March 2021

Hello Everyone

March 2021

As I write, autumn colours are appearing. It is that quietening-down time of the year when we feel, as gardeners, that we are ahead of the plants, not the other way around, as we feel in spring.

Yesterday in the garden, we made lists of things to do in the next few weeks.

We are going to plant groupings of Angelica gigas and Echinops ritro ‘Platinum Blue’in sunny spots, three Cytisus x kewensis, which will be close to where a group of Gladiolus tristis grows, and hostas have been divided and moved, being replanted with homemade compost to help them settle into their new places.

Rows of irises at the back of the vegetable garden are going to be moved forward so that we can replace box hedges that have died away as the hornbeam hedge has grow over them at the back of the vegetable garden, and an area in the woodland that is in need of some TLC is going to be weeded and composted, and the list goes on. I always feel a new energy in the garden at this time of the year.

I wrote about Angelica gigas in the newsletter of June 2018, which is archived on the website.

Cytisus x kewensis, described as ‘a semi-prostrate dwarf broom, with lightly scented creamy flowers in spring’ in Hokonui Alpine’s catalogue, from where I bought the plants, will be charming as they arch over the grey rocks at the bottom edge of the rock garden. As the name suggests, they were bred at Kew Gardens in London.

I wrote about  Gladiolus tristis in the November 2015 newsletter, again archived on the website.

Photo 1: At the end of the woodland garden. Vancouveria hexandra in the foreground has already retreated and Cornus pumila domes have made a good addition to this area. Photo by J. Nicholas

Photo 2: The autumn border with Michelmas daisies and coral-coloured Hesperantha which pick up the colour of the autumn reds of the star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides. Photo by J. Nicholas.

Photo 3: The live willow hedge is always admired; we get so much enjoyment from it. Photo by J. Nicholas.

Photo 4: Further along the willow hedge. Photo by J. Nicholas.

Earlier this month I went to the Christchurch Garden Festival which was held in the Botanic Gardens. It was a most enjoyable event and I highly recommend that you go next year.

It isn’t often that we have lovely events to look forward to in autumn. Autumn with Art in Gardens is being held for the first time in North Canterbury. For full info, see the website:

A Short Recipe for the Tail End of the Barbeque Season: Marilyn McRae

The recipe for this month is a perfect addition to the late-summer barbeque season… or for serving with drinks if the evening turns autumnal.

Mince approximately 300-400g warehou fillets in a blender or processor with a little chopped fresh ginger, peeled; a clove of garlic, roughly chopped; some chopped fresh chilli to taste; some lime or lemon zest and some Thai basil or mint leaves. Add a tbsp of rice flour (or ordinary if that’s all you’ve got) and an egg yolk to bind the mix. Scale up the ingredients for a larger batch.

Shape into fish cakes, bigger for the BBQ and smaller for serving with drinks.

The mix can be shaped and then chilled until required and it can be cooked in a pan with a little oil if you’re not barbequeing. Serve the small fish cakes on a baby spinach or basil leaf, the large with salads or in a burger.



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.

© Frensham. All rights reserved.

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

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