Friday, December 19, 2014

New Zealand Christmas Tree.

 The New Zealand Christmas tree, Maori and common name Pohutukawa. Botanical Name Metrosideros excelsa, flowers in December and this year this one is late, but  that's good because it is flowering right near Christmas.
 We have many on our property. This one is beside the driveway into our house so gets noticed daily.
 Others further down the drive flower a little later so we have Christmas trees for some weeks. Heavy recent rain hasn't damaged this one ( yet ...more rain coming )
 There is a close up of the flower at the top of my right hand side bar.
 There are also yellow flowered varieties ( not nearly as impressive ). The Pohutukawa is related to Rata and Feijoas.

 Here's some of the heavy recent rain. It trashed the garden a bit but now everything is growing rapidly...so good for our fruit crops.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Where the Wild Flowers Are.

3 months ago I posted about making a small wild flower patch.
 It is now flowering quite well.The Cosmos are the dominant ones at the moment, along with blue cornflowers, white alyssum  and a few Californian poppies.
 The red ( soldier )poppies are in bud.
 Some of the cosmos are rather nice.
 The few eschscholtzia ( Californian poppies ) are already setting long seed pods so if I leave them I may get some more plants. The cosmos though should be dead headed,
if I want them to keep flowering. There are some weeds but not too visible. I think if I pull them the flower plants will be more at danger when it's windy as it has been so often lately.
The little patch of wild flowers, used to be an extra vege patch but Peter Rabbit and others ate there too often, so I changed it's use . It  is beside the track that leads down from the house to some of the kiwifruit blocks and R's walled vegetable garden. His garden  is doing quite well. The shade cloth wall keep pests out and certainly helps protect against all the wind.

Tomatoes on the right ; then peas and Spring onions. To the left is a parch of sweet corn.

 ***** 
The bee hives have all gone from the Kiwifruit blocks back with the bee keeper. They have done a good job pollinating  The flowers. This photo is a week ago when there was still a few flowers out between the small fruit already set.


 The bumblebee hives ( we purchased so they are our till the bees die ) have been moved one into R's veg patch one up into the flower garden near herbs and the other veg garden ( as well as flowers ).

***
Patchwork and Quilting for me has been non existent lately as I spend time in the garden and orchard. Yesterday was the last meeting for this year of our Tauranga Group. More than 30 ladies turned out for our shared lunch and  party games.( like every other quilting group everywhere at this time of the year ! )


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Extremely Busy Time.

 Today is day 2 of the avocado picking.
 Yesterday the weather was most frustrating. It went from sunny to cloudy to a quick shower of rain about 10 times. Never before have  we had pickers working in rain parkas. ( here is G working at the bottom of the top block.)

 Here is L working inside a lower tree. We are lucky to have G and L working here. They are husband and wife and very good at what they do. They are careful and look after our trees while pushing their hydraladdas into the trees. ( the avocado trees  are flowering and setting next year's crop, and can be easily broken ) Also helping yesterday was their daughter C just wanting holiday work before she starts at Waikato Uni next year. She did 3 hours  picking from the ground for us. Also helping was S just for the morning. 
 By the end of the day we had 12 bins of fruit. Some of the cleanest ( as in not much rub ; insect damage or marks ) we have produced. There is just a little sunburn. ( seen on the fruit as pale yellow to red colouring )
 Today is a sunnier day so should be more pleasant for them. Joining them today is another hydra ladda One that can reach higher up the trees. He (M ) will go along where they picked yesterday to get the top fruit they couldn't reach. The  poor guy drove in here at 7.10 this morning and the truck with his machine did not turn up for 2 hours. So frustrating and 2 hours pay lost.
 ( not his fault! ) 
R is using a bin trailer with 3 bins to bring some of the fruit back to the loading area. Also using single bins on the forks in other areas. He was quite tired last night as it is a lot of getting on and off tractors, hustlers etc to have the right machine in the right place at the right time.

 My only duty with the avos was getting the documentation signed and Quality controlling the bins of fruit as they arrived back full. That gave me time to work on the Psa Survey I am doing in the Kiwifruit.(  It's a have to! It can be compared to last year's at the same time and must be kept with our records and sent in to Vine Health )
 Every single vine, male or female on the orchard has to be recorded and it's PSA status noted. That involves at lot of walking. I am  half way there and about to do more today. The leaf spotting ( not serious on most vines ) has spread across all blocks in the orchard now. A few patches are becoming more worrying and will be watched closely by us. Where we cut back canes some weeks ago there is some cane die back happening. More damaging than that has been the wind. There are so many broken branches from the relentless wind we have had during the pass fortnight. The dead broken canes  have to be carefully pulled out without breaking more off.
 Did I mention that the kiwifruit flowering is late this year?...and currently we have 25 bee hives and one bumble bee hive in the kiwifruit blocks. Also early this morning we had 3 Pollen Plus people walking through with leaf blowers distributing male pollen into the air under the vines. ( this is the second round of  artificial pollination )  There is plenty of fruit set already so the bees have worked despite the wind. It just makes life harder for them..
******
 Last Saturday I spent all day working in the herb garden and vege garden, weeding and  pulling out spent plants, replenishing the soil with sheep pellets and compost and then replanting.
 The biggest old sage plant that the bees have so enjoyed gave way to more lettuce seedling. One Sage is still flowering. Not a herb I use enough of to require two really...but I left it flowering as the bees were so keen.
 I got my first small pick of strawberries and some last broccoli before I pulled the plants which were months old out.( green and red look so good together ).

Finally before I get back to work, here is a quilt. My friend M finished this scrap strip quilt . She put it together in 3 parts so the mid section is slightly offset from the sides.( she didn't think it was going to match so that was a smart move.)
 What a great way to make a lovely big quilt to use up her scraps.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Roses.

Yesterday we had the first sunny ( non windy ) day in ages. So good!  I spent many hours over the weekend gardening so no sewing. ( I'll get back to your question soon Isabelle. )
 As we have had lots of rain during Spring the roses in my garden are doing well. I'd like to share them with you.
 If I had to have just one rose it would be Charles Austin because of it's amazing perfume and hardy nature. ( I have 2 )

 Also flowering well are the 3 Graham Thomas roses on a fence at the edge of the garden near a Kiwifruit block.
 As there are 3 plants I can go out and pick a great big bunch to bring inside.
 Many of the roses have people's  names.
 Meg ( below ) has the prettiest face of all.
 Its the stamens and the colour I like.( not much perfume )
Her neighbour is called Penelope , she has a much paler face.
Pink Sparrieshoop  ( below ) almost died some years ago but recovered and is looking lovely beside the driveway.


 Crepuscule is up over a pergola - seen here photographed against the sky and the gum trees.
 Only the bottom got pruned as I can't reach the high up parts ; but it hasn't minded.

Also hard to control is Cecile Brunner ( the sweetheart rose ) . It frequently scrambles up into the surrounding trees.

 Lavender Dream is planted in the wrong place and is overshadowed by tall trees but manages to put out some flowers.
 Finally here is one of the Apple Blossom flower carpet roses that sprawl everywhere and can be pruned with loppers.I much prefer it's colour to the original cerise flowercarpet .
 These are just some of my rosy friends. 
 There is also Sally Holmes;Cornelia; Aryiles; Mutablis;Annais Segalis; Complicata; Veilchenblau White flower carpet and Petite Penny.

 Still living but not thriving are Sweet Juliette; Juliesquel;Wise Woman;Depres a Fleurs Jaune ( It  got damaged) and Loving Memory.
 When they are doing well Roses are a delight. I am battling bronze beetles which chew them - they have only been in my garden over the last 10 years - never had them before that. I can't spray them ( which would be the solution )( I digitally kill as many as I can ) because of the bees. It is just coming up to kiwifruit pollination time ( very late this year )and I cannot kill any of Wal's bees. Bees must be looked after.
 Do you like roses? What one is your favourite?



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Have You Been Eating Your Greens?

Last Saturday we had a big storm. It took the power out and trashed the garden and Kiwifruit vines. It blew one avocado tree right over ( bugger! ) 
 In the vege garden we had some silver beet plants that were just going to seed. It downed them over the newly planted tomatoes. R went and cut them off at ground level and I picked some leaves  for us to use rather than waste......
 I just selected the youngest tastiest leaves. Yes, we are going to have spinach tart and spinach everything else I can think of.  It keeps quite well washed and in a plastic bag in the fridge. I know it freezes but we always have fresh ready so I don't bother.
 Rainy, stormy days meant some sewing got done. ( the power outage was at 8.30pm so I had done my string piecing by then. )
 How do you photograph that.. ..wind it round and round.
 The first 2 ( of 6 ) long strips for my quilt top are successfully joined.
 Despite the rough weather my roses are looking and smelling rather good. Some pics in the next post. We haven't had to water any of the new vege plantings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wall Hangings that Appealed to Me.

This is a follow on from yesterday.
 There were several hangings in Bernina Aotearoa Quilters Challenged "Growth," I liked.
 On the left Mother Earth by Kathleen Burford of Christchurch.
 The stitching on the gum flowers was just right and the stamens were tiny French knots.( apologies to the maker I have cut your name off. ).... (Thank you, Maree. This gum flower quilt was made by Jennifer Pattison from Taranaki. )
 This green landscape around Auckland showed how the city has spread over the last few decades. The maker lives in Orewa  and the close stitching over the highly populated areas worked well.
 *******


In the Space Between,challenge , Charlotte Scott's Feather was lovely. ( see yesterday's post for a link to her website. )

  Hazel Foot's entry, deserved the ribbon!



 Valda Sutton's , Big Day Out in the Space Between Challenge was so realistic. She had used her own photo printed onto fabric of the figures  and placed them on her own seaside background.


The Judges for the show had their own displays.  I loved this by Judith Ross.( wish she had shown us more of her work )

 These 4 by Judge Jenny Bacon.


 *****

In the wall Hangings,  Altered Fabrics by Susan McRae also appealed.

 Hazel Foot's Fantasia  had amazing colours ( sorry I didn't fit it all in  - It was very long )
 The photo doesn't do Chris Behersing's Creamed justice. It was so pale and delicate. It would look amazing on a bed.
 In this close up you can see the detail of the Wedding Ring design around the flowers. The quilt had lovely scalloped edges.

 Finally some of the entries in the Hoffman Challenge.

 *********
 On the way home we were comparing photos and I discovered I had missed a couple of lovely quilts. I think this happens when there is a crowd in front of a quilt and I tell myself I will come back to have a closer look when it clears and that doesn't always happen.