A Change of Seasons

This article was originally published in the Waiheke Weekender. Who else has been enjoying this mild autumn weather?! We’ve had so many days recently when it’s been pure delight to be outside working with my hands in the soil. It’s a major clearing out and planting time of year in the gardens here. If you were requesting the perfect weather for such tasks this would be it. Not too hot, not too cold, with the occasional rain to make everything moist, but not so much water that the ground becomes a muddy mess. I’m sure those days are coming but

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The Garden Chronicles – May

May is our last month for cut flower production before we finish harvesting for the season. It's always sad to come to the end, and as soon as the flowers finish we miss them! The mild autumn meant the roses put on a lovely final flush. We have about 200 roses - a tiny amount of plants for a flower farm - but enough for us! I do love them but they require a constant eye and are actually one of our least profitable crops for the space they take up. But these are not your ordinary floristry roses

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Where have your flowers come from?

 This article was originally published in the Waiheke Weekender. It’s the week to celebrate locally grown flowers! Well to be honest, NZ Flowers Week was last week. But given that in the rest of my life I’m about two months behind, I figure a week is nothing of significance. Some of you will know that I’m a little obsessed with flowers at the moment. It’s been a passion that’s developed over the past couple of years and my family will vouch for the fact it has taken over my life. My version of a mid life crisis perhaps. So why NZ Flowers

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Mid Project Blues

This article was originally published in the Waiheke Weekender.  If you’ve been following along our journey, you’ll know that we’re mid project on expanding our cut flower farming business. There is something deeply satisfying about having a vision then carrying it through to it’s conclusion. Developing a vision takes time till it feels right, but it’s a great thinking process and I enjoy those moments when something clicks and it all comes together.  The next stages which involve detailed planning suits me too. I’m happy to while away hours in the evening researching methods and ideas, and enjoy drawing up plans

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A Flowering Month – September

September - Spring! It's been an incredibly wet start though I have to say! The flower field is still too wet to cultivate, and I'm having to find other places to tuck my seedlings in instead. So far this strategy is working but am going to run out of room very shortly. The dahlias are bursting out of their planter bags too. First flower of note  this month was the almond blossom. I always leave the almonds unpruned until they start flowering, and then prune away to my heart's content. They are planted in an exposed area into just about

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A Flowering Month – August

With my new Flower Farm project, I've become much more observant about what is flowering when. We follow a standard seasonal pattern generally, but with our climate being relatively mild I'm interested to see what the possibilities are.  Here's a mid August vase picked from a wander round the house gardens. Hellebore, scabiosa 'black knight', a new orange alstromeria, and euphorbia. These annual scabiosa  - or pincushion flower (a much nicer name) - were sown in December last year. They were slow to get going (leaving them stranded in their little trays for waaay too long did not help), but I've

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The Garden Chronicles

Sitting inside with a roaring fire and yet more rain coming down, it's amazing that the garden is still thriving throughout this winter. In the vegetable garden the corn salad  (also known as lamb's lettuce or mache) is providing more salad greens that we can keep up with. I sowed this about 5 years ago, and it has self-seeded every year since. It reliably germinates in autumn, perfectly timed for the slow salad season. The citrus is an 'uglifruit'. It took several years before it fruited, maybe five? If it wasn't tucked away out of sight it might not have lived for

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Working on my Soil Legacy

This article originally appeared in the Waiheke Weekender.  One of the advantages of having members of the younger smartphone generation in your household is that you have a window into popular online trends. Actually most trends still manage to float on by me while I obliviously spend my time gardening, however a recent one caught my attention. This was an app called ‘Would you Rather’ with a simple concept, and based on a version of a party game which has been around for a while. The app poses an endless supply of options which you choose between. For example -

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Productive Pets

This article was originally published in the Waiheke Weekender  I don’t remember being a pet obsessed child. Early on we had the ubiquitous family cat, a classic ginger tom called Charlie Brown. I had to phone my parents to ask the name of this cat so clearly I wasn’t too attached to Charlie. I also vaguely remember a rabbit which came to an unfortunate end involving a dog. Not even my parents could remember the rabbit’s name. Later on I did have some mice that were my responsibility. These led to a most traumatic childhood experience. My favourite mouse Ellie died and

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Preserving the Honesty Box

This article originally appeared in the 'Waiheke Weekender'.  Pop-up shops are a current trend. The ‘pop-up’ name might be new, but the concept has been around in a variety of guises for a long time. My favourite local pop-up enterprises are the roadside fruit, vegetable  and plant offerings which sprout up in various places around the island. Some have regular seasonal appearances, some have permanent structures, and more simple ones come and go. With a variety of produce from lemons to plums depending on the time of year, they always come with an ‘honesty box’ attached (or perhaps just a

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