Jim Shields' Garden Notes
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Blog Home : October 2008

- Auckland, New Zealand

We arrived in Auckland At 6:30 AM local time on Wednesday to a cool, cloudy day. In traveling from Indiana to Los Angeles to Auckland, we went from Monday, Sept.29th to Wednesday, Oct. 1st, in 20 hours. We went down to the waterfront for lunch -- fish and chips (french fries). We wandered from the waterfront up the "High Street" (actually, Queens St.), where there were about 3 banks per block.

On Thursday, we took a cab down to the waterfront again to catch the Auckland Explorer bus. This is a "hop on, hop off" type. With a one-day pass, we could ride to any stop, get off, look around, and catch the next bus an hour later. We stopped at the Antarctic Adventure to see some penguins, then rode the bus to the Auckland Museum, and finally took the bus to Parnell Village.

Auckland Waterfront (c) 2008by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
The redeveloped waterfront.

Auckland Maritime Museum (c) 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
The Maritime Museum.
We haven't visited this yet.

The Auckland Museum has many exhibits, but the one that we spent all our time at was Polynesian Culture. They had a complete ceremonial house, a much smaller storage house,and a full size war canoe.

Polynesian Ceremonial House in Auckland Museum. (c) 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Polynesian Ceremonial House

Parnell Village in an old stretch of Parnell Road that has been revitallized. It now has lots of restaurants, including some that looked very fine, as well as art galleries, boutiques, etc., but no banks.

Right now, it is 11 AM here in Auckland, on Friday, Oct.3rd; at this same moment, it is 6 PM on Thursday evening in Indiana. At least, that is as close as I can figure it.

I have not yet solved the riddle of how to upload images to my web site from the hotel computer, so the pictures will have to wait a bit.

Good gardening,


- Auckland

We have returned from New Zealand, and now I'll try to catch up with my narrative of our visit there. Demands of the tour and problems with computer connections in various hotels resulted in my not being able to keep the blog up to date while we were traveling.

Originally Intended for Monday, Oct. 6th:

The first thing I want to do is explain where I've been the last few days. Our tour bus leaves at 8:30 AM each morning and returns us here to the hotel at 6:30 PM. After walking to someplacefor supper,we get home around 9 PM. I have time, most days,to check the e-mail before the bus leaves in the morning and before bedtime in the evening. That has not left time to process the pictures from my digital camera. I've also got a nice cold, probably contracted just before we left home a week ago.

So I'm staying in the hotel today, resting up and catching up.

On Thursday, We visited an Antarctic Adventure(with penguins) and the Auckland Museum in a city park named Auckland Domain. See the picture below in the entry for Oct. 3rd. On Sunday, we spent most of the day with Dr. Keith Hammett at his 10-acre garden in Massy. Those pictures will not get posted here until later.

Good gardening,


- New Zealand Reprise

New Zealand was the greenest country I've ever seen. They get at least as much rain annually as we do here in Indiana - 36 to 40 inches - spread throughout the year. They get no more than brief morning frosts in winter, and their high temperatures in summer were said to average about 76°F. It's no wonder they are green!

The part we saw, the northern half of North Island, reminded me of the coastal regions of southern and central California. There are lots of exotic trees and shrubs, including podocarps, in California. The rhododendrons, azaleas, and camillias were in bloom and seemed to be in every garden.

The central part of the north island has three volcanoes that are currently alive but quiet. The midlands have some geothermal area with geysers, bubbling mud pots, and steam drifting up from fumaroles. The area is similar to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in this respect.

The southwestern-most area we visited, New Plymouth on the west coast, has one volcano. It is variously referred to as Mt. Egmont or Mt. Taranaki. It hasn't erupted since about 250 years ago. We saw it on one of its rare clear days, and the mountain is truly beautiful against a blue sky.

Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand (c) copyright 2008 by Shields Gardens Ltd.  All rights reserved.
Mt. Taranaki Volcano
New Plymouth, New Zealand

They say you can forecast the weather by looking at the mountain: If you can see the mountain, it's going to rain. If you can't see the mountain, it is raining.

Good gardening,


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