Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand

Finally, here are some of the photos from our few days in Wellington last month. We travelled both ways by train which is an extremely relaxing way to travel. We didn’t get many photos on the way down as it rained quite heavily most of the way, but we were extremely lucky with the weather while we were there. It was raining again when we left Wellington, but cleared about an hour into our journey home.

This was the view from our hotel room balcony. We could see from Oriental Bay, to our right, the marina was immediately in front of us, and the port off to our left. So there was always something to watch as we sat on the balcony and and rested our weary feet in the late afternoon.

These are some of the lovely old homes that line Oriental Parade in Oriental Bay.

Situated on the hill above Oriental Bay, Saint Gerard’s Monastery and Church, built in 1932 and 1908 respectively, are considered a historic landmark. After 113 years, St Gerard’s Church held its final mass at the end of May. It closed over “safety concerns” but the fate of the buildings remains unclear.

The Wellington Cable Car is a funicular railway in Wellington, New Zealand, between Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, and Kelburn, a suburb in the hills overlooking the central city, rising 120 m (394 ft) over a length of 612 m (2,008 ft).

There are a number of viaducts spanning the rivers between Te Kuiti and Wellington. This photo was taken from one in the Manawatu.

New Zealand farmland.

Home to three active volcanic mountains, and iconic and majestic landscapes, Tongariro National Park has attracted adventurers of all ages since 1887. This is Mount Ruapehu.

The main reason for doing this train trip was to travel the Raurimu Spiral, which my grandfather worked on when he first came to Te Kuiti as a young man.

The only way of really appreciating the engineering excellence and sinuous beauty of the Raurimu spiral is to see it from the air. The spiral was devised by Department of Public Works engineer Robert Holmes in 1898. His design was a clever solution to a major problem – the land between between Raurimu and National Park dropped significantly and was too steep for a train to travel along directly. Holmes’s spiral increased the distance between these two locations to by employing sweeping curves and tunnels, which allowed the railway track to follow a manageable incline. It was constructed between 1905 and 1908. The Historic Places Trust registered the spiral as a category one historic place in 2005. (Te Ara, Govt. New Zealand)

My next mission is to view it from the air.

Thank you for sharing my journey.

Five of the most sacred Maori sites in New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Because I haven’t had time to write a post today – I have been looking after my grandson who had finally succumbed to the stomach bug doing the rounds at daycare – I am going to share with you some more beautiful New Zealand scenery, accompanied by some Maori lore and legend. Just click on the link and enjoy.

Yates Garden Guide – seventy-sixth edition


Yates Garden Guide was first published in 1895 specifically for New Zealand gardeners and has been our gardening bible ever since. Throughout the more than 100 years this has been in publication, the entries have been continuously updated and revised making it as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

It begins with a potted history of gardening in New Zealand, from the time of the Maori, who voyaged from East Polynesia bringing with them Kumara, taro,yam,gourd and the pacific cabbage tree. The first Pakeha (Europeans) to arrive in New Zealand gardened because they had to. It was a case of survival. Their basic ‘shacks’ were surrounded by bush, there were no shops and were often miles from the nearest neighbour. Although they had little time or resources for ornamental gardening, plants from their home countries would have brought a little comfort in familiarity. In the mid 1800s,creative gardening was fast gaining popularity and, at around the same time, it became fashionable for women to garden. The lawn also became popular in the mid 1800s, with borders of neatly spaced flowering shrubs and perennials. By the turn of the century, a more informal garden was replacing the formal geometric layout of the Victorian era, and reflected a newfound subtlety and prosperity. There were breakthroughs in plant breeding including the first hybrid tea roses and ramblers.

Through the 1920s, 30s,and 40s, gardens became simpler due to the influences of the war and economic depression. The advent of state housing meant smaller suburban sections, and a demand for more compact plants. As prosperity returned in the 50s and 60s, outdoor living spaces began to make an appearance with courtyards, pool and barbecue areas.

In the 70s, the ‘native’ or natural garden began to gain a strong following, symbolizing our new environmental awareness which continued to be popular into the 80s.

The 90s saw a return of the more formal garden, including the decorative vegetable potager garden. Now, in the 21st century, New Zealand’s gardens reflect many influences – cottage, English, subtropical, Mediterranean, and native among them.

This latest edition includes an invaluable month by month gardening calendar, handy hints from New Zealand gardeners, in-depth information on a wide variety of plants, ornamental, fruiting and vegetable, plus a guide to gardening in special conditions.

My Nana (we were never allowed to call her Grandma. Apparently her own grandmother, whom they had called Grandma, had been a bit of an old battleaxe) gave me my first ever copy of this book almost fifty years ago. I, in turn, gave my children a copy, and will do the same for my grandchildren should I still be alive.

This is an invaluable resource. I consult mine monthly to plan my planting and harvesting schedule. In particular, the guide to gardening in clay soil has been particularly useful. Never has my garden looked so good, and never has my vegetable garden been so bountiful. And while this may not be relevant to those of you living outside New Zealand, I am sure that there is something similar relevant to your country.