Home' Greymouth Star : December 12th 2013 Contents Gre
In the Garden
is December s issues of NZ Gardener and NZ House and Garden
have a festive theme and the Greymouth Star has five copies of each to
e NZ House and Garden has a Christmas menu, how to make your
own Christmas card tree and a converted Dunedin church.
e NZ Gardener has tips on
homegrown presents, how to make a
wreath and adding some red to your
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with garden in the subject line.
One entry per household. Entries close
on December 19.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 5
This is always the
time of year that
I wish the garden
would come to a
complete and utter
standstill, if not for
the whole summer
then at least until after Christmas.
From the last week in November
all the gardens are overflowing with
beauty and there are numerous
picturesque scenes everywhere.
Naturally it is the roses that add so
much beauty to the garden presently,
but sadly they are mostly over their
first blooming by the time Christmas
comes and then you need other
flowers to fill in from mid-December
and take their place until they return
for their second blooming.
e garden would be very dull if you
only relied on roses, as I discovered
some years back when I was inclined
to plant roses everywhere. So I soon
learnt that I needed other flowers
such as perennials, annuals, summer
flowering bulbs and of course the
potted up pots of colour to keep the
garden blooming during mid-summer.
Some of the flowers that I value for
providing colour in mid-summer are
the delphiniums, lilies, alstromerias,
dianthus, campanulas, verbascum,
watsonias, alliums and mignonette
with its tall candle-like creamy
flowers. I must tell you about a very
unusual flower that has lovely silvery
green thistle like blooms named Miss
Willmott s Ghost. e reason for this
name is because Miss Willmott, who
was a very well-known and famous
gardener in England many years ago
always, used to take the seeds of this
plant and spread it when she was
visiting other gardens.
While I do not get much time to
pick flowers throughout the year to
bring inside, I always make a point of
it when it comes to Christmas as they
do so help to make the house look
Christmasy particularly if you use the
colours red, white and green.
So naturally I prefer to use red roses
if I have them but I also highly value
the white lacy flowers of ammi majus
(bishop s flower) and the flowers of a
plant called olay.
ese are both annuals but they
come back year after year as I make
sure I sprinkle plenty of their seed.
e white flowers of the mock orange
blossom (philadelphus virginal) shrub
always chooses this time of year to
present her, 5cm double, pure white
flowers and these bestow a powerful,
e lovely perfumed regal lilies
would be my first choice above all
other flowers but you sometimes have
to remove them if visitors are allergic
e first time I wrote about
Christmas flowers I talked about a
delightful way of bringing the garden
onto the Christmas table in the form
of a lovely floral ice dish which will
keep your fruit salad lovely and cool.
All you need is a couple of bowls ---
one fairly large bowl and a smaller
one that will sit inside the large bowl
but leaving a gap of at least an inch
between the two.
Partly fill the large bowl with cooled
boiled water and place some flowers
or leaves into this. Place the other
bowl on top of water and also partly
fill with tap water to weigh it down
and keep steady.
en top up the gap between the
two bowls with more cooled boiled
water, flowers and leaves. Put into
freezer to freeze. It is important
to used boiled water because this
removes the bubbles of oxygen which
coagulate in masses when frozen
and of course it is also important
to used edible leaves or flowers and
ones that have not been sprayed. A
few of the edible flowers that can
be used are roses, chrysanthemums,
sweet peas, anchusa, borage, bergamot,
nasturtium, lavender, sage, rosemary,
feverfew, carnations, geraniums,
honeysuckle, jasmine, pelargoniums,
petunias, primroses, tulips, violets,
pansies and violas.
I have seen a lovely ice dish made
with holly leaves alone. To remove
ice dish from between the two bowls,
allow it to thaw a little under natural
conditions as if you use hot water to
do this, you can fracture the ice.
Once more the year has rolled
around very quickly and it is time to
wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
Just as my garden has grown over
the years so have my four children,
so along with their partners and my
grandchildren there are now 13 of
them. I feel very lucky that for the
first time since they were children, all
of them will be home for Christmas
and that is the best present I could
possibly ask for.
December is a lush and luxuriant month
in the garden with bright colours, heady
fragrances and abundant growth. e
garden is often at its best in the evening, the
perfect time of day for summer entertaining.
Veggies to sow
Zucchinis.--- Zucchinis (or, if you prefer,
courgettes) are some of the easiest and most
versatile home garden vegies. Sow seed straight
into a rich, pre-prepared garden bed (add some
dynamic lifter fruit food) and, in warm weather,
start harvesting within a matter of weeks.
Zucchinis can be diced into salads, mixed into stir
fries, roasted or sauteed.
e trendiest way to use them is to stuff and
lightly fry or bake the flowers --- a surefire way to
impress your guests!
In cooler areas, do not forget to sow brussel
sprouts seeds into pots of seed raising mix so that
you can get the seedlings planted out as soon as
possible. Flowers to sow
Ageratum.--- Ageratum Blue Mink is a
summer-loving annual that adds cool blue notes
to the garden. Its common name is floss flower, an
apt reference to its fluffy flowerheads.
Feed roses as they finish their main spring-early
summer flush. Organic-based dynamic lifter
flower food is an ideal combination of composted
manure with added nutrients. Yates acticote or
the new rive liquid concentrate for roses are the
best choices for potted roses.
Stay on top of rampant summer growth by
constantly cutting back, trimming hedges and
removing dead flowers. Try to keep a pair of easy-
to-grab secateurs just inside the back door and
remember to take them with you whenever you
step outside. Pest watch
Tomato-Potato psyllid.--- Watch out for the
relatively new-to-New Zealand tomato and potato
psyllid attacking these related plants. is tiny
sap-sucking pest causes the leaves to curl and
yellow. Look, too, for the 2mm long, cicada-like
insect or the bright yellow eggs attached to leaves.
Begin spraying with mavrik straight away.
Now that foliage has died down completely, lift
spring bulbs for summer storage. Make sure they
are clean and soil-free before putting them into
net bags and hanging in a cool, dry spot.
Plant of the month
provide some of
the most reliable
no matter what
Callistemon means beautiful stamen , which is
why this has also been chosen to be part of the
botanic name of our stunning poor knights lily.
Gardener s Christmas gift?
e perfect gift choice for any gardener is a copy
of the new, 78th edition of Yates Garden Guide.
It celebrates Yates 130th birthday and chronicles
the NZ gardening story over that period. True
to tradition, it is packed with useful gardening
Supplied by Yates
owers for the
A lovely bricky red rose called Colourbreak is good for Christmas floral arrangements if it is in flower.
is Christmasy looking rose is a climbing rose called the Fourth of July.
An unusual perennial called Miss Willmott s Ghost.
December jobs to do
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