Tui Bathing

Our two bird baths were placed in the garden sometime ago and one has had visits from a tui and a sparrow but it was not easy to get a photo. Today at last here is the tui having a great time flapping around bathing. It is very dry here. We haven’t had rain for 24 days and there is none in sight. We might have more bathing beauties.


White Hibiscus and Medinilla

I bought this stunning, very white, hibiscus Full Moon from Mac at Subtropicals recently. It will probably be too big eventually for the courtyard but it fills a gap while everything else is growing. As is the promiscuous seeding Impatiens balfourii which I have been warned about but it is easily pulled out if it gets out of hand and dies down in the winter.

Full Moon Hibiscus and Impatiens balfourii

The cerise vireya is Merlot and unusual colour which co-ordinates very well with the Medinilla which is flowering for the first time. They get very little sun in this site and are very sheltered although the Medinilla lost a major branch in the spring with the vicious south westerly winds which caused unpleasant swirling gusts even in the courtyard.

Vireya Merlot and medinilla

Paradise Ducks at Home

Two adults and four young paradise duck have made their home here. The young have only just started flying so have spent several months moving around our property grazing in between sessions in the dam where they swim and up-tail-dabble several times a day. The adults have taken to perching on top of the stumps, sometimes occupying both at once, surveying their domain. There have been a few fights when other paradise and mallard ducks have flown in but “our” ducks seem to have secured their claim here.

Paradise Drake

Orchids Outdoors

Compared with orchids grown undercover my outdoor flowers don’t bear close scrutiny. But many species and hybrids do surprisingly well. Cymbidiums of course a very hardy and flower profusely if they get enough light and nutrients. This one is in full sun and has been flowering for months. The flowers seem particularly tough, looking good despite high winds and heavy rain. I give cymbids a good handful of slow release fertiliser every spring.

Miniature Cymbidium hybrid

This small cattleya doesn’t get afternoon sun. It is happy on this puriri log and gets a small amount of slow release fertiliser once a year.


These Sacochilus have their roots right into all the cracks in this log. Their flowers are past their best but they make a great show at this time each year. Previously I have had them growing well in totara trees. A bit of fertiliser keeps them lush.


Rhodo vireya “Simbu Sunset”

Vireya “Simbu Sunset”

It may be “Tropic Glow”- they are very similar, being siblings. A very strong growing variety and repeat flowering it is a vibrant colour. This large plant was lifted from my old garden where there were plenty of others. I cut it back hard and set it down on top of the soil under a totara tree until I had a home for it here in the courtyard. It has taken a year but its first flowering is spectacular and it is growing away strongly.

Maple Glen

We have just been in the South Island on holiday. I managed to get to Maple Glen, an amazing garden between Invercargill and Gore. I had previously visited in autumn and summer so it was exciting to see it in late spring.

Maple Glen

The mollis azaleas were at their peak and spectacular. The maples were wonderful too. Always in this garden the collection of conifers provides structure, texture and colour throughout. There are some very superior specimens.

Maple Glen

Water is a dominant feature with flowing streams, ponds and the larger lakes which have been added in recent years. They were showing off their  wildlife of geese and swans with their young.

Maple Glen

The bluebells and daffodils were over and the wisteria climbing a huge poplar was on its last legs. You can never see everything in one visit in such a large, diverse garden as this. If you ever get the chance visit this garden go.

Maple Glen

Their website is worth visiting to get the background of this fascinating garden and the nursery catalogue. They deliver throughout NZ – mainly perennials.  

Maple Glen

The Bank

This narrow area on top of the stone wall is progressing well. The shelter and warmth of this site has allowed considerable growth over the winter.

The Bank

Boccania frutescens or Tree Poppy is quite rampant and has almost hidden the pretty blue of the prostrate Ceanothus “Blue Carpet”.

Ceanothus and Boccania

Heliotrope “Cherry Pie” has flourished, flowering almost immediately I planted it out, scenting all around.