Art in a garden

It’s been a huge weekend in the valley. It always is at this time of the year. The Culverden fete is the one to kick everything off. It is always held on the last Thursday of October, followed by Art in a Garden at Flaxmere in Hawarden, plus the Amberley A&P show on the Saturday.

What more could you want on a warm sunny spring day than to spend it in a NZ garden of National Significance listening to  the Nairobi trio,  with a chilled glass of Waipara wine wandering around appreciating sculpture, paintings, ceramics, jewellery and much more.

Flaxmere where it is held, is the garden of Penny Zino.  Large in scale, and forty nine years in the making,  it is breathtakingly beautiful with all its spring colour, and it provides the perfect backdrop for a huge variety of sculptures. At other times of the year the garden is open by appointment.
PicMonkey Collage

Yesterday, Sunday was the last day for 2015. It runs for three days, with different workshops held every year. Efficiently organised with an army of helpers it runs like clockwork. A stream side café, where you can rest, imbibe or nibble on picnic lunches, and listen to music provides welcome shade on a hot day.

                                                                The sculptures and the landscape are the stars……………..

                                                                                            from the bold……………

                                                                                        to the subtle………………

                                                                                          the colour co-ordinated……………..

                                                                       there is something to inspire everyone…………………..

If you have never been before, mark it in your next years calendar, it is definitely worth a visit.
It has been a little quiet on the blog for the past weeks, so if you are still reading………..a very big
thank you I do appreciate anyone who reads about our life here in the Waipara Valley.



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Walk the talk – farmstyle

I’ve been walking and talking with Helen Moore, as we admire iris, scratch pigs, and water her animals.


 I first met Helen at the Waipara Farmers Market where you are always welcomed by her wide
smile and bubbly personality.


Helen is bursting with  ideas and future plans for her property. Her enthusiasm is infectious,
although   I start to feel lazy……. this is one busy person……………..  weeding, mowing, animals
to care for, growing seeds, potting up, the tasks go on, including family commitments.

Iris 1PICM


Helen with help from her father grow’s a variety of flowers, including lilies,callas & sunflowers,
but it is the Iris that are blooming at the moment. Dwarf, intermediate and tall bearded varieties
are all  here, when one variety fades, another takes over. The long rows of blooms are breathtaking,
with a myriad of colours.



 Everything here is grown on sustainable principles. It is Helen’s dream to one day open the property to
the public, and provide a learning environment to educate those who are interested in a holistic lifestyle.
They are working towards having a petting zoo, pond, plant nursery, and an eco stay bus including
composting toilets.


Animals are central to their lifestyle and the rescued waifs and strays are all part of the family and
treated as family members.  Horses, hens, ducks, pigs plus three Kune Kune’s , a lamb that had no
mother ,sheep,  and dogs.


 I nearly came home with a Kune Kune, the pigs are limelight lovers, desperate for scratches and
attention, and loving having their photo taken.


 Instead I leave with a gift of Iris………….. .there is much relief when I get home.


 Helen with her Walk the Talk – Farmstyle stall is at the Waipara Farmers Market every Saturday  morning selling a variety of plants,
produce and flowers.



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To Bee Aware

August is Bee Aware month………………… to highlight the plight of the humble honey bee.



Bees now need our help to survive, ironic when they have been around for about thirty million years.
It is the only insect that produces food eaten by man. But their numbers are in serious decline, and
New Zealands $5 billion agricultural exports depend on bees.



We have had bee hives at Dry Paddocks for a number of years now, we think bees are pretty special
and want to do what we can to help with their survival. Because we do not have the necessary bee
keeping skills, our local bee keeper looks after them and we are then able to use our own honey produced
from  the hives on our property.  The quality of the honey is very high and it is sought after.



Nutritional stress is considered to be one of the factors behind large scale bee loses, and lack of food also
compromises bees resistance to disease. You can help by planting bee friendly plants.  Bees are attracted
by colour, particularly blue and yellow, plus purple and white.  I know they love our lavender patch. Other bee
friendly plants are apples, chives, rosemary, wisteria, pohutukawa, grapefruit and New Zealand hebe.




Avoid the use of pesticides, and provide fresh clean drinking water for the bees.  If we all do something no matter
how small we can make a difference.




Sometimes bees swarm, it means they are looking for a new home, they are will not harm people. Call your local beekeeper, they will know what to do. The bees will attach themselves to branches of trees or shrubs and the sheer
weight of them can break or damage plants. The bees are usually smoked to calm them down and then put in a box
to be re-housed in a new hive at a different location. Here, they decided to make a home on one of our newly planted
Quercus Ilex, which was bent double under their weight. The bee keeper in this case did not have to smoke them as they
were so full of pollen they were quite docile.




Let us not let the Time magazine headline come true……………. we can all play a part in keeping these
amazing insects alive.

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Olio Nuovo……….new oil

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IMG_2833-001                                                                                                             plate

Olio Nuovo the new oil.                                     First oil of the season,  fresh, green, and  peppery.

Cold pressed and bottled unfiltered, full of fine olive particles suspended in brilliant green oil. Goes from the tree to press then bottle in a matter of hours, capturing a flavour that cannot be found at any other time of the year.

Olive oil is usually stored in steel tanks for around two months before bottling to give sediment time to settle to the bottom and let the oils flavour mellow and stabilise.
The Italians look forward to and celebrate the Olio Nuovo, just as the French celebrate the release of Beaujolais.

Not for cooking……….best for finishing a dish. Drizzle over bruschetta ………potatoes………..fennel salad………steamed greens like chard, spinach, or Tuscan kale……………soup………….dipping good bread into.

Enjoy its uniqueness while you can.  Available from Mt Grey Olives at the Waipara Farmers Market in Amberley, every Saturday morning.

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