Hello, and a big welcome to my August newsletter – thank you all so much for reading my rambling emails, and thanks also to those that send me lovely, and sometimes entertaining anecdotes in return, it is very much appreciated even if I don’t always get time to respond. There have been numerous newcomers to my mailing list in the past month, so thank you for signing up and I hope you enjoy hearing from me 😊
Gosh it’s so good to see the sun today! Sitting here at my desk in Golden Bay looking out at the glorious blue sky, I could be forgiven for forgetting that yesterday I was driving through slushy snow as I made my third trip over the infamous Takaka Hill for the week…I have definitely had enough of that for now, but that is what being a parent is all about sometimes isn’t it…just being there. There are so many road closures today of course…heavy snow in both islands…but I hope this sunshine sticks around for a few days to make up for it!
There hasn’t been an awful lot of happenings to report on in the garden and nursery recently, as winter is largely about hibernation for plants. But the production line has been in full swing, so not so lucky for me…I’m sure that some weeks I would love to disappear off into my own little world and not come out, but that is not going to happen when there is so much to be done! Actually, for the past 6 weeks I seem to have been in an endless state of revolving pairs of gloves. That sounds hilariously strange I know, but the reality of sowing and pricking-out, lifting and dividing, and endless potting-up means that my best friends are my garden gloves, which end up soggily wet and cold and need changing frequently! With such a wet winter the division of the hardy perennials has proved to be quite a challenge at times, but I’m pleased to say the majority of plants that were on the pre-orders list have made it out of the mud and into pots now…including lots of Helenium, various different Aster, the terracotta Achillea, some Phlox, Kniphofia and Rudbeckia, and plenty of others as well. There will always be something left to do though…this morning that gorgeous soft apricot Chrysanthemum got the ‘you’re next’ look from me!
Out in the garden the spring bulbs are really starting to look great now. There are various clumps of Sparaxis just starting to flower, so far in crimson, smoky pink, and cream. The Muscari, or grape hyacinths are out…I love their bright blue flowers which seem to stand up to the weather so well. The old single-flowered jonquils have almost finished, ‘Erlicheer’ is in full flower, and the sweet little daffodil that I’m sure is a Narcissus minor cultivar is just getting started. It is about half the size of what I call a standard daffodil, very free flowering, and seems to have scattered itself about the garden rather well…it’s looking particularly good just in front of the clumps of Chionochloa flavicans where swathes of grassy foliage are punctuated with the cheerful yellow of the daffodils. The older varieties of Helleborus orientalis are also such good value at this time of year, paying homage to their title of winter rose. I love the newer varieties too of course, but I have masses of the older ones here, self-sown over many years in a range of different pinks and whites, with all sorts of spots, shapes and sizes. I find they are so tough and vigorous compared to some of the newer models, handle any soil condition and can be treated quite ruthlessly really – and the reward is always endless flowers for months!
In the potted bulb department there are many luscious treasures beginning to appear. Lachenalia in all shapes and sizes, the first buds on various Moraea, willowy stems of species Gladiolus, delicate little miniature Narcissus, Romulea in searing hot pink and bright yellow too, some of the tamer Oxalis have been in flower for a while now and I never tire of them. The Freesia are about to burst into flower…I can’t wait for my favourite Freesia fergusoniae, the number one scent in the world I think. I look forward to it every year!
I only have a few extra plants to add to the existing listings in the online shop this week, but perhaps they will tempt you….
Aquilegia caerulea hybrid ‘Kristall’
Digitalis lanata ex. cream flowered form
Heuchera maxima (few only)
Salvia virgata – bicolor form (few only)
You can buy them directly from me by sending me an email, or you can order and pay for them online via my website here https://www.seaflowersnursery.co.nz/perennials.html#/
Now that my lunch has digested I’m off back out into the sunshine…perhaps it is all the driving I’ve done in the past week, but I feel like I need a bit of vitamin D today to chase away the tiredness! I hope wherever you are this week that the sun shows up for you too 😊 Kate
Owner-operator of Seaflowers Nursery and serious plant addict!