Monday, September 29, 2014

Something Nice and Something Not.

In the garden outside our bedroom window my favourite Viburnum is just beginning to flower.

 It's full name is Viburnum plicatum tomentosa.
 It's leaves are just as beautiful as the flowers.They have a slight red margin when they first unfold. The bees like the flowers too.

 The something NOT nice is in the orchard.
 We are currently finding tiny patches of the bacterial disease psa in our MALE kiwifruit vines. ( this is the first year we have had the ooze stage )
 Here is a cane we cut out . I laid it on the ground to get a close photo of it. The wood discolours and red ooze appears. This is at the very early stages. We want to keep on top of it to stop it's spread.

 Here is how we are dealing with it.
 saw the piece out.
 Burn ( cauterise ) the cut using a small flame thrower.
 Paint the wound with anti bacterial paste( red ).
 Tie a red ribbon by it so we can check on it over the next few weeks.
 Collect all cut out cane into a large plastic sack. Dispose of either down the offal hole or burn in an enclosed place.
 Disinfect all tools immediately. (Spray with meths ) Squirt hands with similar gel.
 Move to the next vine I have found and repeat the procedure.

 The buds are just bursting on the vines and this is the most critical time. Hope for fine sunny days. ( psa spreads most during cold wet conditions - which is surprising. ) The way psa spreads is still a bit of a mystery. We know since it is a bacteria it is spreads by touch, by the  wind, by birds and animals, by vehicles, on clothing etc. etc.  The vines have had a protective copper spray ( several ). We can only be vigilant and hope we don't have too big a reduction in male flower because of too many cut out canes. We will use additional blown ( collected and milled ) pollen as well but it will be scarcer this year as many orchards have this far, far worse than we do.
So that is a job for this time of the year that pre psa we didn't have to spend hours doing.
 Meanwhile back in the garden and around the house we are busy cleaning and tidying as this coming weekend we are having  lots of guests for a celebration for R's 70th birthday. We have the big BBQ machine coming so we really, really want it to be fine.
 Lots to do. ( the sewing machine has been put in it's carry bag and stored in the cupboard till next week so I don't get tempted.....other things need doing.)
 Think Sunshine, sunshine,  sunshine!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is Spring Here?

Maybe it is Spring...we have sun this morning but it's very, very cold out still. We have had rain for some or all of the last 16 days. Windy too. We really need some warmth now - so do our kiwifruit vines.
The garden has been trashed day after day but still some things flower.
 These were all standing up but not any more - they still keep flowering.

 The New Zealand Rata is just out.

The purple sparaxis are looking good. The part of the lawn ( to the right )I resowed is still greener than the rest but it looks okay now.

 This is e first of my Hostas to pop up...better get some slug bait there.

 Spanish bluebells ( and mauve bells ) are opening daily and actually look brighter than they do here.

 My seedling wild flowers are surviving. I have recovered them.( I haven't needed to water them )

 This flower got finished during some of the rainy time. The next one is partly done...the end is not too far away now.

 Yesterday we went to the movies to see "The Lunchbox," which we enjoyed but I didn't like the uncertainness of the could have been one of several ways and I will never be quite sure. Worth seeing tho. It  starred  Nimrat Kaur ( Life of Pi  ) and the lovely Irrfan Khan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Well Done.

last December I mentioned in a post how disappointed I was when a new dahlia I had planted turned out to be a totally different one and not what the picture on the packet showed. I followed it up and complained to Fiesta bulbs ( have a look at their website ) where it originally came from.
 Fiesta Bulbs came good.....look what arrived by courier for me yesterday. Not one replacement BUT 4 !  Thank you very ,very much Fiesta Bulbs . I will continue to buy your bulbs.
 As soon as the rain stops I will go and plant them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Some of Everything.

There has been a mix of wet and fine days so I have made 2 more flower blocks when inside.
 This is # 17 ( of 24 ). I have made all the small size  ( 12 x10" ) , all the large size (20 x 10" ), all the (14 x10" )  then this one is 18 x 10" and  there are a few 16 x 10 " to do yet. I have now made 18 out of the 24.
 Yesterday the electrician came to do quite a few jobs we had been saving up. He put surge protectors on the computer plug and one on the metre board. He fixed the flex on my hot water urn ( which gets used about once a year when we have big crowds here - it is very old - it was my MIL before me ) but still heats a large quantity of water and can be set up outside or in the shed. He replaced 3 down lights in the kitchen over the sink, which have given trouble ( individually ) ever since they were installed 10 years ago. They don't use that sort any more  - I know why!
 These look good ( but what about that for a boring photo? ) They showed me I need to get up and wash fly spots off the ceiling!  Hopefully these will not fall down and hit the dish washing person on the head!
 Anyway I am grateful for the 2 hours work he did and hope things are safer round here now.
 Arctotis flamingo did the best of all the ones I planted in this sunny but windy spot at the top of a steep bank. They open when the sun is on them.( and keep on and on  flowering as long as they are dead headed )
 Also pretty at the moment are these very small delicate flowers which came from a cottage garden mixed seed pack I was given. I don't know what they are? They  seem to seed readily so are popping up in a few places.
 Meanwhile in the garden shed my tray of zinnias have ALL come up and are doing so well. None of the larkspurs in the tray next to them have appeared ( yet - I am still hopeful )
 Down in the wild flower triangle some have appeared. I am going to have to change the bird netting cover as it is too thick in places and squashing the seedlings - have to work on that...but it is encouraging that at least one variety I planted have germinated.
 Speaking of encouraging results my radish seeds that pop up in about 4 days have to be the speediest ones yet.
 R has got a head cold.( He went for a medical appointment last week and came back with a cold - he hasn't been anywhere else ) I am going to great lengths to try and avoid catching it!
We need to spend the rest of the days doing office work so that's exciting.
 I haven't mentioned what I have been reading for a while. Having struggled my way through 2 ( hard to digest ) books of a historical textbook nature ( Limeys by David Harvie  and The Victorians by A N Wilson ) I needed some light relief so am reading Blue Eyed Boy by Joanne Harris.( anyone else read it? ) I find it interesting that certain authors have recurring themes in their books. With Joanne she has characters who have unusual or extra powers or senses. This time it is synaethesia. I have seen TV programmes on this subject too and I imagine it must be hard for folk with it to realise others aren't  seeing or smelling what they can. I am halfway through this book so don't know if I am recommending it yet or not.
 The 3 books I have mentioned are all ones I got from the Used Book Sale at Easter time.
 Oh, there it is raining again. Just as well I spent all afternoon working in the orchard yesterday as I won't be today.  I better get to doing the banklink I guess. Then I have some even more boring kiwifruit reading, sorting,  filing etc to tackle. What fun!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

On the Bench.

Though not as perfumed as my white Burtoni  freesia these are lovely on my kitchen bench. They have spread everywhere around the garden and are all flowering en masse.The one that is a lighter shade ( in the vase ) must have crossed with the cream Burtoni ones I think. They certainly multiply.( I have a few mauve and cerise ones too. )

 This is the next completed flower ( stem yet to sew down ).
 I don't have a light box but the ranch slider works just as well, for tracing the patterns. I have this next flower cut out ready now.
 Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours down the track here.
 ( the patch of soil  just visible in the mid right )( neatly pruned kiwifruit vines in block 2b in the background. )
 See the freshly worked soil .... This photo from the opposite direction )
 This little patch has been used as my extra vege patch for the last 4 years but it is too far from the house and the rabbits and pukeho eat too much from it......SO this year it is going to be a wild flower patch ( I hope. ) Since R set up his walled vege garden we don't really need the space either.
 Here the soil is weeded and worked over ready for seed scattering.( it looks like I missed some weeds but they are self sown pansies so I left them )  Notice also in this photo how covered in blue flowers the rosemary plants are. The bees love them.

 Here it is blood and bone spread ,seeds sown and bird netting over most of it, held down by big stones. I didn't seem  to have enough seed so will buy more and scatter over the top. If I have any success I will post some photos in the coming months.
 It's a lovely sunny Spring day here in BOP.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Something Yummy.

 At the weekend I made this yummy Vegetable Jalfrezi. The recipe came from the September issue of the NZ Healthy Food Guide. ( page 63 ) ( web site here. )
 The first time I try a new recipe I try to stick reasonably closely to the original recipe ( to give it a fair chance you understand ).After that if I have liked it I begin to put my own mark on it according to what ingredients I have available. R had picked this from his walled garden and I knew immediately it was one of the main ingredients.
 I can't print out the recipe as it is not mine to do so but involves a spicy curry paste; thick  tomato mixture; onion; cubed pumpkin; cauliflower; capsicum; sultanas; chick peas and coriander ( not my favourite  herb and quite dominant in this ) but ok.
 The dinner turned out scrumptious served with pappadums and  long grain rice medley.
 On the same page of the mag is potato and spinach curry so that is the next to try. 
 The next flower is pink tones and was supposed to have leaves made all of bias strips ( I presume from the picture. ) as that idea didn't crab me I found a fern like fabric and am adapting that. It is quite tricky to sew on but I like the result so that's all right.( did you others who have made this use all bias strips? )
 The next flower is also cut out and adhered. It is bluey green with a round orange dot in the centre. . It was the one that caused me grief when I cut it out the first time as it stuck to itself as I was peeling the backing off and had to be binned. That was a good lesson and extreme care is now being taken at that step of each flower. (It was a bit octopus like with about 8 petals and hard to hold all at once )

 Clearing the old dead leaves off my strawberries took ages and I found thrips on some leaves. Most of the plants are only one year old but look a bit scruffy - I will give them a chance but will have replace them next year.
 I still have spaces in the herb garden for further planting but the back bed ( right ) has become a self sown place for parsley and coriander and muzuma.
 The alyssum flowers are also self sown and will come out as I need their space.
 Thank you to Jennifer; Molly; Dianne ; Raewyn and Sue. I really enjoy hearing from you ladies and enjoy reading your blogs too.