Tikorangi notes: August 27, 2011
Last week it snowed, followed by a frost in the coldest few days we can ever remember. This week it is indubitably spring. Certainly there is damage in the garden – many of the early magnolias and michelias did not appreciate it at all, though M. sargentiana robusta appears to have come through unscathed. The same cannot be said of the big-leafed rhododendrons. I was searching to find an undamaged bloom and Mark felt that one of my shots of an R. grande hybrid showed we could rename it as Hokey Pokey (a reference to a favourite NZ icecream which has streaks of butterscotch coloured candy throughout). The big leafs have gone the same way as Magnolia Lanarth – 2011 may be the least memorable flowering ever. The campanulata cherries are alive with native tui, the reticulata camellias are in peak flower, the lovely daffodils continue to flower in succession and, just to prove that even in frost and snow, our climate can’t be all that bad, a vireya rhododendron, R. konori, is flowering beautifully and completely untouched in the rose garden area.
Mark has been poddling about with his calanthe orchids while I am grooming the rockery. Winter pruning is complete (fruit trees, hydrangeas, roses, wisterias and the like). Now we are laying mulch on many of the garden beds – we favour our home made compost for this.
Our first garden visitors for the season have started arriving but if you want to see the magnolias at their peak this year, hold off for another week or two to allow more to come out. That said, Magnolias Felix Jury and Black Tulip are recovering well from the earlier ravages by the weather and there are some lovely flowers showing now.