cut flowera narcissus chrysanthemums

In a Vase on Monday- Rain and Way Early Narcissus

I was envying all the scented Spring flowers that are flowering now in the Northern hemisphere, with the Calianthus finished the Autumn flowers are lovely but not so strongly scented. And then after 210 mm (8 inches) of rain in the last 2 weeks, up popped the newly planted ‘Grand Monarch’ narcissus and one or two others of the ‘Paper White’ type narcissi. These were only planted less than a month ago. Weird having Spring bulbs while the Dahlia and Salvia and Chrysanthemums are still going strong.

narcissus grand monarch

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cut flowers anemone dahlia chrysanthemum

In a Vase on Monday – Autumn Glory

Well, I ran out of light tonight, which I thought might happen so I took a few photos in the bright morning sun before leaving the coast. After years of carrying flowers back in jars and buckets and milk bottles, I finally realised the chilly bin (esky) is an obvious solution to keep them cool and prevent spills in the car. So I emptied all the feijoas and peppers into a box and packed in the flowers.

cut flower transport

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anemones dahlia and penstomon

In a Vase on Monday – Anemones with other pastels

It’s been another lovely Autumn weekend. Thankfully my finger was healed enough to get a big size glove over it and I was able to finish my garden tidy up and bulb planting. The Anemones are wildly flowering – a huge row of them all like soft cotton pleats and ruffles. And the first of my random seedling dahlias has flowered! Although it’s parent was a rather garish raspberry ripple this one is a smaller soft lemon and white. Probably nothing for the show bench but perfect for me.

dahlia and pelargonium cut flowers

In contrast to the wild colours in the garden right now, I’ve tried to keep the colours soft and quiet so as not to overpower the anemones. Pelargonium Appleblossom Rosebud which I used to have years ago, and recently got again from C’s aunt, who has a garden full of wonderful things, is doing brilliantly under the lime trees, so I picked quite a few of these.

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edging shovel

A new tool, the edging shovel

Edging spadeI’m happy to welcome a new tool to the family, one I have been wanting for a while. I bought it as an ‘edging shovel’ but it seems more like a edging spade to me. It’s much easier to use than a normal digging spade – heavier and more stable to stand on, and easy to get a standard depth. Hopefully this will help to keep the grass out of the garden.

I’m sure that grass all over the world prefers to grow into the garden where it can avoid being mowed, but here in NZ we have an African grass known as ‘Kikuyu Grass’. It seems to be able to survive anywhere, creating a springy green mat even in a dry hot summer on sand. It’s useful in paddocks to provide summer grass for stock, although it’s tough and not that good to eat. And it can spread across a meter or more in days. Left on its own it will bring down most garden plants and even shrubs. The only natural thing that knocks it back is heavy shade or frosty weather.

C keeps it under control by mowing it into a lawn, but what happens is that the lawn gets bigger and the garden shrinks. My rock and wood borders leave overgrown areas which are hazards for the lawnmower. Now as we wait for a new lawnmower part to come from Italy, I am trying this 45 degree edging procedure described by Meg Ruffman.

Bulbs and bionics

It has been a beautiful Autumn weekend. We slept well in the cool night, enjoyed the first Sugar Baby watermelon with grapes and zucchini fritters for lunch, and felt very lucky to be here. Monarch butterflies are floating around and the bees are enjoying the late summer flowers. The vegetable garden is doing as well as can be expected, so I concentrated on planting the first of my bulb orders in this perfect sunny weather.
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Dahlias Chat Noir and Akita cut flowers

In a Vase on Monday – Chat Noir and Akita

Akita is definitely badly behaved, even more so than last year. In the torrential rain this weekend I did find that the flopping upside down flowers provide an exotic rain shelter for bumble bees. By contrast, even after 4 inches of rain last week the Chat Noir Dahlias looked pretty good – just a few spots on some of the petals.

Dahlia Chat Noir Macro

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Breakfast for Bees

I was surprised the other morning as I walked around the garden listening and looking to see what the bees were enjoying most this week. Hundreds of bees were leaving and returning to the hive, ignoring the blazing mass of goldenrod, dahlias, coreopsis, and heleniums I have planted, not to mention the masses of wild carrot and thistles which have edged in to take advantage of the new compost.

The blue mist and the sedums down the driveway were happily filled with bumble bees, but not many honeys. When I arrived at the Louisa plum trees the reason was clear, fruit was the breakfast choice. On the tree and on the ground, the overripe and bird-pecked plums were full of bees. Not a wasp in sight, only bees.

bees on bird pecked fruit plums

I haven’t seen this before, but several things are different this year. We have had unusual cold weather – it’s now been now confirmed that it has been 1 degree colder than the norm this summer. We also have seen none of the Vespula wasps which often infest the area at this time of year. And it’s the first year that the Louisas have had a good crop of fruit.

Later in the day, as C was cooking second breakfast, the bees were having lunch in the asters.

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