Gifts & Another Surprise


Spring keeps springing. And sometimes there’s a fine or almost-fine afternoon to garden.

In the main vegetable patch, Chinese vegetables are going to seed, there are lettuces ready to eat, lots of coriander, perpetual baby spinach and little red onions are growing fast, cape gooseberries are ripe, self-seeded kale from last year is almost ready to eat. (Parsley, calendula, lemon balm and thyme flourish all over, still.)

And the broad beans are flowering. Here are some of them, behind the red onions and the kale and coriander.


And anonymous people have left gifts.

I’ve never seen the person who continues to care for the space beside the top steps. But s/he has replaced some languishing plants with baby grasses that are growing well.

Someone left a pile of small black bins with lids that are perforated, ideal for little bits of composting on mour front porch. Plus a big bucket and a useful water container.


Someone else left a bag on our letter box, with some bedding plants inside.


I was especially delighted with the carnation cuttings, because I’ve loved weeding among the freesias and the scent of carnations will be very sweet, too.

A big thank you to all the gift-givers.

And then there’s this.


Not actual construction, but a big drilling machine, just along the path in front of the Monastery.


The New Zealand Herald had the story.

The Wellington City Council estimated there were around 1000 slips this winter, ten times the amount for the same time last year.

GNS expert Chris Massey said the slips were worse where the land’s been changed for roads and housing and the GNS  project on Wellington slope stability is investigating how different hillsides perform in earthquakes or heavy rain.

It’s focusing on slopes that have been changed by urban development, and how construction methods have an impact.

The first borehole was drilled to 53m near St Gerard’s Monastery, just by the entrance to the church, at the top of Hawker Street.  Seisometers were placed at the top and bottom of the hole to measure differences in shaking during earthquakes. This second site is on the path in front of the Monastery, at the edge of St Gerard’s Park, just a few metres from a big slip further along the path, towards McFarlane Street.


A statement from GNS said the borehole was one of several sites that would be investigated.

“The scale of the problem and the level of risk to critical infrastructure and nationally significant infrastructure are not well known.”

Although this drilling is so close to the new slip, the GNS statement downplayed concern about more instability and slips.

“By drilling at these sites, scientists are not suggesting that they are unstable and likely to fall down.

“The project will select a range of sites that are characteristic of those typically found in Wellington to investigate how these slopes might perform in future large rain events and strong ground shaking.

“GNS Science and Aurecon will use the findings from this project to fine tune engineering practice to help reduce the incidence of slope failure in urban areas.”

Wellington City Council, Wellington Water, and the NZ Transport Agency are expected to use the results of the GNS research.

And in the meantime, passersby comment on the Oriental Terrace bird life. I’m not surprised by that, because the birds sing like crazy, even on the many wet and windy days. And one blackbird  follows me around as I weed (the weeding is endless).

I hope there are more birds than there were, enjoying the healthy trees and plants. There are certainly lots more bees and worms. And spiders. The other day, alas, a spider  trapped two bees, then wrapped them up and dragged them across its web and into the letterbox. Hard to watch. But also fascinating.



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