Our neighbour dropped by on the weekend with these beautiful dark red Magnolia flowers. Given that many of the well known dark red magnolias were bred here in New Zealand by the Jury family, I guess this may be Vulcan, or one of the hybrids descended from it. The flowers are enormous, and immediately suggested the addition of close relation, a Michelia, adding both beauty and scent.
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.
We have had 3 frosts in a row now, good hard ones, and one a couple weeks ago, which burnt the leaves of my cutting grown hibiscus and plumbago.
The original plants I took the cuttings off are still blooming in the city, so obviously it’s a lot colder here. I’m glad, it will knock back the bugs and kikuyu grass. The weather has been fabulous of course, clear and really warm during the day.
I planted more penstemon Hidcote Pink in the Coral Garden, moved a sucker of Nik’s rose which is a single wine coloured rugosa up to the Mabel garden, and weeded around the Chartreuse de Parme. It usually gets miners lettuce coming up around it, but maybe it was too weedy, or maybe too dry, there’s none I could see.
I found a Margaret Merrill rose almost dead on the driveway, covered with a pile of weeds. I’ve moved it to the new garden on the upper Dorothy path next to an Iceberg, which is still flowering beautifully. This rose is growing on an area where I’ve thrown weeds over the last couple years, and it has made all the difference in improving the soil.
Yesterday I planted some ‘Happy Cherub’ lavender (Stoechas) and Arabian Nights Lavender (English), under the Fig tree at the start of the upper Dorothy path.
Also more Grevillia: Drummer Boy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and a light green one, rosmarinifolius, which is similar, around the Feijoas on the upper Dorothy path.
I have split up some of the small yellow flowered knifophia and planted them at the start of the Jack path. I will add some more of the burnt Orange, which have just finished flowering.
We also bought another Jack Hum Crabapple and a Golden Hornet. I will move a couple of the accidental cutting grown plums off the driveway and replace them with these. I will add some compost at the same time as the soil is terrible there.
I bought 5 more Kowhai, the coastal one, Chathamica. The others are doing well so far.
A Litchfield Angel rose, which I’m not sure where to plant, and a bunch of Keith Hammet dahlias on sale, Mystic Magic, Mystic Enchantment, and Seeker, which have dark leaves and will go in the nightTime garden along with 2 dark leaved Heuchera – Black Taffeta.
We also bought a Maroochydore Macadamia as a companion for our other unnamed one given to us by a neighbour.
Last but not least, I bought 2 Osmanthus fragrans, which are supposed to smell wonderful in Winter. The are a relative of the olive, and I think the leaves can be used for tea. They look a bit like baby holly trees. They should grow to a shrub or small tree, and need nice soil and moisture – so I’m not quite sure where they are going yet.