In a Vase on Monday – more Freesias

It’s a bit repetitive having Freesias and Iris again, but Freesias are available for such a relatively short season, and it’s so nice having the scent in the house.  I picked one Anemone as well, although they often fall apart in the car, however this one survived the journey. There were a couple Iris and a Black Diamond Tulip that made it through from last week’s vase, so I added these as well.


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mixed cut flowers

In a vase on Monday – ‘dark’ colours

I had forgotten the Japanese Iris, so I was blown away by this one appearing so long after the Dutch Iris have finished. It’s the first year it has flowered, and is growing in what I call the night time garden, not because it’s meant to be seen by night but because it’s a mix of dark colours, dark leaves, bright colours and white. (So it’s night time in the city – not so interesting if it was night time in the country which is  ‘dark as the inside of a cow’s stomach’ as they say here)

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Planting – foxgloves, jalapeños, sweet corn, beetroot, and Daikon

I’ve come inside now and left all my wet rain gear in the greenhouse to dry. It’s quite cold, but it seems wrong to have the heater on. I have given up and turned it on anyway.

Today I have planted Foxgove seeds in flats – Strawberry Merton and Pams, which is white with boysenberry blobs. I’ve also planted a flat of white cosmos, transplanted some scented geranium cuttings, and put the finished tulip bulbs to dry in the greenhouse.

I took some cornflower seeds off some tall blue ones at Lynn’s last week and planted them last weekend and they popped up right away. I put them in separate pots today although they only had their seed leaves. Same with the Jalapeños. I finally got the seed in last week from a dry one left from last year. On the hot pad they all came up right away so I separated them all into a flat so they will survive in the greenhouse over the week without water.

I’ve done a bit of hoeing between storms to get a place ready to plant beetroot- I have Golden Detroit and Detroit Dark Red and also Daikon to plant. The parsnips and carrots are up and weeded. Radishes seem to have been eaten.

Weeds and grass have grown so quickly over the last few weeks the grass is knee high in some places. Luckily the trees are shooting away too, the Feijoas and Pohutakawa have so much new growth they seem a third bigger.

I read about people who don’t mow any grass and I like the idea, but then every time you walk anywhere you would get soaked by wet grass, and it would squash all my little tiny plants – all the freesias, and saxifrages, and probably all the salvias and sun loving plants too. It almost seems like mowing is the only way to stop from being overgrown completely.

The bread seed poppies, which are a type of opium poppy are out with their fabulous graduated red and pink flowers. The plants themselves seem a bit spindley this year- I think they might need more lime or fert than the soil in the areas they popped up can provide.

The roses are looking good as well. The rugosas don’t seem to have the amount of scent I had expected but are finally doing better now that they are in better soil with fewer weeds. Before they were basically growing in clay and sand surrounded by long grass and they didn’t like it.

One lot of baby starlings seem to have grown up. I think it was them scrambling and scratching around on the roof this morning. At least one other lot are still babies and were crying noisily then and again now. This was fine since it was still cold last night and we had a snuggly sleep in the flannel sheets and were ready to get up.

The Scilla Natalensis have been lovely. I have 3 now and would like some more. They are a little like a blue eremurus, but shorter.

I would love to have foxtail Lillies but I have been told by Terry Hatch that they won’t flower. Not cold enough.

The deciduous azaleas  are still going, and the new Rhodo nuttallii have finished. Beautiful large white lilly shaped flowers, but not as strong a scent as I had hoped.

The light orange pokers (knifofia) by the gate are still looking good as well; I think they are shining sceptre, and the two new roses are looking lovely. The Compte de Champagne has lovely round goblet shaped flowers of a beatiful soft champagne colour. This is the Austin one to celebrate Tattinger, so it seems very appropriate.

On Sunday I planted the sweet corn, and one row of each beetroot and 2 rows of Daikon. We tied up the tomatoes, mowed the lawn and raked it up for the compost heap and planted a Black Mulberry and trimmed the hedge for the neighbours.

Sunrise 2 weeks After the shortest day

The sun has already started moving back. Today it was almost directly over the little valley- even slightly to the east of it. It’s amazing how quickly it changes. This month is the celebration of Matariki, when Matariki, the 7 sisters, or Subaru is supposed to be visible around sunrise. It was too bright to see by the time I went out.

When we build the house, I would like to be able to see the sunrise from bed, in winter.
In the kitchen the tea making counter should look to the little valley as well.