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Saturday 4th December, 2021
Well with a good small amount of rain on Tuesday followed by these very warm days it almost seems like the we are in tropics. When I see the Pohutakawas flowering around the Rototuna area I can't help but think how much more temperate it must be around here these days. If I go back to when I arrived in Gordonton I don't think that we could have managed to get a Pohutakawa through its first winter. But there you go, it really must be getting warmer.
Right now the days seem to be just flying past as we are now 3 days into the last month of 2021, with Christmas knocking on the door and then we will be looking at the new year about to begin. What will that new year hold for us all?
Well in my book a new year = new projects, so bring it on.
Is Mock Orange a Hydrangea
I just assumed that I knew about Philadelphus or perhaps we should call it Mock orange, though that has its issues as well as many plants are commonly called something with orange. Whether it be orange blossom, Mock orange and so on we can't go wrong with its Latin name Philadelphus. Ang asked me to write about these sweetly scented shrubs and it occurred to me that even though these have been around my entire horticultural career, I didn't even know what family these belonged to. So on that note and a quick google later it was a surprise to see that the Philadelphus belong grouped with the ranks of the hydrangeas with the family name of Hydrangeaceae.
Philadelphus are a genus of around 60 different species and are native to North and central America, Asia and South East Europe with the common name of Mock orange. It doesn't take much work out how it earnt its common name, due to look alike orange and lemon flowers and the intense citrus like fragrance that will scent a huge area.
The singles are probably my fav especially the one called Sybillewhich has kind of large 5cm creamy white Buttercup shaped flowers that is tinged faintly purple in the centre, like an eye and oh so deliciously fragrant.
Frosty morn has icy white double flowers with quite a few petals going on in there. We also, currently have in the garden centre one called Virginalus which has bigger, still buttercup shaped almost single flowers on virginal white but there are a few extra petals in the there and of course also very fragrant.
I would rate most Philadelphus as an easy to grow shrub in average garden conditions, being tolerant of most positions from sun to dappled light. I usually think of them as a back drop shrub where they can grow to their natural height of approx 2 metres with a delightful arching kind of habit. For most of the year they are a handsome green leaved shrub, naked in the winter and then this most gorgeous effect of masses of fragrant white flowers in the spring on arching branches. They flower on the previous seasons wood so bear this in mind if pruning to keep the shrub more compact or to size.
If you are looking for those red Pohutakawa like flowers then check out the humble Feijoa which seems to be doing its best visually during the festive season. Abundant red flowers on gray green foliage, which means its looking very good for next years crop of Feijoas.
Callistemon McArthur with classic red bottle brush flowers. This one has Little John in its parentage and as such is a semi dwarf.. Make for a fab pot plant or table top for Christmas and then plant in the garden later?
Not quite a true red but certainly bright and cheerful, Hydrangeas Strawberries and cream and Raspberry Crush are just looking stunning right now in flower. Strawberries and cream is a classic lacecap with strawberry coloured out bracts and of course creamy flowers on the inside. Raspberry crush Hydrangea has large Mophead flowers of deep 'crushed raspberry' pink.
What to get a gardening friend perhaps a basket of garden things
Vouchers are an easy fix for a mate that is keen on the garden and you don't know what to get. Available in any amount that you would like to spend, Valid for a year and we will reissue if they are going to expire. Too easy.
ARS tools are great quality tools and they seem to me that they are always really sharp. Check out secateurs, shears, pruning saws and the like. Then there are some handy tools like the little Japanese hand hoe that has a huge following along with hand forks, trowels and even flax knives.
House plants, Ang is keen on these and we have started to have a few that will do both inside and the right outdoors or outside microclimate. Philodendron Atom, Fruit salad plant (Monsteria Deliciosa) and String of pearls, spring to mind and there are quite a few others that we have started to have in stock. I'm thinking that we may have to create a space for us to have more of these in the future but that project is currently in the how and where category.
Pots and birdbathsI had to choose a new selection of pots by a Zoom call, which was a first for me. These have arrived, been unpacked, priced and are displayed now for you to check out. Note that we don't courier pots so its a call out and view situation. Perhaps there is a gift of a pot and a plant for a friend. Feature pots could be an ideal gift for ones self for that special spot in the garden.
Things to know or reminders
Out goes the Alert system and lock downs and at 11.59pm last night arrived the traffic light system, and luckily for us we are at the orange lights level. This means it should be mostly business as usual, and that you scan in your arrival as we all have been doing, and continue using masks and social distancing of at least 1 meter. For those without a vaccination certificate, they can still use the hold for pick up option and then we can provide a contactless service as well.
The last day of dispatch for the courier will be 12 noon, Tuesday 14th December as we want our plants to be where they should be in a timely fashion. Courier service will resume in the new year on Monday the 10th of January. If any plants have to go by truck then these lads finish earlier and start later in 2022.
As we get closer to that New Zealand goes on holiday and we all heat up the pace with things that need to be done before the big day, remember that we are open all the way through, except Christmas day. Normal hours of 8.30 to 5pm and the garden will be open to wander as well as the garden centre. We are on deck with a skeleton team to keep the place watered and to make sure all is as it should be.
Its my time off and so its into the garden I go. I have planted an asparagus bed and the next project is artichokes so its home to edge this area and get it ready for planting. Then there is the rest of the garden to sort as all the family are coming here and I like it to look nice. My present to the whole family is brunch in the garden and so that is on the agenda today as well to sort out the menu. Whatever your weekend plans are have a fabulous one
P.S. If you haven't sorted your Christmas tree yet and have a hankering for a live tree then we still have a selection of these. Some of them are quite large and so will suit a biggish pot. Decorate with lights and sparkles and have outside your main window. Don't forget that Christmas isn't Christmas with bunches of beautiful fragrant white lilies. We have a bed of these at home but you can start your own from plants or give as gift for gardening friend.