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Friday 17th May, 2019
There have been a few birthdays happening around here... spring time is s frisky time, obviously, and not just for plants... of which I am still picking up the harvests. How do I know, well there has been a flurry of cake baking happening around the place. First up was home made brownies courtesy of Alex which didn't last long here. It's just as well our work here is quite physical, well at least for most of us, as a couple of days later Sue fronted with a classy looking Plum and White chocolate shortcake complete with whipped cream. I asked if I could have the recipe to share as it was so good. I only just managed to get a pic before it was all devoured.
Now this recipe is a stunner for all of those like Sue that have a stash of Black Doris plums (such a great reason to be planting an orchard or at least a plum tree or three) in the freezer ready to use in delicious cooking, but as Sue said to me you could make this with any drained fruit, blueberries, apples, nectarines or peaches... options are limitless.
Beat in 1 egg, 1 teaspoon Vanilla and the grated rind of a lemon or orange
Add 2.5 cups of plain flour and 2.5 teaspoons baking powder and mix together
Spread half the mixture into the base of a round cake pan. Layer with drained fruit and white chocolate, then dot the remaining mixture on top
Bake for approx 45 mins at 180 degrees C. When cool dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream or vanilla yoghurt.
Whilst on the subject of baking, my dad, Pete, used to make a Feijoa and coconut cake for the guys when we were frantically potting roses and it was so good.. I have to say that it was a fav with me as not only do I love feijoa, but coconut too. The other night, for Mother's Day dinner, I made Pete's cake myself for the first time... LOL don't often get time to bake... So, so good, check the link out and make it yourself, especially while we are all in a glut of fruiting feijoa.
Get organised for your selections
Last week I wrote about the awesome Open day at Growing Spectrum wholesale nursery and there was an interesting fact thrown at us from the General Manager. Going back not so many years growers grew what plants they thought the market would like, but it was all on spec. The figures were something like 80% of the crops produced were shown to the retailers by reps and 20% of the crop was for indented order. These days the figures are reversed and we as retailers have to pre-order their crops otherwise we miss out.
We also have to keep up with the times and so we offer these different genus of plants with due dates in mind and are finding that customers that want certain cultivars are online ordering theirs too!!
The main season for Camellias, for example, is April and we know well in advance what we will have to offer and the same goes for Citrus, Fruit trees, Roses and even many of the perennial lines.
To that end our main season of that southern hemisphere family of Proteas and the like, typically Aussie or South African, which we have had on indent, since the cows came home, have arrived. Some of these have been backordered and we will be sending out emails to those people, otherwise check this group of new arrivals online.
The name Protea was derived by Carl Linnaeus from the name of the Greek god Proteus. A deity that was able to change between many forms which is an appropriate image for this family of plants. Proteaceae plants are renown for their astonishing range of variety and diversity of flowers and leaves.
I probably wrote some of this last year but its still fascinating to be reminded as members of this family of plants have evolved to grow in poor dry and phosphorous deficient soils... so the perfect plant for poor sandy soils that get all day sun and one could almost say the perfect plant for hardy and low maintenance gardens, you don't even need to feed them, LOL. I imagine that they will respond to some organic matter and if you do need to feed them then make sure you only use a phosphorus free fert. of which there are not so many on the market.
Their Proteoid roots make them susceptible to Phytopthera or water borne fungal infection so when we say well drained and sandy soils it does mean exactly that but like all plants most average positions will suit.
Leucadendrons. Lets start with the colourful bracts of Leucadendrons commonly known, though not by me, as cone bush after the fact that the cones hold the seeds. These are typically shrubby by nature and there are a myriad of colourful bracts that attract us all. Often used as cut flowers because of their long shelf life and the plant benefits from being cut back after flowering to keep it compact and bushy.
Proteas are probably my favourite as I just love the flowers particularly of the nerifoilia specie forms. Again so suited to the cut flower market due to their longevity in the vase. I love the shape of the flowers and the feathery fluffy black tips that they tend to have.
Then there are the cynaroides form or king proteas with their huge and wide open flowers. Must be called King proteas because the flowers are so grand. As with the leucos. prune back the bush after flowering.
Banksias typically have candle like flowers that the birds like... Banksia integrifolia is the large tree with the classic flowers that many plant for the Tuis but there are many more smaller and shrubby forms with similar flowers though in different shade of orange creams and yellow.
Grevilleaswe probably all know these with their typical spidery flowers from brightly coloured reds, yellows and sometimes even a mix of both. Grevilleas tend to have spiky foliage and can be everything from groundcovers to shrubs or even trees. No prizes for guessing that these love the same conditions as all the protacacae, those hot dry sunny spots. Ever thought of putting in a Grevillea hedge?
We have our Camarosa strawberry 10 plant bundles back in stock. These plants are barerooted ready for planting. They are top and tailed already to encourage new growth when planted so they can grow your delicious crop next season. These are lovely strong looking strawberry plants and with this warm weather it won't take them long to settle into your strawberry beds.
Garlic. I've got a fair amount of garlic that I've harvested from last year so I've been cutting the top of the tips of the cloves and toss them in with the roast veges so the veges get that lovely garlic flavour and the piece de resistance is the sucking of the clove from the paper shell. All this just reminds me it's time to get your garlic in. Plenty of stocks still available of both Printanor and the gorgeous large Elephant cloves. Don't get me wrong, the Printanor is superbly flavoured, I'm just a sucker for the large cloves.
Boobliciousis a fundraising event held in Auckland to raise awareness of breast cancer with proceeds going to the breast cancer foundation and Hospice. You can find a link to this event on our facebookpage. Apparently I am supposed to be wearing a pink tutu to this event as I walk it, it might depend on whether there are roses to pot!!!
If you are out and about in the nursery in the weekend and wondering why there is a big empty area in the middle, it's because we are preparing for the new seasons roses to arrive. They are not far away now. Have you got your orders in yet? There are some gorgeous new season roses due to arrive, check them out here. Some of the names you will be familiar with, they are in the new section due to their new grafted form, either new as standard, pillar or weeper, the rest are new roses this season.