Frost – and Grevillias, Osmanthus and Macadamia

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.

Frost on driveway

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.

Grevillea Bonnie Prince Charlie

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.

Grevillea Rosmarinifolius

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.

Osmanthus Fragrans

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.

Miners lettuce Claytonia perfoliata

First Feed of Miner’s Lettuce this year

I love this winter salad green which seems to pop up in Winter the way it’s relative Common Purslane pops up in Summer, except that for us the summer version is much more ubiquitous (often called a weed, but also very nice in salads).

Miner’ lettuce pretty much stays where you put it, and can even die out if it gets too dry or overrun by weeds. If it’s growing well it’s thick – to harvest it you can just cut it off with scissors far enough above the ground to avoid any dirt. Claytonia perfoliata is its proper name.

Although it’s native to Canada where I grew up, I had never noticed it as a plant or a vegetable until I came to New Zealand. I imagined that the name ‘Miner’s Lettuce’ came from the shape of the leaves which are like a tiny shovel, but according to Wikipedia the leaves were a source of vitamin C for the California Gold Miners hence the name.

Also on the plate is another yummy veg, what we call ‘smashed parrot’, parsnips and carrots boiled together and mashed lightly with butter.