December 2018

Hello Everyone

December 2018

I am often asked about the origin of the name of our garden, Frensham. Many people have thought that the garden is named after the Frensham School for girls which is in the Southern Highlands of NSW in Australia. The garden is named after the rose ‘Frensham’ which was my father’s favourite rose.

I came across an interesting piece of information about the girls’ school Frensham in my readings recently. Frensham’s founder, Miss Winifred West, was a keen gardener and built a magnificent garden there. Many of her pupils went on to design and build their own gardens. Irises are awarded for achievement at Frensham. A fascinating piece of horticultural information.

In October I travelled on the tour to Tasmania, led by Stan Smith, with the itinerary being prepared by Stan and me the year before. We had a very amiable group of fellow travellers, many having travelled with me over the years. I highly recommend a visit to Tasmania with its wide range of gardens, beautiful and varied scenery, quiet roads, friendly people and excellent food. One of the gardens that we visited was the Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. We were told that there are 900 known species of rhododendron in the world and that 500 of these grow in this garden. It is the largest outdoor collection of rhododendron species in the world. The garden is owned and run by volunteers.

At the beginning of November we planted Rhododendron Itham Yellow and Rhododendron Kings Cream in the woodland garden near the drive. A group of three Rhododendrons Lily No 7 have also been added. I grew one of these many years ago and lost it after about fifteen years. Growing to about 1.5 metres, this rhododendron with its peachy pink flowers can grow in full sun. Its unique feature is that it has no stamens.

I am trying to find some Betula pendula ‘Trost’s Dwarf’, the miniature version of Betula pendula, with foliage rather like a Japanese maple. Does anyone know where I can get these? They are going to go in our new rock garden.

At present I am enjoying reading “A Garden of Memories” by the late plant hunter and gardener, Collingwood Ingram. He introduced many plants from his travels, one being Rubus tridel ‘Benenden’, named after his garden at The Grange in Benenden, England. Collingwood was known as ‘Cherry’ Ingram as he was an authority on Japanese flowering cherries.

It has been unseasonally wet here, as it has been in many other parts of the country. However the rain is preparing the large trees well for the hot dry summer which we are forecast to have. And the roses and rhododendrons are looking exceptionally beautiful this year.

Photo 1: Alstroemeria ‘Red Baron’, Rose ‘Colourbreak’ and red poppies about to flower, with a dwarf berberis in the foreground. M.Long

Photo 2: One of the pink flowering phlomis, not seen as often as the yellow flowering phlomis, ‘Russeliana’. Lesley

Photo 3: Does anyone know the name of this plant which flowers in one of the troughs in mid-December? M.Long

Elderflower Cordial

  • 30 elderflower clusters
  • 1.5l water
  • 1.5kg sugar
  • 3 large lemons
  • 50g citric acid

Put clusters in bowl, preferable one that can hold five litres of liquid. Scrub the lemons under hot water, slice them and add to clusters. Bring the water to the boil, and add citric acid and sugar. Pour the hot water into the bowl containing the clusters and lemon slices. Cover the bowl with a lid and rest three days. Strain liquid and pour into bottles. Store in fridge.



About Frensham

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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Quick Contact

139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061

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