was too much to pass up! So, I have been putting in long hours learning a new set of fingering (fortunately, I can already read bass clef), ready to play Rachmaninov's third piano concerto and a concert version of Cavalleria Rusticana. So - hopefully, I've not bitten off more than I can chew; I've got till May to get it right!

I've also had to spend (oh, the pressure!) a lot of time pottering in the garden. Summer is definitely on its way out now; the days are getting shorter, and the temperature is starting to noticeably drop. But the garden has thrown up a lot of surprises; every time I've gone outside, there seems to be a new set of flowers there, and I'm being very careful not to dig up very much until I know exactly what is already planted (whether deliberate or not). But I am starting to get a picture now of how I'd like the finished garden to look; it's going to take quite a few years to get to that position.

EDIT - Thank you to everyone who has emailed me or posted with answers to the anonymous flowers below - I have updated to show the identified ones :-)

This is the back of the house; there are trees along the back fence, including a magnolia, what I am assured is a young kauri and a kowhai. I am really looking forward to seeing the kowhai in Spring; our neighbour over the fence has said that the bright yellow flowers attracts at least six Tui every year. I'm planning on putting our main vege patch here, too, as a raised bed.

This is looking along the side of the house. There are flower beds all along the fence, and the tree in the background was covered in bright red flowers when we first moved in (I'm still not sure what type of tree it is, either - I've not been able to find it by searching online).

A profusion of the flowers which have surprised me over the summer. I'm aware that people would probably classify all of these to be weeds, but they are far too pretty to pull up!


These bright pink flowers are stunning. The individual blooms don't seem to last for more than a few days, but they keep on flowering.

This is our decking, which gets a huge amount of sunshine. I'm planning on seeing if I can train some grape vines up a trellis against the wall.

This will be the flower-patch. At the moment, it is mainly weeds, and those stunning orange flowers. There's a rhododendron bush, plus a couple of others that I can't name, and I'm still mulling over what else to add. My lemon tree already has its home there.

Crocosmia / Montbretia
A close up of the orange flowers. Again, I know that these are technically weeds (you can see them all along the road embankments at the moment, too), but they are simply gorgeous, and they are attracting the bumble-bees to the garden, which makes them alright in my book!

A different type of Dahlia
Another flower which completely surprised me - the bush that it is growing from really didn't seem like anything much!

The front garden. There are little shrubs planted by the previous owners on the other side of the fence, as well as an agapanthus and a flax (again, more Tuis when it is flowering), so I'm hoping that we'll be able to build up a bit more of a hedge around the fence; good for the birds, and will give a bit more privacy in years to come.

Pineapple Lily
This is an interesting plant - again, completely unprepossessing, then it suddenly sprouted these flowers and actually became quite pinky/purple for a short while!

One of the unknown bushes - it briefly flowered with these very delicate yellow and white blooms.

Japanese Anemone
These are all round the garden, particularly up against the house. Again, they are probably weeds, but very pretty!

Bears Breeches / Acanthus
These, too, are all along the back fence. I already know that I'm going to need to take a lot of these out, as they really are taking over.

So - a brief tour round the garden at least; the inside of the house is a bit messy, so photos of that will have to wait! If anyone is able to identify any of the plants from my photos, please let me know - it's one of the areas where my Google-fu has let me down; there are just too many pictures of flowers on the internet, and as I don't know whether any of them are NZ native or not, I can't even narrow the search that way!