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Friday 14th December, 2018
Food... For Want of a Better Title.
Chicken Breast pockets
I am one of those cooks that look in the fridge and think what can I make to use that left over bacon or vege before it's use by date. You guessed it, generally I just make it up and hope that it works. Now I know that if I want to do something special then I will follow a recipe or will peruse some Dish magazines (a subscription that a dear friend gave me) until I find something that suits what I have in the house .....or LOL adapt it so that it does suit!
The other night I had taken some chicken breasts out and decided to stuff them and use the last of the bacon by wrapping them. Too easy, I sliced the chicken breast in half leaving the edge still intact like a pocket. Looked in the fridge and found some left over sun dried tomatoes from another time (not really sure how long they had been there) and so chopped them up and into my chicken pocket.
Then it was... mmm, gosh, there isn't much else here to add, until I spied a small block of Haloumi cheese, well maybe, so in went the next layer of slices of this firm cheese into the pocket.
It was then that I remembered the French Tarragon I had just recentlyput in the garden. Off I went to grab as much as the small plant would allow, chopped and added to the cheese and sun dried tomatoes... take the bacon rashers and wrap the whole breast to close the opening.. I used two pieces on each breast salt and pepper to the top and into the oven to roast.
Finally I made up a Tomato sauce using a homemade tomato pesto sauce, to which I added a can of diced tomatoes. I have to say that the chicken was delicious but it was the french tarragon that stood out as the flavour.
I think that French Tarragon is just the best... and you have to have this. You know its the real McCoy when you nibble on a fresh leaf and it slightly numbs you tongue. Russian tarragon doesn't cut the mustard.
French tarragon needs full sun and good draining soil to do well but it isn't a strong grower and will often not come back after a wet winter. It needs consistent lifting and replanting, once a year in the spring should do, to renew its vigour, finally it doesn't grow from seed and so plants only come from division. It's well worth flavouring oil with french tarragon so that you have the flavour to use throughout the winter.
I find that I use tarragon with many dishes as the flavour is quite distinctive. What other herbs would you prefer with your chicken pockets?
There is a superb collection of the maples here from the big stately sugar maples with the classic maple leaf shape and stunningly vivid autumn colour displays to the dainty Japanese dissected maples with leaves like lace. All Maples are deciduous so they loose their leaves for winter. They come in upright varieties and many weep but their main claim to fame is their four seasons of colour. Their leaves change colour from their new leaf in spring to the mature summer leaf, then the amazing autumn colours show and finally, when all the leaves have fallen, the bark patterns and colours are seen in all their beauty.
Guillermo was working amongst the ornamental trees, pruning where required, spacing the trees out for more growth room and generally cleaning up the area. He reported to me later that there were some really awesome maples there and he particularly liked the snake bark varieties.
Snake bark maples have interesting bark that is kinda striped like perhaps a snake skin, well maybe if you use your imagination but the selected form of Cream Splash has lovely cream markings on its leaves. I quite fancy this tree myself as I do quite like cream variegation on trees and plants.
There is another cultivar of snake bark maple out there called Gracefield which does have quite interesting stem markings on rich green bark. These have a good solid green leaf and will colour into vivid oranges as we go into the Autumn.
Acer Rubrum is another species of maple, this one has the classic maple shaped leaf and the most amazing vibrant Autumn colours, it forms quite a handsome tree.
Hedges of the smaller kind
There are hedge plants like Buxus that can be kept trimmed formally that most are aware of but there are a whole raft of plants that can be useful for creating rooms and spaces within the garden. A medium sized hedge across a section frontage could be allowed to grow to a metre or thereabouts, or to screen of the vege garden. Many gardens have informal hedges that maintain an outline of a garden area, this may breach the gap between lawn and garden plants for ease of mowing or intersect areas of a garden to define them.
Hydrangeas are often used for making a border/hedge of a more informal kind and look amazing when in full flower. There is such a wide array of flower shape and colour to choose from, not to mention that they flower for such a long time. They have a rounded shape that lends them easily to the formation of an informal hedge and they grow very uniformly in size so they make a natural hedge when planted together that doesn't need clipping until leaf drop.
Lavender Dentatamakes an awesome colourful, bee attracting hedge for a bright sunny garden space. I noticed in the nursery yesterday, when I was putting some Lavender supers away, that we had quite a few of this french lavender of a smaller grade and ideal for planting as a hedge. Dentata has a toothed leaf form and is very fragrant when touched. Nearly always in flower but remember must still keep it trimmed to keep in form as a hedge LOL may mean sacrificing a few flowers though.
Escallonias make a mean medium size hedge and flowers are a bonus. Snowbud likes being in good light and has an attractive shiny green leaf and as you would guess white flowers are the bonus, or if you prefer pink flowers Apple Blossom is a great option. Trim after flowering to keep in shape or as you need .
Red Elf another one for hedging but this one with reddish pink flowers. Same as Snowbud it likes a position that has good light.
Cant eat me if you don't plant me! Gold and Orange Kumara, do it.
For those of you who have put your kumara in already, well done! If you haven't put yours in yet then there is still time for planting. We have both Gold and Orange varieties available still, all the red are gone, the slips are looking great and enjoying the warmer weather. There won't be anymore after these bundles are gone this year so give them a go and get your kumara in the ground now. We can freight up to 4 bundles for just $8 freight throughout NZ but couriers will be slowing down shortly for the Xmas season so see if your neighbours want some too and get your orders in asap.
Easy to grow, get them in the ground now and grow a crop to keep you going through the winter. Harvest before any frost and then cure the skins in the sun so that they keep for a long time.
Its still perfect weather for kumara planting with this constant moisture that seems to keep falling from the sky... check out our How To page for info on growing these beauties.
Vouchers and Gift Ideas
Wairere Vouchers are something that we have available all year round. They can be purchased as a physical card to add to a basket or gift or you can have them sent direct to an email or phone as an e-voucher. It can be the perfect gift for sending a gardening friend as they get to choose the plants that suit their garden and space.
Of course there are products other than plants, such as tools, plant food, pots, soil conditioners,that can also be purchased with the vouchers. If you have missed your chance to send the plant you want to the a voucher is the next best thing.
We are often asked for a mid price range of tools as the ARS range that we stock can be considered a bit pricey if you think of secateurs as just secateurs, but when you have lots of pruning to get through over summer and autumn and your secateurs from last season are a bit blunt then you will know how hard the job becomes, especially if you are better at gardening that sharpening your blades, but after you have used the ARS range of tools you won't want to use anything else. These are high quality tools made from the highest grade of steel to keep their sharp edge, they are comfortable in the hand and they reduce the effort and discomfort that comes with long use of any pruning tool. This range of secateurs, saws, shears and loppers are the tools most gardeners should work towards having on hand for any pruning work. We use only this range in the nursery as they are the most reliable and dependable tools for our staff to get the job done with the least downtime.
Secateur pouches are great for your ARS secateurs if you are worried you will lose them. They attach easily to your belt, they are made of leather for durability and comfort and they are a great way to ensure your secateurs are always just an arm length away at all times.
A good fork and trowel set are always handy as they are great for container plant maintenance, vege planting and care or just for cleaning the smaller, tricky areas of the annual bed. Ours are made of tough stainless steel with attractive solid wooden handles that are shaped for comfort and ease of use.
Japanese Hoe's are just the thing for garden maintenance, they glide easily round your plants cutting of the weed roots as you go with ease, these are again made with quality steel, solid wood handles and come in both left and right hand options or long handled for the big jobs.
There is quite a good range of pots and many here are 50% off perhaps team up a pot with a plant, rose or even a standard rose as we still have the most amazing range available. The hydrangeas are looking absolutely beautiful at the moment and these can be potted or put in the garden.
We always have a pretty good range of plants with reduced prices available and you can find them by checking out our Sale and Family Deals pages.
We currently have a draw you can enter by shopping at Wairere Nursery either online or in store. There are two $100 vouchers to be won, one for in store shoppers and one for online shoppers. Online shoppers are entered automatically but in store shoppers need to make sure we have your name and contact phone or email so we can contact you if you are the winner. There are clipboards in the shop where you can fill in your details. Every $50 dollars spent will gain you 1 entry into the draw and all shoppers will have 1 entry entered up to the first $50. The draw will close at midnight 20th December and be drawn on 21st December and winners will be notified by either phone or email. We will also post First name and locale of winners on facebook after the winners have been notified.
Prunus or flowering cherries and selected Camellias are discounted by 30% also so if you have a hedge or tree line you have been thinking about then now is a good time to get your plants in. This includes both high and low grafted plants. Low grafts are great if you want your tree to have a fully furnished appearance such as a specimen tree while the high grafts are great for instant height situations or for drive lining so vehicles can drive beneath them or as a lovely shade tree to put a seat under.
Its probably easiest to pop out with a trailer if you are looking at the fruit trees and flowering cherries as they would all have had a good growth spurt and wouldn't be suitable for courier delivery.
There is nothing like having a live tree at Christmas to put all those pressies underneath and Ange has been very decorative with the trees we bought in as options for those of you who prefer live trees for Christmas. Cut trees moult quickly unless you feed them with sugar water which of course brings the ants, well in Hamilton it does at least, and then you have to find a way to dispose of it when the celebrations are over. A live tree in a container will server it's purpose for many years possibly just needing a repot occasionally and some feed if kept in the container. Check out the selection still available below or click the links to view on our website. Remember though that when the season of jolly is over you need to put your plants back outside for the light, they won't live for long if you keep them indoors.
Pinus mugo this one is a dwarf pine tree. A small pot and a few decs and suitable as a table top feature.
Pinus pinea you could use these temporarily as a table top Christmas tree with the plan to plant them out later or just grow it in a pot until it gets bigger.
Picea abies Norway spruce. It's branches typically droop and it gets the largest cones. Currently a good table top size.
Picea Smithiana still small enough for a table top tree but gets big so would be a good bonsai option if you want to keep it in a pot. If you have the room to plant this then you will have a beautiful Christmas tree for years to come.
Picea Sitchensis a bit big for the table now but great in a corner of the room for a few days over Christmas.
Cedrus Deodara has a slightly different leaf texture to the pinus and picea trees giving a different texture.
Thuja Smaragd and Pyramidalis, whilst not so cone shaped and rather more columnar is certainly a conifer suitable for being in a pot and could go in the garden afterwards.... or not... Quite a fresh green colour and would look rather cool with some tinsel and baubles.
Norfolk pine or Araucaria Heterophylla could a pretty cool and unique Christmas tree. If you plant it out in the paddock just know that you will have a very tolerant and wind hardy tree with that perfect layer formation that is so distinctive of this tree.
Brazillian pine.. could be pretty interesting just mind the ends of the leaves if you are hanging tinsel and shiny balls on the branches.. also a pretty hardy large tree for an open space.
Last chance for pre Christmas delivery.
Our last days for dispatch by courier prior to Christmas are Monday 17th and maybe Tuesday 18th of December.
No deliveries between Christmas and New Year. Courier deliveries will commence again Tue 7th or Wed 8th of Jan depending on the volume of orders.
Next week will be the final dispatch via trucks for the year, these will recommence sometime later in January and of course I will let you all know via our newsletter and facebook.
Holiday opening hours - usual hours 8.30am to 5pm, 7 days except Christmas day.
One last full week and then its holiday mode for everyone. I guess that many will at least be adding the Monday between the weekend and the stats to make for a good long weekend... well who wouldn't... then add the Thur and Friday and it becomes a holiday of note. I imagine that this last coming week will be a frantic one as everyone rushes to get everything done before Christmas... take this weekend to relax before the onslaught.