Tag Archives: garden

Cleaning up the “perhaps the ugliest spot in Bernal Heights”

Photo of a graffitied "No Dumping" sign and highway

Before. Photo by Todd Lappin on flickr

Since moving to our gorgeous new neighborhood on the north side of Bernal Heights, we’ve been enjoying the local blog Bernalwood,

This week, the blog featured a sad post about Perhaps the Ugliest Spot in All of Bernal Heights.

Photo of a clean "No Dumping" sign, makeshift bench and pile of rocks.

After. Photo by Josh

So, this Saturday, me and Josh headed over to give it a quick clean up, which took about an hour. You can see the rest of the results in my flickr stream.

There was a fair amount of trash strewn around, and a real mess of broken wood and bits of concrete and stone. It looked like most of this junk may have come from a nearby fence renovation project.

First we removed the graffiti from the sign, with a spray cleaner that worked surprisingly well. We then used the discarded building and fence supplies to make a bench (where one can sit and contemplate “progress”) and couple of cairns/shrines/ompahli (depending on what you like to call a pile of rocks).

We certainly made a start, but there is a lot of beautification that could still be done in this area – particularly with a weed whacker & trailer. Anyone keen on joining in on a second round of cleanup?

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Guerilla decorating in Aro Valley

I’ve been entirely intrigued by Catherine Finely’s Wallpaper Dumpsters, and delighted by Street with a View (a collaboration between Google Street View,  Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley), and I’ve been thinking about what I can do in my own neighborhood.

After a month of growing, the tubs I gardened in Aro Valley are blooming. The dahlias have started coming out and the geraniums have been replaced with buttercup pumpkin plants.

Yellow dwarf dahlia flower.

Courgette plants in a tub

I decided they could do with a bit of decoration. I bought some retro wallpaper off Trade Me and waited (patiently) for the Wellington weather to bless us with an entire weekend of sun.

The tubs needed to be cleaned first, so me and Josh scrubbed them down (just with water) and left them to dry.

Two semi-dry concrete tubs in the sun.

When we went to buy the wallpaper paste, we accidentally bought size. I had never heard of it at the time, but it turned out to be quite essential to preparing the tubs for wallpaper. After the size had dried, night was starting to fall, so the actual wallpapering was done in the street light.

Shows the tubs and a person reaching around them in the dusk.

Josh went back after the wallpaper had dried and sprayed the tubs with a water retardant that we bought from a camping store. This will hopefully help the paper stay on in Wellington’s wild weather.

Et voila! Newly wallpapered, lovely looking tubs:

The finished tubs looking beautiful

Another shot of a wallpapered tub

You can see the progress and results in my flickr set.

Before and after

Before and after

‘Rudderstone’ by Denis O’Connor

I was strolling in Wellington’s Botanic Garden and I came across a sculpture by Denis O’Connor called Rudderstone. It looks like this from the path.

Rudderstone by Denis O'Connor as viewed from the front

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor as viewed from the front

I thought it looked kind of cool, but it wasn’t until I walked through to the other side that I thought it remarkable.

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor as viewed from the back

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor - going through the to the other side

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor - going through the to the other side

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor

'Rudderstone' by Denis O'Connor

The blue marble is so incredible, but to see it you need to leave the main path and pass through the rudder. As the Wellington Sculpture Trust site says “Rudderstone is to be walked or passed through”.

Close up of the blue marble that makes up the back of 'Rudderstone'

Close up of the blue marble that makes up the back of 'Rudderstone'

I spent quite a bit of time just staring at the beautiful blue marble under the dappled light of the trees. Thoroughly recommended.

'Rudderston' (1997) by Denis O'Conner plaque

'Rudderston' (1997) by Denis O'Conner plaque