Friday, December 23, 2011



Last post for the year, as, yes! I am OUT.OF.HERE!!! Yeeha.
After a mad flurry of activity to get garden design plans done and our maintenance jobs up to date, my work is done for 2011.
Have a great Christmas everyone, and I'll catch you again in 2012.
(I'll be available again for work after mid January....)

Best wishes,  Rachel xoxoxoxo

Monday, December 12, 2011

Aristea Major - Brilliant Blue!

 This has to be one of the VERY VERY best plants I have ever come across. I grow it for the very upright foliage. Tick. Tidy 12 months of the year. Tick. And now the flower - whoa! BIG TICK!! Brilliant blue, and standing a good 50cm above the foliage. My plants have taken two years to flower, but that has not been an issue, as I grow it for the foliage. So far the flower spike has been open for about 4 weeks, and shows no sign of abating. A mass planting of these would be stunning, but the difficulty is where to get them?? They are buggers to grow - they don't split at all happily - believe me,  I've tried. Seed takes special care. Hmm. I can't get enough of them.

White version at my office - grown for foliage effect here.
Sadly - as well as my lack of success at dividing them, and not being able to source enough - some have come out with white flowers. Now I'm not sure if this is just my source, or if this is a recurring problem. The white is nice, but a mass planting to get the blue effect would be somewhat ruined by the wild cards poking their wrong colour up!! That matters to people like me!!

I would love to hear about your favourite plant. What makes it stand out from the others??

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dietlind Wolf - amazing!

I have to share - I have come across this amazing person in the blog world
She is a stylist, I think. Everything that she puts on her blog is absolutely outstanding. Ceramics, food, nature photos - just wow. Go and have a look.

 I'm a bit confused about whether she makes the ceramics as well. I am sooooooo in love with the wonky plates in the first few images. Wish she lived in New Zealand. More specifically, Masterton!!! No worries with postage there, then!! Go and check her out. Rx

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fresh Homemade Bread.... Mmmmmm

I can officially report that the pizza oven is back in action for summer, and the weekend saw us dine in style with our lovely parents. Just thought I'd send through some photos to make you SALIVATE while you sit at your desks!!! Yummmmmmmmmmmmm............
 The smoke (above) is form the olive oil with the chicken, because the oven was so hot!! You only put food in to cook once all the wood is just glowing embers, that you push to the side. You guess the temperature. This was very hot!

OMG don't you just WISH you could smell this? And to eat .....?

The 'buffet' ready to consume - al fresco dining rough and ready!

Seasonal Changes

I arrived at my office this morning and was hit by this visual mass of blousey fluffy flowering going on in my garden. Didn't seem so OTT when I left it last week. A few photos later, and I was able to compare it to those I took in October, where the structure of buxus, flax etc is more obvious, along with the tulips. At the moment it is just 'happening'. The photos show the difference that happens in a month.

October - Tulips and Sparaxias

Exact same garden, 6 weeks later! Blousey and full of action!

October - bare branches and structure of Buxus and flax more obvious

November - all hell has broken loose!!! Same view from the footpath.

Heuchera 'Green Spice' and Euphorbia 'Chameleon'

Heuchera flowers

Tulips back in October, with no competition

I have to admit that my initial enjoyment of the mass flowering turns to tolerance, then relief when it is time to chop a lot of it back!! I do prefer the foliage contrast as the main feature, but how boring would that be 12 months of the year?? Tulips, lilies, sparaxias, deciduous trees - all add elements of change to keep the interest going.

Do you like foliage gardens, or masses of colour and flower? Or a bit of both, like me??

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bird Watching

Christmas fairy?

I had just finished trimming the Corokia cones - oops - a bit wonky!!

Cheeky little Tui, probably pondering his reflection in the window....

And my very favourite - the gorgeous big bumbling wood pigeons.
The garden is full of birds at the moment - especially my favourites - Tui and Wood Pigeon (Kereru)....Tui are here to drink the nectar from the flaxes along the wall of the house. The woodies - well they just come any time, and are very welcome.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mannequin Video with Sue Lund

You will have seen Sue's work feature on this blog before, one of these mannequins (Susan), and various artwork - now she is on YOUTUBE!! I think this video is gorgeous. Enjoy.......

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Presse Papiers

I have come across this fabulous online stationary shop called Presse Papiers. There so many items they stock, that I can't even begin to tell you. Needless to say - I fell instantly in love with this apple notepad, and very quickly snapped up this, and the green pear. If you are related to me by birth or marriage look away now, as you may just be getting one in your Christmas stocking...

If, like me, you live in the sticks, then online shops like this are just marvellous. I am about to 'let my fingers do the walking', and make another order, after seeing all the delights in for Christmas.

The link to the site is get ye there NOW!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

No Comment (but I'd really like to)......

Arghhhhhhhhhhh. After getting my computer 'fixed' a month ago, they changed the security settings, and now, often when I go to leave very thoughful and intelligent comments (!) on my favourite blogs, it won't let me. Overzealous security settings....

Just to let you know, that I am still following your blogs, but can't comment to let you know!! This is especially for Tranquil Townhouse, Claudia, Alex, Virginia, Oeke Design, and the Swedish blogs - you know who you are. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK - I love my quick morning fix of catching up with what you have posted, all set for some inspiration.

R xoxoxoxo
View from my computer - Sparaxias this week....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sculpture in the garden

A small sculpture in my garden that gives me lots of pleasure is this simple concrete thingy, but it is the MOSSES on it that I love. Aren't they just gorgeous?? It is nestled amongst Phlomis russeliana - one of the top plants for any style of garden. Looks particularly good contrasting with Libertia formosa, or Aristea major. Love it!

As for this brazen dancing hussy, who has been eatting FAR too much chocolate - she may not be to everyone's taste, but she makes me smile, and adds character to my garden.  The bluebells are Spanish (I think) and they are HUGE - make a fantastic show compared to their polite wee English cousins....
ps - I've never noticed before how the tree looks like a face, with two eyes at the top, and a long nose.... Haha!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


 A garden full of plants is gorgeous, but extra elements such as urns and sculpture can give focus and direction to a garden. I have these urns by my front door at home, flanking the steps. I have just replanted them, this time with succulents, so I won't have to water them over summer.

Trying to link the colours from the garden behind into the pots. I do use the dark reddy purple foliage a lot, (Flaxes, Heuchera, Euphorbia etc) but I love it, so why not??? It looks particularly good with lime green foliage, and red flowers (Daylily seen here). Love it!!

Black Tulips in Neudorf Vase

 My favourite favourite colour of flower - 'black' tulips.

  I wonder how true black they will actually breed them in the future?

I took these photos today, in my office. Couldn't resist. Love them in the striped Neudorf pottery vase from Nelson. Love the simplicity. Hope you do, too??

Have a great day! Rx

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Ahhhh - at last - my ranunculus bulbs are about to burst into flower. Planting bulbs indicates an optimism that these ugly little dry brown things are going to turn into something glorious in the future. This is so true of Ranunculus. Look at the colours!These are growing (should I say 'glowing'?) at my office, but I also have a secret stash of them at home just for picking. Love them!!

Have a great week - I'm off to spend time with our cherubs for school hols. R xoxoxo

Just going to leave you with this photo of our road (yes - four km of gravel!), chocka block full of Kowhai in full flower. Superb!

NZ native Kowhai Trees - Sophora species - in full bloom along our road Oct '11

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Click, click, click - spring photos galore!!!

Ah SPRING!! My camera has become like a permanent (heavy) pendant around my neck, as I have it out constantly, clicking away at all the spring delights. Just can't help myself after the drabness (?) of winter..

I thought I'd share photos of our New Zealand equivilent of the Australian Wattle tree - THE KOWHAI - Sophora tetraptera. Our countryside is a blaze of yellow at the moment. The nectar feeding birds like the TUI and the WOOD PIGEON (Kereru) are having a great party in them at the moment. Go hard, I say!!

Kowhai in my parent's garden 

Prunus shirotae Mount Fuji

My all time favourite flowering cherry tree - Prunus Mount Fuji.

For a few years before I had babies I worked for the Masterton District Council. Whilst there I was lucky enough to plan some parks and do some plantings around the town. 13 years later, and the trees I planted are making a fabulous show. These trees in the photos are at Henley Lake playground, planted as a Sister City reciprocal tree swap with a Japanese city (??too long ago to remember the name!!). I sent them Kowhai trees (Sophora Tetraptera) in return, 100% cleansed of soil etc for quarantine purposes. I often wonder how they are going over there. Mr Adachi are you out there??? Look how great your trees look!!!

It is the horizontal branch structure that I like, and they hold their orange/red autumn leaves for many months. Not only that but they thrive in our wicked winds, too. You've got to love them for that alone!!!