If we were having tea right now…..

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If we were having a cup of tea right now I would be telling you about my fab weekend at the Alpine Garden Society annual conference. I learnt all sorts of things, many of them not to do with plants.  For example I learnt that New Zealand’s only native mammals are bats (is that right Yvonne?) which makes it strange that the Speargrass (Aciphylla), a native, is a very prickly thing when there is no need for it to be as there were no browsing natives!!

If we were having a cup of tea right now I would tell you that I am very weary as I didn’t get to bed until 1am due to gossiping in the bar last night, I am getting too old for such outrageous behaviour

If we were having a cup of tea right now I will admit to buying two more books today: Autumn Bulbs by Rod Leeds and The Well-Designed Mixed Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. Manning the second hand book stall this morning was quite reassuring as it appears my book purchasing addiction is not unusual.  It occurred to me that us plantaholics seem to often also be book mad and if we aren’t buying some plant to shoe-horn into our garden, we are buying a book to shoe-horn on to a bookshelf.  We are just collectors looking for things to collect.

If we were having a cup of tea right now I would tell you how pleased I am that I got to buy some fresh Hepatica japonica seed as well as some narcissus and lily bulbils.  Last year I didn’t notice that certain seeds sent into the AGS seed exchange which have to be sown fresh or bulbils which won’t travel well in the usual packaging were available so I was determined this year not to miss out on this one day opportunity.  I will have to make sure I get sowing next weekend.

If we were having a cup of tea right now I would tell you that I am wondering what possessed me to sign up to the NaBloMoPo challenge this month.  I have two days this week where I won’t be home from work until probably 8:00/8:30.  On top of this as I was away for the weekend I have had little opportunity to take photographs in the garden and I didn’t take any at the conference so I don’t have many prompts or ideas for posts – oh dear, I will have to get my thinking hat on.

If we were having a cup of tea right now (and you were into plants) I would be asking you why you don’t join the AGS.  You don’t have to be interested in the ubiquitous cushion plants or those you might associate with rockeries.  ‘Alpine’ covers all sorts of bulbs, in fact most bulbs that aren’t tender (and even that isn’t always stuck to) as well as those plants that grow in the wooded foothills so things like Peonies, Aquilegia, Primulas, some delphiniums, and my favourite, ferns.  But more importantly as well as having access to the wonderful AGS seed distribution scheme you can go to events like this weekend and meet all sorts of passionate plants people and hear fascinating talks which continue over lunch or dinner – such a nice change to work.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. rusty duck says:

    You make an excellent ambassador for the AGS Helen. Sold!

  2. I love the stacks of books strewn across floors in each of the rooms in my home that no longer fit on the shelves almost as much as my crowded garden. I’m enjoying a cup of herb tea from my garden as I’m reading your blog so the world is quite as you had hoped, or as you imagined it could be.

  3. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – Yes that is correct – bats only native mammal – Some plants were designed to stop moas etc eating them – prickly with tiny leaves tucked in them. Melenbekia (spelling) matagaurie (spelling?) two examples. Even rats were introduced by the Maoris. The Europeans introduced everything else but thank goodness not badgers, foxes and snakes!!! Possums were introduced from Australia in the 1920’s, so ‘CUTE!!” The local school children were let off school to see the first two liberated. Meanwhile nearly 100 years later there are millions and millions of the ‘CUTE” little b….s….tds and cause forests to defoliate – are a carrier of TB and generally wreck havock. Rabbits – well they bred like b.rabbits and even now are such a ‘cute’ pest! I can remember moving paddocks of them! We then introduced ferrets and weasels to kill the rabbits – eek. They also decimate our native birds. Many of our birds are/were ground dwellers so they had no chance. We are trying to save our iconic kiwi with sancturys etc but to a certain degree we are fighting a losing battle. Also our ‘pets’ – cats, dogs etc are a menace in some places! NZ used to be a totally bush and forest country with millions of birds but man came along and decided the trees a nusiance and wouldn’t it be nice to make it nice green fields like their homeland of Britain! We have only a fraction of forest left but at least we now appreciate it more and trying to plant a lot of natives. Us included! All along the motorways there are huge swaths of native plantings which will hopefully made corridors for birds. Sorry the rave – all you asked was were bats the only native mammal!!!

  4. I am having a cup of tea right now and I’ve really enjoyed reading about your busy life! 🙂

  5. Linda says:

    Oh! I love this meme! If we were having a cup of tea right now, I’d be asking you loads of questions about your lovely garden, and telling you about mine! Glad you had a great weekend at the AGS! Good luck with NaBloMoPo! Sounds like it is going to be quite a challenge seeing how little time you are going to have!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Linda
      Welcome, yes a real challenge which I am really wondering why I decided to do it

  6. If we were having a cup of tea right how I would be sympathising about the “staying up half the night when you really shouldn’t have” because I did exactly the same thing and I still haven’t recovered!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Well I hope you enjoyed your late night as much as I did

    2. Yes, but it took a whole day to recover!

  7. Anna says:

    Mine’s a coffee please Helen. I would tell you that you are never too old for outrageous behaviour. It can be most good for the soul. I could well be tempted to join the AGS, but the cost of joining all the societies that appeal to me is something that I have to think about more carefully now that I’m not working.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      Yes, please have a coffee and maybe a nice biscuit or two! You are right about the cost of societies, I have years when I join a number and then the following year I cut it right back again but the AGS is proving to be one of my favourites. It may be because it is based at Pershore and so I am friends with the office staff and others. I suspect if I lived elsewhere I wouldnt have such contact and maybe my experience might be different. I am always in two minds about the RHS as there are no benefits for membership to me where I live apart from the magazine and I didnt find anything of interest in the last edition.

  8. Cathy says:

    Lots of interest to discuss over our cup of tea, Helen. If there were gardening groups of any type at a convenenient location, on a convenient day and at a convenient time I would certainly consider joining – but such is my life, and there are not! Reading your NaBloPoMo posts I can’t believe I blogged daily for the first two years of my blogging life – but then had to make a conscious decision to cut back. At first it was perhaps just a single paragraph and a single photo and nobody read it apart from me, but once all that changed…. 😉 Well done for rising to the challenge amidst your busy working life

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Cathy
      I wont be blogging daily after this month, but it is interesting to see if I could do and whether it can retain interest from readers

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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