Tikorangi Notes: June 19, 2011

Spring Festival is one of the prettiest in flower this week  though spring is still a way off here

Spring Festival is one of the prettiest in flower this week though spring is still a way off here

Tikorangi Notes: Sunday June 19, 2011

Our mild autumn continues though technically we are now well into winter. It may be wet but it is not generally cold. The ski fields inland and south seem to be getting nervous (and I am wondering whether the Christmas gift of a season lift pass to our snowboarding son was badly timed for the one season in a decade when the snows will be patchy and unpredictable) but it does mean that we are enjoying great gardening conditions. Except for last Friday which was cold (calm but cloudy and cold), daytime temperatures remain in the late teens and night temperatures are not dropping much below 10 degrees Celsius.

Lachenalia bulbifera, naturalised beneath a large pine tree

Lachenalia bulbifera, naturalised beneath a large pine tree

Magnolia Vulcan is opening its first blooms on the various plants we have around the property. Mid June is early. We usually expect peak flowering later in July. A hail storm last night damaged those early buds and blooms but there are plenty more to come which will be undamaged. The early lachenalias are open – red L. bulbifera, the yellow of Mark’s L. reflexa hybrids and the common L. aloides. The first of the snowdrops are in flower. We never get snow here but Galanthus S Arnott is wonderfully successful on our climate and there are few plants as pretty as the simple snowdrops. The sasanqua camellias are passing over and the japonicas and hybrids are taking over. Spring Festival is particularly pretty this week. With petal blight already hitting before many varieties have even opened, it is probably time to be a little more meticulous in recording which varieties show less damage and still put on a good show. Petal blight is probably here to stay. It will take breeding and selection to find a way past the ravages.

Just one new post this week – our Tikorangi Diary which records Mark’s unsuccessful efforts so far to extract olive oil with a zero carbon footprint and plans for our designated Citrus Grove.

We have been discussing our citrus trees here – somewhere around 20 different specimens which are very well established (as in some are probably around 50 years old now) and I have plans for a series of posts on growing fruit trees and the aim for self sufficiency and variety and how realistic this is in our climate.

The first blooms on Magnolia Vulcan were hit by hailstones last night

The first blooms on Magnolia Vulcan were hit by hailstones last night

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