Tikorangi Notes: Sunday 15 May, 2011

LATEST POSTS: Friday 13 May, 2011

1) As autumn closes in, the rewarding sasanqua camellias come into their own and none I know are lovelier than Early Pearly.

2) Battening down the hatches in preparation for winter which will arrive soon – tasks for the garden this week including a message from the Chief Weed Controller here. In the garden this week.

3) Outdoor Classroom this week is in a new format on our website (which is just as well given the hash made of the photographs in the newspaper on Friday where readers would not, alas, have been able to see what to do) – looking at rejuvenating tired perennial patches. Outdoor Classroom.

If only they were coffee beans - excessive seed set on Michelia maudiae hybrids in particular
If only they were coffee beans – excessive seed set on Michelia maudiae hybrids in particular

TIKORANGI NOTES: Sunday 15 May, 2011

We have an extensive breeding programme running here on michelias (now reclassified as magnolias but most people still know them by their former name). The first of Mark’s cultivars is already on the market under the name of Fairy Magnolia Blush and attracting a gratifying amount of positive attention in Australia. The next two selections are being built up for release and subsequent ones are still at the trialling stage. This whole process requires the growing on of pretty large numbers of different crosses and Mark is frankly alarmed at the seed set on some plants – particularly those with M. maudiae in their parentage. If only they were coffee plants, we could be self sufficient in beans but alas the tendency to set prolific bunches of seed is not a desirable feature at all in michelias. The weed potential of some of these crosses is huge. Added to that, too much seed set means the plant is not putting its energies into producing further flowers and foliage. It is not enough to select a plant on a pretty flower alone – michelia selections need to be sterile or close to it to make them worthwhile taking to the next stage of trialling. These seed setters are destined for firewood here.