Sunday, 15 January 2017

Visiting Gardens with my dear friend...

In March last year one of my dearest friends moved out of Auckland.
It took me a long time to come to grips with Jen not being here.
We've been friends such a long time, 
in fact since I was 18 - that's 56 years! 

I think I've mentioned before that Friday is my MahJong day
and I would usually catch up with Jen for a cup of coffee or lunch afterwards.
She's also my best shopping mate - we like the same things
and I've missed our shopping sprees hugely.

However she is happy in her new home at Mount Maunganui
a seaside town in the Bay of Plenty.
She made the right decision to move out of the big city.

In about October Jen phoned to tell me there was an
Art and Garden Festival in her neck of the woods in November
and suggested I pop down for the weekend!

This was our first catch up in person since she stayed with us
before her big move.
It was so good to be together again and see her new home,
and catch up with her children
Annie her Labradoodle and her cat Millie.
We talked and talked late into the night - as all old friends do. 

The Gardens

We picked out several country gardens to visit
and they were all well worth while seeing. 

I take my hat off to the organisers who managed this event.
Everything went like clockwork,
as well as stunning gardens and friendly hosts and hostesses.
Directions and signs were spot on too - thank you!
There were delightful watering holes along the way to stop
and enjoy a cup of tea, sandwiches and other yummy goodies!

I hope my Northern Hemisphere friends enjoy my Summer photos!
I  must tell you how much I'm enjoying your "snow" photos.

Being a bird lover, I'm particularly interested in seeing photos
of your bird feeders and the birds who visit your gardens.
Where I live in New Zealand, it doesn't get cold enough for snow in winter
so maybe that's the reason we don't have a good selection
of feeders available here.

My friend Mary who blogs at A Breath of Fresh Air
welcomes all birds who venture into her garden for winter snacks.
In fact generations of birds have been taught by their parents
to include Mary and Bob's garden on their Winter food GPS route!
Do pop over to her blog and say hello
you will love her amazing bird photos.

She ensures there is an unlimited supply of food available
during the cold winter months,
in the form of suet, seeds and peanuts 
(which sometimes the naughty squirrels devour)!

On behalf of all those hungry birds and squirrels
Thank you Mary dear!

I'm joining Maggie for

Take care and
be kind to one another

à bientôt



  1. You are right good friends are still good friends no matter what! So glad you got to catch up with your friend. It is lovely to see your summer flowers, your garden looks beautiful. It is wet and rainy and cold here today, so this was a real cheer up for me. Thank you!

  2. It does my heart good to see those foxgloves showing a backdrop of lovely baby blue skies.
    I know that feeling when an old friend moves away, but how lovely that you can still visit her in her new home and take up the friendship reins again.
    I agree with you about Mary - she does have some wonderful, and very colourful visitors in her garden which she and Bob tend with lots of care and love.

  3. Beautiful Shane.....have a Nice sunday love Ria x

  4. It does seem strange to be looking at Summery gardens, when here is wet and cold! However, the first daffodils are flowering, Cornwall is always a bit ahead of the rest of the country.

  5. Dear Shane, what beautiful pictures. The gardens in New Zealand are always quite wonderful. You really must miss you friend Jen, and I am glad you were able to visit with her. Hopefully you can do that regularly. Friends are so precious, the more so the older we get, I believe. Happy Sunday my friend. xo

  6. Hello Dear Shane ~
    What a lovely post full of friendship and nature's majesty.
    Those Foxgloves oh my!

    We have only had a "conversational" snow fall so far here in Virginia, USA. I do enjoy the change of seasons and am looking forward to at least one thick blanket of white.

    Happy January to you oxo

  7. Hi Shane,
    There is nothing better than spending time with a good friend. The gardens look beautiful. Glad you could have that special time to catch up with an old friend and enjoy some beauty.

  8. Glad you were able to visit your long time friend. The country gardens photos are beautiful. I enjoy watching the birds that come to feed from my bird feeders. Have a blessed day and a wonderful week. Madeline

  9. Yes, it is delightful to see the beautiful gardens when mine are covered with snow this winter. Although before this storm hit, I did have snowdrops blooming! We have overwintering hummingbirds here, so keeping feeders up is essential for them; the black oil sunflower feeder fuels many other birds, our beautiful silver squirrels, and a small family of raccoons.

  10. So beautiful. And the sign is perfect.

  11. Your good friend knows you well enough to choose a weekend you would especially enjoy. I'm glad you got to see her and have such a good visit and enjoy the beauty of those gardens together.

  12. These gorgeous garden photos really warmed me to see on this cold winter afternoon. The sun has just set and we're in for a very cold night at -18C. I'm already longing for spring and it is months away yet. Glad you got to visit your dear friend and enjoy some garden tours Shane. Have a great week ahead. Pam

  13. Although I am enjoying our snow, it was a delight to read your post. I just got home from being rescued after having a flat tire on icy roads in below freezing temps! I am so glad you had a good visit with your dear friend. xx

  14. Visiting other peoples gardens be it a stately home or a garden club event is always a joy especially if there's time to stop to enjoy a cup pf tea and have a great catch up with a very good friend. It looks and sounds as if the two of you had a marvellous time together.
    So nice of you to bring a glimpse of summer flowers into our gloomy Northern Hemisphere @ Mosaic Monday today!

  15. In the past few years, friends who I thought would always be around have been moving to warmer parts or to be closer to their grown children. Each loss hurts, but I know they are happy and don't have to suffer another cold and gray winter. I have been able to visit some and know that the old adage, "Absence makes me he heart grow fonder" is very true.

  16. Oh Shane, I know what you mean about the sorrow when a dear friend moves. I've experienced that and it's so very hard. But I'm thrilled you had such a delightful weekend and time together. Wonderful! Every photo is a treat!

  17. Beautiful photos and so glad to have found your blog

  18. How wonderful to get together with a dear friend. I can imagine that there was a lot of chatter amongst the garden visits. It's so beautiful to see flowers in bloom somewhere in the world.
    Mary takes wonderful pictures of the birds in her garden. I enjoy them very much. Have a great rest of the week, Shane.

  19. What a treat it was to tour the gardens with you! I climbed Mt Maunganui in December! It wasn't a hard climb - more of a steep uphill walk. I loved seeing the sheep on the slopes with the blue sea and sky as backdrop to one or two of the amazing red Christmas trees. You must have had a lovely day with your longtime friend.

  20. Isn't ;it fun to spend time with old friends and catch up on our lives. Glad you could spend quality time together. The gardens and flowers are just gorgeous. Such beautiful colors.

  21. Hello Shane, catching up with friends is just what I'm doing. We have now sold our house and are settled into a lovely little cottage we are renting for a few months in the Charente Maritime. It seems very strange not having our day planned for us, as usually this time of the year we would be doing our winter maintenance on the cottage we used to rent, & no garden needing attention.It was lovely to see the gardens you went to visit with your friend. I'm sure it was a special weekend with your friend catching up.I'll be back showing some posts of where I am soon.

  22. What a really lovely post-and yes -thank you so much for the gardens and breath of warm air! I cannot think about my 3 BFFS leaving town (also about 56 years, since grade/primary school). As a matter of fact, we have plans to meet this coming Friday and it's always such a blast:) So glad you were able to spend a bit of time with Jen in person again.

  23. How wonderful to see your comments on my blog this morning when I got online. Thanks so much for visiting me. I agree, Mary does have incredible bird photos from her garden. So happy you could visit your dear friend and enjoy summer gardens. It gives me hope that flowers will come again to the garden.

  24. It is a delight to see beautiful gardens. How nice that you were able to connect with your old friend. There is something nice about spending time with someone who knows you well.

    Have a lovely weekend, Shane.


  25. Oh How Very Lovely and oh to smell the light fragrance of flowers in the air...just beautiful~

  26. Ahhhhh - thank you for the garden photos! So much nicer than the miserable ice and snow we have here. Not that I dislike winter or anything!! We do have a birdfeeder on our balcony and I love to watch the birds come and go from where I sit and stitch. Unfortunately our windows are entirely covered by screens (that we can't take out) and pictures aren't least not ones that are recognizable anyway.

  27. Dear Shane,

    Lovely that you were able to go and visit your friend in her new home. Understand her wanting to settle down in the Bay of Plenty. My parents retired to Tauranga and loved it there.
    Always great to go and visit other gardens to admire and get inspiration.
    Have a lovely new week Shane and do you think we are going to get summer soon?



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