My Favourite Window

September 30, 2014

Daffodil Diary

September is on its way out and I haven't mentioned daffodils.

Should I? you might ask, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and don't realise that this blog is also my garden diary. The daffodils in this garden are earthquake survivors: strange but true. They have been well and truly shaken up and over the past two years have flowered very shyly. One group of bulbs that I had transplanted three years ago during the Earthquake cycle, didn't even surface last year. They are back this year but without flowers. It's hard to tell whether the profusion of leaf blades in all my daffodil groups, are new seedlings (the old bulbs having died) or are just the old bulbs recovering their vigour. The flower above was a rare treat this year. For the record these bulbs grow here in heavy silt loam, which becomes boggy in wet seasons and bakes hard in the dry.  The multi-headed, winter flowering daffodils, which I call jonquils, do not seem to have suffered at all.  What blooms there were are going over now, but there is no shortage of yellow in the Secret Garden as early spring fades into late... dandelions, yellow archangel, Forsythia and Kowhai all light up green and homely places.

Daffodils Narcissus spp
Kowhai Sophora tetraptera (also microphylla and garden varieties)

September 15, 2014

Getting Away

Time for a break, time for a night away in Kaikoura...

No prizes for guessing that it was to hang out with Morris dancing friends.

 Marlborough Fayre is a new and enthusiastic women's side with years of combined dancing experience, based in Blenheim. 

Nor' West Arch is one of two Morris sides in Christchurch.

Although Kitty and I arrived early on Saturday afternoon and the dancing finished roughly twenty four hours later, the gathering managed to cram a lot into the time, including a dance workshop, dinner together, and public displays in town, at Donegal House, the Whale Watch forecourt, and the always poignant and delightful, historic Fyffe House on its whalebone piles.

Of course I keep my gardener's eye open especially with spring enlivening the landscape. I spotted this odd pairing of cold climate flowering cherry harmonising with the bold spires of pride of Madeira, which thrives in frost free conditions all along the Canterbury coastline.

Before setting off for home, Kitty and I discovered this viewing wall protecting an information panel in South Bay. The whole structure, which included a toilet block, was very stylish and pleasing to the eye.

Rather than taking the two hour route home along State Highway 1, we made a longer detour inland via Mt Lyford, new territory for Kitty and me. When I was child, droves of sheep on the road were a common sight around North Canterbury, but as lowland farming has turned to wine, venison, and dairy production, it's rare for us to see a sight like this. The sheep were only one of the spectacles along this route, which is threaded with mountain streams, wide shingle river flats, and dramatic gorges carved out of loess and rock. The kind of country that you feel needs another visit... 

Flowering cherry Prunus sp
Pride of Madeira Echium candicans

Photo of sheep near Mt Lyford: Kitty Jamison