Gardening with Gael - Plenty of activity in the garden
It happened. I could not believe it. One of the paeonies flowered. This was not something I was expecting for at least another two years.
‘Be patient’ the paeony growers in the South Island wrote to me. It may take up to three years for the roots to get established and for there to be a year with enough cumulative cold. At the end of our coldest week I tried to continue the cold with two litre containers of ice. My small freezer and Dawn’s small freezer were full of containers. I figured that the larger the lump of ice the longer it would take to melt. I don’t know if this helped but I have assured Dawn that it did.
My granddaughter Florence got to pick it and we have admired it from every angle. I couldn’t be more thrilled. All the paeonies survived. There is one late one and of course I am now hoping for a flower from it too.
The luculia cuttings are all doing well so far. I explained my experiment to my physio Bridget.
“It’s not a proper experiment,” she said, “if there are no control cuttings. You need some in plain water. Then you can call it a Randomised Control Trial [RCT].”
Home I raced, and there are now plain cuttings in water on my windowsill. The best part of these is I get to whip them out of the water from time to time to observe the progress.
In the shade house both the willow cuttings and the hormone powder cuttings are all alive and showing signs of new shoots. It’s too early to inspect their roots.
A friend of ours, Donn, an ex science teacher, observed the trial.
“So,” he said. “You have nine in willow water and twenty in the hormone powder. Your experiment is showing a definite bias. From this I already deduct that you have more faith in the hormone powder.”
“My trial is more randomised than controlled,” I observed.
My conclusion is that this experiment will only be written up as a casual anecdote in the local Focus. Scientifically it is clearly lacking. However, with a bit of luck I will end up with masses of white luculias. One healthy by product is the hundreds of willow trees that have sprouted roots and leaves in the bucket of water.
The articles on the White Walk elicited a rapid response from my sister the landscape architect.
“What about white flowering natives?” she said. “No mention of those, and heketaras are flowering magnificently all through the bush right now.”
Heketara or olearia rani have clusters of white daisy-like flowers. I too have a passion for all the native olearias and I will include these in my white walk. A small forest tree often seen in regenerating forest, it will make an excellent background. I have also planted the native
clematis over a rather dodgy retaining wall constructed by my grandson Theo and me. I hope they do as well as the one Barbara Hockenhull has gracing the deck near her Pipi Gallery.
Finally there is reinga lilies. Rick and Jess from Mangawhai Natives assure me they have heaps. I think they will create a great waterfall effect between the trees on a particularly steep piece of bank. Their frothy white flowers at this time of the year create a wonderful show.
This beautiful paeony flower came a couple of years earlier than expected!