Tag Archives: Cyclamen hederafolium

Pink and white detail – species cyclamen.

It takes a fair number of cyclamen to create a carpet but it can be done over time

Even though we garden on a large scale across 10 acres, the little pictures are as much a delight as the big ones. For many months of the year, the species cyclamen give us charming detail. Over the years, Mark and his father before him gathered up all the different species they could find. When it comes to showy and proven garden performance, we now rely on four different ones which take us through most of the year – C. hederifolium flowers from January to late autumn, C. coum which takes us through winter, C. repandum for spring and C. purpurascens which flowers on and off all year round. C. graecum also flowers well but does not increase readily.

Cyclamen coum

There is a world of difference between the dainty species and the big hybrids which are sold primarily as house plants. Those are mostly bred from C. persicum, which we also grow but in itself it is not a stand-out performer in our conditions. I am not a fan of the hybrids, even less so when they are used as garden plants. To my eyes, they lack the charm and refinement of the species. They have been bred for a different purpose and have flowers which are much larger, often in different hues and sometimes selected for novelty value in flower form. But that is all a matter of taste.

Cyclamen graecum

A key to understanding cyclamen is knowing where they come from. This explains why C. libanoticum failed to establish as a garden plant here. It is native to the mountains of Lebanon – hardly conditions we can replicate. As it has the most beautiful flowers of any cyclamen I have seen, I was disappointed – though Mark tells me he still has it growing in his nova house (best described as his private but chaotic treasure house of obscure and curious plant material which may or may not transition to the garden, eventually).

Naturalising hederafolium by scattering seed

C. hederifolium (formerly known as neapolitanum) has been the easiest to naturalise for us – to the extent that we can even claim that we have carpets of it. It has a wide distribution from southern France through the Mediterranean to western Turkey, growing in range of conditions from rock and scrub cover to woodlands. We find it is happy in both full or partial sun on the edges of woodland areas but it needs good light levels so is not so satisfactory in shade. Some years ago, Mark scattered seed across grassy banks in our park and now we have it naturalised in meadow conditions. C. hederifolium sets lots of seed which is easy to germinate as long as it is sown fresh and not stored. The seed pods form on the end of corkscrew spiral stems. If you know somebody growing it, you may be able to request some seed.

Cyclamen purpurascens

If only C. purpurascens would set seed as freely, we could use it much more extensively. It is one of the more hardy, European species, occurring naturally as far north as Poland. It is also a terrific performer, evergreen and flowering much of the year. But it sets very little seed and that seed does not germinate readily so it is not an easy plant to increase and naturalise, despite its unfussy ways once it is growing.

Cyclamen hederifolium tubers with trowel to give scale

Cyclamen grow from flat, disc-like tubers. While hederifolium tubers can get very large – I have measured up to 15cm across on old specimens – our more delicate coum and repandum stay small. I can’t recall ever seeing a repandum tuber much larger than my little finger nail and they are mostly smaller than that. While they still set good-sized blooms, it does mean that you need a fair number of them to have much impact. Siting is also critical. They are not a suitable option where ground is being cultivated. No matter how careful you are, the tiny corms look too much like soil when they are dormant and are therefore easy to discard or dig in too deep. Nor do they like companions which can overshadow and overpower them. Our main patches are on woodland margins, particularly as ground cover beneath tall, limbed-up evergreen azaleas. We leave them undisturbed and they reward us with low carpets of bloom, sometimes combined with snowdrops (galanthus) or the little, dwarf narcissi.  Excellent drainage is also vital. All tubers will rot out in wet or heavy soils.

Hederifolium again

Generally, cyclamen show the typically heart-shaped leaves, usually marbled white or silver and a distinctive flower with upswept petals. They come in white and all shades of pink from palest through to deep cerise. Almost all of them are fully deciduous and like to sit on or in line with the ground surface, rather than being buried.

 

 

Shades of Cyclamen hederifolium

As to whether  the family name is pronounced “sike-lamen” or “sick-lamen”, we go with the former though Wikipedia tells me that is the American pronunciation whereas the latter is the British version. Take your pick.

First published in the May issue of New Zealand Gardener and reprinted here with their permission. 

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Rock on – our rockery in autumn

Nerine sarniensis hybrids blooming in the rockery

Nerine sarniensis hybrids blooming in the rockery

When I am old and maybe decrepit, needing to draw in the boundaries of the garden, I shall fluff around in the rockery. I really enjoy this area and, as we enter autumn, my heart sings with the new season blooms.

Traditionally, rockeries are for growing alpines and sometimes retaining banks. However, we can’t grow alpines in our climate and our rockery is on the flat. It is pure 1950s vintage, built from a combination of rocks of various sizes, concrete and some brick, with sunken paths and raised beds divided into many hundreds of little pockets of soil. It is designed for highly detailed gardening and at about 20 metres by 10 metres, it is relatively large.

The purpose of the multitude of small beds is to keep bulbs separate and to confine the more invasive ones. Most of the pockets have two or three different types of bulbs in them to give seasonal interest.

There is always something to see, though summer is the toughest season. Because there is so much stone and the beds are elevated, parts of it dry out almost to dust. We have dwarf conifers, cycads, and a few other small shrubs to give both all year round structure and summer shade. There are a few smaller perennials and a limited range of annuals and biennials but generally, the rockery is about the bulb collection.

The range of nerine colours at one time

The range of nerine colours at one time

As we enter autumn, it is as if the rockery heaves a sigh of relief and leaps back into life. All the bulbs whose growth is triggered by autumn rains start to move.

As a general rule, we find that the species bulbs look better. They are usually smaller flowered and more delicate in appearance than the showy hybrids which can look out of scale and even vulgar in this particular context. The exception is the nerines which peak this month. While we grow some nerine species, it is the sarniensis hybrids that dominate. A few of these are of Exbury origin but most are the result of breeding efforts by both Felix and Mark Jury. The colour range is delightful – from white, through every shade of pink including near iridescent highlighter pink, to purple, corals, almost apricot, oranges and reds. Unlike the floristry business, we want shorter, squatter stems so that the heavy heads are held upright even through autumnal weather.

Cyclamen hederafolium

Cyclamen hederafolium

Also lighting up the autumn is Cyclamen hederafolium (formerly known as C. neapolitanum) which hails from southern Europe and Turkey. This is the easiest of the dainty species cyclamen to grow and it has gently naturalised itself here. It throws its first brave flowers up in January but peaks this month. It is one of a number of autumn bulbs that bloom first before the leaves appear. Others are most of the nerines, colchicums and Haemanthus coccineus.

Moraea polystachya

Moraea polystachya

The pretty autumn flowering peacock iris, Moraea polystachya, outdoes almost every other bulb with its long flowering season. It seeds down gently into the cracks between the rocks without becoming an invasive menace. Some of the ornamental oxalis also give extended displays of colour but not all oxalis are born equal and neither are they all born with good manners. The most reliable performers in our rockery are O. purpurea ‘Alba’, O. luteola and O. lobata. They have been here for decades and never looked threatening.

O. luteola and purpurea 'Alba'

O. luteola and purpurea ‘Alba’

Colchicum autumnale

Colchicum autumnale

Then there are the bulbs with a much shorter season. Colchicum autumnale makes a bold statement with its big lilac chalices held above bare soil. Hippeastrum bifida is a transient delight for us. We have it in both pink and red and the blooms look as if they have been touched with gold leaf when the sun shines through. The autumn flowering leucojum is one of the daintiest and prettiest of tiny blooms and the crocus also delight.

Autumn crocus (species unknown) with cyclamen hederafolium

Autumn crocus (species unknown) with cyclamen hederafolium

The rockery is not what I would call low maintenance. The more time I put into it, the better it looks. In spring I completely replaced the soil in maybe a dozen pockets in my efforts to eradicate the pretty but invasive Geissorhiza aspera. I do not lie when I tell you that we have battling it for well over 25 years, hence my extreme action in replacing the soil in the worst affected areas. We have to be vigilant on weeds, slugs, snails, narcissi fly and weevils. I wire brush the rocks from time to time to stop the moss growth from hiding their shapes. There is plenty there to keep me busy in my dotage and, with the raised beds, I can do a lot of it sitting on a stool. Sometimes it is the detail and the little pictures in the garden that delight.

024First published in the NZ Gardener April edition and reprinted here with their permission. 

Autumn bulbs

While late winter and spring are the peak seasons for the many of the bulbs, the lesser known autumn flowering varieties offer fresh seasonal delight at a time when many flowering plants have finished or are passing over. The triggers for these bulbs are a drop in temperature, declining day length and summer rain. They are neither easily available nor widely grown but that may be a chicken or egg situation because many of them are not difficult or touchy.

Moraea polystachya - the autumn flowering peacock iris

Moraea polystachya – the autumn flowering peacock iris

The bulb that gives us the longest flowering season of all at this time of the year is the lovely lilac- blue, autumn Moraea polystachya from South Africa. Each flower is a dainty iris and while individual blooms are brief, new ones open down the stem for many weeks on end, stretching into months. The foliage is fine and light and the wiry flower stems can reach about 50 cm high. It grows from corms and will gently seed down without becoming an undesirable weed. It is particularly attractive popping up in cracks between pavers or on the edges of paths. The problem will be sourcing corms to buy. If you see one growing in somebody else’s garden, ask for seed which is easily raised and should flower in its third year.

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus

Haemanthus coccineus is most valued for its striking winter foliage – enormous, fleshy leaves which lie flat to the ground, giving the plant its common name of elephant ears. But in early autumn, up pop bristly red flowers looking somewhat like a dish brush head. In fact they are a large cluster of red stamens, each tipped with a generous amount of golden pollen and all encased in six petals that almost resemble a plastic cup. Flowering is triggered by rain and comes just before the new foliage starts to emerge. Plants need excellent drainage and some protection from heavy frosts but will thrive in semi shade.

Colchicum autumnale

Colchicum autumnale

Colchicums are often referred to as autumn crocus, but they are only distant relatives at best and are generally much larger flowered toughies that are easy to grow. Most are so vigorous that they can be established in grass for the meadow look, but keep them away from mown areas because the foliage hangs on right through to spring. Each flower is a cup with six petals and while not long lived, a bulb can put up a succession of blooms. It flowers well before the foliage appears. Most colchicums hail from Europe and are in lilac pink to purple shades. For those who prefer all their flowers in white, there is a white form available but purists may prefer to stay with the dominant colours of the European meadows. The major drawback to the colchicums is that the foliage takes such a long time to die off that it can have a protracted scruffy period but it does at least have lush foliage in the bare winter months.

Nerines sarniensis hybrids

Nerines sarniensis hybrids

Despite their common name of the “Guernsey lily”, nerines hail from South Africa. While there are over 30 different species, the ones most widely available include N. fothergillii (scarlet flowers often referred to as the ‘spider lily’), N. bowdenii (late season flowering, sugar pink with long stems) and N. sarniensis hybrids. It is the hybrids that bring the larger flowers in desirable colours which can range from smoky hues, purple, salmon apricot and across the whole spectrum of shades associated with pink and red. There are white cultivars though I would have to say that we have never found a good pure white form which performs well. All make excellent cut flowers and have a long record of use in floristry.

Nerines have large bulbs which like to sit half in the soil and half baking in the sun. They will struggle in very cold, wet conditions and won’t flower in the shade.

Cyclamen hederafolium

Cyclamen hederafolium

Cyclamen hederafolium is one of the star performers for us, opening its first flowers as early as January and continuing through late summer to peak in autumn. Once the flowering is finished, the lovely heart shaped dark green leaves which are lightly marbled in silver remain a feature through winter. Flowers vary in colour from pure white, pale pink to dark pink, though not on the same tuber. As long as the tuber does not rot out, it can get very large over time – at least as big as a bread and butter plate. It is best nestled into the soil, as opposed to buried beneath. In C. hederafolium, the roots, flower stems and leaves all sprout afresh each year from the top of the tuber so you need to plant it the right way up. It will grow in full sun through semi shade to woodland conditions of high shade and, when happy, it will seed down over time and naturalise – as long as you don’t garden around it with weed spray. Good drainage is the key.

The species cyclamen have a delicate charm which has long gone from the pot hybrids sold as indoor plants. C. hederafolium is the easiest and most reliable of the species. There is nothing rare about it, except I failed to find anybody selling it this season. It is easy to raise from seed if you know of somebody with a plant. Harvest the seed in late spring and sow it in a pot or tray immediately. It can reach flowering size in as little as 18 months.

Ornamental oxalis

Ornamental oxalis

Oxalis. Spare a thought for the poor, maligned oxalis family which gets dismissed out of hand because of a few bad eggs. Call them by their romantic common name of wood sorrel if it makes you feel better. There are over 800 members of the family and by no means are they all invasive weeds. Neither are they all worthwhile garden plants either, but some of them are autumn stars for us. All oxalis need full sun because they only open their flowers in the bright light. If you remain nervous about them, plant them in wide, shallow pots and place them on sunny steps to give you a seasonal display. When you repot them after a year, you can see clearly which ones show invasive potential because they will have formed multitudes of babies. These ones are best kept in pots forever but others are perfectly garden safe.

Over the years, we gathered up maybe 30 different oxalis species and you can often find dry bulbs of different ones offered for sale on Trade Me. Some have very short flowering seasons and I am not sure it is worth my time to repot them each year. Others are exceptionally good. The best of all is O. purpurea alba. It has an abundance of very large, glistening pure white flowers with a golden centre and it flowers over a very long period. The foliage is a flat mat of green, slightly hairy, clover-like leaves. We have had it in the garden here for decades and it has never been badly behaved or shown invasive tendencies. There are other forms of O. purpurea with pink flowers and with burgundy red foliage (O. purpurea ‘Nigrescens’). While these are also very showy, they can be a bit too rampant and are best kept in pots.

Other personal favourites are O. massoniana (feathery foliage and masses of pretty flowers in apricot with a yellow eye), O. hirta lavender and the sunny yellow O.luteola. There are no blue or green flowered oxalis, as far as I know, but they come in pretty much every other colour.

Other autumn flowering bulbs which we value, but which will be even harder to source are Lycoris aurea (which looks like a golden nerine), Rhodophiala bifida and some of the autumnal tricyrtus, particularly T. macrantha.

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The Guernsey Lily 

Guernsey’s only claim to nerines is cut flower production. The exact method of arrival to the Channel Islands is unknown but there are records of N. sarniensis growing, and presumably flowering, in Paris as early as 1630. By the 1800s, Guernsey already had a flower export trade in full swing and was sending nerines to England. The local folklore version, laying claim to the nerine, has charm.

The Guernsey lily folk tale from the Visit Guernsey website:

Legend holds that a handsome fairy prince met and fell madly in love with Michelle de Garis, a beautiful Guernsey girl. Michelle left her cottage early one morning to see to her cows. As she entered the meadow, she was surprised to find a young man asleep on the grass. He had a particularly small stature, was finely proportioned, and remarkably handsome.

Michelle stood and admired the small man dressed in green and with bow and arrow. When he awoke he told Michelle that he was a fairy prince from England and asked for her hand in marriage, as they had both instantly fallen in love. She agreed but as they headed to Fairyland she asked that she leave a token to reassure her family. The prince gave her a bulb, which she planted.

Michelle’s mother later discovered a beautiful flower above Vazon bay, on the west coast of Guernsey. It was the colour of Michelle’s shawl and sprinkled with elfin gold – the Guernsey lily.

Sometime later on, many fairy men came from Fairyland, entranced by Michelle’s beauty and looking for a Guernsey girl of their own. They asked that Guernseymen gave up their wives and daughters, which ended in many battles between the fairies and Guernseymen. The Rouge Rue (Red Road) is said to have been named after a particularly fierce battle.

First published in the May issue of NZ Gardener and reprinted here with their permission.

The folly of the quest for garden perfection

Rhodohypoxis are to be in drifts, not clumps, thank you.

Rhodohypoxis are to be in drifts, not clumps, thank you.

I commented to a photographer once about the immaculate interiors featured in glossy magazines and how our home could never look like that. She laughed and said she once went back to get some extra photos for a feature and the place did not look the same at all. Oh, so this is how they usually live, she thought.

It is an illusion made possible by the fact that photographs capture a single moment in time and it applies equally to gardens as to house interiors. I do it when I take photos. I look at the first image and then I will rearrange or remove something to get a clearer, more pleasing shot. The folly is when we think we can achieve and maintain that in real life. It is a trap to which many of us fall victim.

This train of thought came about recently as I spent a day redoing a garden bed. In my mind, I know exactly what I want and yet again, I am on a quest to make it happen. In this case, it is a bed with five clipped and shaped small camellias in it, backed by a clipped hedge. How much can you do with about 12 square metres of garden? A lot, it turns out.

This bed, in full sun, started as a cottage garden themed on red and yellow, full of roses, perennials and annuals. It looked lovely for 3 weeks of the year and messy for the remaining 49 weeks. It then went formal(ish) and I wrestled with finding the perfect ground cover. Rubus pentalobus (‘the orangeberry plant’) was too invasive. Violets were too vigorous. Cyclamen hederafolium were lovely for about 8 months of the year but were dying off during our peak visitor season. We changed the hedge last year from clipped buxus to clipped Camellia transnokoensis (tiny white flowers and small leaves). I reduced the number topiaried camellias which give the structure. I started inter-planting the cyclamen with rhodohypoxis for spring colour and a little ground hugging perennial called scutellaria with white flowers for summer cover.

How ironic that I still went searching for a photograph to show the garden bed looking good - but had to settle for Spike the dog creating a dust bath in the reworked ground covers. This is a long way from the mental image I have of what it is to look like.

How ironic that I still went searching for a photograph to show the garden bed looking good – but had to settle for Spike the dog creating a dust bath in the reworked ground covers. This is a long way from the mental image I have of what it is to look like.

My most recent effort was because the rhodohypoxis were looking too clumpy and I wanted them drifty, not clumpy so I spread them out, while trying to make sure that the cyclamen were sufficient in number to make an uninterrupted winter carpet. It is still looking dry and dusty at the moment but will it work?

Yes and no. It will, I hope, closely match my mental image at some points in the next year or two – but it won’t stay that way. Gardens have plants and plants are not static. The mistake is thinking that we can create constant pictures in our gardens and that when it most closely matches the mental image we have, that we can then keep it that way.

It is possible to achieve something nearing perfection in a garden. For a couple of weeks. For 52 weeks? Without an army of able staff and a stand out area of replacement plants “out the back” somewhere, I doubt it. None of us own Versailles where, reportedly, the entire colour scheme of the extensive parterre gardens could be changed overnight. Even Sissinghurst today has a large nursery out of sight, full of plants to bring in as required to spruce up the displays in the garden.

Does the answer lie in a very formal garden? Not unless you are going to use artificial plants. I have seen formal gardens where the hedges and shapes have lost their sharp edge because the wretched plants will insist on putting out fresh growth. When you lose the sharp edges in a formal garden, there’s not much of interest left.

It would be much better, surely, to rid ourselves of this idea that we can achieve photographic perfection in real life gardens. But that is easier said than done, as evidenced by my repeated efforts in the garden border mentioned above. When all is said and done, I am still worried about the scutellaria which may be better in partial shade than full sun.

Cyclamen hederfolium give pretty flowers from summer through autumn and carpet of attractive foliage until mid spring

Cyclamen hederfolium give pretty flowers from summer through autumn and carpet of attractive foliage until mid spring

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

Plant Collector: Cyclamen hederifolium

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As early as January the first flowers on Cyclamen hederifolium start to appear on parched soils, though they are just coming into their own now. Some of you may know C. hederifolium by its earlier name of neapolitanum. It is the easiest of the dainty species to grow with one of the longer flowering seasons. The heart-shaped leaves, usually mottled and marked with silver, appear towards the end of flowering and make an attractive ground cover through until early summer.

Hederifolium comes in a range of pinks from light to mid, as well as in pure white. It hails from southern Europe through to Turkey and grows in hard, poor conditions, tolerating both heat and cold. What it doesn’t want is wet ground. We use it in open sun to semi shaded woodland margins where drainage is good.

Cyclamen grow from tubers which can develop to large, flat discs. Over the years, some of ours have reached up to 20cm or more across.

If you can’t find C hederifolium for sale, it is easy to grow from fresh seed and gently seeds down in the garden. If you know of somebody who already has it, the seed forms later in the year as a fleshy capsule at the end of a corkscrew stem. The secret is to sow it immediately and not try and store it.

The species cyclamen have a gentle charm which I personally find lacking in the big flowered hybrids which are sold as house plants. However most of those will survive as garden plants and live on if you find a suitable spot where they won’t get outcompeted by overhanging plants.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

In the garden this fortnight: April 26, 2012

A fortnightly series first published in the Weekend Gardener and reproduced here with their permission.

The pretty Moraea polystachya has a long flowering season

The pretty Moraea polystachya has a long flowering season

We are not noted for autumn colour here. I can’t think that anybody has ever said: “Oh but you simply must go to Taranaki to see the autumn display.” The trigger to deciduous plants to turn is temperature related and we drift so imperceptibly from summer through autumn to early winter, that even plants renowned for their capacity to blaze with colour are usually a disappointment. Besides, we are so verdant and green and our native plants are all so resolutely green that all we can do is to admire the occasional single deciduous specimen. Generally it is inland areas with drier climates and much sharper variation in seasonal temperatures which put on the big displays.

However, our autumn is marked by much smaller, pretty pictures of autumn bulbs. We garden extensively with bulbs. In a large garden with some huge trees, it is the dainty, often ephemeral pictures which give the charm and detail. Autumn flowering bulbs are harder to find for sale because most people don’t think beyond the more common spring bulbs.

Cyclamen hederafolium - the easiest of the species in our climate

Cyclamen hederafolium - the easiest of the species in our climate

At the moment, it is the pink and white Cyclamen hederafolium, blue Moraea polystachya (autumn peacock iris), a rainbow of colours in the ornamental oxalis, bold lilac colchicums (often incorrectly referred to as autumn crocus), the real autumn crocus and the beautiful hybrid sarniensis nerines which are carrying the season in the rockery. Out on the roadside, the belladonna lilies are in bloom. Some, like the colchicums, do not flower for long but are very showy. Moraea polystachya is a gem of a bulb. It flowers down the stem so it has an exceptionally long season stretching into months rather than weeks. It can seed down but is easy enough to thin out if necessary.

Cyclamen hederafolium (formerly known as neapolitanum) is the easiest and most reliable of the species cyclamen. It too has a long flowering season, followed by attractive, heart shaped leaves with white markings. It combines very well with black mondo grass and in places we have English snowdrops (galanthus) to come through in late winter, extending the seasonal interest amongst the cyclamen foliage.

Top tasks:
1) Cut off all last season’s leaves on the Helleborus orientalis and remove them to the compost heap. We have done this for many years now, following the advice from Terry Hatch at Joy Plants. It removes any build up of aphids and it means that the flowers are highly visible as they come through with just delicate new leaf growth. As the season progresses, the new foliage takes over and fills the whole patch. Timing is important – if you leave it too late, you have to trim carefully around all the emerging flower stems.
2) After raking off the hellebore foliage, I will weed out the rash of germinating seedlings and then cover the whole bed with a mulch of compost to a depth of about 3cm. This feeds the soil and discourages weeds. Hellebores are one perennial that is best left undisturbed. It is better to raise seed than to try and divide existing clumps. They can sulk for years before recovering.

The Nerine sarniensis hybrids are a real autumn feature in the rockery

The Nerine sarniensis hybrids are a real autumn feature in the rockery

Tikorangi Notes: Friday April 13, 2012.

The Cyclamen hederafolium are a delight

The Cyclamen hederafolium are a delight

Latest Posts:

1) Those who shun all of the vast oxalis family because of the abominable habits of a few miss out on the autumn delights like Oxalis massoniana.

2) Raised beds and to dig or not to dig – that is the question. It seems these days that the rage is for raised beds, irrespective of whether they are needed.

3) GIY broad beans – we are very partial to this crop in our household.

4) Common wisdom is that you should only grow plants well suited to your area and conditions but Real Gardeners know this is a fallacy. It is wonderfully rewarding to succeed with marginal plants. My latest garden diary from Weekend Gardener magazine.

5) Secrets of a Lazy French Cook – nothing whatever to do with gardening, this one. But one of my other activities is book reviewing – mostly recipe books and children’s books (in addition to the gardening ones I receive.) This one is an entertaining read and a handy starting point for classic French dishes.

There has not been a whole lot of gardening going on here in the last week or two – too much energy and time required to renovate our one and only rental house on our property across the road. I think the role of property owner and landlord is much over-rated. But I did finally get to visit New Plymouth’s much loved and awarded new bridge on its coastal walkway. And it is a sensation, evoking the rolling waves so close by. It is wonderful to see a bridge that goes way beyond utilitarian and is dedicated entirely to pedestrians and cyclists. On a gloriously sunny and calm autumn day, it was a magical scene which left me in awe at the beauty of the district where we live.