I have never been much of a gardener.
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of it. There is plenty to love about growing your own flowers and vegetables.
However, when it comes down to it, I lack both the motivation and patience needed to make a go of it. Many houseplants died over the years before I Iearnt that about myself.
I did study horticulture for two years at high school – I simply couldn't get a love of gardening to grow.
But I do love flowers. For some people it is songs, others smells that remind them of certain moments in their lives. For me it is flowers.
Wisteria reminds me of growing up with my mum. Wherever we lived there was always wisteria, often planted by my mother, a purple cascade of flowers that bloomed for a short-but-splendid period marking the onset of summer.
There is nothing like a bunch of erlicheer, roses, lavender or daisies to put a smile on my face.
Recently, I discovered the beauty of our native harakeke (flax).
We have been in our home for 18 months, having moved in just before the pandemic did.
It is the first time we have had a large, well-established garden and it has been incredible watching it come to life each spring.
It is no cottage garden, with dainty flowers. It is a robust spread with a mix of flax, kōwhai, nīkau palms, agapanthus and tea tree. As the flax starts to flower, so the tūī arrive. They have been a revelation. There were two young tūī that visited regularly last year, and another generation appears to be starting to arrive this spring – waiting for the flax flowers.
They bop along the flax stems, which bow and bounce under their weight. The birds arrive in small bands, and fly off as a group when they are done.
I like to think they are siblings, jostling and bullying one another for the best spots.
I love that they become a daily attraction. They delight me and if for any reason, they do not appear one day, I get concerned. Any longer and I begin to worry.
But the flax isn't the only thing attracting the wildlife. Last year we planted lavender along the front of the house. It languished for a few months but has now burst into flower. The bees are loving it.
At a time when things can seem overwhelming and relentless, it has been a joy to once again take time to watch nature hard at work. It has no care for Covid - or the economy.
Our garden is a daily reminder of the beauty of nature and how the simplest things can lighten one's day.