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Friday 8th September, 2017
You never think that its going to come around but the years, unmercifully, tick past and it was one of those birthdays (Harry's) ending in a zero that initiated the making of Yvonnes Never fail chocolate cake. A small soiree was planned with a group of friends, some good champagne to toast the passing of years. My faithful lasagne recipe that I always seem to make when we have a crowd..... after all one has to enjoy the party as well. Then there was a whole salmon topped with a caper and parsley crumb complemented by some large salads.
But it was the making of the chocolate cake that proved yet again that it was indeed foolproof as at the last minute Anthony decided that he was going to surprise Harry with a chocolate cake after the dinner. The recipe was printed off the website and all the ingredients were found in the cupboard. We decided that 23 inch tin should have been a 23 cm tin and for some reason I thought that the cake was a small one so in our wisdom we doubled the mixture.
Batter was made and the cake shoved into the oven at which point Anthony looked around to see that he had left one of the ingredients out. "Quick" I say "get that cake out of the oven before it starts to cook" so back into the bowl it went. The cup of cold coffee added, cake remixed and back into the oven.
doubling the mix wasn't such a smart idea as we ended up with the equivalent of another cake on the oven floor and raw mix oozing out of the oven door but hey the cake that was left in the tin was cooked to perfection.
I added too much cream to the chocolate ganache and so the cake was served with chocolate sauce flowing over the edges of the cake and was just delicious.
Its been a time for reflection as well, as its some 30 years that I first met Harry and that means the beginnings of Wairere Nursery some 25 years ago. Some of our clients from the early days may remember a house truck sitting on a scruffy but bare 3 acres of land. Then came a house and the large garden that was started around it. Herbs were the theme in the day and sold from a roadside stall and to the local garden centres. Next we specialised in old world roses and some of you may find it hard to believe that the actual nursery in its infancy was 3 or so metres lower than the now existing carpark.
Some of the changes over the years have been major like the addition of the new carpark, the cottage that Pete lived in and the villa that was moved onto the property. The nursery grew and grew and then surrounded Petes cottage and has stretched all the way to the villa. I am putting pics on facebook to represent the changes over the years, I'll post these over the next few weeks.
Our philosphy has always been to have the best product poissible and the best choice so that there is something for everyone and been able to ship the product almost anywhere in NZ.
Roses are still a mainstay though these days the range in all encompassing having grown from just old roses to all roses of all types. Specialising in Camelliaswas an easy choice for us as these are evergreen and basically flower at an opposite time to roses.
September is the season of the pretties, my slang for perennials. Horticulture is always a bit vague around its terms and a perennial tends to be a plant that may or may not die down but does grow back every year. Often perennials prefer a more sunny disposition but there are obvious exceptions like Hostas that prefer shade and moisture.
Delphiniums are a true perennial in that they do die down for the winter months but they do start growing back in the beginning of spring and each year the clump will get bigger and the flowers larger and better.
Astilbes (False goats beard) are another perennial that dies down for the winter and then the foliage appears each spring followed by attractive plumy like flowers. Astilbe (is the name that I know) are pretty easy perennials to grow tolerating full sun to partial shade but preferring a more moist spot in the garden. These are often used near ponds but equally at home in a well composted border garden.
New in this week
Viburnum macrocephalum, like a snow ball tree, well this could be said of many of the Viburnum. Opulus sterile is the one I would get you if asked for a snowball tree but macrocephalum is very similar but with a different leaf. I have a couple of these in the villa garden and they are just stunning when in full flower.
Viburnum pilcatum roseace and plicatum summer snowflake both have flat shaped flowers of the viburnum genus and the plicatum species have a more layered shrub look wirth all those gorgeous flowers kind of sitting on the layers... Roseace has a pink blush and summe snowflake is obviously white.
Trilobum has been given the common name Cranberry Viburnum because those flat shaped flowers are followed by bright red berries that persist intyo the winter giving more interest throughout the year.
Rhaphiolepis are reasonably drought tolerant once established and are happy on the coast. They can tolerate light to medium frost but not really cold wet conditions. Good for planting in groups on banks or can be used for hedging.
Rhaphiolepis fergusonii - commonly known as Indian Hawthorn, Rhaphiolepis fergusonii is a compact evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and small white fragrant flowers from late winter to spring. Easy to grow in a sunny spot in the garden.
Rhaphiolepis umbellata - A dense rounded evergreen shrub. Summer foliage is glossy dark green and may get a purple hue in the winter. White fragrant flowers in late spring, followed by dark purple berries. Prefers moist well drained soil. Makes a good informal hedge. Evergreen.
Rhaphiolepis enchantress - This is an excellent little shrub that will reward you for very little effort. The leathery bronze-green foliage always looks good and the rich pink flowers appear in generous clusters from autumn right through to spring. Nice compact habit and easy to grow in a sunny spot.
This squally weather and the quantity of stock that has been trucked in today makes it feel like spring has sprung with a vengence. Here's hoping you aren't overwhelmed with the new growth that is happening and hoping that there is enough space between showers to get some gardening done. All else fails it is nice to look out over your flushing garden with a glass of wine or three.
Have a great weekend.
Lloyd, Harry and the Wairere Team
Make it a Wairere weekend where even GNOMES know that gardening's not a drag.