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Your let­ters

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

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