Thursday, December 2, 2010

The English Garden at Hamilton Gardens, NZ.. and quiet thoughts of Pike River..

Our England is a garden
that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies
and lawns and avenues,...

Rudyard Kipling

While it is cold and snowy in real England..
here is a little bit of England flourishing in the New Zealand summer..

The white garden.

A walled garden
is a secret garden.

Memories of Sissinghurst and Vita Sackville-West,
creator of the first white garden.

The sunken garden
with a reflective pool.

I am sure there are fairies
in the English garden. 

Herbaceous borders
and a tinkling fountain.

I love to wander in the English garden.
Just now in early summer
it is so beautiful and burgeoning,
and English thrushes and blackbirds are busy fossicking about in it's borders
and singing in the trees so blissfully.
As Kath and I left the gardens we stood delighted listening to a thrush sing..
and yes, he sang..
' his song twice over,
lest you should think he never could re-capture..
the first fine careless rapture..'  Robert Browning

 I guess I can understand why the early English settlers brought their garden plants
and garden birds with them.
I think of Aunty Vyver, our intrepid longtime traveller, who always says..
New Zealand is young and raw,
England is a garden!

Today I plan to go to the gardens
with my drawing journal
and find a beautiful spot
to have my time of silence for the
29 lost miners of Pike River Mine.

National Memorial Service
Greymouth NZ
John Key, our Prime Minister, has asked that all New Zealanders
keep two minutes silence.
It will be a sad two minutes.
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  1. Thank you, Joan, for bringing Summer back for a moment, with this evocative post. Lovely photographs.

  2. I got goosebumps when I read your absolutely beautiful post. Yes, faeries live in an English garden but your aunt is right, all of New Zealand is a garden. And I thank you for sharing this garden with us.

    Now for the hard part...when the explosion happened, hub and I sat in stunned disbelief. It is all so tragic. Our prayers go out to everyone. It's been a tragic time for New've been thru so much.

  3. I am not quite sure when 2 pm your time is here in Illinois, Joan, so please know that I will keep two minutes of silence here in memory of all those lost at Pike River.

    Your garden pictures are so beautiful. I love a white garden, especially at night, and one of the places on my "bucket list" is to visit Sissinghurst, though your Hamilton Gardens are so very lovely. Thank you, Joan.

  4. A lovely series of pics in our beautiful Gardens. I never tire of this special place, she always restores my soul ..

    Thinking of fellow kiwis in Greymouth today. .

  5. An English garden in summer in December.. not bad eh martin!
    Thank you Kittie, and penny for loving thoughts for our West Coasters.
    I hope you get to Sissinghurst one day Penny. I loved it. I loved the garden and Vera's tower room.
    Thanks Marcia. Our gardens are amazing aren't they. How lucky we are.

  6. A wonderful place for quiet meditation -- serenity and order all around.

  7. White in the garden is glorious. I think there are fairies giggling in every garden.

    Gosh, we've got snow and about 27F right thank you for the beautiful garden shots. A perfect spot to honor those who lost their lives...

  8. What a lovely garden.
    The settlers weren't just being sentimental when they brought their birds with them. After they cleared the forests to plant crops, the native birds retreated (because they are forest birds, mostly) and the fields were overrun with insects. The new settlers were threatened with starvation, so they had to bring in birds that would eat the insects. Of course some birds got brought in for sentimental reasons - they tried nightingales and English robins, but those didn't establish well.
    I've been trying to write a poem sequence on the subject of introduced birds so have researched it a bit :)

  9. That is so interesting Catherine. I really didn't know that about the insects. I've often wondered about robins etc too. I learn something new everyday!

  10. Hello from snowy england!:) Actually, there's no snow here in the south west at the moment but no doubt we'll get it soon! I love traditional english gardens, with tall delphiniums and larkspur, hollyhocks, foxgloves and lupins. We call them 'cottage gardens', places to let your imagination wander, so lovely. :) xx