Tikorangi Notes: Friday 21 October, 2011

There is nothing subtle about the orange clivias at this time of the year

There is nothing subtle about the orange clivias at this time of the year

Latest posts:
1) Simple ideas to import (from Spain and Portugal).
2) Bring back plants! Please. Abbie’s column.
3) Arisaema sikokianum in Plant Collector this week.
4) Grow it yourself: gherkins and cucumbers.

Just another seedling of Mark's - R. metternichii x Susan

Just another seedling of Mark's - R. metternichii x Susan

Tikorangi Notes: Friday October 21, 2011

With just a week until our annual garden festival, now styled the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular (but formerly the Rhododendron and Garden Festival), it is a time of high pressure here as we primp and preen the garden in preparation for the 10 days that delivers up two thirds of our visitor numbers in one hit. It is all about leaf rakes, trimming, clipping, edges and the like – what we call garden grooming. While we work to maintain standards all year with regard to weeding, mulching, feeding and general maintenance, this is presentation with sharp edges.

The flowering this year is a week to maybe 10 days later than normal, but as we garden for year round interest, it does not matter if the usual candidates have not yet bloomed. There will always be something else in flower. The clivias are looking very showy. There is nothing subtle about the strident orange and red hybrids but they certainly light up darker areas and they are a tolerant and forgiving garden plant for relatively frost-free conditions. As the magnolias finish their season, the rhododendrons are coming into their own. We would not be without them for the spring display. Besides named cultivars, both hybrids and species, we have a fair number of hybrids from Mark’s breeding programme. The average to poor cultivars get discarded, but there are many which are good garden plants, even if they are not sufficiently sensational to name.

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