Pond Lining

At last our pond is lined!

I suppose we should be thankful we had to wait so long for this to start because there was very little water left in it to pump out. GR Environmental Lining Services did the job and were very good to deal with.

First the levels were “shot” and various options of height were debated. We settled on the highest which is at the level of the spillway. Then the water was pumped out overnight and the digger commenced working around the marked level, cutting a bench on which the liner would rest before the soil was backfilled.

Starting laying the liner over the protection layer.

Beneath the liner is a protective sheet layer – a silvery/grey colour. Precise measurements were taken and the main liner pre-cut off site. We had chosen black from various options including green and blue. Black should give us the most natural look and good reflexions.

Welding the joins

The liner was laid and welded in place—a very hot job on a very hot day! Careful fitting around the overflow pipe and a couple of drain entries into the dam will stop water leaking under the liner.

Finishing details

Finally the guys placed three large stones too heavy for Roger’s tractor at the water’s edge —well you’ll have to imagine that! There is no rained forecast any time soon and drought has been declared here in the North.

Waiting for rain!

In the meantime I have to contemplate what planting to do in the autumn to give natural finish and hide the raw black edge. It is really black—depending on the light/sunshine it gleams silver like this shot.

Another Striking Tree

Moreton Bay Chestnut

There are several of these striking small trees in flower in the city at the moment. I have planted one but it’s a long way off flowering.

It is the Moreton Bay Chestnut (Castanospernum austral- a bit of a mouthful), which is heat tolerant and evergreen. A specimen in the pedestrian mall in Whangarei’s CBD has recently been removed on arborists advice, causing a bit of a stir amongst plant enthusiasts, both because of the loss of a beautiful and unusual tree and debate over its actual identity.

Moreton Bay Chestnut

The flowers emerge from the branches.

MoretonBay Chestnut

Beautiful Small Tree

Senna leptophylla

This tree starts flowering before Christmas and continues for many weeks. Its name is Senna leptophylla or Golden Medallion Tree belongs to the Cassia family. It is very briefly deciduous here in Kamo and makes a lovely shade tree beside the footpath in front of the Kamo Physiotherapy rooms. It sets many square seed pods which germinate readily. It is fast growing and tolerant of heat and dry conditions.

Senna leptophylla

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.