Tikorangi Notes: Friday 13 January, 2012

Latest Posts:

1) It is difficult to do justice to the Cyanella capensis in a photograph, but it must be one of the longest lasting summer bulb. It just gently flowers on and on in an unassuming way. “It looks like a blue gypsophila,” was Mark’s comment.

2) The weird and wonderful world of show vegetables – a competitive social phenomenon in the UK which has pretty much bypassed the more pragmatic gardeners in this country.

3) The wonderful world of growing parsnips. Okay, a bit of hyperbole there – just a bit of practical advice on how to grow one of the world’s less glamorous vegetables for winter.

Tikorangi Notes: Friday 13 January, 2012
I guess the one consoling factor in the continued run of dreary weather is that it is not limited to the area where we live! A misery shared is a misery halved, in the weather stakes at least. Even the Australian daughters are complaining about Sydney and Canberra weather and certainly it does not appear to be any better anywhere in the North Island of New Zealand. The raspberries are rotting before they have sweetened. The roses are mush. Anything bravely standing up is beaten down by the intermittent but torrential rain. The swimming pool cover remains resolutely in place. I have not even thought of going for a dip in recent weeks. The only consolation is that we know fine weather will return – it is just a matter of whether it is sooner or later.

The clematis remain valiant stars in all this dreary weather. We have lost the names on all of them though, should we feel the need, we know how we can get them identified. We have dug out the ones that are too rampant and thuggish in their ways and I remain unconvinced at the idea of ground cover types (too strong and choking). But given something to climb up, we have a range which are quiet and undemanding performers. All I do is cut them down once or twice a year to near ground level. Beyond that, they just get the standard treatment of other plants in the borders (a mulch of compost). I was told by a clematis expert that most of the hybrids can be cut back very hard after flowering, fed, watered and they will return with a new flush of blooms in six weeks time. I haven’t timed it, but it did make me realise that many clematis are not shy and timid plants and can take fairly ruthless handling. Should you feel the need to make a bamboo obelisk (you can just catch a glimpse of one supporting the clematis in the photo below, we gave step by step instructions in an earlier Outdoor Classroom.

The Turk’s cap and trumpet lilies are in flower with the auratums in heavy bud. It is the auratums that are the stars of summer display so we are hoping for better weather in the next fortnight.

Clematis with Loropetalum China Pink
Clematis with Loropetalum China Pink