From 2008 to 2014 I wrote a weekly garden article for the Bay of Plenty Times and was constantly amazed at the great people we have in the Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty area, doing great things. It always seemed a shame that the whole world didn’t know more about them and that I never had the space to really dig into some of the subjects and knowledge on offer. So, here were are.
I hope this blog will be a place for the exchange of information and to enhance the sense of community that already exists out there in gardenland.
My contract to supply garden articles to the BOP Times came to an abrupt end at the end of April, 2014 – which made me more pleased than ever that I started this blog.
A bit about me … I’m not a gardener who became a writer, but rather a journalist who has always had more than a passing interest in gardens, if not necessarily gardening.
I was brought up in a large garden that had been laid out in about 1926 and included some “garden rooms”. There were also sweeping lawns, a wild area and lovely specimen trees … that is, until 2010 when the sheltering macrocarpas across the front of the property were removed as their age and size began to be a worry for the motorists passing beside them on SH1. A few months later a vicious storm hit and the elderly exotic trees that had been sheltered by those macrocarpas tumbled like dominoes. No one was hurt and no buildings were damaged, but, still it was heartbreaking.
But that’s gardening, isn’t it? Things grow, things die, nothing stands still.
I garden on a suburban section in central Tauranga. Two years ago I gave up half of the front lawn (not a large area) to my husband to plant in vegetables, to add to the raised beds he had made at the back of the house. Now, we’re eyeing up the back lawn … after all, all we do is mow it …
Many plants in my garden have been given to me and there are the graves of many bought ones that have been forgotten. When we moved in 25 years ago there was little in the garden, although plenty of oxalis. Slowly, that has changed but sometimes it has been one step forward and two steps back.
Since 2001 I have worked for the biennial Tauranga Arts Festival, latterly as the Literary Programme manager and in 2015 also as publicist; I’m the editor of Haiku NewZ website; the South Pacific editor for the annual Red Moon Haiku anthology (published in the US) and in late 2011 published a collection of my haiku, breath. In 2010 and 2012 I managed a speaker/workshop series for the biennial Tauranga Garden and Artfest (but have not been involved since). I worked as a sub-editor for the Bay of Plenty Times and latterly APN’s community sub-hub in Tauranga for about 22 years in total (I finished up in March 2015), and have been a freelance writer in Tauranga for about that long as well.
In 2012 I was invited to become a member of the Funding Trust that is working with the Advisory Group to establish the Sydenham Botanic Park in Tauranga, stepping down in 2014; and have been secretary of the Katikati Haiku Pathway committee since that group reformed in 2006.
In 2015 I took up badminton for exercise and fun, and in 2016 am testing my mental and physical agility with tai chi!
All words and photos copyright Sandra Simpson