Ewen's garden

A collection of columns, paintings and photographs about gardening on an offshore island in New Zealand.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Festive season

With the flowering of the pohutukawa and the kanuka, it is unmistakably the festive season, although the weather may have had us believing we were in for a white Christmas! Our rather small pohutukawa has been flowering brilliantly this season. Also throwing a festive air across our deck are two lilies, Lilium longiflorum and Lilium regale. The former of the two has pure white highly scented trumpets, with slightly yellow throats. L.regale, while white on the inside, is blushed with red on the outside of the petals, it too has a delicious scent. These two lilies were always cut for Christmas arrangements on the farm.
I have started a new tradition, using flax flower heads; I have created an outside Christmas tree. I did this last year, but the flowers had finished leaving just the black seed pods. This year though, the flowers have not finished and we have a mixture of red flowers and black seed pods, I think it is very effective. Another time I have thought, manuka, Leptospermum scoparium would also make a good Christmas tree, with its white blooms and rather pine like scent. The trick would be to get a specimen to flower right at the correct time. I know they have mostly finished by Christmas. I then thought if you could find a sport that flowered at the appropriate time; if it was trimmed it would make the perfect wee tree. Ah well something for the back burner!
The strawberries in the garden have been a bit of a disappointment this season, I suspect the reason to be because I used pea straw mulch and the extra nitrogen has encouraged them to produce leaves and not fruit. While the plants are looking great, I really ought to put some potash around them. This would encourage the plants to flower and not produce such lush foliage and it is the fruit for the pancakes that I really want!
Well just a short note this week, the rain is gently caressing the garden with the water it desperately needs, and I have a million things to do before next week. I hope everyone has a marvellous Christmas and all are safe.


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