1) ‘Tis spring – must be rhododendron time. R. johnstoneanum “Ken Burns” in Plant Collector this week.
2) A call for more rigour and less fervour in Abbie’s column this week – what used to be called The Good Life (courtesy of Felicity Kendall and whover Briars – was it Richard?) but is now styled Green Urban Living.
3) Grow it Yourself – beetroot this week.
4) Tikorangi Diary and notes about half price clearance special on most magnolias.
I was delighted by the sight of the little waxeye gathering nectar from the veltheimia flowers outside my office window. We often see them working the Agapetes serpens (which I describe as the waxeye bush, for its ability to feed the birds) but this is the first time I have seen one feeding on the veltheimia which looks better suited to humming birds because of its very long, tubular flowers. We do not have humming birds in this country which has always seemed a bit of a pity to me. We would gladly trade blackbirds and sparrows for humming birds.
Rain has not helped the garden preparation this week – our annual festival (now styled the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular) starts in a fortnight so the pressure is on. I did feel sorry for the tour group here on Wednesday when it was hosing down but at least it wasn’t windy or cold! The magnolia season is drawing to a close with only Serene looking picture perfect now. But the michelias (now also reclassified as magnolias) have a longer season. The first of Mark’s new series, Fairy Magnolia Blush, is looking particularly pink this year. Indubitably pink which, in the world of white michelias, is pretty remarkable. More rhododendrons open every day though the maddenii and nuttallii types are generally later flowering and won’t be doing much for another fortnight. The garden is open every day now and we are generally around for plant sales – sound the car horn if we do not appear because we will be in the garden.