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Gardening with Gael - The Electric Wheelbarrow


Pink hydrangeas-277Pushing a barrow downhill is easy. Pushing the barrow back up the hill at the end of the day can be daunting. I am getting a bit older and sometimes the thought of pushing the barrow from the bottom of the property to the top takes the fun out of gardening.

“What you need,” said Box,” is an electric barrow. Why don’t you Google it?”

Why not indeed! I didn’t have a lot of hope but Google is an amazing tool and immediately there was a site: yardlab.co.nz

A company in Kaitaia had developed an electric wheelbarrow. Box’s decision for a Christmas present was made. Steve the owner dropped one off for a trial to see if it was what we wanted. We still have it. It has changed gardening on a hill for me. There is a brake for going downhill with a load which is brilliant. Going downhill also charges the batteries, then, coming uphill all you need to do is press a little lever with your thumb and the barrow virtually pulls you back up the hill. I am delighted with it. Moving gravel and rocks is a breeze. Taking a barrow load of plants downhill, easy. So far I have even remembered to switch it to OFF when I have finished using it.

Last year Box planted the last grapes on the lower paddock which runs along the entire easterly border. Suddenly I realised that the garden needed to be connected to the vineyard. The abelias bordering the property had to be moved to make way for a path which would link the two. The new wheelbarrow was invaluable shifting the abelias from one end of the garden to another.

The new path needed border plants to lead the eye down the hill to the vineyard.

Back to the Village Market. This time to Rowie who always has a good range of hedge plants including varieties of hydrangeas. Pink hydrangeas on the left where the oak shades the ground in the summer. On the right, the sunny side, I wanted something luscious. My friend Jan in Cambridge spent weeks making suggestions. Nothing felt quite right.

Then, on a compulsory visit to Mitre 10, there was the plant. Beautiful panicles of cream and pink providing exactly the display I was looking for. A hydrangea very similar to Limelight, the cone shaped flower panicles start white, then, as they age, the clusters of flowers blush a clear pink. Hydrangea strawberry fraise. The plants flower all summer and the range of colours are present on the plant all summer.

They are in the ground. I had to chop all the beautiful flowers off to prepare them for the winter. Both borders have had several liberal dosings of lime. Box gave me a book to read on the benefits of lime and as a result all the lawns, the citrus, roses and hibiscus have also all had generous applications. I am hoping it is enough to keep them pink. Apparently the lime needs to be applied as the buds form. I hope we have timed it right. The pH here is slightly acid. Great for the camellias and rhododendrons but all the hydrangeas turn blue.

Now I wait for spring to see the strawberry fraise for the first time. This year we are in the Garden Ramble. Hopefully they will all be blooming.

HYDRANGEAS: As they age, the clusters of flowers blush a clear pink.

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