Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quince Time in Auckland

The Quince is out. Every September early October the quince tree flowers and it brings the first sight of summer ahead.

At this time in 1986 I was filming 'The Owl and the Pussy Cat for 'Dance Tales Story Ballet' and luckily for my exceptionally brilliant designer Elizabeth Jenkins we were able to use real quince flowers to illustrate Edward Lear's nonsense poem. 

'They dined on quince and slices of  mince
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon'.

Poor 'Owl & Pussy Cat',  raw quince is the most inedible  thing I have ever eaten. So bitter and dry but cooked with apples or as a jelly it is delicious. Hint if you want to cook them quickly do not put the sugar in until they are soft. They will cook in about seven minutes. It you are silly enough to make a sugar syrup first then the quince will take about three hours! Take your pick.

I always remember those frantic ten days when I see the quince in bloom.

Then there is the wisteria. It is so beautiful and the smell is of heaven. Summer is around the corner.

My garden this year is going to be exceptional. It looked after itself when I was ill and now I have time and energy to look after it. The builders have gone and thier feet and plants do not go together. I have had to revive many beloved plants that were close to the house.

My neighbours have unintentionally not been so thoughtful. All sides have done major pruning & tree cutting down sessions which they are entitled to do but has left some of my previously well protected borders a bit bare.

Taught me a lesson! All screening planting must be on my side of the fence so I never again experience a major loss. Tropical storms also have this ability to knock over trees and I almost lost my Kentsia Palm that Miles gave me a a tiny house plant. I have replanted it and my fingers are crossed.

Sadly spring was not so memorable this year. The wild freesia border that I have guarded and nurtured for 37 years since I first arrived in Auckland looked very sick. Freesias are very hard to grow and it took many years to encourage them to be so prolific. I thought at first it must be a sharp frost that had killed them, freesias hate frost but I think they may have been poisoned by accident from drift from the pesticide Roundup.

The Council also heat treated my hedge freesias and the freesias in the road.

My poor mother just after the war would buy a few freesias every spring. They were imported at great expense from France and she loved the smell. She had very little money just £2 per week. This is possibly why I love them as they remind me of her.

There is no chance of me restoring this border in my lifetime. I cannot even afford to replant with bought bulbs as they are $1 each and I need thousands but I shall start again but not on that side.

However  my garden looks wonderful. A little love and a garden repays you over and over again. I am going to enjoy it.


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