Time is a funny thing, you’ve either got way too much of it or not enough. I think I’m definitely in the not enough category at this time of year. Every where I look there’s another something that needs doing…trimming, picking, sowing, digging, potting, writing, typing…bags of seeds waiting to be sorted, and lets not get started on the cooking and cleaning! Sometimes it can feel quite overwhelming if I look at all the unfinished jobs still waiting to be done…so I am learning to focus on what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t.
Today I can finally announce that I have finished my 2021 Bulb List...YAY!! If you haven’t received a copy via email then it will be because I only send the bulb list out to people who specifically request it. So please let me know if you’d like a copy sent to you – it’s in PDF format, or you can ask to be sent the larger MS Word file instead if you prefer. Either way, you will need to get in quick to secure some of these treasures…(the list is also available to view on my website here https://www.seaflowersnursery.co.nz/bulbs.html#/ )
The garden is starting to take on a real late summer-into-autumn feel now, with the stars of the show being the Heleniums, Achillea and Rudbeckia, and about to be joined by lots of different Asters and autumn Salvias. I love all the colours and textures of the flowers but I feel my tastes changing a little too. Funny how these things happen as we grow. I am becoming more and more focussed on foliage and form, and far less on the actual flowers.
I’m also writing an ever-growing list of all the things that need shifting around…a problem that happens when you have to start new gardens in a hurry. Suddenly summer comes along and makes you realise that not everything is where it should be!
Anyway, right now I know I should be in bed, so I will send this email then switch this computer off for the night! Just a few extras added to the list this week….
Agastache ‘Astello Indigo’
Arthropodium candidum ‘Purpureum’
Phlomis purpurea ‘Matagallo’
Salvia greggii ‘Blue Note’ (the first few…more to come)
Have a happy weekend,
Hello from the not-so-sunny Golden Bay, where rain seems to be the number one theme this week.
The early hours of Monday morning brought a deluge from the skies – basically 1ml per minute for a couple of hours – which was not at all fun, for me or the plants. A total of 161ml that morning, plus more yesterday and overnight means everything is just wet and soggy. I did think it was supposed to fine up this morning but it’s pretty bleak out there so I’m in the office for a bit instead.
In between all the rain I have been attempting to pot up plants as fast as I can, because suddenly there is a shortage again and lots of new things coming on that need to go into larger pots ready for sale. So watch this space…
In the meantime, there are just a few new additions to the website this week, which are listed below, or you can find everything on my website here https://www.seaflowersnursery.co.nz/perennials.html#/
Dianthus barbatus ‘Kaleidoscope’
Helipterum roseum ‘Pierrot’ (punnets)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’
Salvia ‘Costa Rica Blue’
Salvia nemorosa ‘Blue Queen’
Scabiosa caucasica ‘House Hybrids’
Solidago ptarmicoides (previously Aster ptarmicoides)
Symphyotrichum (Aster) ericoides
Verbena hastata ‘Pink Spires’
Out in the garden I have been busy weeding as time allows, and planting the odd thing in gaps. Really I need to wait for the soil to dry out a bit before I can develop any more of the gardens I have planned. I am very impressed with a bed I put in over winter, which has now filled out and is looking fantastic. Geranium ‘Victor Reiter Junior’ teams up nicely with Centaurea dealbata, then the foliage of the ever-expanding Campanula primulifolia which is slowly coming up to flower. I think there’s some Phlox and Achillea tucked in there too. The Peony foliage makes a great backdrop for my favourite Agastache cana ‘Bolero’ which forms bushy clumps of fabulous smokey purple foliage, and the spikes of small, dark magenta flowers are a nice colour pop too. I’ve blended it with Thalictrum aquilegifolium ‘Purpureum’ and Knautia arvensis, the field Scabious. The Knautia is seriously impressive – what a great plant! It is tough, hardy, and just keeps on sending up masses of lilac Scabiosa-like flowers on long stems which look lovely waving about in the breeze. Perfect for picking too, as the flowers are only small-medium sized so don’t hang their heads from being too heavy. It looks like it will just keep going all summer long but will wait and see. I also have an outstanding new Echinacea in this bed, which is an E. pallida var. simulata hybrid. Take your best, most vibrant deep pink Echinacea purpurea cultivar and add elegant drooping petals for drama and long narrow, soft grey-green foliage for effect and that is pretty much what this seedling has turned into. It also stands about 80cm tall at present, and looks stunning rising out of the luscious frothy foliage of Geranium ‘Joy’. The Echinacea is one of three seedlings I put in that spot and so far it is the biggest and best, with twice as many petals as a standard E. pallida…and very early flowering, but I’m waiting to see what the other two come up with. One is definitely going to be paler…so we shall see.
Anyway, it looks like the sun is trying to send some sort of weak glow of hope through the drizzly clouds, so I’m off to have lunch then head out to the nursery again.
Hello everyone, and a big hello to all the lovely people I met at last weekend’s Motueka Garden Trail. I had a fabulous time talking to the hundreds who had come to see Angela’s garden and buy plants, and I also put faces to names for quite a number of existing customers. Thank you for supporting the Toy library and my small business...I hope the brave souls that came out after the flood on Sunday morning dried out and warmed up when they got home.
That’s the thing with opening your garden for an event such as this...you really are at the mercy of the weather and there are never any guarantees what it will do. But the reactions from those that came to view the garden made up for the incredible deluge which arrived at 4am on Sunday morning. Many visitors walked around the corner and were stunned by the layout…there were plenty of oohs and aahs, lots of sighs and smiles of satisfaction and wonderful comments about the beauty and design of the garden. Overall, I think the feel of the garden was what people liked the most…it just feels so welcoming. It is a real credit to Angela’s hard work and dedication that she has transformed a slightly overgrown blank canvas into a work of art filled with sumptuous colour, form and fragrance, and all in not-quite ten years. The most asked about plants over the weekend were the roses ‘Lavender Pinocchio’ and ‘Chevy Chase’, the tractor seat plant which we all still incorrectly call Ligularia reniformis, but which is actually Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum, and the purple honeywort, Cerinthe major, which of course is an annual best grown from seed…so I will be adding this last one to my to-do list.
It is an exciting time in my garden right now...the weeds are in full force of course but there are also many new plants and old friends all growing madly, or just appearing, or even some in full flower already. I have been weeding in the shady garden up near the bush and loving all the different textures of foliage, variations of green and the calm feeling that the area has. I am adding plants in slowly, finding small treasures to pop in around the roots of the big titoki. The Corydalis ochroleuca and ‘Blackberry Wine’, Disporopsis omeiensis and Borago pygmaea are all starting to expand, along with various Tricyrtis, Epimedium, Arisaema and several Lilium species. The native Fuchsia procumbens is beginning to sprawl, while nearby the hybrid Fuchsia excorticata x procumbens 'Lincoln Bronze' is just coming into leaf. I am waiting for Isoplexis sceptrum to flower…it is getting bigger and bigger so can’t be far off. I have some ferns waiting to go in the shadiest areas, and am contemplating attaching my staghorn to the large roots on the bank below the titoki. It is an interesting, peaceful area, and so different from the hot border in full sun that I was creating a couple of weeks ago, so I want to keep the colours and textures fairly calm here, to retain that peaceful feeling.
In other news…I have adjusted the freight prices for both the upper and lower South Island now, most have gone down, or are a flat rate for more plants. I’ve also discovered that recently many emails from customers have been sent into confinement in the spam folder on the Spark server…so if you have sent me an email recently, or even an enquiry via the website, and haven’t yet had a response, then please get in touch again, as I’m hoping I have thwarted the spam gremlins…for now at least.
This week there are three varieties on sale at 30% off – Gaura ‘The Bride’, Centranthus ‘Snowcloud’ and the sumptuous Carnation, Dianthus ‘Raspberry Ripple’. Stock numbers have been updated and there are a few new plants this week…I sold an awful lot at the garden trail last weekend, but there are always some new treasures to add (see list below). You can find these latest offerings (and more) on my website here https://www.seaflowersnursery.co.nz/perennials.html#/ or email me direct with a list of what you would like.
Agastache rugosa ‘Arcado Pink’
Callistephus chinensis, China Aster, ‘Lilliput Blue Moon’
Erysimum cheirii ‘Blood Red Covent Garden’ (new stock)
Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Baron’ .....note I think these have already sold out overnight!
Salvia ‘Big Blue’
Salvia ‘Shangri-La’ (new stock, few only)
Salvia canariensis var. candidissima (2 only)
Today I finally decided I’m going to tackle the terrible world of FREIGHT. I say ‘terrible world” because it seems to be the one thing that makes customers and small business owners cringe more than any other aspect of running a business.
When you’re sending products (in my case plants) via courier across the nation, reliable freight services are absolutely critical to your business. Without them you can’t get your products to your customers. Without them to safely deliver your products for you, you would not be in business. And let’s face it, without our businesses they would not have parcels to collect and deliver either, so technically they need us to stay in business too.
BUT. Sigh…yes there’s always a but…freight seems to be a huge hurdle for so many customers to get their heads around. Almost every week I receive questions or responses from customers or potential customers about the exorbitant cost of freight. So I thought I would say something…I might look silly for doing this, but I really feel it can be such an ‘icky’ subject for small business owners and their customers that it needs addressing.
As a long-time plant addict/customer myself I totally understand – freight costs make the plants, or other products, you are purchasing that little bit more expensive. But I prefer to think of it as a way of supporting several different businesses. First there’s the one you’re purchasing the actual product from (such as my nursery). Then there’s the courier driver, earning their living delivering your parcel, so that they can then financially support themselves and their families. What about the businesses who produce the cardboard cartons, packaging tape, labels etc? They too are earning a living by providing goods which ultimately you are benefitting from as well. Basically, one carton of plants can support many different New Zealand businesses…it might seem small but every dollar counts right.
I am really grateful for all the customers who not only buy my product, but also happily pay the correct freight, as this helps me to cover at least some of the costs associated with postage and packaging. I found it a little tricky to figure out the different shipping rates from my new area at first. So a big thank you to all of you for your patience while I worked on this, and for negotiating your way through all the different rates and choosing the right option for your carton size and delivery address (yes there are now both urban and rural options specific to the North Island). If there’s anything that you find confusing about the shipping options please let me know, I’m always looking for ways to make the checkout process as easy as possible. And thanks for reading this too…with your support, local small businesses like mine will continue to thrive :)
Hello, I wrote this a couple of days ago now of course, but it is still relevant….
I’m not sure if other gardeners do this but virtually every day I wander around my garden, usually in the morning, to see what is happening. Sometimes nothing has happened of course, but mostly I see something new each day. It’s not necessarily that what I have spotted today was not there yesterday, but rather my focus and perspective has shifted, allowing me to see something that I hadn’t before. Today’s jaunt brought me to the clump of white bluebells that are just starting to open. Yesterday they looked uninspiring, but today their buds are the most beautiful creamy lemon, with flowers changing to pure white as they open. The seed heads on my Anemone pavonina are all bursting, but collection will have to wait until the damp weather has passed, perhaps tomorrow with any luck. I know plenty of you would like some babies of these beauties so I must get on with sowing them, as fresh seed is best when it comes to Anemones. Salvia ‘Shangri La’ seems to be thriving in the hot stones near the house, the leaves are getting bigger every time I look at them. And they look gorgeous with the dew on the hairs catching the light and going all shimmery, almost looks like frost. On down to the shady corner bed that I put in not long ago…the Pulmonaria are starting to flower and there is one particularly good bright blue form, from Roger of course, but not labelled. The first flower open on Ranunculus cortusifolius…a new plant so it won’t look as spectacular this year, but still, a stunning yellow. And one lonely little Trillium poking its head through the soil. I’ve never grown them before so this will be a bit of a test.
Enough garden rambling…there is work to be done in the nursery, shifting older plants out from the tunnelhouse so they can harden off. Lots of trays to be carted out and put where they can get both sunshine and rain (and hopefully not frost!). Of course this leaves gaps for lots more babies to be potted up…I have always loved the excitement of seeing what sort of plants I have produced from seed. Many people see this as a rather tedious and boring job, but I’m always interested to see what sort of root systems my babies have, how many have come up, whether they all look true to type or if there are any different ones amongst them.
Anyway, on to the news of today – the next lot of plants are ready and waiting for their new homes, and have been uploaded to the website. You can view the plants available here https://www.seaflowersnursery.co.nz/perennials.html#/
Just a note about ordering. Unfortunately my website is not set up to take orders for payment via internet banking (frustrating I know…I’ve tried!). If you would like to pay this way then please send me an email to email@example.com – there is no need to send this through the website, just send me an email from your phone, laptop etc, and include a list of the plants that you would like to order. Your delivery address is helpful as well. Then I can reply with confirmation of availability and costs, and we can go from there. Adding plants to your shopping cart on the website won’t automatically reserve them for you I’m afraid, but if you send me a quick email then I can adjust the numbers available very quickly. There are no guarantees of course but hopefully you won’t miss out if someone else buys them online in the meantime.
Here’s what has been added to the website today…
Antirrhinum majus ‘Canary Bird’ (very few, punnets)
Antirrhinum majus ‘Defiance’ (only two, punnets)
Centaurea macrocephala 1 litre
Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii 9cm
Helenium ‘Sunny Wonder’ 9cm
Nepeta tuberosa, tall form 9cm
Poppy – Beth Chatto’s – Papaver dubium ssp. lecoqii var. albiflorum
Salvia uliginosa ‘Ballon Azul’ (few only) 9cm
Salvia canariensis var. candidissima 9cm
Salvia interrupta 1 litre
Symphyotrichum (Aster) cordifolius ‘Silver Spray’ 1 litre
Also new stock added of Monarda ‘Squaw’, Salvia ‘Shangri La’ and a few extra Symphyotrichum (Aster) ‘Little Carlow’
Happy plant hunting and thank you for supporting small businesses like mine 😊
Well it’s another cold and rainy day here so I am in the office catching up on emails and other important jobs (and to be honest there’s a heater in here so it’s the place to be today 😉).
I just thought I would take this opportunity to let you all know that I am busy making adjustments to the website in preparation for when the online shop finally opens again. I’m hoping for sometime in the next couple of weeks. Growth has been really slow but the plants have finally decided that spring is here and they are starting to grow at long last! Initial offerings will be limited compared to what will be on offer later in the season, so don’t be disappointed if something you have been wanting is not on the first list, as chances are it will be available a little later. I tend to update my online shop at least once a month (when it’s open) for much of the year, so there are always new things coming on. As we live in a reasonably temperate climate, as a nation we tend to garden off and on for all year round, so it makes sense to always have something coming on to offer keen gardeners around the country.
I do already have some potted, “in the green” specialty bulbs, surplus to requirements, now listed for sale on Trade Me for anyone that is interested. With so much interest in these I decided that the fairest way to distribute them was to sell them on Trade Me, otherwise it would always come down to who happened to see my email first. The auctions close on Sunday night (seller jury1 or listed under perennials in the outdoor, garden section). I will have more bulbs available in about February (in packets).
There are a couple of minor changes to the way I do business which I would like to make you aware of. The first is that I have begun using Daltons Organic Potting Mix for all of my plants (there are a few that are still in transition between standard mix and organic). The second is that when online orders do recommence, I will only be sending plants via CourierPost, as Aramex (Fastway) is not an available option in my area.
I had to have a couple of trees taken out last week, as they were hanging over the back of the house and had lots of rotten branches on them. Felt very sad to see them go (I gave them each a big hug before they came down), but the arborist reminded me that even trees have a lifespan. The positive side is that it has opened up a whole new area of potential garden space for me. There are areas of shade with lots of leaf litter, then gradually descending down the slope into part shade and eventually large areas of full sun. So plenty of room for all sorts of ideas here, and I am very lucky as the soil is great to work with too. I have a number of seedling Salvias to trial so the sunnier areas will be ideal for these….hopefully something exciting comes out of this batch 😊
Take care and happy gardening, or if you’re like me – happy keeping warm!
Owner-operator of Seaflowers Nursery and serious plant addict!