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It is surely only us gardeners who leap for joy when we see the rain coming? (and ducks!). I feel I can almost hear the trees slurping it all up. With the Autumn Equinox behind us, we begin the descent into semi-rest which is the NZ winter, although I do believe that we can grow as much if not more food during this time of year, so I am planning heaps!

We had such a lovely group at our March 26th workshop – here are some of the comments that people left us with and a pic or two:

“I loved the vibe of the day and the spiritual type of atmosphere. Thank you so much.” Trish
“Such an awesome day, great Whanaungatanga (kinship, connection).” Maurice
“Loved the extensive areas covered in a short timeframe and all the generosity of sharings.” Elizabeth
“It was a fantastic day” - thanks! Natalie
“I loved today!” Sharon


Recipe of the month

“Candied Beetroot”

Courtesy of Mandy Hutchinson of St Heliers

First, make a sugar syrup of 150g sugar and 100mls water. Heat in a pan and when dissolved put in your beetroot slices from 2 to 3 beets and simmer for 10 minutes...then take out and drain the slices. Put them into a 160’c oven on baking paper for 10 and don’t burn .

Delicious sprinkled on salads and will keep for weeks in the fridge.


Thought of the Month

"God made rainy days so that Gardeners can get the housework done"


Out and about!

Ngati Whatua have been creating an amazing garden in Orakei since August last year. The great team, led by Maurice are developing a nursery, (main business income) a Maara Kai where fresh produce is freely distributed each week to the local whanau and to come, a Rongoa for teaching and growing Maori medicines.

The super friendly team are very welcoming so do pop in to say hi and connect. Maurice will be presenting at St Heliers Garden Club, (where I am currently president) on 22nd April 1.30pm (100 St Hel Bay Rd) so come along to that too if you would like to learn more about the project.

I have just started a Permaculture Design course with Trish and got to visit her place in March. Trish founded Rainbow Valley farm and now lives in the heart of Matakana. Having planted 50 fruit trees in her ¼ acre, ten years ago, the 20 or so students spent our lunch break, literally eating our way around the garden.

Although not open to the public, Trish holds many Sunday courses there and I would highly recommend them

I visited Mirama Toms at Purewa cemetery during a ‘gardening day’, to see her initiative at Purewa Cemetry – ‘Flowers from Felix’ This amazing project has grown in the last two years, stemming from the tragic loss of Miriama son Felix.

Miriama has been sending seeds all over the world and many other bereaved people are benefiting from the flowers. The initiative seems to have captured people’s hearts and in such a beautiful way, connecting people to their loved ones, to nature and to the acceptance of the cycle of life and death.

On a personal note, I am thrilled at the wonderful habitat that has been created for all our insects, birds and other wildlife who come under such stress with our burgeoning cities. I could certainly see this happening all over New Zealand and the world!

What to do in the garden in April


So, here’s what’s good to sow and plant in St Heliers right now:

Moon Planting:

14th April to 24th April are great days to plant all your ‘above ground’ veges. ‘Roots’ can be sown/planted then 1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th and 29th & 30th.


• Greens; Rocket, Corn Salad, Ruruhau, Red Russian Kale, Lettuce, Spinach, Silverbeet, Peas, Broad Beans, Mizuna under a cloche.

• Roots; Beetroot, Carrots, Radish, Turnip

• Keep going with Microgreens on your window. If you have saved vege seeds you can sprout these for a nutritious addition to a salad or sandwich.

• Herbs; Coriander, Chervil, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Mustard, Chives (maybe you saved seed from flower heads?)

Plant Out:

• Transplant Strawberries

• All Brassica seedlings Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli etc. Baby versions are quicker to harvest. Plus, Celery, Coriander, Rhubarb and all of those above.

• Root cuttings of Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme


Add compost to beds and sow:

In Containers:

Aquilegia, Calendula, Cineraria, Cornflower, Dianthus, Livingstone Daisy, Lobelia, Mignonette, Nemesia, Pansy, Penstemon, Poppy, Russell Lupin, Scabiosa, Statice, Stock, Sweet Pea, Sweet William, Viola.

Direct in ground:

Alyssum, Aquilegia, Calendula, Cornflower, Linaria, Russell Lupin, Statice, Stocks, Sweet Pea.


Chill bulbs in fridge for a few weeks Then plant out:

Anemone, Crocus, Daffodil, Freesia, Grape Hyacinth, Hyacinth, Dutch Iris, Ixia, Lachenalia, Narcissus, Ranunculus, Scilla, Sparaxis, Tritonia, Watsonia.

Online Resources:

Kiss The Ground - This film is fantastic! It will make you want to build soil EVERYWHERE!

I’ve also joined this Permaculture Facebook Group and it is excellent.

Te Maara Kai O Wirihana

A wee while ago, I met Sandra Geange, CEO of Middlemore Foundation on a meditation retreat. At the time, Sandra had a new project – to work with the a range of stakeholders including Counties Manukau Health and Manurewa High School. I began to work with the team to help them develop their design ideas for the project. I loved helping them to create this design

It was great to read of the projects progress in the April issue of NZ Gardener magazine. Here is the link to learn more about the project and to see the full concept design. Eventually, the site will comprise a massive 80 bin worm farm to process all the hospital food waste, a Rongoa, a food forest and a traditional Kumara garden.

Garden for Wellbeing April 2021 Newslett
Download • 1.06MB


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