Tag Archives: winter

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 26 june 2020

From Rhonda

Still in level one and looking forward to our July solstice meeting. 

We experienced a small frost recently but no damage and even had a little group of Jonquils flowering under my Lily of the Valley tree. My Hibiscus is completely disregarding the seasons and continues to flower through the winter.

In fact walking around my garden it would be hard to notice it is winter. Fuchsia, butterfly bush and daisies in full bloom along with a rather large yellow wattle.  My new purchase  this week is a box of swan plants. I love the Monarchs fluttering around and hope to have these plants up and ready for Spring.

From Judi

Hi all. The weather has been really lovely this past week so I’ve found myself in the garden a lot more.. plus it’s a good time to get the broccoli and cauliflower plants in. The week before I prepared the bed with some blood & bone and 2 days ago planted the seedlings with seaweed juice to give them a good start. I also planted some beetroot as the vege punnets were 3 for $9 so an excellent bargain. Other things I’ve been doing is tidying up the many dahlias and loving the dry stalks to help layering the compost..with my other clippings.. lots of leaves, newspaper and vege peelings etc.. can’t wait to spread it all over the garden come spring.

The other pics show some winter colour around the garden.. and a quick trip to Watson’s to pick up some white primulas to edge the garden beds.. Happy gardening everyone. It seems like Spring already.

From Diana

For all the regulars to the Afternoon Floral Group and anyone else who would like to attend, we are finally getting back together on Friday 3rd July but a little earlier than usual. We will be having a Shared Lunch (finger food style) starting at 12.30pm. Lots to catch up on so time will fly and we still want to have time in hand for a workshop with Joy demonstrating some possibilities to prepare for the August Competition. The workshop will be “Beach Gatherings” so on your next trip to the beach, take a bag and collect up all those interesting things you see but can’t think of a use for and therefore have to leave them behind. The recommended container for this style of arrangement is a flat dish or similar. The Sales table and raffle will be up and running, and we will hold the usual Best Blooms and Most Unusual competition. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

From Marilyn

It’s getting close. Next Friday we will finally all get back together. It seems an age since the last gathering and there’s going to be a lot of stories to tell, especially how much gardening you did during lockdown (or not). The others have been bragging about the blooms that grace their gardens, I have to admit that apart from camellias and wild calendulas, there’s not a lot in bloom in my garden. However I now see all the other colours there are in the foliage of the shrubs. There are quite a few flaxes in the garden of various colours and the view I have captured here for you is one I see every morning when having breakfast.

The flax, Jester, seems to have deepened in colour and is looking great. If you look hard at the back on the left there is a little Japanese lantern and – see the concrete fence and ornamental top – these have all come from Yard Art at Levin, where I got the statue recently. The committee members have decided they would like to have a look at this place so we are going to get a minibus and head of up there, and include a visit to RJ’s licorice and the new Mitre 10 which Frank reckons will be a good lunch venue. If anyone is interested in joining us, we haven’t set a date but will discuss further at the meeting on Friday 3rd July.​            

Speaking of which, we will celebrate the Solstice at this meeting with a light supper provided by the Committee which will be served to you individually if you want to indulge, along with the tea and coffee. 

 We will also have the Sales Table and Raffle but will not have our four categories of competition. Instead bring along your exhibits and we will have a combined display.

From Julian

Remember to get your tools sharpened before tackling the winter pruning. Blunt cuts can lead to all sorts of problems. If your tools could do with a touch-up, let me know as all proceeds go to KHS and are producing a nice little stream of income for the club. Give me a ring on 9059578 if you want to take advantage of this.

newsletter 20 June 2020

From Julian

It is the shortest day tomorrow, mid-winter already, we even had a light frost on the grass last Sunday morning. Our benevolent climate allows for very little winter down-time in the garden; my very little front garden, all 10 square metres of it, is getting a quick make over. Where it was mainly full of summer annuals it is now going to be a few shrubs and perennials, meaning I can smother it in mulch and do less weeding. The challenge is going to be keeping up a supply of picking flowers. Here is a picture of last summer’s flowerheads on Hydrangea petiolaris ‘Limelight’, now a lovely soft brown, the colour my mother used to call fawn

From Marilyn

With the warmer autumn weather we had, I have managed to relocate 2 rhododendrons and 11 roses. Just today I discovered the last of the roses had new shoots to show a success. I now have a 100% take of all of them. To me, that’s amazing. But to prove it is not a flash in the pan, take a look at this camellia, Red Imperial. It has taken 3 years to recover from the sulks but it was a big tree (nearly 2m) when I shifted it so not really surprising. This year it is smothered in buds and with my white daphne starting to open up near-by, my red and white garden will definitely be colourful for the next few weeks.

From Rhonda

Hi everyone, it’s been a bit of a wet week so not so much gardening happening. I did however follow Julian’s advice about seedlings and had a perfect strike rate. Four sets of seedlings on my kitchen bench waiting to be planted. I am so pleased because I love sweet peas and have never had much luck with them before. We had a road trip to Te Horo and returned with huge avocados, two plants, large bunch daffodils, and more pears Doyenne du Comice…fabulous. Weather forecast looking good so back in the garden soon. Midwinter is also the time to get those garlic bulbs in, you don’t need a garden – remember Murrays demo when he planted garlic in a pot. Another good thing our Farmers Market is back. I bought a red Kaka beak five dollars and a beautiful pot plant in pot six dollars and Ollie and I filled the trolley with vegies. Ollie found a giant cabbage and insisted I buy it and a giant Daekon. We really do live in paradise. Stay safe and hope to see you all again soon.

newsletter 10 june 2020

From Rhonda

Another beautiful covid free day and now level one. Heaps to celebrate. The level gives us the excuse to get out and about to maximize living on the coast. Here even a visit to the beach is always a treat and the local coffee is as good as any.

The weather has been perfect for the garden and we have a selection of greens that we pick each day.

The organic farm at Te Horo (Kebbels farm..worth a visit)  taught us how to use either outside leaves or  cut across the top to get second harvests. My grandson replanted leek bases to create another plant just as we as children loved growing pineapple and carrot tops.

My lemons are readying for a bumper crop and my surprise this week is a purple anemone

Now that we are in level one, it is likely our July meeting will go ahead so we will keep you posted.

From Diana

I am quite limited here even though I’m Head Gardener!!!of the front and back gardens. My daughter-in-law prefers a white& green garden!!!!! hard when I’m used to lots of colour!!! If anyone has bits of WHITE anything, I’d be very grateful for any left overs!!! To keep everyone happy, I do as I’m told, (mostly!!!)

I forgot to mention earlier, that I am competing with a White!! 6 year old rabbit!!!!with a large appetite!! I’ll say no more!! And a very energetic Fox terrier/ Poodle cross – again,I’ll say no more!!!! I hope we meet next month,so much catching up to do!!!! I’m ready for the Winter!!! are you???

From Marilyn

I can sympathise with Diana. I had these two punnets of seedlings( (silverbeet and beetroot) on a shelf in my potting shelter which is open all the time, front and back. When I went to plant these, I found that my feathered friends had found them and pruned them down to stalks.

Not happy,  so went for a walk to regain my sense of humour, only to find that they also liked my lovely broad bean plants in the garden and had stripped half of those as well. I am now frantically netting up everything.

Happy gardening.

Growing veg through winter

We are keeping up a regular supply of garden veg by sowing a few seeds of cabbage and spinach in small pots. I’m hoping for 10 or 12 spinach plants and 3 or 4 cabbages, so I’ve sown 16 spinach seeds in one pot and 9 cabbage seeds in the other, I know, I counted them! When they have germinated and produced their first pair of true leaves the strongest will be transplanted into the veg garden, with some slug bait so they don’t disappear overnight. The spinach is called ‘Upright’ and is from Kings Seeds, but any sort not for summer growing will do; the cabbage is actually Chinese cabbage, the sort that makes a dense barrel-shaped head, and this one is ‘Napa Blues’ from Egmont Seeds. If you don’t already buy your seeds from a mail order company you might give it a go; they offer many more varieties than shops and lower prices too, the downside being that you get carried away in the catalogue and buy more seeds than you mean to – if that is a downside.