For some people gardening is like punishment, for others it is time out of their busy world and find it quite relaxing. Often these feelings come from childhood experiences. The house I grew up in had a long gravel driveway, and as a youngster I can remember having to go out and weed the driveway. Each sibling had to do 30 minutes. I can assure you there was some clock watching going on! This obviously didn’t harm me.
I grew seedlings from the Kakabeak that grew outside my bedroom window and can remember bringing home a beautiful white flowering bulb for my mother. Years later I realised that the bulb I planted in the garden with the beautiful white flower was Onion weed. It took years to get rid of them.
We each have our ideas of what gardens and garden tasks should look like. Because of that, gardens are subjective, very much like a piece of art. The difference here is that almost everyone has this ‘art’ on display to anyone that visits or passes their house. Because of this we like it to look good. Plant selection is always very important.
To me some plants are more valuable than others. In a time poor world there are some brilliant plants that once planted take very little time to look after and give so much in return.
One of these plants is the Fuchsia. There are many different varieties available and come in colours of white through to dark pinks and purples. We have our native varieties of which the kotukutuku, or tree fuchsia, is the largest variety in the world.
We can also claim the smallest variety in Fuchsia procumbens, which is a prostrate shrub that creeps across the ground.
Both we have in the garden at Glenfalloch. And they have some interesting features which I can talk about another day. But the best value fuchsias are the showy ones that flower for months on end with very little attention. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
All we do with these is cut them back hard in winter (and they still have flowers on them) and by the time summer is here we have flowers again. We very occasionally give them some water if it’s been a dry summer.
So they really are the best plants out there for months of colour with very minimum care and attention.
Stay warm, Alan
Once again autumn is upon us with the nights getting longer and days shorter. It’s time to appreciate the good days and snuggle down at home on the not so good days.
I’m here to talk about the good days, days where you want to get outside for some fresh air. Days where you can take in the beauty of the changing season.
When you are outside next, take a moment to notice the changes. Look for the leaves changing colour, the different colours of those leaves, how those leaves show you the sheltered spots in the garden. Notice the flower buds on the Camelias and Rhododendrons starting to form, a reminder that Spring and its abundance of flowers has started its gradual build up. Think how pleased the plants are to get some moisture, remember that last hot day when you had not drunk enough. Plants cannot take themselves off for a drink, they must wait for nature or an observant human that notices the signs that it is struggling.
A struggling deciduous plant will often drop its leaves early if under stress from dryness. This is the plants way of reducing water loss and increasing its chances of survival. A heavily stressed plant may have one last push to flower prolifically and seed, to at least keep the species going, then collapse never to flower again.
Plants have a wonderful way of showing us how to survive.
Put your roots down deep, take the good with the bad ( there is always some bad that we just can’t do anything about, just like the dry plant), drop things when you’re stressed, live in the moment and know that if times are tough, time to blossom is just around the corner.
Enjoy your garden or come and enjoy ours.
Happy autumn, Alan