Tikorangi Notes: May 21, 2010

Latest posts:
1) 21 May: A Worm’s Tale (subtitled: best not display your ignorance on National Radio).
2) 21 May: The perils of monochromatic garden colour schemes (subtitled: we were disappointed in Sissinghurst’s white garden and much preferred the blue and purple border).
3) 21 May: An evergreen member of the hydrangea family that flowers nigh on twelve months of the year: Dichroa versicolor.
4) 21 May: Counting down to our annual spring garden festival – a district round-up.
5) 21 May: Garden hints and recommended tasks for the upcoming week in our autumn conditions.
6) 21 May Autumn flowering sasanqua camellias are tried and true favourites in our climate.

We are not great territory for silver birches. They tend to defoliate long before the summer’s end. Their prodigious quantity of pollen causes hay fever, they seed down far too freely and they are messy darned plants, shedding twigs constantly in our winds. From time to time, we wonder about a death sentence on this betula near our entranceway. But when it is bare, the delicate tracery against the skies is a never ending source of delight. I can’t think of any deciduous tree that brings me such delight in silhouette and as it lacks much foliage for about eight months of the year, that is the dominant picture.

Flagging it on either side are large Queen palms (Syagrus romanzoffiana) now over 50 years old and probably up to 20 metres high. Felix Jury grew these from seed sourced from the Sydney Botanic Gardens. It is a bit of a meeting of two continents, Europe and Brazil – the betula and the palms side by side.