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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Wanted: White Willow

Karyn's on the hunt for White Willow bark. I thought there was a tree somewhere by the creek round Riverpark but, we walked all along it today and couldn't see any. She wants it to grow cuttings of lavender for the Woodside garden, apparently  stimulates growth, if you steep the willow bark in water. But alas, no willows. Had the council gotten rid of them? Sometimes the council makes strange decisions like declares a plant a weed when it's actually quite useful, like mangroves, agapanthus and ginger.

I will keep my eyes peeled for a willow though, I know there is one by the Henderson creek unless someone has chopped it down. They grow in damp places and have medicinal qualities. Despite the Council crackdown on willows,  I have noticed that some new trees have been planted in Riverpark reserve, these weren't there last time I looked. I don't know what specimens they are exactly will have to go back again to have another look.

In other news I've heard through Buffie about this new Backyard Garden Project.
It's a local community initiative to get Ranui families into gardening and eating fresh vegetables. I am going to have a FREE garden veggie bed in my own backyard put in with soil, a compost bin and even four hands on workshops teaching me how to look after it! Plus the veggies I grow will be entered into competitions like the most giant pumpkin and the fattest corn.  Hooray, because trying to grow veggies on clay soil is really not happening. Sure they can grow, a little, but any chance of good root crops like carrots and onions, garlic and potatoes is not really happening.  And dad isn't good at digging. I have told my friends and they're keen to have one in their backyard too. There's only 30 places so, be in quick!

I am still working on my chamomile and thyme lawn. At first I thought hooray the chamomile seeds I sowed are sprouting, but on closer look it turned out it was just Onehunga weed - prickles! Great. I scraped them all out with the wonder weeder, and went to Mitre 10 and got some more groundcover, this time, ruby thyme, and a purple bidibidi. I'm hoping these will take because the previous chamomiles and thyme did not. The red clover is growing, and has actually partly overtaken the rest of the thyme and chamomile that doesn't get squashed by the car tyres but the rest of my green carpet of leptinella and pratia is all knitting together nicely. It's nice to have a  carpet you don't have to mow instead of bare soil and stones underfoot. I'd like chamomile to grow as when you walk on it it releases a lovely pineapple scent. It grows well in another patch by the fernery but doesn't seem to like being squashed so I thought I would try the bidibidi, seeing as perhaps a native might do better and be robust.
Anything is better than a prickle lawn!!