Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Autumn Trees

Fothergilla gardenii - one of my favourite deciduous shrubs
Visually, autumn is my favourite time of year. The only thing ruining autumn for me is that it heralds winter. I hate the cold and damp. BUT - autumn is to be enjoyed while it is here - and here it certainly is.
Trees along our driveway - Claret Ash and Golden Elm

Claret Ash (Fraxinus raywoodii) and European Ash (F. excelsior)

Golden Elm, Ash, Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

I took the above photos this morning, of the trees along our driveway. Every time I arrive home, I am reminded that someone many years ago had the forethought to plant the trees, and for that I am thankful.

It made me think about the trees in our public parks - many of them war memorials. The people that planted these trees would never get to see them reach maturity, but many generations later, we get the benefit. In Masterton, the memorial trees are mostly English Oaks or Pin Oaks.

These trees above are at Queen Elizabeth Park. I used to have to rake up the leaves of these trees when I was doing my practical work there towards my degree. One of my favourite jobs back then. Still is - but on a much smaller scale nowadays!!
Younger trees at Henley Lake in Masterton
 To plant a tree requires a degree of optimism, I have decided. Optimism that it will grow, and that one day it will reach maturity, even though we probably won't live to see that. But our children and grandchildren will. Autumn is the trees way of reminding us how beautiful they really are, and how now is the season to plan to plant them!!! Get out there and do it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Concrete Balls on Front Steps

 A bit of smartening up going on around here. It was long overdue. At my office, I've just had both the front and side steps painted, and now embellished them with some concrete balls I bought locally off Trademe. What do you think? The steps and columns are gorgeous, symmetrical and very much the feature of this funny little building. Now they look a little bit more dressed up with the balls. Best thing about the balls - this will not be their final resting place - oh no! They can be moved around and repositioned at whim. Funnily enough, the only thing I won't be doing with them is juggling.
Office - April 2013
Office - September 2011
The two photos above are 19 months apart. Shows how the garden has filled out. The Camellia hedges are starting to create structure now, and the Maples have really taken off. I always intended to paint the steps, and now I have. Had also thought about painting zebra stripes on the columns, too, but might just be a little bit too OTT for me!! Any ideas???

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tricyrtis hirta - Toad Lily

Toad Lily - Tricyrtis hirta
Ugly name - but cool plant!! This speckled plant flowers during autumn. It is very discreet, with the foliage acting as lush green filler in the garden, then this weird flower comes along. I love it! Flowers last for ages in a vase, and keeps flowering for several months. Chop it back in winter, then it regrows in Spring. My unofficial  propagation technique involves yanking a piece out of the ground, chopping the tip off, then plonking in the ground. Easy. Free. Good.
Leonotis leonurus - Lion's Tail
And probably, possibly, maybe the last time I mention orange flowers for a while - this great shrub is looking fantastic at the mo. Growing up to about 1.5m in the back of the border at home, the furry orange flowers are really great. It is currently participating in an unscientific experiment to see how long it will last in a vase (see below). Great for floral work as the spires poke out above the bulk.

Yikes! Just realised I've done orange and purple in the same post - AGAIN!!!!! Can't help it, but I realise I really must move on from this infatuation!! Rx