October 2021

Hello Everyone

October 2021

It is such a lively time of the year, with winter’s ways diminishing and the light becoming brighter.

As many of you know, all of my newsletters, dating back to February 2013, are archived on the website. While this is not the most ideal time for gardeners to sit down with much reading, I’d like to gently mention that you could go to the corresponding month’s newsletters for the past eight years, and there could be information which is relevant to what you are doing now. Newsletters are also enjoyed by people who are no longer gardening, and those who just enjoy looking at gardens.

I am reading Scent Magic: Notes from a Gardener by Englishwoman Isabel Bannerman. In her preface, the author refers to Englishman Roy Genders, ‘a prolific and rather forgotten post-war garden writer’ whom she often referred to on scented flowers. I happen to have several of Roy’s books, passed on to me by a gardening friend. The one that I am referring to just now is Pears Encyclopaedia of Gardening: Fruit and Vegetables edited Roy. In this book Roy gives great insight into the growing of specific fruits and vegetables, all of the information being relevant today. This book was first published in 1973.

Roy writes in detail about cultivation and growing of many fruits and vegetables and we refer to this book at times, even though we’ve been growing vegetables for years. Interesting snippets include: ‘Lettuce is one of the oldest edible plants, the earliest variety being the Roman lettuce, which records show was grown in the gardens of the Popes at Avignon during the fourteenth century’.

Radish: ‘ …it was as hors d’oeuvre that they were most used in Tudor days, “as a stimulant before meat, giving an appetite thereunto”’.

We Like to Garden is a podcast for beginners,  created by gardening beginners from Christchurch, Greer Grenfell and Libby Fulton, who share a passion for all things gardening. The format is chatty and informal – a conversation between two old friends. Topics range from gardens they’ve visited together, pruning, soil care, interviews, mental health and everything in between. Greer and Libby hope that their listeners feel that they are part of the conversation too.

Photo 1: Camellia ‘Itty Bit’ has been growing in our garden for many years. An evergreen bred by the late Felix Jury from Taranaki, I highly recommend this small-flowering camellia.

Photo 2:  One of Marilyn’s gorgeous summer arrangements. I have bought a number of old fashioned vases on TradeMe.

Photo 3: The Frensham rose after which our garden is named. I don’t see this grown often. It’s an excellent picker.

Photo 4: Allium sphaerocephalum is much admired in our garden. It flowers at the end of December/early January. With its combination of wine and green, it is much admired by visitors.

Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb: Marilyn McRae

5 stems rhubarb, trimmed and cut diagonally into 5cm lengths
250g strawberries, hulled and halved
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp orange flower water
2 tbsp orange juice

Heat oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a baking tin with baking paper. Place fruit in an even layer in tin and sprinkle with the sugar. Drizzle with orange juice and orange flower water. Bake for 10-15 minutes until just tender. Set aside to cool. Use as a topping for yoghurt, serve with mascarpone, as a side with a lemon sour cream cake or to top your morning cereal!

Best wishes,


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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