Tikorangi Diary: Thursday August 18

The lovely blue Lachenalia glaucina

The lovely blue Lachenalia glaucina

The coldest spell of winter weather we can remember still continues. While Mark was entranced by the unbelievable event of snow falling here on Monday, there is no doubt that the unusual experience of a major hailstorm followed by an exceptionally heavy frost, culminating in snow and a second frost this week has knocked the early magnolia display. Magnolia Lanarth has been particularly badly hit and we may just have to look back to previous years to remind ourselves of how fantastic it usually is. (Check out the Magnolia Diary I kept two years ago). Usually we are peaking with the first flush of magnolias in bloom around now and we have an unsurpassed display of red flowered types at this time. Not yet. Many of the new cultivars set flower buds down the stem so will open fresh blooms but it appears that we will be particularly grateful for the second peak we get in early September with the mid season varieties, including the magnificent Iolanthe.

With the threat of frost, I have upon a couple of occasions rushed out with sheets of newspaper to cover the planting of Lachenalia glaucina that we have in the open. Sheets of newspaper work because if they blow off in the night, it means we have sufficient wind to disperse the frost. We grow a wide range of lachenalia in the garden to give us flowers over many months and only a few are vulnerable to cold temperatures in our conditions – glaucina is one. It is a lovely thing and for the first time in years, we have pots of it for sale ($10). They are only just starting to put up their flower spikes so I had to resort to a photo from previous years. Lachenalias come in blues, lilac, pink, red, yellow, orange, green, white and various colour mixes – we have available for purchase the red bulbifera, white contaminata, blue glaucina, yellow reflexa hybrid and an odd, predominantly green form of aloides.

We are open for plant sales every Friday and Saturday (other days by appointment) and we have Eftpos here but we only sell to personal customers. Sorry, no mailorder. If you want to check what else we have available, check our Plant Sales