1) There is clearly no Dutch blood running in my veins. I am not generally a tulip fan but I am happy to make an exception for the Cretan species, Tulipa saxatilis which has just come into flower.
2) Taking a second look at camellias as garden plants despite the ravages of camellia petal blight – Abbie’s column (and de facto instalment on the Camellia Diary).
3) Garden hints for the second official week of spring – but we know that spring is well advanced here.
4) Counting down around the province to our annual Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival.
The sad sight of a very tall Lombardy poplar lying on the ground has preoccupied us this week. We were standing in the shed last Friday watching a sudden wind hit our huge pine trees and as it was calm on the other side, we briefly thought that maybe one of the dreaded little tornadoes that can wreak havoc here was hitting us. Mark was wondering if he should shut the roller doors of the shed – is it better to close a building off or to allow air flow in a tornado? Fortunately it was not a tornado but it was quite fierce, very shortlived and so noisy that we didn’t even hear the tree fall. We found it the next day, upon the ground. All 80 plus feet (about 25 metres or so) which can make quite a mess. The toll included a big Loderi Rhododendron King George and about half of the Magnolia campbellii which is fifty years old. It has opened up our view of Mount Taranaki a little more but we are sad about campbellii and King George. We don’t care about the poplar which is no loss, but now we are worried about the remaining two poplars of similar stature.