I've been doing a lot of gardening lately, so it's natural that it should be on my mind. Christchurch prides itself on being "the Garden City". Not every garden is the same - there are formal English-style gardens, gardens full of flowers, green gardens with native New Zealand plants, Japanese style gardens, low maintenance gardens with areas of pebble or bark mulch, and so on. But there are certain features that are consistently the same - for instance,it's pretty much a given that the front garden is ornamental, and edible gardens are confined to the back yard. Which is fine if your back yard is on the north side of the house - the sunny side in the southern hemisphere. But if your street frontage is on the north side, as ours is, growing vegetables in the back yard is more of a problem.
We don't have a large backyard. There is a very abundant grapevine along one fence, and a narrow strip alongside the garage where my husband grows tomatoes every year - other than that, the backyard is mostly taken up by a weedy patch of lawn, and a clothes line which gets no sun in winter. So when I decided to try growing more vegetables, I had to get inventive. I've planted red frilly lettuces in a flower bed in the front - I plan to intersperse these with blue lobelia - and I've planted capsicums in pots. I also found room in the back garden to try some other varieties of salad greens - mizuna and sorrel - in an old stainless steel laundry tub, and I have planted a few snow pea seeds in another small plot.
I have a large sunny flower bed in front which is full of a particularly invasive plant that was sold to me as a "good ground cover". I've decided that this is the year to clear the bed completely and to eradicate it (which will probably involve weed killer somewhere along the way, rather reluctantly). Next year, I may plant pumpkins or other veges among the flowers in this bed.
All this reminds me of this exuberant garden I photographed a few years ago. As a front garden, it is not at all typical of a Christchurch garden, with everything in together and not much regard for tidiness or order. But it made me smile (it must have looked even better when the scarecrow had all his face).
For more photographs on the theme "different" visit Carmi here.