Celebration & Sadness

‘Our’ bits of the public zigzag get better and better. The man downstairs has built a second hugelkultur and some steps that make it safer to garden. (I’ve had a few near misses, slipping and tumbling.)

Our neighbour has employed a new gardener who will not spray. He’s planted the native grasses you can see in the background, beneath her (spring-flowering) kowhai tree.

from front: steps, second hugelultur, sorrel patch, cape gooseberries and sundry herbs and then the neighbour’s place
love that red rake!

Here are the grasses in closeup, in their cosy pea-straw mulch.

closeup of new grass & mulch

Below the first hugelkultur, parsley, thyme, bergamot, galangal and nasturtiums flourish.



O yay to all of this. I’m very happy that our garden, the neighbour’s garden and other bits of the zigzag are all safer than they were, more welcoming for bees. And for other insects, some of them also pollinators.

But I’m also sad.

I know now that research shows that even organic honey contains glyphosate and that bees are attracted to flowers that contain neonics (obvious really, humans too are attracted to substances that affect their neurons). And when I see no bees around, I think ‘Did Wellington City Council’s glyphosate spray affect them?’.

One still and sunny bee-filled morning, not long ago, the council used the spray on patches of old man’s beard, within 100 metres of where these photos were taken. How many bees were harmed, as they flew past on the way to our flowers?

This is what the dying old man’s beard looks like.


It could have been removed by hand. It’s tough going but I’ve done it.

And yesterday, on the far side of some dying old man’s beard, I saw lots of bees on winter kowhai.


And I wondered, was that kowhai bought from a plant shop that sells neonic-treated  trees? Do the bees prefer these blooms to ours because they provide a neonic buzz?

That’s when I began to feel sad. Providing a sanctuary for bees is complicated.

4 thoughts on “Celebration & Sadness”

  1. Unfortunately the nasturtiums attract vast numbers of white butterflies which have devastated (eaten huge chunks) of the leaves of many of the plants in my garden.
    The Engish ivy is like a triffid wrapping itself round cabbage trees and anything in its sights. Rather too hard to get all out by hand. Some real challenges……


    1. Ah. White butterflies. I don’t have nasturtiums in my back garden (don’t much like them) and never plant summer salads there either, because for a few weeks every summer those white butterflies – and the Monarchs – are everywhere! I also don’t have ivy! Do you have suggestions about nasturtiums or ivy on the zigzag? Or plants that will deter white butterflies? I used to pay my kids five cents for every one they killed.


      1. Sharman, I’ve been thinking about the white butterflies and remember seeing them feeding enthusiastically on my calendula this year. And the calendula are everywhere now. So how to protect your plants from the white butterflies in future? Any suggestions welcome, since I’d love to keep those calendula multiplying.

        Yes, the challenges are significant and will take a while to resolve. But I’d love children who use the zigzag and who visit not to be at risk from glyphosate, in the air, or on the crops available.


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