The Garden Club
Eek! My first post-retirement outing with the local Garden Club. I am waiting in the Community Hall car park, bag packed, water bottle and gumboots ready. The plan - we are to visit some gardens near Little River, on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury.
Where is everyone? Hmm... I worry too soon, as fourteen cars half-full of lady gardeners whoosh in from the main road. We all get out, names are exchanged, then off we go, in the designated seven full cars. We have got ourselves a Garden Club Convoy!
Garden Pond and Big Willow
Garden Number One
Our first garden has a pond with a small island, surrounded by soft manicured lawns. It's restful and rural, with lovely mixed borders, and the dahlias (nicely non-staked) are flowering. The ladies are ambivalent about dahlias, but several of the husbands apparently are quite fond.
Lemon and Raspberry Dahlia
That climbing rose - is it Nevada? Or Golden Showers? Or Golden Wings? Humph - it is most definitely Mermaid, but no-one listens to me. I am, after all, a new member - welcomed, but definitely not to be trusted!
The garden is spacious, obviously rosy in early summer, and the lawn edges are well trimmed. I am consumed by pond-envy, and the island looks just big enough to live on. I am the last to wander over to the morning tea, lost in plans for my very own second pond - with its own island. Some people are never satisfied!
Garden Number Two
The second garden we visit is delightful - a real older lady's cottage garden in a sunny valley, with shrubs and vegetables, fruit trees, shade trees, hedges, and quirky paths. There are planted pots in the woodland, rustic seats by chunky sculptures, a carnival collection of succulents along the back verandah, and the fattest, brownest, shiniest hens I've ever seen.
A Shady Verandah Seat
Lots of the shrubs (particularly the fuschias) look old, but are still extremely well-behaved - rather like the Garden Club ladies themselves! For example, I notice that absolutely no-one swears or uses even the mildest slang...
We all like this garden - the owner's personality is much in evidence. Plants grown from seeds have been collected like memories, and roses have been gifts from special past occasions - names unknown or simply forgotten. In the dry woodland shade clumps of variegated pelargoniums grow happily. They aren't meant to flower - just the foliage looks wonderful. And the owner grows Renga Renga - one of my favourite New Zealand natives!
The outing ends with a shared lunch. Here I am slightly out of my depth - people have built gourmet quiches and artistic sandwich cakes, and even the raffle prize is a glossy country cook book. Portable chairs have appeared out of carry bags, and many heads are adorned with stylish sun hats.
So - my first outing with the Garden Club has been much enjoyed. Next month we are 'doing' hypatufa - and yes, I will be joining in that session. I will have four weeks to practice some gourmet recipes!
My local Garden Club is extremely friendly and most welcoming. I am much looking forward to being Moosey-anonymous, just an ordinary lady gardener visiting other gardens and meeting other gardeners. Do it now! Join your own local Garden Club!
Special thanks to the two gardeners who allowed the club in to visit.