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Friday 29th September, 2017
Villa was a local home and is still in Gordonton
The first house we moved onto Wairere was our home and with an extra external door put in and two bedrooms dedicated to being an office, separating it from the home, it served the purpose of being both our home as well as the nursery office.
But it was those naked morning sprints from the bathroom to bedroom and the associated fear of getting sprung by the admin lady at the time, when opening the door between the house and the office to ask a question, and lets not forget having those discussions that are not meant for all ears (LOL Domestics), that all built up to initiate the thoughts and prospect of moving another house onto the property.
We had always driven past the neighbours villa and loved it and had been hunting for such a home for removal but had given up because we couldn't find anything suitable.
I was at home alone one evening, while Harry was out working as a barman, when I took a phone call that at the time seemed a tad weird. There was a chap that had a house for removal and he was wondering if we would be interested. Of course I should have wised up quicker, knowing that we were thinking changing our living situation, but Harry was three steps ahead of me, he had advertised on trade and exchange (with out me knowing) looking for a house for removal. To cut to the chase the house for offer was the very same charming oldvilla look, that was just 100 metres down the road, that we get driving past at the neighbours property.
We had Anthony design the drive and roundabout which was two cars wide and we found a large Picea as a central feature tree which would have been like what was planted beside such a house in Victorian times.
The front door and fabulous bay windows and surrounding deck were all positioned pointing to the east rather than the road so as to maximise the sunshine into the house as it had the reputation of being a bit cold. Great positioning and some insulation when werenovated the villa some years later has made the villa into the warmest house that you can imagine.
The villa came down the road in one piece early in the morn and then in through, the now main gate of the garden centre. We had cleared a path through all the plants and even cut some of the irrigation pipes down so that the house could reach its now new location.
Anthony then completed the garden layout that included paths to the front and back door and access to that classic deck of the villa with its two grand bays. The main rectangular lawn was classic design with two half moon curves at opposite ends with a feature palms planted in the centre. The original front deck planting consisted of standard Camellias under planted with cycads and completed with a buxus hedge. Today this planting still looks fabulous but with just the cycads as they have grown so well.
The path at the back door was a bit of a challenge in later years as we added a large shed and all of the buildings were on different angles so the challenge was to coordinate a path through these that brought them all together and the awkward angles became unnoticeable. So good to have a garden designer that could draw and correct this tricky area and save a multitude of intense discussions....
Family stuff..... Meet the Proteas .... Proteaceae
Well quite an interesting family that is really only found in the southern hemisphere and includes many popular ornamental plants that we all know and like. These include Proteas, Banksias, Grevilleas and Telopeas to name but a few.
Now the Protea family is mostly native to Australia and has evolved and adapted to live in poor soils that are generally phospherus deficient. Hence why you don't used normal fertiliser to feed this group of plants as they are too high in Phosphates.
Now I did an extra bit of reading on this family and found a fascinating point that they have developed specialized proteoid roots for living in phosphorus deficient, and I'm guessing, dry soils. These roots have increased absorptive surfaces which must help in those dry barren Australian soils. The down side is that the Protea family is also more susceptible to Phytopthera which is a water born soil fungal infection.
New Zealand is of course much wetter and so its important to choose a good spot to grow these Aussie natives.
Many species are Pyrophytes and have adapted to survival in fires and have evolved strategies so that they can survive this event.. some are resprouters which must come away from some underground structures and others are reseeders. Its interesting to note that smoke can actually stimulate seeds to germinate in appropriate species, I guess a bit like some seeds that are designed to go through the gut of a bird before they will germinate.
Polination of this family is done by bees, beetles, flies, moth and birds. There are different seed dispersal methods and one that I found really interesting is fruit that accumalates on the outer branches and the seed are released when fire burns them. Others seed dispersal methods are a bit more ordinary, similar to other familys like maples and compositae that are wind borne and have evolved wings.
Telopeas are indigenous to Aussie and are native to northern NSW and central and eastern Queensland Warratahs naturally form a rangy narrow shrub that bears the most stunning vibrant red flowers of what I would describe classic Aussie style but similar to Leucospermums. Picking the flowers is of huge benefit to the shrub, as it keeps it more tidy and bushy, or cut it back hard after flowering to acheive the same.
Telopea Speciosisssimia along with the cultivars Red Embers and Brimstone Blush are the three that we have in at the moment and they do have the most spectacular flowers that cut well for the vase. Don't forget the Aussie rules for growing these of hot, dry, poor soil and the sunniest spot that you can find.
Macadamia Beaument is an integrifolia tetraphylla just arrived in and is another memeber of the Protea family and these wont last in stock very long .... Macadamia, which is a very tasty nut and will bear heavy crops when pollinated with Maroochy. It is a excellent commercial variety in Australia with nuts that are not as hard to crack as other varieties. Apparently as much as 18 kg per tree at 8 years of age is produced but its nuts dont fall off but hang on the tree.
Maroochy is a tetraphylla form and is grown for its productive yield, flavour and abilty to polliante Beaumont and in the correct spot will do really well here. I guess the trickiest thing to these would be cracking your nuts but then with the right equipment everyting is easy ....
Now NZ does have a native member of the Protea and its our very own Honeysuckle or Knightia Excelsa and if you look at the leaves and the flowers, well they kind of just reek of that kind of look. The honeysuckle has hard leaves that dont look too disimilar from those macadamia and the typical spidery blooms of Aussies native as in grevilleas etc.
It would be remiss of me not to include a link to the Grevilleas as these are just so Australian and they are excellent for those hot, dry, sunny positions. mostly all brightly coloured and come in many forms from groundcovers to shrubby bushes to trees. We also have a range of different Banksias in stock presently and I just love their foliage.
Sandpaper vine we have some more coming in of these Petrea Volubilis if you missed out last week there are some more just arrived today. I had underestimated how many would be interested in something different in the climber range of plants and this one is a beauty with its purple flowers and sandpapery leaves. Great for a warm and sunny spot on the fence line or against some buiulding wall
Face book Pics
The neat thing about a smart phone is that you always have a camera at the ready to snap some pretty cool pics. I find though, that the digital era still doesnt reproduce some of those magenta shades all that well but I will keep trying. The Rododendrons have started to flower in earnest and I have been posting some pics to facebook of these beautiful trumpet flowers.
Rhododendrons are a semi shade plant or one that like some shade in ins day but wioll tolerate uite high ligt position. These also have special roots that just love peat or free draining moist soils rather than heavy clay soils to do really well. Lots or organic matter or well rotted compost to the soil level will help with the soil structure keeping the spoiil moist and cool .
Deciduous azaleas are also about to pop right now, in fact I was amazed to also see the flowers start to open yesterday from bud to being open just with the sun and warmth of the day. These azaleas come in some amazing bright colours that you dont see in their rhodo and evergreen azalea cousins like hot oranges and yellows and pinks and of course there are also white and soft pinks. These deciduous azaleas like the same conditions as all of the Rhodo family but have an extra bonus in that they usually have good Autumn leaf colour as well.
Maples are just stunning with all their new foliage emerging right now and I have been trying to get some nice pics of these as well to share. These is nothing like new spring foliage of the maple family and often in some really cool shades as well. Shin des hojos for example has beautiful, spring, shrimp pink foliage as it emerges and changes to green for the summer.
Peonies are a perennial that suits that cold spot in your garden and will reward you with the most stunning flowers after being given a cold shoulder, well so to speak. Peonies also make for great cut flowers or just enjoy them as a clump in the garden. The clump will just get bigger as the years go past so the sooner they get in the garden the better. We still have a selection of these in the garden centre so check them out.
New in and a bit different in the Hydrangea line are the macrophylla bicolour flowers. Check out Machiko, Mariko, Taiko, Nobuko, Reiko and Sumiko. Even though these are bicolours they are still aluminium accumulating and so lime to keep the pink ones pink and Aluminium sulphate to get the best blue colour. Dapple light position to keep those flowers from burning in the sun.
Labour weekend is coming soon for our next long weekend but if you want your plants delivered by Labour Weekend (21-23 October) please ensure you place your orders before Sunday 17th (courier delivery) or for large orders, or large trees by Sunday 10th (Truck delivery)
Finally we have had some fine weather and its just amazing to see the growth happen even after one fine and sunny day... long may it continue. I hope, that in the last fine weekend that we had, that you managed to get those lawns done and some gardens up to scratch. Finally we have been into ours as well but there is heaps more to do. First weekend coming with longer evenings so more time to get stuff done at the end of the day. I see that the roses in the garden centre are throwing up buds fast so I imagine that there will just be more and more colour to see in the nusrery.
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.