I mentioned in my last post that El Hubs built a herb garden. Outside the kitchen was this rather forlorn area. We recently finished the landscaping around the house – just new plants and some pavers – but this area, which gets great early morning sun was a little boring.

We’d been toying around with a herb garden for some time. Originally, we thought to create a large one but then realised it’s just the two of us, so why not have a small, manageable herb garden. El Hubs built some sturdy planter boxes that fit around the outside wall. There’s an inbuilt seat for me to have my early morning coffee.

I follow the sun philosophy of my maternal grandfather and mother – exposure to the sun before 10.00am or after 3.00pm. Vitamin D deficiency is fairly widespread in modern society especially since the message of Slip Slop Slap became popular. We slap on sunscreen to protect ourselves from skin cancer and this is a wise thing but, at the same time, we are perhaps cutting short our lives. Why? Because (as my grandfather used to say to me) Vitamin D protects the body against every single disease including cancer.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to cancer; diabetes; colds and flu; and rheumatoid arthritis amongst many other diseases. Vitamin D helps build bones and strengthens the immune system. Since arriving in New Zealand, I’ve enjoyed an outdoor lifestyle. In Oz, I was always indoors and chained to an office desk except for the weekends when I would be out in the sunlight.

My grandfather told me to expose the inside of the arms for about 15 minutes three times per week. And this is what I do. I wear an organic sunscreen on my face as I don’t want to get leathery-looking. But every day, my arms get 15 minutes of sun exposure at around 8.00-9.00am. And since arriving in NZ and stepping up the sun exposure, I have not had one single cold or caught the flu. Every year in Australia, I managed to get flu or a nasty cold. Both my grandfather and mother lived to their 90s, so hopefully there’s something in this sun business.

Where was I? Oh yeah, herbs. My mother was also a great believer in herbs. She would have chives in her sandwiches, parsley in her salads, mint in her tea. I’ve inherited a book she used to read constantly – Rosemary Hemphill’s Herbs For All Seasons. I must look at the publication date but I reckon it’s from the 1970s. So now I have a herb garden full of basil, chives, coriander, rosemary and oregano.


El Hubs contemplates the building of the herb planter.


The box hugs the outside wall of the kitchen. The herbs get lots of early morning sunshine.


Zeph wonders how many bones he’ll be able to bury in the planter box.