Thursday, April 7, 2016

The end of the harvest

There are still pears and apples on the trees, sure, but it feels as though the season has finished. The festival was a great success; everyone seemed very happy, the crowds were large and constant and we didn't have any catastrophes, even while we were bringing down the enormous marquee in the wind that sprang up just as the weekend drew to a close. The weather's turned though. It's feeling wintery; colder, clammier and dimmer. Mind you, it's difficult to know these days what will happen during a week. We've had ridiculously high temperatures this autumn, mixed in with the usual weather, so winter could throw up some hotter days than usual. I suspect this will be the case. I'll have to get out soon and pick the remaining apples and pear and there are a lot of them. We took bags and bags of Rokewood apples down to put through the cider press, yet there are still plenty on the tree. Our biggest cooking apples are still there, causing the branches to groan under their weight and the pearmain varieties haven't reached their full ripeness yet. The garden is looking lush and full. I haven't groomed any paths at all this year, so the edges are looking wonderfully natural and I'll stick with that management from now on - I don't like the primped look at all. There have been so many visitors through the garden that cutting a path has been completely unnecessary. I've just finished writing a column for NZ Gardener on the subject of permaculture and I found that interesting, having moved through a lot of thinking and practice since the day I first heard about it, and it was interesting to me to read my own thoughts at this point and compare them with those I had 20 years ago. That column will be published in the June edition of NZ Gardener. I'm now thinking about the Tree Crop Association AGM in Pukekohe later this month, where I'll be speaking about the forest garden, especially the trees that form much of it, and that will be enjoyable. I've an appointment to speak to the Taieri Mouth Garden Club next month on the same topic, so I'll be well prepared and practiced for that. A fortnight ago, it was the Dunedin Herb Society, where I met many delightful herbalists and talked apiaceae and convolvulus, amongst other things. Yesterday's Regional Council meeting was about biodiversity, my pet topic, so I was quite vocal in promoting ideas there that seemingly had not occurred to anyone else, such as using the roadsides of Southland as conduits for plantings that would support and add to Southland's biodiversity. I was met by a stunned silence in general, but you have to begin seeding ideas somewhere and a captive audience of councillors is not a bad place to start. So, there we are, lots of words, no pictures, sorry :-)

2 comments:

Philip Todd said...

I would love for the Regional council to develop a vision around what we think Southland should look like. Embrace what we have and put out a vision on what and where we can go to. Even with trees it would be good to have a big picture vision. Then see if people want to buy into it. Give the farmers a rate rebate for fencing corners off their roadside paddocks and planting them with trees that fit the vision. Get people involved in planting any area of roadside that is unused and wont become a hazard. The Govt in Switzerland pays farmers to retain the traditional look of their farms but we have no tradition so need a vision.
Our country is pretty amazing and speaking with visitors every day you hear them talk about the wow factor and we have nothing to assist that and make it even a bigger wow.
For many years one of my pet hates has been our highway names. Riverton Lorneville Highway. What does that say to visitors. We should be celebrating our heritage by naming roads with names that gets people talking about the name and remembering a part of our history. The Riverton to Colac Bay Highway should be the Hinton Highway to celebrate the local recipient of the VC. The Invercargill to Bluff Highway should be the Spencer Highway to keep alive the things that were so wrong about war.
We just don't seem to have a soul and it needs a spark to set something alight. Your idea of planting roadsides is the most visionary statement I have heard in some time

robertguyton said...

Thanks, Philip. I too would love for the Regional council to develop a vision also and I continue to paint a wider picture for them at meetings, causing eyes to roll and knuckles to whited at times. Water wears rock, I reckon. Climate change is an example where harping levered reluctant thinkers into a position where they were able to accept the news when it eventually came from other sources. Biodiversity is understood differently by those who live in an all-but-monocultural landscape and when I use the word, others are forming a different meaning. Hebe, I reckon, are the most likely plants to find favour for farmers, road managers and environmentalists alike. I can see them in their multiple forms, ribboned across the Southland plains. It's a project Rural Women or Young Farmers could embrace and champion. Think of the bees! Think of the tourists. That's stage one.