NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2021

From Rhonda

Hi everyone

Strange times indeed with our continued semi lockdown. Poor Auckland. We have been so lucky to be relatively free and out and about.

This month I couldn’t resist the cartoon I found on FB.

When we came here eight years ago our garden was planted out with native trees which were lovely and small and manageable.

Unfortunately many of them are forest trees and beautiful as they are becoming quite large and turning my garden into a shade garden.

We had the totara topped but it is on the go again so we may have to become a bit more ruthless.

My surprise this month is a white Chinese lantern which I thought I had lost, now in bloom.

I am potting up cuttings and succulents for sale in our flower show which this year will be in Memorial Hall which is much much bigger than the Community Centre. So there is another challenge for Marilyn and Julian who organise the space each year.

We are very sad about the loss of a long serving and much valued committee member Stephen Bishop. We will all miss him and his constant support and send sympathy and love to Silvey and family.

Hope to see you all soon at the next meeting on October 1 when Professor Dearden will present a slideshow of pictures and plants from Pompeii.

From Judi

Hello fellow club friends.

Trust the week has been kind to you all and if you are anything like me you are as ‘ busy as a bee ‘ with numerous tasks in the garden, or sorting out your pots, or hanging baskets – maybe for a summer display by the front door or patio. I managed to find those extra small seedling trays at the Warehouse yesterday for $2 so bought 5 punnets – 3 petunias and 2 impatiens which I’ve made up already. Who knows, I might get an early flowering for the show. Two days ago I did some seed planting, having prepared the garden beds with blood and bone two weeks ago.  I used fresh compost from my bins and then used a liquid seaweed once planted. I did peas, sweetpeas, beetroot, broccoli and spinach. I also sprinkled some micro greens into a plastic hanging basket and hung it from the clothesline. It’s a bit like mesclun salad so here’s hoping I get 100% success!

Well, it is with great sadness to hear of Stephen Bishop passing. I got the news this morning and thought of how much work both Stephen and Silvey did for the club for several years. Silvey always put her hand up to help, especially the kitchen duties, but of late she was helping run the sales table and, of course, Stephen was our Treasurer.

You will all miss their wonderful egg and ham sandwiches they made for our club night’s supper. And what about the Xmas cakes.  They spent every Christmas making sometimes up to 17 cakes for friends at various clubs they both belonged to. But I will particularly miss them popping in for a cuppa on their way home from Lawn Bowls in Raumati, just down by the end of my street. They were very kind and thoughtful to me and my family and we used to have some good old chats – mostly about when Stephen was young and what sort of.jobs he did. I shall miss him and I send Silvey and her family my condolences. 

On a brighter note I’m heading to the Cherry Blossom Festival at Aston Norwood on Saturday if the weather permits. It finishes on October 3rd and is open daily.

I have done the door prize for the Evening group this week. The winner is Marilyn.

Take care and stay safe.

Till next time we meet,

From Julian

On the first of the month I wrote a bit about broom bushes with different coloured flowers, and how they were popular in the UK in the 1950’s and 60’s. Ten days later I was in Mitre10 and there they were, broom bushes with different coloured flowers and different variety names. Which just goes to show that what goes around comes around; or as written in the old testament 2½ thousand years ago “there is nothing new under the sun.”

I sowed some seeds on 23 August to have plants on display at our flower show that are 60 days old; just to show what can be done in that amount of time. Of course it was pretty cold in August so some seeds like tomato and beans had to be started indoors, and when they came up they had to go into the greenhouse which I don’t have.

Luckily Susan had a spare dog crate which, with a $10 roll of bubble wrap, made the mini-greenhouse in the picture. Takes a bit of a hammering on windy days, though. The more hardy plants like peas and cabbage were happy out of doors, except for blackbirds digging them up to look for worms, hence this rickety-looking structure of bamboo and string and bird netting. This is called tiny garden syndrome, and my advice is: if you have any room in your garden get yourself a greenhouse. I promise you won’t regret it; and if you still have a bit of space then put up a shade house. Happy gardening.

From Marilyn

This year, we have chopped down a large chestnut tree. After years of collecting just a handful of chestnuts to eat and 10 bags of burrs to make it safe to walk around up under the tree, we decided it would make good firewood. That meant my shade house under the tree was now in full sunshine and could be made into a greenhouse, if the bottom half was better enclosed. This is where having a handyman for a husband and a couple of spare sheets of laserlite came in. I now have Julian’s suggestion covered off. I have my seeds in there but I already have early crops that are now ready for picking or flowering. The peas are Steve’s project and are looking good. We are picking kale and the cabbage and cauli are hearting.

As we are redeveloping the garden to make space for a studio flat, anything that can’t be re-housed in another garden is being divided up and potted for the Flower Show – nothing will be wasted. Look out for bargains at the Sales Table and pot up some of your own.

Both Rhonda and Judi have mentioned the sad passing of Stephen. Flowers have been sent on behalf of the Society to Silvey and the family. There is a closed funeral of course due to COVID. Anyone that would like to send a personal card to the family, email me and I can give you the address. Silvey is staying with family at the moment.

Judi will be manning the Raffles and the Sales table, which will be a challenge, so if anyone would like to help out on Friday club nights by manning one of these, let me know – it would be a great help (it doesn’t mean you are on the committee, but we will need people there as well for next year).

To see the year out, I will be looking after the finances as I have been helping Stephen with the admin for these.

The committee managed to have a meeting this week, fully masked and spread around the perimeter of my lounge to achieve the social distancing (I wish I had thought to take a picture of it). With the new restrictions for Delta 2, we decided that it would be prudent to only hold club meetings if we were at Level 1. Hopefully next week we see that happen. For the October 1 meeting, the Pat Browne Trophy will be for the best Rhododendron, and our speaker will be Professor Dearden.

The outcome of the Coastlands Mall display will depend on the COVID Levels that are in place as well.  If we are at Level 1 for September 28th, this will go ahead. If we are still in Level 2, we may have the option to delay this if there is a booking available prior to the Flower Show. The best we can do under these circumstances is to let you know closer to the time.

From Diana Unsworth

Hopefully we will be able to meet again next month on October 1 at the usual 1.30pm. We will move on to the October programme and forget about September for this year.

The competition for the next meeting is ‘Art Deco’. This is to be in a pottery container (plain china, usually brown or grey-green) The materials are listed as marigolds of different colours with leaves, cosmos with leaves and either a paper or crochet doily to stand the container on.

The workshop is practice for the Christmas design in November, and, basically, just raid your Christmas stash. Candlesticks, pine cones, branches of pine needles, baubles, figurines, ribbons, small log, flowers artificial or fresh. For the container, shallow, tall, medium, short, fat, round, a wreath – anything you like.

Newsletter for August 2021

Hi everyone

This month both the Afternoon Floral Group and the Evening Garden Club are opening their meetings  – it’s ‘Bring a Friend’ month as both meetings will be great.

From Rhonda

Like most who have gardens I have enjoyed lockdown  especially when you get sunshine like today.  A lovely break after all the rain.

I have started seedlings off in my kitchen as advised by Julian in his gardening talk and I am happy to say most have germinated.

Because of the weather most of my gardening has been weeding and tidying. The  Camellias are out and a second lot of dafs . Pretty good for the middle of winter.

Those of you who use Facebook will know that our next speaker is Cheryl Powers. She is a regular and popular speaker so we suggest it will be an excellent opportunity to bring a friend. Cheryl is fun and is always interesting and will be demonstrating what’s new in the gardening world.

I have just done a tour of my garden and my current surprises are winter roses and white violets.  My violets have gone wild and produced at  least four colours. My Luciana was a little subdued this year after a close encounter with Frank. Lots of greens in this weather and we supplement our evening meals from the garden.

Stay safe…see you all next meeting

Rhonda E

From Judi

Hello everyone

As I write this, it’s Monday after a  weekend where the weather was reasonably kind for those of us who are keen to get our gardens ready for the spring or summer showings.

But today I’m wrapped up warm and cozy with a hot waterbottle and the heat pump is on also. So here we are back to chilly cold and blustery winds with some intermittent showers. I finally ventured outside to tackle wandering jew which wants to just ‘come out of nowhere ‘ and cause me all sorts of problems because it invades the whole garden and gets in between all my plants so it’s quite a big job.

This time last year I had most of these chores done but of course I’ve been at the hospital with daughter Helen, so quite a lot to catch up on now. Well at least I have some colour in the large pots and mini wheelbarrow by the house to enjoy.

Who enjoyed the Programme on TV1 about Kew Gardens on Sunday about 3pm? I loved how they were getting the Inside Winter Botanical Gardens ready to show the public. Apparently every year they do a different theme. These hot houses are absolutely huge and there were a few thousand orchids brought in for the display, which I have some pics attached for you to see.

What a rich history Kew Gardens has. They employ a huge staff who have their expertise in all sorts of fields. There was also a snippet on the beautiful trees outside. I so enjoyed watching it. I have never been but I would love to. Hmmm one day perhaps it might happen.

Don’t forget to bring along a little something for the sales table. Little plants – cuttings, maybe make some wee posies, Dahlia Tubers(I’ve got plenty I’m bringing), maybe some marmalades or any type of preserve, garden mags, fresh lemons. We really appreciate any contribution. Thank you.

For those of you who wanted Bio Boost, we will have bags of that ready for the next meeting. Every spring I throw several handfuls of it all over the garden and it works really well.

I look forward to seeing you all in September where we can enjoy another night listening to Cheryl from Mitre10, who is an excellent speaker.

Happy Gardening everyone.

Cheers Judi

From Julian

If you haven’t already started, it’s time to sow some seeds; hardy flowers like pinks and carnations, cool climate crops like peas, lettuce and spinach. It is still too cold for beans except broad beans; dwarf beans, runner beans and all the others can wait another month or more. Lack of room in our kitchen meant that my seeds have to germinate outdoors, so they are in a tiny plastic greenhouse ($50 from the Warehouse) on the shady side of the house so they don’t get cooked. If you have room indoors you can get them to germinate quicker by putting your seed trays somewhere a bit warmer; but be sure not to let them dry out or get too hot – a sunny window sill is not good – and as soon as the seedlings appear put them outside in the daylight, even though it means they are not so warm.

We bought a bag of narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ from Harrison’s last autumn and put them into a pot. Here they are lighting up a shady corner. So sweet.


From Diana

This month’s competition was “Black and White”. As you can see there were quite a few entries this month. The winners of the competition sections were:

Stage 1 – Janet Richards

Stage 2 – Marilyn Morrin

Stage 3 – Yvonne Thomas

Open Class – Zena Knight

Next month, we are lucky to be having a guest speaker. Our guest speaker is Megan Parker who teaches, as well as running her own Floral business at Lindale. She does everything!! to do with Floral Art and will do whatever you wish. Because our Group is on the older side and some live in Retirement Villages, they do not want large structures. She will do simple symmetrical designs, or vertical and even horizontal! – maybe some wrapping of say, a single Flower! This will be an opportunity to “Bring A Friend”, as it will be so interesting. Our competition will be Hand Held Posy with spring flowers. Our workshop will be the practice for October  – Art Deco. For the workshop, bring a pottery container ( plain china in tones of brown, grey or green). For the arrangement, you will need : marigolds of different  colours with leaves, cosmos with leaves, maybe some fern and a doily ( paper or crochet).

From Marilyn

We have a busy couple of months coming up. Thanks to those of you who have made yourselves available for manning the Coastlands display. I will get a roster out to you shortly.

At last month’s meeting, the competition tables were loaded with colourful blooms as the spring bulbs came into their own. The winners for the four sections were:

●             Pat Browne Trophy for Flowering Spring Bulb was Bev Thomas with a stunning double bi-colour daffodil.

●             The Best Bloom was magnificent – a deep burgundy magnolia from Pauline Steel’s garden.

●             The Most Unusual Flower was Julian Chadwick’s flannel flower.

●             Best Fruit or Vegetable was shared by Julian Chadwick with a pot of parsley and me with my spring onions.

Next month’s Flower of the Month is a Perfumed Flower. This should see a full table of entries as this really is the best time of year for these flowers.

Included with this newsletter is a copy of this year’s Annual Flower Show Schedule. There have been a few changes and if you have any questions, bring them along to the next meeting and we will do our best to answer them for you. It is also available on the website.

We are always looking for new ways to give you more gardening information and if you have any ideas, let us know. This month we are trying a new slot in the programme. Often when you move into a new garden (or a visit from a bird who has been out in the neighbourhood leaves a seed that you don’t expect) you can’t identify a particular plant or flower. Bring a piece or a picture along and you can display it on the table labelled “What is this?”  Hopefully, some-one at the meeting will be able to help you out.

Cheers, Marilyn


newsletter for july 2021

From Rhonda

A big thank you to all those who braved the cold night and brought beautiful food to help celebrate the solstice. We had a fun night and the quiz was won by Mary from Waikanae. Stephen Bishop baked a Christmas cake for the raffle and this was decorated amazingly by Marilyn Morrin.

Now is the time to plant your garlic and always time to feed and mulch. I was given a large bag of pine needles with sheep do for my strawberries and lemons by Marie – gratefully received. I have stopped using coffee grounds except along  the fence as the worms do not like caffeine.

The bane of my life is kikuyu. I watched a neighbor remove his whole lawn and replace with fresh turf. One year later and the kikuyu has returned!

My miners lettuce is serving us well through the winter. As the weather improves it will disappear completely then regenerate for next winter.

Your committee is preparing another celebration for our 110th anniversary. First up will be a display in the mall being currently organized by Julian who is also our next guest speaker.

We all need to start potting up our favorite plants ready for our flower show in October. We had a massive lot last year and sold most which was fantastic .

Although still a sponsor for our Annual Flower Show as usual, sadly we will lose the on-going support of one of our generous supporters. Gus Evans is retiring and his business is on the market. Gus and his family started the business from scratch and he will be missed by many. We wish him well with his next endeavours.

From Julian

All the paving stones we got at the end of May are now laid in our garden, it was quite a slow job with all the wet days we had in June.

Next comes the fun part, arranging the existing plants to fit the new and slightly larger garden beds and getting some annuals going for the remaining spaces. The long-term plan is still for a maintenance-free garden of shrubs and perennials, but who can do without sunflowers and zinnias and all that colourful summery stuff.

This year I got seeds of two types of ratibida, quirky and rather weedy annuals with flowers like big floppy Mexican hats. They came from Garden Post; and from Owairaka Seeds came seeds of phlox paniculate hybrids, those tall evening-scented phlox they grow in the UK, and ‘Miss Wilmot’s Ghost’, a plant I’ve read about often enough but never actually seen or tried to grow. I had never heard of Owairaka Seeds before, they offer seeds of an interesting range of plants including thirteen sorts of digitalis, great if you want to start a collection, and worth a look if you enjoy trying anything unusual from seed.

From Judi

 Hello everyone. It was really great to join you all for our awesome Solstice -Matariki – Mid Winter Celebrations. I thoroughly enjoyed the outing as most of you know I’m still in Wellington with my daughter, Helen, who’s had a Bone Marrow Transplant. Thank you to those who have passed on well wishes and been really kind to me. It means so much.

So  – I looked around at the small gardens here at the Cancer House which is right beside the new Children’s hospital and thought not much is happening here, but something wonderful is  –  one street away on a small plot of land opposite the Blood Donor building. It’s an  Urban Farm & Living Hub called KAICYCLE run by Volunteers.

The young people who look after it are passionate about sharing the vegies to others in need but they also do sell boxes to local cafes, restaurants etc. No doubt they need some money I guess to replace new seedlings and  any outgoings..etc once they harvest the last lot. A lot is grown from seed, so as organic as possible.

Anyone can volunteer to maintain the garden and I often see working bees going on (planting and keeping free of weeds with compost woodshavings, and any kind of mulch that different folks bring along for them. They practice rotation cropping with new  rows of beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, fennel, and other different things – oh so much more  – and it’s a real credit to the hard work they all put in. Recently I noticed  they  put a row of feijoas in the front of this section, plus other fruit specimens – all along the boundary fences so creating espaliers which Murray talked about on our recent get together. Well, I may not be home in my own backyard but I do get to enjoy something  close by and in the heart of the otherwise crazy busy traffic swirling around near the Hospital and city.

Happy winter gardening to you all. I hope to get home again soon to start thinking about potting up any free shoots of self seedlings for the Sales Table. If we all look hard enough we can find something under trees, shrubs, etc  –  even some popping up in the lawn to bring along. Trust you all stay warm and cosy.

From Stephen

Thank you everyone – all the subscriptions are paid. For those of you that paid by internet banking, remember to come and see me at the next meeting to get your receipts. The name badges for members,  except Life Members, should all have a blue dot. If you don’t have one  – you’ve taken your badge home, maybe – see Marilyn and she will remedy that.

From Diana

  The table for Mid Winter Shared Lunch had a lovely spread which was enjoyed by all. The competition table, “Just the Two of Us”,  was a bit light on entries:

Stage 1 – no entries

Stage 2 – Marilyn Morrin

Stage 3 – Yvonne Thomas

Open Class – Nil

Next month’s competition is “Black and White”. The arrangement here, including the container should only be black and white. The workshop will be practice for the “ Handheld posy.” This features spring flowers and leaves to wrap the bunches of individual flowers.

Marilyn has asked us to help out at the Coastlands Mall Display which will be held in September. The date has now been set for 28th September 9am – 5pm.

From Marilyn

The winter temperatures certainly discourage you from going out into the garden for too long, but I braved them the other day when the sun was out ( no warmer though). My ramble took longer than intended as I kept finding brave little treasures that had started to bloom.

My woodland patch had clumps of snowdrops, lavender violets, polyanthus and a couple of bright daffodils. A couple of dutch irises are ready to open but the prize of all out the front was the magenta buds on the magnolia tree that had broken out of their casings.

With that, I ventured around the back to see what else I could find. Several hellebores are now in full bloom, one a pure crystal white – fantastic – and the border of white primulas all had heads of flowers. Seems that the garden is waking up so I guess I will have to brave the elements a bit more and keep on top of weeds as they are sure to wake up as well.

Rhonda has already said it but let me add to it. A big “Thank You” to everyone for setting such a lovely spread and for the offers of help throughout the evening. Including our visitors from Waikanae, we had over 40 people there and no-one went hungry. In September, we are holding a display in the Coastlands Mall to put our club out there to the community and to advertise our Annual Flower Show in October. The Afternoon Floral Group are joining us and we will be displaying archive material about the club over the years. If any of you have anything that you think might be appropriate let us know. We are keen to cover as much of our history as possible. The display will be on September 28th from 9am – 5pm.

newsletter for june 2021

From Rhonda

We are experiencing a fairly mild winter so far and in the last week a much needed dousing from the heavens.

Your committee has been busy with the Arbor Day plantings in the schools. We have had seven schools teaming up this year so it is apparent that the historical Arbor plantings are being revived which is wonderful. Arbor Day has a long and interesting history and has appeared in different forms and spellings around the globe, the earliest records from Spain in the 1500’s.

Here and now my garden is again confused. My Kowhai  is in full bloom and my first daffodil is  opening  its petals in the middle of Winter.

The pride of my garden though is my beautiful impending crop of citrus…the mandarins are like orange lanterns lighting our backyard with a colorful glow.

Our next meeting will celebrate the solstice and we have invited Waikanae to join us. We will have our usual sales table and raffles and we are asking members to bring a small plate.  Note that our competition will not be individual blooms but we are asking for table decorations. There will also be a prize for the best dressed…hopefully Bob Cratchett will turn up.

Hope to see you all next month

Rhonda E

From Julian

Yet another garden makeover. It’s amazing how much you can    find to do in the smallest of gardens. Now I’m going for an ‘industrial’ look with rectangular paved areas instead of the curved lawn that we have had for the last 2 years.

It might look a bit stark but we have actually gained a little more space for planting. This year the runner beans will be moved out of the ornamentals and grown along the front fence, and a big sprawling elegia is now restrained by a hexagonal frame. Both of those changes are to make room for more picking flowers, and to allow spreading room for last year’s new shrubs – clethra, pieris, and cistus. That said, the runner bean wigwam looked quite splendid among the roses and red alstroemerias, but the challenge of getting everything into the same small space is leading to some interesting changes.

A request: if anyone has a patch of the gooseneck plant, Lysimachia clethroides, I would love a piece.

A reminder: winter is here and there is pruning and tidying to do; if your tools are getting rusty or blunt remember we have a cleaning and sharpening service, only $5 each.

From Marilyn

 We have the Waikanae Horticultural Society coming to us at the next meeting on July 2nd, which is our mid-winter Christmas celebration. Thanks to all of you at the meeting that indicated you would bring a small plate to go on the supper table. For those of you who were unable to make the last meeting but are coming to the July meeting, if you would like to contribute to the supper table, please feel free to bring a plate as well if you are able.  There will not be a guest speaker at the meeting as it will be a time to chat, although our resident experts will still give us the benefit of some tips for the garden at this time of year. The Pat Browne trophy this month will be for the ‘Best Table Decoration’.  Sales Table and Raffles will be there as usual. As the gardens are now a bit quiet, I am going to put the harvest to good use and create some chutney and jellies for the Sales Table. It also helps me get a bit more space in my freezer, which reached critical levels once all the Autumn fruit and veges were picked and processed.

As Rhonda said, this month we have been lucky enough to visit all the primary schools in Paraparaumu and help them plant a tree, which we have donated to celebrate Arbor Day. Gus Evans provided us with two of the trees and the rest were purchased by the club.

The schools were asked to nominate the type of tree and the majority wanted natives, with a couple of fruit trees going into the mix. It was great to see so much enthusiasm amongst the children and thank you letters and cards have been coming in from them.

newsletter for april 2021

From Rhonda

Hi everyone

We are still enjoying the last of summer and grateful for the intermittent rain although one nocturnal downfall was too much of a good thing as one of our gutterings was blocked and produced an attractive but overwhelming waterfall by our front door!

It’s still raining feijoas and our darling lemon tree is back into production. The little lime tree too has hundreds of flowers so it will appreciate the horse doo and fruit crystals topping up its pot.

From Judi

Hello everyone. haven’t we had some lovely warm sunny days during Autumn. I’m a beach walker and often head to PramBch from Raumati mainly to stretch the legs and get a good workout but my best place to be is in the quietness of my garden.

Always enjoying another surprise of something flowering or growing that maybe I’d forgotten about, especially when a new Dahlia shows its pretty head and I see lots and lots of bees still on the big Purple Salvia so plenty of nectar around for them.

In the weekend, I finished digging out the rest of my old strawberry plants and, after fertilizing, I sowed Broccoli, Beetroot and smothered a small area with Mesclun salad mix as I eat lots of it. I’m actually trying out Gus Evans brand of compost (mind you it’s $12 a bag) but when I noticed it was nice and fine I decided the salad seeds will do well in it. My own compost isn’t ready yet so hence buying it. Just a reminder – that’s where I bought our Raffle Prize, the very vigorous Passionfruit Plant, which Gus assures me is a winner. So Alex, maybe next year we see you bringing your yummy Passionfruit in and entering the competition table. I might go back and buy one myself as I’ve failed miserably in the past with the Hybrid type from Mitre10. This Wednesday morning, as the sun is starting to shine through at last, most things are very wet from the heavy rains last night so I’ve decided to carry on replacing the spent Petunias with Pansies like I do every year in the big pots by my front door (and I have quite a few pots). Every year, the Pansies are always reliable and put on a great display all the way through to Spring /Summer. Happy Gardening everyone. Cheers Judi

From Diana Unsworth – the Afternoon Floral Group

There was no meeting in April due to Easter, but the Afternoon Floral Group is back to normal for May. The meeting on May 7th has the competition for the Mary Whale trophy which is the ‘Best Use of Leaves’ – the entire arrangement being foliage. The Workshop is a practice for Ikebana, the June competition. The container for this should be low and flat. It can be square or round, pottery or china. For the material, the ideal types are bark, curved sticks, aspidistra leaves, flax, with geranium leaves, large ivy and fig leaves to cover the base. Before you come, clean and soak the material well, then lightly polish leaves with a little cooking oil. You will also need to carefully consider how the arrangement will be held in place – needle holders, oasis, frogs or oasis fix.

From Marilyn

Because this year is our 110th Anniversary, we have some events on the drawing board that we would like to involve the members in. We have an Arbour Day Planting, with letters gone out to all the Paraparaumu Primary schools asking if they would like to participate so we will need some bodies for that, a council planting (either hedging in Domain, garden at Ocean Rd Hall, or planting at some other designated spot) a Mall Display featuring boards with the photos from archives to show the club through the years and a display by the Afternoon Floral Group. This could be more than one day, so again bodies will be required for that so we can have short shifts, and a High Tea in November on a Saturday (yet to be fixed) which will need a bit of planning for. A sheet will go around at the next meeting for anyone interested in being part of these. This is one of those occasions when the committee really does need some help from everyone so we can celebrate in style and capture moments for the next celebration at our 125th year.

For those of you lucky enough to manage to get to our April meeting, I hope you enjoyed the speaker, John Bongiovanni, as much as I did. His topic was his journey into Bonsai and what a journey it was. His display that he set up for us to look at while we were having our cup of tea captivated everyone. It’s amazing what can be done with the time, effort and a bit of vision as to what could be achieved with a particular plant.

Our next meeting is back to its regular time slot of first Friday in the month, May 7th. As Rhonda has already told you, the speaker at our next meeting is Bruce Batten with his update of ‘Cabin Hills’ and Our Flower of the Month will be a camellia. As my white camellia, Pure Silk, is now covered in blossom, I don’t think there will be any problem with finding one for the competition table. And remember, if you have a plant or two going spare, bring it along for the Sales table. What may be excess in your garden could be just what someone else has been looking for and every little bit helps to pay the bills.

The latest beans

These are some I grew earlier!

The seeds came from Egmont seeds, and the variety is called Cobra. They are a climbing bean but a wigwam of 6-foot stakes was all they needed, so not too rampant. And they are good to eat – very tender and a mild but pleasant flavour. Perhaps their best feature is how amazingly quick they are to start producing; the catalogue says matures in 75 days but throughout the warm days of summer I’m sure they were much quicker than that. Definitely on next year’s seed list.

With that in mind I sowed the last of the packet about three weeks ago; it didn’t seem worth keeping just a few until next year. Now I’m just hoping for a long enough autumn to get a few feeds off them.

They are currently about nine inches tall!

newsletter for march 2021

From Rhonda

Hi everyone We are back on track after a brief sojourn at level two. Because of Level 2 our AGM was postponed. Marilyn has rescheduled this for Friday 19th after which there will be a cup of tea, chat and review. No sales table this month though. We will however meet as usual next month. There will be one change in the committee going forward. If elected to the committee, Julian has agreed to act as Vice President to Rhonda, a role for which he is more than able.

My picture is of my Pohutukawa and I will welcome comments.

The bottom is variegated but the top appears to have different foliage and flowers. I am planting lettuces and neighbour’s are trimming some of our native trees which are essentially forest trees and are reaching for the sky blocking their sun.

Remember when I see you all in April it will be a week later than usual, April 9th, when we will be back with sales, raffles and the usual competitions.

From Julian

Harvesting seeds from flowers.

I’m getting next season’s marigolds and carnations, two ‘ordinary’ garden flowers with large seeds which are easy to collect, and reliable when it comes to growing new plants. Collect the seeds when they are dry by shaking them into a paper bag or envelope and store them somewhere cool and dry. If you had mixed colours before and you want to keep the full range, try to take one or two pods from each plant instead of being tempted by the biggest and best.

Marigolds often come up on their own the next year if they are growing in a warm sunny spot, but you can get more plants and have them flowering earlier by collecting seed and sowing it under cover in spring. Carnations (and other dianthus – little bedding varieties, taller scented pinks etc.) are much hardier, so they can be sown straight away or kept until spring. Either way I would sow the seed in a tray or small pots then prick out the seedlings when they are big enough to handle.

From Judi

I trust everyone is well and still enjoying some form of gardening..maybe getting things ready for some Autumn planting.

Looking around mine, it’s great to see some Roses showing new growth and buds after I did a light prune a month  or so back plus I have some very late Delphiniums flowering in pots.. a really nice soft blue colour. I have enclosed a picture of some awesome looking corn putting on a great show but sadly they tell a very different story.. Travelling up the stalks are hundreds of ants and they are obviously after the yummy husks .I managed to rescue 3 corn cobs on the back plants, but really they needed a little more ripening. When I cooked them up they were nice and soft  but quite insipid to taste… oh well. The silverbeet next to them is thriving well with big leaves and I give plenty away to the family, etc

I grew my usual green peppers this year but hadn’t realised there were some chilli amongst them so that was a bonus. One of my jobs in the ‘to do list’ is to pull out all my old strawberry plants as they are at least 3yrs old and this year they only gave me tiny fruits. Hmm, wonder what I will grow in their place. Looks like a visit to Mitre 10 to check out some seedlings is on the agenda.

Plus I plan to go through all the saved bulbs I tucked away in a box somewhere and start planting them up for a Spring showing. As I write this, it’s raining so it’s really great. I’m not having to go out with the hose as it’s been quite dry in my garden with so many plants…

From Diana

A reminder to all the ladies in the Afternoon Floral Group – There will be no April meeting as the date has fallen on Good Friday at Easter and it was decided to cancel rather than reschedule. That being the case, the next meeting will be May 7th and the competition will be a design entirely of leaves, the overall winner taking the Mary Whale Trophy.

The March meeting went ahead as usual, with the AGM first, then the judging of the designs for Irish Eyes,  and a workshop for the May competition as well as a demonstration of ikebana.

The AGM confirmed all the executive positions for the AFG as well the committee as sent out in the Notice of AGM:. Diana Unsworth – President, Judith Kerr – Secretary, Zena Knight – Treasurer. Kay Cresswell has agreed to stand as Vice President to Diana. The other committee members are Yvonne Thomas, Vivienne Kerr, June Scott.

The winners  for the floral designs were:

Stage 1 – Judith Kerr, Stage 2 – Liz Wilson, Stage 3 – Yvonne Thomas, Stage 4 – Zena Knight.

From Marilyn

As Rhonda mentioned, we will be having our rescheduled AGM on Friday 19th at 7pm. If you have email, you will have got a note to this effect earlier in the week and those without email have had a phone call about it. So far I haven’t had anyone come forward to say that they would be prepared to help out on the committee, but do think about it. It would certainly be a great help to have an extra body or two.

A reminder  regarding our April meeting – We agreed at the last club meeting that this would be held over until the week after Easter. It is now 9th April at the usual time of 7pm at the Ocean Rd Hall. The ‘Flower’ of the Month will be Autumn Foliage, which should be at its best for then. The speaker is John Bangiovanni, whose topic is Bonsai.

newsletter 27 january 2021

From Rhonda

Hi everyone

Welcome back to what I am sure will be an interesting year one way or another.

Your committee is up and running again and preparing for the next meeting on the fifth of February.  Murray Bridges will be our guest speaker. Note for new members – Murray is one of our resident experts and some will remember him from the Good Morning Show on the TV. Murray will be sharing his knowledge and telling us what we need to know  in the month of February.

The weather over Christmas has not been summery –  indeed I heard it was hailing last week in Otaki. I had two garden surprises this month: a small black lily and a small pink one both of the Arum family,  and of course a wonderful display of everyone’s favorite, the Fairy rose.

Happy New year and see you on the 5th. Marilyn will post the Flower of the month.

From Judi

Hi  everyone

As I write this, the high squally winds are playing havoc with my beautiful summer garden. Dahlias have reached 6ft  tall and a lovely yellow cream lily with 11 heads on it has got to 8ft. Most of the dahlias are okay because I did manage to stake them 2 months ago before they grew, plus they kind of are supporting each other.  (I do have a habit of growing everything close together). I had extra tubers and I put these all in very large pots. I didn’t really have enough time to buy more stakes because of being in and out of hospital with my daughter’s leukemia treatment. Anyway, every one of those in pots has broken off or fallen over, along with my sweet peas.

The crazy wild weather has almost wrecked them,.but not all bad as prior to all of that, I have totally enjoyed all the amazing colours, beautiful details and forms on every different flower pattern, as no doubt you are also. We are all blessed with stunning designs in nature, no matter what plant or shrub we look at.

I do still have the continuous Compassion rose and couple of the smaller shrublets like Baby Jack, as well as some wonderful hydrangeas putting on a splendid show too.

I am looking forward to our first club night  in February where we can all have a great catch up. It will be interesting to hear what everyone’s doing in the garden

From Julian

World’s Biggest Hydrangea

Unless you know of a bigger one! It must have really enjoyed all that extra rain we had in November, nearly two and a half times the average for the month. The variety is Geoffrey Chadbund.

What is this?

Springing up among summer bedding, it lives  invisibly underground for most of the year, attached to the roots of whatever plant it is feeding on, then suddenly appears when it wants to flower. It doesn’t seem to be doing the tagetes much harm, however, except for not fitting in with the colour scheme. Its English name is broomrape; Orobanche in Latin.

From Marilyn

Like Judi, I am revelling in the bold and beautiful in the garden at the moment.

Evening Primrose has self- sown throughout the front garden and adds height and colour  – it matches the standard yellow roses that they are amongst. They are pretty much the same height as well.

Earlier the self-sown shirley poppies were filling a near-by  area. A good reason not to weed as you never know what else might pop up. Last year I transplanted most of my dahlias into one bed and that is now a riot of colour. My Christmas lilies were out for Christmas, followed by a steady stream of other lilies coming and going.

The rose that has amazed me this season is another transplant. It came from a shady nook and it really didn’t do anything there at all. Over winter it was given a new home in a sunny spot and it has flowered continuously from mid-November and is still going strong. The rose is called Lemon ‘n Lime and has a delicate fruity perfume. It is not a large bush and I can thoroughly recommend it if you want a moderate-sized rose for a smaller garden.

Now, on to business. We will be having our usual competitions at the club night. The Flower of the Month for the Pat Browne Trophy will be a stem from a summer bulb or tuber. The Sales Table will be up and running as will our raffles.

Just a reminder that the following meeting in March will start with our AGM, probably only half an hour will be needed, and we will be electing our new committee. This year it would be good to have a couple of new faces join us. Think on it and if you can spare a bit of time to help out, please let us know. We would love to have you on board.

For the Afternoon Floral Group

Your first meeting will be on the 5th as well. This year’s Competition Table will start with your design for “St Valentine’s Day” and the workshop will be for St Patrick’s Day, with lots of greenery ornaments( a leprechaun?) and maybe even a green container.

hydrangea fireworks

This is Hydrangea ‘Fireworks’, a lacecap variety of Hydrangea macrophylla raised in Japan where it is named ‘Hanabi’. It might well seem a bit “pretty” for some, but, now on its third flowering with me, I’m very pleased with the way it looks. The flowers are quite a bright cold white, the coldness perhaps coming from their faint blue veins and streaks, and that means the whole shrub shows up well in a shady spot, here with softer toned plants around it.