Thinking about roses, potatoes and lavender

20:35, Nov 25 2012

A weekend away can sometimes be as refreshing as a full-on holiday. I've just come back from a weekend in Havelock North. I want to move there. It's warm and still. The sections are flat and wide, and trees are grown for shade. The surrounding countryside is sprinkled with orderly rows of grapevines, orchards and market gardens. There's a weekly farmer's market in nearby Hastings that kept me entertained for more than five minutes. Everything feels flush with growth, even though it's dry. Everything feels cared for, and easy to care for. 

The place we were staying backed on to a sheep farm. The sheep baa-ed late into the night. I found a small lemon tree heavy with fresh, fragrant fruit. I went for a walk around the town on Saturday in the warm afternoon sunshine, feeling the heat come off the footpath. I photographed the ubiquitous roses. They were everywhere. 


Lynda Hallinan says that every garden needs a rose, or something like that, but I've never really liked roses. In fact, Joe and I are at odds about what to do with the climbing rose that had been left to entangle with everything else in Shirley's garden. I dislike the thorns, and wonder how anyone can be in love with a plant that you can't touch. But Havelock North has almost made me like roses. I took a couple of cuttings (with permission) from a gorgeous deep purple rose in the courtyard at Pipi, the colour so beautiful it looked like velvet. If I can get these cuttings to strike, the next question will be where to put it in the garden. 

If I lived in Havelock North, I'd tear up the flat lawn of my house (every house has one) and grow food. I'd grow so much food, I'd be stuffed with it. But though I spotted lemon trees and grapefruit trees and grapefruit and lemons for sale in buckets by the side of the road, I didn't see any vegetable gardens, but one. 


These potatoes and garlic are planted right next to the driveway, making the most of the room available. I admire this. 
















I also admire these lavender. They were planted on traffic islands, in bunches through the town, and I love them. Can anyone tell me what they are called, so I can get one from my local garden centre? Wherever I saw them, they were covered in honey bees. Divine. 








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