I have so enjoyed walking around the garden during the winter months. The season has passed very quickly and now everywhere you look, there are signs of spring. One damp, grey day when I was looking through an old gardening book that had been passed on to me, I came across some folded newspaper cuttings. These are from The Press (our local newspaper), dated ‘May 10 1947’. One article is called ‘Garden Notes’ (Specially Written for “The Press”), by
T.D. Lennie, F.I.H., N.Z. The article includes a general list of ‘to do’ things, followed by notes on ‘In the Greenhouse’, ‘The Fruit garden’, and ‘Vegetable garden’. A further cutting of ‘Garden Notes’ in May of the same year follows the same format and includes ‘Answer to Correspondent’.
A plant that has been flowering for some weeks, Correa reflexa ‘Granny’s Grave’, was planted last summer. We planted a group of three at the edge of the garden where they are spilling over the low brick wall; the plant being prostrate in form. The correas, which are native to Australia and drought-tolerant once established, were bought from the Mercervale Nursery at Waitepeka. There is plenty of info and images online, but I would like to mention the origin of the plant. The name ‘Granny’s Grave’ refers to an area on the foreshore at Warrnambool, which is a city along the Ocean Road in Australia, where Mrs James Riddleston is buried. She was the first white woman to be buried in Victoria. There is actually a grave there and it is a local tourist attraction.
A shrub that is good all year around is Viburnum japonicum, which has red berries well into winter. Suitable in sun or part shade, V. japonicum will withstand fairly dry conditions.
Photo 1: Viburnum japonicum showing its autumn-winter berries. Photo by Sue Dromgoole
Photo 2: An unnamed camellia. Given to me as a very small piece nearly thirty years ago, this has been flowering for at least a month, and there are still flowers to come. Photo by Margaret Long
Photo 3: Reflections in the side pond. Photo by Juliet Nicholas
Photo 4: Reflections in the front pond. Photo by Juliet Nicholas
I have always wanted to grow the whitebeam, Sorbus aria ‘Lutescens’ and last week we planted one in a space where we lost a large tree earlier this year. The sorbus is a small to medium-growing tree, and will fill the space nicely, with its silvery grey-green foliage accompanying the silvery grey foliage of the nearby buddleias, Buddleia ‘Nanho Blue’.
Green Goddess Dressing: Marilyn McRae
New season’s avocados are in and reasonably priced. Try this dressing or sauce with roast vegetable salads, green salads, on tacos or with chicken dishes. Endless options to explore!
1 small avocado, peeled and stoned, roughly chopped
1/4 c whole egg mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp capers
4 tbsp herbs (chives, parsley, tarragon, basil, etc)
1 spring onion, sliced
Put all ingredients into a blender or whizz and blitz until reasonably smooth, but with a little texture. Taste and season with more lemon juice if necessary and salt and pepper.
Best wishes for spring gardening and visiting,
Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.
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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061