Tikorangi Diary, September 9, 2011

Magnolia Felix Jury in its glory now

Magnolia Felix Jury in its glory now

Latest Posts: Friday 9 September, 2011
Back in business! Today sees the resumption of weekly series of posts, but this time first published in the Waikato Times. It feels good to be back into regular writing to deadlines, believe it or not.

1) Plant Collector – campanulata or Taiwanese cherry trees and a photo of a feeding tui which represents about the 40th attempt to capture the moment.

2) Blighted! I don’t even like buxus hedging, but in deference to all the searches I see looking for information on wretched buxus blight, herewith the essential information as far as I can decode it.

3) Finocchio – the first of a new series looking at a different vegetable crop each week.

4) The constructions at Paloma Gardens – not from the Waikato Times, this one, but a piece I wrote for Weekend Gardener looking at the constructions and creations of the enterprising Clive Higgie. It was very interesting watching Alan Titchmarsh talking about the Victorian garden on TV last week. There is a shade of those Victorian gardeners to Clive – the flamboyance, the drive to be genuinely original and the passion for collecting plants which are different, new and interesting.

Prunus Te Mara and a seedling magnolia in our carpark area

Prunus Te Mara and a seedling magnolia in our carpark area

Tikorangi Diary: Friday 9 September, 2011

The abnormally cold weather of late winter may have taken out the early magnolia display (well, it did, to be more precise) but a week of mild weather has brought on the next flush of blooms and the garden is full of colour, flowers, fragrance and birds. This is when magnolias which flower down the stem (like Felix Jury) come into their own. The first blooms were taken out by the weather, but fresh flowers have opened and they look wonderful whereas cultivars like Lanarth, which only set buds on the branch tips and open all at once, was a non-event this year. If you want to see the magnolias and early spring garden, we are offering one free adult garden entry with each magnolia purchase today and this weekend. You can check out what we have available under Plant Sales.

Prunus Te Mara has never looked as good. This is a semi evergreen cherry and I had been threatening it with the chainsaw because I was underwhelmed by it. The winter chill this season took most of the foliage off and the flowering is considerably more impressive. I would guess that this is cherry better suited to areas with colder winters.

Moraea spathulata

Moraea spathulata

In the bulbs, it is Moraea spathulata which has been a minor triumph. It is not that it is meant to be difficult to grow, just that it has taken several attempts to find the right place for it in the garden. Apparently the front row of the rockery suits it just fine because it is flowering in a most obliging fashion. M. spathulata grows from a bulb which is similar to its more refined siblings, villosa and polystachya, but it is evergreen and its exceptionally long, strappy green leaves can be a little scruffy in the wrong place. I can forgive that when I see the delicate yellow iris blooms.

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