May 2019

Hello Everyone

May 2019

It is that very soft and colour-enriched time of the year, when people and plants start to slow down. I can watch endlessly as autumn colours enhance our lives. Pumpkin, quinces, peaches, courgette flowers, apples and corn are a few of the foods that come to mind. Leaves are changing into many autumnal colours and many of these leaves are starting to fall, providing a rich ground cover. It is also the time when we ‘squirrel’ more as we store foods, in order that they may be enjoyed in the bleak winter months. Marilyn’s recipe this month is a chutney; one of the many types of foods that can be made with autumnal pickings.
Marilyn, our recipe writer, whom many of you will have met in our garden over the years, also provides stunning flower and foliage arrangements which sit on the garden bench and can be seen through the garden shed window as visitors arrive. The photo of the arrangement was taken outside so that the detail could be captured fully.

Photo 1. Arrangement and photo by Marilyn McRae.

I read somewhere that instead of planting our gardens, and choosing material from a variety of areas for the bouquet, the reverse could be considered. Flowers and foliage are picked at random, with the idea that they “go together”, thus providing something pleasing to look at. How about creating a garden with the combinations of plant material in the bouquet or vase?

Photo 2: Hesperantha coccinea in the foreground with Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ behind, make a superb autumn show. J. Nicholas.

Photo 3: Leaves on the dwarf apricot trees are turning yellow, while Rosa ‘L.D.Braithwaite’ flowers to the left. The berries are starting to redden on the four standard Ilex hendersonii. J. Nicholas.

Photo 4: Viburnum japonicum is a great plant to grow in tough situations. Here it is planted near a window so that the rich red autumn berries can be enjoyed from inside and outside. J. Nicholas.

Photo 5: A closer look at the berries on the viburnum. J. Nicholas.

Photo 6: An early autumn collection. M. Long.

A plant worth growing is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’. I had one of these originally, but added two more to form a grouping. This deciduous witch hazel shrub, will grow to about two metres, has rich crimson foliage, and copper-red fragrant flowers in winter. It can be grown in quite an open sunny position.

Photo 7: A reader informed me of two errors in my last newsletter. Iris ‘gracchus’ should have been this image.

Photo 8: The iris that I showed as Iris crysographes should have in fact been Iris tuberosa. M. Long.

Apple and Walnut Chutney: Marilyn McRae

This recipe is great for those who can’t eat onions and yet enjoy eating chutneys.
Really nice with oatcakes, seed crackers or toasted sourdough and a nutty or hard cheese or as an addition to a cold meat platter

  • 2 kg apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g raisins, roughly chopped
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 kg brown sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons

Place the apples, raisins, cloves, vinegar and walnuts in a large pot and cook over a medium heat until the apples are soft. Add the sugar and zest and juice of the oranges and lemons. Simmer until thick and spoon into hot, clean jars and screw on the lids when cool.



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

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