HERE’S MY LUCKY VEGE CART!
After reading the February 2016 article on roadside stalls, I decided to create a cart for my suburb of Cloverlea. Successfully operating for over a year, this quaint little cart stocks a small supply of vegetables, fruit, herbs and plants generously donated by a number of gardening enthusiasts from our local community. Donations only, all proceeds are given to our local Cloverlea School & Kindergarten. The Lucky Vege Cart has developed a loyal following and is continually evolving, adding cabbage tree frond fire starters and weekly recipes. A good talking point and community bonding, The Lucky Vege Cart is a great success on many levels. Jude Pearce, PALMERSTON NORTH
NO WASTE HERE
I was interested to read the letter in September’s issue from a reader who saw tired plants and old pots being thrown away at her Mitre 10. At Marlborough’s Devon Nursery annuals that have passed their shelf life go to my private garden which is often open for customers to enjoy. It is an added treat if they are plants that will fit in with the wildflower garden. Vege plants also go to my garden. If they are not used for the dinner table, they are given to local charities. Pots are also recycled. Luckily we rarely have a problem with tired trees and shrubs. Jill Rodgerson, BLENHEIM
BRING ON BIRDS
Ruud Kleinpaste’s article on silvereyes (May 2017) motivated me to try and attract more silvereyes to our garden in a recently developed subdivision. Out went the lard and the waiting began. Over the next few weeks the silvereyes started to visit, much to the joy of our preschoolers. Ruud described these beautiful birds as excellent pest control and I would have to agree based on their systematic searching along our rose and tree branches and their fossicking through the pea straw. The July issue then provided a recipe for bird cake. We used lard with rolled oats, raisins, currants and sesame seeds. The silvereye population has exploded. In fact, 14 silvereyes are fighting for space on our bird cake-wielding Gleditsia ‘Ruby Lace’ as I write. Joanna Risk, TIMARU
I’M PLANNING A SWEET FUTURE!
Thanks so much for the yacon advice (August 2017). I was given a small plant. It grew and grew and grew over summer. But when I harvested it in late summer, I didn’t know what to do, so gave most of the enormous, overly sweet roots away. Fortunately I did keep the base and after reading your column last month now anticipate it growing again, picking the roots a little earlier and stewing it with some other tart fruits like rhubarb and guava. I would send a picture but it is currently a dormant looking set of stalks. Andrea Gerbic, AUCKLAND
I LOVE BUSY BUZZY BUMBLEBEES
So I loved your article about bumblebees (September 2017). We have some huge ones that visit our garden. They especially like our tomato plants, but a year or so ago I found three of them feeding off my potted hyacinths. They were there for quite some time and the two on the blue hyacinth were double stacked! Vicki Bateup, SEFTON
I GROW SPRING FLOWERS TOO
I really enjoyed Lynda Hallinan’s article on the wonderful variety of flowers in her garden (September 2017), as I too have a number of these beautiful plants growing in my garden. Having lived in Kwa Zulu, Natal all my life until six years ago, when I immigrated to New Zealand, I was unable to grow many of the beautiful bulbs which grew there due to my area not being cold enough, and sometimes far too hot and humid although they thrived in the Cape area. At the moment I am growing two types of guava, the small one and the larger variety with the pink flesh, and will be delighted to have success with them. Elaine Webster, LEVIN
OUR PLACE IS A BUTTERFLY HAVEN
Hubby and I retired from our lifestyle block in Whakamaramaˉ last December. We embarked on a new life in Katikati. We have never seen so many butterflies! They are always around; a few months ago they were literally dripping from a tree across the road. Our life has been so enriched by Mother Nature. We love the birds, bees, butterflies, and early spring flowers and beautiful walks. Raywyn Lewer, KATIKATI
I’VE BEEN LOOKING OUT FOR BEES
I’ve lived in my flat in Christchurch for four years. There are five older cherry trees down the driveway. For the first time this year, I’ve noticed all the trees covered in bees. I was inside and could hear them. They sounded like a swam. Gretchen Boyd, CHRISTCHURCH
A TASTE FOR GARDENS (FOR NOW)
My five-year-old grandson Nicolas enjoys helping his Nanny in the garden. After a busy day recently pulling weeds, sweeping the drive, using the leaf blower and watering the plants, we sat down and had a cold drink together. I told him how much I enjoyed having his help. I said, “Nicolas will you still help Nanny do these jobs when I get really old?” He shook his head and said, “I don’t think so, I think my taste might change!” At least he was honest. I did wonder if he meant his taste for pulling weeds or his taste for his Nanny! Alexa Bartlett, AUCKLAND
OUR RESILIENT ROSE
Since moving to our new house in 2008 I have not had a really decent garden. It took five years to finally decide on how to upgrade our 1922 Californian bungalow house and then another three years before we decided how to finish off the exterior. – a garage, orangery and landscaping. Finally my husband asked about my “plan” for the garden, and I set to work! I decided the garden outside the orangery was going to be blues, purples, oranges and apricots with a sprinkling of white and yellow. One day while at our wonderful garden centre at Mitre 10 Mega in Nelson, I discovered a rose, ‘Christchurch’. It wasn’t in my plan but it was such a dazzling orange that I knew I just had to find a place for it and what a gem it turned out to be. It has the most wonderful dark leaves, is an extremely healthy plant and the flowers are the most amazing orange (almost burnt orange). Plus it won’t stop flowering! This garden gets all day sun and the blooms just seem to radiate in the light. Whoever developed this rose really knew about how resilient and vibrant the people of Christchurch are and this rose is a celebration of those qualities. Anne Tucker, NELSON
BOTTOMS UP SLIMY VISITORS!
After only one night these beer snail traps were excitingly successful! My broccoli seedlings, so lovingly grown inside, were shredded after a day in the open garden. I needed to find the culprits and exact revenge. At least the slugs died happy – being attracted to and getting drunk on beer. I cut the bottom off some milk bottles to make shallow containers and poured in the beer. Then, rubbing my hands together, left the traps overnight. The results are shown in the photo. This is just one of four equally successful traps. As well as slugs, however, I did catch one centipede. That trap was below soil level so I hope it just sort of fell in. Maybe other readers can let me know if they’ve seen centipedes in beer traps?
I’m also doing strategically placed slug hotels. These are empty half oranges and rocks that I clear out once the guests have moved in. But the beer traps though are hands down the most fun.
I have never seen such a slug invasion. I don’t know why or where the slugs have come from this year but I’m fighting back before I plant out anymore innocent broccoli babies! Nathalie Pronkjones, CHRISTCHURCH