1) Ugni molinae or the New Zealand cranberry – a plant that every good family should grow. When it comes to encouraging children to venture out browsing in the garden, it ranks right up alongside fresh peas as a must. It is also easy care and a small shrub so once planted, it will last for years.
2) Clematis tangutica I was a little taken aback to discover that it is regarded as a weed menace in some areas. It has never been a problem here and instead is a source of pleasure in late summer with its lovely pure yellow flowers and silky, tasselled seed heads.
3) Lower maintenance gardening. I am unconvinced that there is any such thing as a low maintenance garden. There are certainly high maintenance gardens, moderate maintenance gardens and lower maintenance gardens but drop down below that and you end up with no garden at all. This week’s column focuses on lower maintenance options as befits a rental property.
4) The Easy Fruit Garden by Clare Matthews might make fruit gardening easy for gardeners in the UK but has little or no application here.
Last week was all about Womad and the weather held for a magic weekend of world music in the beautiful venue of Pukekura Park. By Monday evening, the magic was all used up and a storm of reasonably impressive proportions hit. Even Spike the dog was unnerved when we heard the unmistakeable sounds of large branches cracking and breaking. In the morning, the damage was clear. A large gust had taken out half a totara tree which would be around fifty years old. The wind tunnel created then broke out part of a Picea omorika around the same age. In falling, the totara twisted a large amelanchier and some drastic remedial action will be needed to save any of it.
The clear lesson here is the need to keep trees to a single leader and a good shape from the start. Forked leaders create a point of weakness, even though it may take 50 years to reveal itself.
We escaped lightly. Friends around Oakura report greater damage. It is only a few weeks since Patea to the south bore the brunt of hurricane force winds. The mess here is largely superficial and with the very large trees we have here, we are relieved that it was not a great deal worse.