Herbs

16/02/2014

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Herbs are a great way to get into gardening - not only are many herbs easy to grow - some are hard to kill.
I can't pick a favourite; I have too many. I love the feeling that comes with ducking out to the herb garden while I'm cooking tea and snipping off a bit of this, plucking a bit of that and adding them to whatever I'm cooking.
I recently wrote a column about some of herbs I grow - you can read it here
 
 
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For those of you who love the idea of making the most of  everything your garden has to offer and more, Johanna Knox's book: A Forager's Treasury - A New Zealand guide to finding and using wild plants would be a fab Christmas gift so start dropping hints!
I attended Johanna's workshop at Nelmac Garden Marlborough this year and learned some fascinating facts about foraging - both within the garden and in the wider community.
Here's a link to my story on Stuff - don't be too confused by the photo of the Heliotropium arborescens the Stuff editors have used though; it has nothing to do with the story and I'm not sure if it's edible (so wouldn't recommend trying it without researching it first)...but it looks pretty on the page!
The picture to go with the story is this one of the borage growing wild in my orchard - while I knew borage flowers were edible, I learned from Johanna that the leaves are also a juicy treat.
Johanna is on Facebook - check out her page, A Forager's Treasury.


 
 
Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated these pages. I'll be giving this site a revamp over the next few months and sharing more recent happenings in my garden. 

For now, I'll start with a link to some information on espaliering trees, a topic that comes up in my next column.

See Vintage Garden Gal's blog post on espalier fruit trees 

Also click on the link in the article entitled "espalier" - there's a useful diagram of different ways of espaliering trees.

 
 
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Ever wondered where Velcro came from?
Look no further; the chap who invented Velcro got the inspiration from burdock burrs. They're the weirdest things; even when the burrs are still green before the flower has opened, hooks on each of these spikes will stick the burr to anything - dogs' coats, your clothing, even your skin. They're not sharp, just sticky.
Burdock, or Arctium lappa, has many medicinal uses but related species Arctium minus is a pest plant in some areas, particularly on sheep farms as burrs and wool together are bad news.

 
 
It's that time of year and again I have downed tools and left the garden to its own devices so I can make the most of Hunter's Garden Marlborough. I started my weekend early by attending a Friday afternoon workshop held by Tony Murell - most recently known for television show Mucking In and his current Saturday morning  gardening show slot on Radio Live where he co-hosts the Kitchen and Garden show with Helen Jackson, from 6-10am on Saturday mornings. 
Rumour has it that at 4pm when today's workshop finished, there were still tickets available to the workshop Tony will be holding at the Secret Garden in Blenheim tomorrow afternoon but judging by the reception he had from his audience today, once word gets out, those tickets will go fast.
If you're at a loose end tomorrow and fancy a good laugh as well as gaining a whole pile of gardening knowledge, check out Hunter's Garden Marlborough's website to book your ticket now. 
Tony's workshop isn't the only one on offer; to torment yourself with choices visit the garden tours pages or see what other workshops tomorrow brings.

 
 
Well spring has definitely sprung - and nowhere is it more evident than in the flourishing weeds in my garden. I'm definitely fighting a losing battle against the weeds at the moment and am prioritising - sticky weed, convolvulus and anything with a seed head that might be thinking of spreading itself further are the first to go.
However, weeds aren't the only thing flourishing in the garden; my self-seeded rat-tail radishes are are taller than I am, my brassicas are providing greens for us and the chooks with plenty to spare, the orchard trees have been progressively blossoming for the last few weeks and I've just delateraled my tomatoes for the first time this season and the herb garden's growing like crazy.
The dogs are very much over all this weeding. They reckon on an excitement level, lying at my feet while I'm gardening only just beats lying at my feet while I'm writing. Probably the only reason the gardening option wins is because they get to lounge about in the sun and when outside they can find more justifiable reasons to bark at bogeymen than they can when indoors.
 

I'm back

25/09/2011

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Ironically, there's been too much happening in the garden for much time at the keyboard, even though it's been winter. 
This weekend I planted my spuds and yams, both of which have been sprouting in my nice warm house. It was supposed to be a good time to plant these crops if you plant by the moon. Unfortunately, the moon didn't know about the weather this afternoon. Heavy rain, and a cold front (six degrees on the veranda at 4pm today) might just give my new garden additions a rude awakening; they've never been in temperatures that cold.
 
 
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There really is nothing like a large dog to add perspective to a photo of large veges. I tried photographing these curly courgettes, zucchini rampicante, which have grown into squash, from various angles with and without a tape measure in shot, but it wasn’t until I posed the she-wolf with them that you get any idea how large they’ve grown. The she-wolf’s suspicious expression had a lot to do with discussions over an appropriate modelling fee, particularly when she’d been called away from a bone to provide her services.

 
 
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One of my new gardening "finds" this season has been rat-tailed radishes. While they've been around for a long time, I've never come across them before. 
You don't eat the roots of these radishes; you let them turn into little shrubs and eat the sweet, juicy seed pods, which have a distinctive radish flavour. A brilliant crop for mid-summer when so many plants want to bolt to seed anyway.
See my article on Stuff.
I bought my rat-tailed radish seed at Kings Seeds this season, but will save some seed from this seasons crop to plant again next season.

 
 
Pollard Park is always a great place to visit with it's stunning garden displays. Now there's a new attraction; a potager garden. Check it out on the link below or get on over to the park and take a look. http://www.marlborough.govt.nz/Your-Council/News-Notices/Official-Notices-for-2-December-2010/Guidance-On-Growing-Your-Own-Veges.aspx