Thursday, 16 September 2021

Flowering now

 1. mini iris

2. dutch iris

3. clivia

4. abutilon

5. freesia

6. echium

7. bluebell

8. kowhai

9. gladioli

10. lavender

11. rosemary

12. babiana

13. geranium

14. pelargonium

15. onion

16. camellia

17. marguerite daisy

18. aloe

19. succulent

20. peach blossom

21. violet

22. oxalis

23. forget-me-not

24. balsam

25. nasturtium

26. poor man's orchid

27. cymbidium orchid

28. azalea

29. toadflax

30. calendula

31. dandelion

32. hellebore

33. daphne

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Flower gauge

 The spring temperature now stands at 31 - 31 flowers out today. I have been counting all the different flowers out in the garden and every day it rises by one or 2 flowers. The latest is the yellow dutch iris, which will soon be followed by the purple.

Spring is finally here! 

We are still in lockdown level 4 till 13 September. It has been a time of rest for me mostly and an appreciation of spring and all that is to come. We had our heavy rain, one of the second heaviest since my dad began recording the rain but records are always being continually broken in one way or another so I am not surprised,  spring weather is MEANT to be unpredictable. It has still been a bit nippy some nights but I don't expect too much cold or frosts to return though to be absolutely safe I am holding off sowing vege seeds until later in the season, even till October. 

Meantime I have sown flower seeds to get the bees in and even more flowers - this time, a four packet of Annabel Langbein's pollinating plants. It has sage, purple tansy, Queen Anne's Lace and borage. The seed packet expired about 5 years ago, but they were in foil, so, I expect at least some to germinate. 

Mum and I have been down to the community garden to harvest some green veges for dinner, there's cauliflower, broccoli, kale, asparagus and cabbage. We are eating all the contents of our freezer, although Dad hasn't stopped buying his sausages and chips. He just needs to wear a mask when he goes out. I had decided its better that he does the shopping because then he can get what he likes (junk food) whereas I just baulk at buying food I won't really eat. He still drinks milk, though I kind of think milk is a baby food we all ought to be weaned off by now.  It's no longer delivered, but that hasn't really stopped the milk habit. 

Staying at home means no free school lunches for me but I was kind of tired of eating carrots everyday! Though it also means no pizza too. Oh well.

My sugar snap peas are still growing up and I have cleared a patch where the kumara were to plant perhaps pumpkins, buttercup or maybe sunflowers this season.

Today mum and I replanted the fig tree (the one dad nearly destroyed..remember?) in the front bed where Mary is buried. I didn't dig TOO deep in case we accidently dug her up. But it seemed like the soil was pretty good and even had plenty of earthworms, which is a good sign. Mum was feeling sorry for the fig tree which was becoming root bound in the pot. I was a bit iffy of planting it in the front bed because every tree/shrub I had tried to grow there had died...but now the neighbour's tree is no longer, it might have a chance as it will get more sun.  Plus who know what benefits Mary's body had bought to the soil?

Still had nowhere to plant the lemon tree that Cenny gave me (it still has scale) or the lime Ben offered me (it can stay in the pot). When I suggested the backyard Mum said if I planted it there Dad would kill me.  If he did that he'd have to bury my body in the backyard and plant the tree on top of it. 

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Thrown into lockdown again

 Spring is nearly here...the echiums are budding, the lavender is coming out, the magnolia, freesia and other bulbs are all showing their colours. Gladioli is unfurling her pink flag...

We are in lockdown for at least 7 days whilst dealing with the return of covid-delta variant. The garden is coming back to life with calendula, alstromeria and nasturtium re-sprouting (and Martha making fresh diggings). Unfortunately lockdown came just as I was ready to go to our Floral Club meeting that evening but decided to stay home instead as I am sure most everyone else did who got the message. A shame because that was when a speaker from Mitre 10 was going to chat with us, and there would have been orchids for sale, plus I am sure Janette had some babianas for me. 

That also meant no new garden books to preview..and there are some good ones like these 

Petal Power by Julia Atkinson Dunn

The Forager's Treasury by Johanna Knox

The Abundant Garden by Niva Kay and Yotam Kay

I should have said I'll take them home anyway and read them...but I guess I will just have to stick with the library books I had already borrowed which include a book on vertical gardens called 'Growing up the Wall' and one on Botanical Beauty.

Otherwise, I have a few jobs to do including neeming my lemon tree that still has scale, it did fruit but I neglected to harvest the three lemons that it had and they succumbed. And also pruning and neeming the tangelo tree.

I also may finish tidying up the buxus hedge though I haven't yet decided whether or not to clip a cat into it. 

Sunday, 8 August 2021

The hedge fund

 I have tried to find time to clip the hedge between rains. So far I have not done anything adventurous but given the buxus hedges a bit of a trim. Like my hair they have grown long and rather wispy and unruly. I know my hair personally suits a bowl cut, but I find I need to rebel every so often and wear it loose and long. Perhaps it's my inner hippy that's trying to break free.

The trimmings I have kind of brushed to one side as mulch. As the wind and rains continue the empty bed by the wisteria is seeing signs of life  - the dock is growing back, as are the nasturtiums and calendula.  I have pruned the wisteria back to two limbs to give the grapevine room to spread. Mum was threatening to cut the entire wisteria out but I said it would only grow back. So I compromised and now we have a little 3 metre wide  wisteria bush instead of one six metres wide. The rest of the bed I have spread out more chamomile. 

My hyacinth experiment at school didn't work out as great as I hoped. I had only two bulbs that flowered and one has grown big leaves but no flower and the rest are no shows. I reckon they need that special vase where they just sit above the water and not on the pebbles.  

The school staffroom got a makeover with new furnishings and now even has...plants! In matching pots. I know indoor pots can be very expensive so I wonder where all the funding came from. I am considering getting some snazzy pots possibly from Kmart and putting my homegrown plants in them. I don't know who is looking after the plants in the staff room but I know my spider plants are still alive and thriving, I have even been asked for the babies. 

Sad news Jacqui's cat Timmy was run over last week. She and Mike were pretty devastated. They still have his sister, Tui, but it's so hard to lose a pet.

 I haven't been down to the Woodside garden much the last time I went got an earful from the others  I decided I really had enough of being nagged and didn't go back. If everytime you try and do something it gets thrown in your face and they get all nasty about it then I'm not even going to bother. I'm sorry but that's the way it is with me. Gardening is my outdoor solace and place of peace but if people are going to take that away from me and make it all about how hard they work and make it a punishment then sorry. I didn't sign up for that. 

I see a lot of cats round the garden, though Mummy Cat hasn't let any of them come inside or get close they kind of see me and then run into the hedges. I have planted some ajuga underneath the apple trees and removed some of the applemint so it can flourish. Also I have finally removed two flower carpet roses that were still left where my brothers had planted them by the maple. I couldn't dig out the entire roots but I dug as much as I could and where the remaining root was I figured if I coated it with superglue, it wouldn't grow back. Will it work? I don't know but two succulents are now where they were, and I had to remove an old lavender although I could take plenty of cuttings from it. 

My next plan is to check out Janette's garden and get some more spring plants from her for the flower garden, babianas, alstromerias etc. And then head over to Rogers Garden Centre in the next school holidays in Mangere. I also have a bird bath I want to fill with water plants. So all that and pots requires some $$ so I am saving all my Paperplus money for that. 

Loretta has said she'd like to join the floral club so I next meeting I am going to take her along. I am trying to get her back into gardening. I noticed that my snow peas have sprouted so hopefully I will have a crop this spring. That's all for now.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Gardening on the (North) shore

 I paid a visit to Adrienne's garden on Monday where she is living in Northcote near the primary school,  she has the basement bottom of a unit and the landlord has let her have the sloping backyard, to which she has made a wildflower garden at the base of the driveway, a vege and herb patch in pots on the sunny northern side, and a grapevine and choko vine framing the boundaries. 

Since she is 80 years old and living on her own I find this impressive that she is still gardening and so enthusiastic about plants. She has plans for the corner of the yard that slopes down toward the fence to have a banana grove, and while wild buttercups has clothed every other part at least she does not have to bother with a noisy lawnmower at the back (it would probably roll down the hill). 

Then we visited Northcote Library which I had never been to before, which has a little community led garden in a sunny alcove facing north, with a few rasied beds, citrus, a compost bin and worm farm, to which she sometimes gives workshops and talks. She also wanted to show me Smith's bush, which is a little reserve right in the middle of Northcote, of kahikatea and a stream beside a boardwalk through native 'virgin' forest.

She then gifted me a whole lot of Organic NZ magazines. I think she is a bit of an evangelist for gardening as she had suffered a lot of mental illness in the past and had found it grounding or therapeutic to garden organically. I don't think it is too dissimilar to how many people get into gardening although some has said 'gardening is the gateway drug' - don't think that means to growing pot though!

There is actually a book called 'Grow your own drugs' though I thought many people had cottoned on to that but never took it seriously. Of course I myself dabbled in herbs, and I really do believe plants have super healing powers if not magic, so maybe I'm just as nutty. 

I am now reading Seven Flowers That Changed the World.

I better get on to it because Karyn and I are recording two episodes on the topic of world changing plants. I will have a long list. 

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Happy Matariki!

 Well the eyes of God are shining on my garden over Matariki as now we are into a new gardening year, I have cleared away the old and am going to start with the new in my little vege patch, that has been harvested of it's cabbages, kumara, and yacon. I manured it with sheep pellets and forked in the two batches of compost I had made, which mostly ended up being dried up clumps of applemint and grass clippings, to further break down till the beginning of spring.

I have just moved about six strawberry plants to this bed, hoping that maybe they will do better with more sun and soil and mulch, and am thinking of what else to plant further back from the path near the leafless wisteria. I had been up to Kings yesterday, they were having a 20% off sale so I bought some snowpea seeds and a pink babiana. I am not sure where to plant the babiana yet. I really liked the babianas in flower at the Auckland Botanic Gardens last time I was there, and thought they were great groundcover, so I hope they multiply and decorate my garden. Janette has promised me some more from her garden. Dorothy offered some mini irises on the trading table so I've got those as well. 

Mum and I visited the Wintergardens on Friday, they are earthquake strengthening the glasshouses so one was closed but the tropical house was still open. It was nice and warm and lovely to see the orchids in bloom there and the cattails. Outside near the ponds and fountains they had ornamental kale and cyclamen in pots. 

Adrienne from Soil and Health wants me to come visit her garden up in Northcote, and there's also a library community garden she wants me to see as well. Was going to go today but we decided to postpone it and wait for better weather as its rather cloudy and cold. 

The other garden trip I am planning on going on is the Floral Club trip to Rotorua, which is in November. I don't know if I'll get to Taranaki this year yet, but that has always been on the (expensive) bucket list for who has the time and the $$? Another trip that's been offered is one to Marlborough that Penny and Ian of Hikoi tours are organising, though that too is kinda out of my price range. But if anyone would like to sponsor me?? Nobody? Ok. We can't always do what we want.

Now it's School Holidays so I have some reading to catch up on, no I hadn't got round to 'Ponds and Waterfalls' or 'Espaliering' as both seem unlikely in my garden, but my eye is on my birdbath that mum filled with sand for Martha, but she isn't using it so I think it would make a perfect miniature fairy garden. Now I have borrowed this book about it, and it looks really cute.  

I mean I'm not sure I really believe in fairies, but if they are miniature angels then sure why not. 

I decided I will leave another facebook gardening group as I got tired of people constantly posting 'How do I get rid of this plant' and posting pictures of it then everyone coming up with ways of killing it dead. But not before making a stand and saying for killing a plant you will have bad plant karma and could be sentenced to live in plant jail for the rest of your life in a barren apartment building.  You know, it was probably a  Baby Boomer as it sounds  exactly like something a Boomer would do.  Sorry Boomers, you not going to get away with your casual destruction of the environment just because you bought it with your money. 

Friday, 25 June 2021

700 new plants at Riverpark!

 Here's the list that we planted last Saturday. It was a good turnout, though I couldn't stay for bbq lunch as I had to get to the bookshop. But am so happy we made a start on the revitalising of Riverpark.

We planted all along the boundary of the reserve toward the creek area. The next stage of planting will be more on our side, which David has already been planting with kowhai, kakabeak, manuka and whau. The weather turned out fine for our planting day and we hope that in a few years time our birds will be making their new homes there.

100 Leptospermum scoparium - Manuka

50 Pittosporum crassifolium -Karo

7 Pittosporum eugenioides -Lemonwood or Tarata

5 Vitex lucens - Puriri

5 Alectryon excelsus - Titoki

5 Dysoxylum spectabile - Kohekohe

7 corynocarpus laevigatus -Karaka

5 P. totara -Totara


100 Phormium tenax -Flax

50 Rhopalostylis sapida -Nikau

100 Coprosma robusta -Karamu

20 coprosma repens - Taupata

50 Myrsine australis - Red Matipo

20 Kunzea ericoides -Kanuka

25 Pseudopanax crassifolius - Lancewood or Horoeka

50 Cordyline australis - Cabbage Tree

101 Macropiper excelsum - Kawakawa

700 Total!