‘with the green lawn at its feet’

Looking back over old photos I came across photos I took of my late in-law’s garden, as it looked in Queenstown, mid-2000’s. (Looking at this photo now, I notice the fly for the first time which brought a wry smile because of course concrete frogs cannot catch flies.)

The view from the house towards the Remarkables mountain range and over Lake Wakatipu.

Cecil Peak – hello, my old friend. Lifting your eyes up from my in-law’s kitchen sink, there he would be.

Cecil Peak, Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

It’s snowing on Cecil,
his flanks vulnerable
wherever the sun shines
on scowl of rock. Screes
and gullies frigid
with weather, frozen solid.

My father-in-law loved showing anyone who was interested around the garden, pointing out small surprises and illuminating the qualities of plants that tolerate Queenstown’s particular microclimate.

Often he would dig out a small offshoot, or take a cutting for people to take back home to their own gardens. In our case, the plants usually didn’t survive the change from Queenstown’s Mediterranean-type climate, to the cooler, coastal climate of Dunedin.

That didn’t stop us trying. In my previous post HERE I describe an orchid my father in law gave me which did eventually flower – even if it did take fifteen years or more to do so.

The orchid in question.

Rocks were a feature of the Queenstown garden. Rocks of schist that warmed up in the sun, making them a pleasant seat while reading a book, or eating food selected from that night’s barbecue.

Gardens can be a kind of legacy.

A question that is regularly posed to guests on a particular podcast I listen to is: If you had your life to live over again, would you? Most people usually respond with, Yes.

This is a daisy from my own garden. For what seems like forever, I’ve listed daisies as my favourite flower – along with lavender. A predictable and perhaps unexciting choice, but in the end your own inherent nature cannot be denied.

These lilies appear in our Dunedin garden every summer. This is a photo of a previous crop. This summer’s flowers have yet to bloom. I look forward to seeing them again. They bring happy memories of many summers spent here in this place I call home.

Looking at photos of a garden that no longer exists, can cause grief. They tug at the heart reminding one of time passing and of people and places now gone. But they can also remind us of the hope and love of the gardener. I will not stop taking photos of flowers.

Or writing about them.

One example, this extract from my novel, Quick Blue Fire: