Now that we are well and truly into spring (and have been blessed with some lovely sunny days which is very unusual for Auckland), I thought it might be nice to share an update on what I have been doing around the garden.
Back in July I added a new rose to the garden appropriately named the Lady Gardener. It is a David Austin variety which are not easy to source in New Zealand due to royalty issues from what I have gathered. Here is a picture of the rose after I planted it.
The Liseta potatoes that I planted on 21st June (the day before the shortest day for us in New Zealand as we’re in the Southern Hemisphere) have recently become ready. This is my all-time favourite early variety as it’s a high yielder and has a lovely flavour. Like most early potatoes, it’s best boiled rather than baked as the skin is waxy rather than floury in texture. The downside is that early potatoes don’t store well, so it’s best to try and get through them as quickly as possible. I staggered my planting so I need to harvest the second lot in about a week’s time. I did plant Agria too, but in August so they probably won’t be ready until sometime in November. I ended up planting 12 kg of Agria seed potatoes, which is twice as much as I originally intended. I had ordered 6kg from Newton Seeds, the same supplier that I sourced Liseta from. Not long after that, a NZ hardware chain called Mitre 10 who run excellent “Cheap As” deals over the weekend advertised 1.5 kg bags of Agria seed potatoes for just $6, which is a very good buy as they are normally $13. I ended up getting four bags; a further 6kg. My thinking was that the surplus harvest will make excellent Christmas presents for close friends. What better than a box of homegrown potatoes right before Christmas, which often feature on the table for the meal. Also, because we had such a terrible summer produce prices have sky rocketed and potatoes are incredibly expensive. I haven’t even seen any 10kg bags of potatoes at the supermarket, which you would normally find in the produce section. Not only have the bags become smaller, but the price has also risen.
Agria are a main potato variety. They are ideal for baking and roasting as they are floury in texture. This is the variety that is commonly used to make chips and wedges. Unlike early varieties, Agria stores really well. Last year, our Agria potatoes stored right up until autumn, at which time they started sprouting.
I have written a blog post with some tips for growing potatoes, which you can read here.
Back in January, I sowed two polyanthus varieties from seed and my plants recently started flowering. You can read all about it and view photos in my previous blog post.
I have recently added a couple of new plants to our garden, which I am really excited about. The first is three new lavender varieties in the Ruffles series: Razzleberry, Blueberry and Vanillaberry.
Lavender is a wonderful fragrant plant with beautiful flowers which attract bees to the garden. This is extremely beneficial to the environment and to aid the pollination of early spring flowers on deciduous fruit trees, including stone fruit.
I have written a guide with tips for growing lavender, which you can read here.
I also purchased the petunia Splash Dance Bolero Blue using a voucher that Kings Plant Barn kindly gave me for my birthday, which is currently in our greenhouse until it gets a bit warmer and I can move it outside to our patio. It has grown quite a bit since I purchased it and I will need to repot it soon, as well as the lavender plants.
A bit of fun
A few months ago, I was so fed up with civilisation that I wished I could live alone on an island with no government (an election is coming up soon in New Zealand and there is very heavy media coverage, door-to-door campaigning and even being accosted in the street, so no wonder it’s working on my nerves even more than usual), no legal system, no economy, no currency, no roads, no cars (walking is very good for you!) and a few packets of seeds so I can grow my own food. Not long after that, the link to an article appeared in my newsfeed on Facebook. Somebody actually did exactly that. He is a Brit who somehow managed to purchase an island quite cheaply in the Seychelles. I can't help but feel jealous, even though I know it's wrong to feel that way. That place looks so good to me. Ever since I was little, I have been absolutely fascinated by islands and always wanted to live on one. I know NZ comprises a couple of islands, but I mean inhabiting a little island, navigable by foot. I would really miss Spotify though as I love music. But you can't always have everything and sometimes something has to give.