well…these would have been next summer’s zinnia flowers, but goldfinches make such a colourful show, very welcome in the autumn garden, and I can always buy more seed next spring.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
They say that in Britain runner beans were grown as garden flowers for nearly a century before they realised that you could eat them too. I’m pushed for space in this little garden, the veges are grown in containers out the back, and the front garden is for flowers only. The scarlet runners can certainly do both jobs, I only wish I had found longer and stronger canes to grow them up as they are over the top already. Come to think of it, this should be a good way to grow rock melons or gherkins. That can be next year’s project, if there is room between the flowers.
If you think this is a new idea; here is an extract from a gardening book written in 1874:
Between these old Apple-trees and the young standards there was room, which I am making ornamental with cones of Scarlet Runners. We have some five circles on each side of the walk and shall train up the bean tendrils by strings fastened to a centre pole, so that in summer we shall have a succession of tents of scarlet and green. I tried this method of training Scarlet Runners on a smaller scale last year. The effect was excellent.
from “A Year in a Lancashire Garden” by H. A. Bright, eBook downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
This is night-scented or evening-scented stock growing in a small pot, about 20cm (9″) wide and deep, and when we sit outside in the evening its perfume fills the air. It is an easy annual to grow, Kings and Egmont both sell the seed. I started mine in October, actually in a seed tray and then pricked it out, but I could just as well have sprinkled some seed directly onto the filled pot. It has been flowering and scenting our little outdoor space for more than a month already and looks good for another month at least.
This morning we got busy at the MacLean Street Market, hoping to dispose of all that was left from our year’s activities. A fine sunny day, though rather a cool and windy one. Special congrats to Marilyn, who made the banner so that everybody knows who we are; and to Rhonda, who produced a seemingly endless supply of potted succulents, dozens of varieties, two or more to a pot. Everything sold, so we went home happy, and looking forward to next Friday – the final meeting of the year and Christmas wind-up party.
A garden visit a few days ago brought back memories of lanes and hedgerows in the south of England, in the form of two plants that grow wild in those places. Both of them, incidentally , with rather smelly leaves. First there was betony, Stachys officinalis, also called bishops wort and well known to herbalists for centuries past. It’s a member of the mint family, a very large family and a lot of them are aromatic in one way or another – pleasantly, like rosemary and thyme, or not so nice, like betony. The second plant was the stinking iris, Iris foetidissima, also called gladwin and roast beef plant. The flowers are small and dull in colour; its real glory comes in winter when the fat seed pods split open and show off their rows of scarlet seeds. So, two North European plants brought here, accidentally or not, by our colonial ancestors, and a reminder to us gardeners: as well as admiring the look of a garden and smelling the flowers, crush a leaf and sniff, you may be surprised!