Wet wet wet!!!! That has been our autumn and winter. We hope spring will bring less rain and grounds can start to dry out.
At present the gardens still remain closed but we hope to reopen for group tours once the weather clears and the rain stops!
We have had some very good publicity - the Air New Zealand In-Flight magazine "Koru" featured Greytown in the April edition and included a few pictures of Kahikatea Gardens.
In between the rain we have been building new pathways and topping up the gravel on the existing ones. There is now only a little gravel left of the 20 tonnes delivered.....
It was a bumper season for walnuts unlike last year where the drought limited the number of nuts. Luckily we were able to sun dry all the walnuts before the "wet" hit us.
We also had a good crop of feijoas, persimmons, figs and passionfruit.
The fruit blossoms are starting to appear so the garden is quite colourful with the daffodils, camellias and the early rhododendrons and magnolias in flower.
To our surprise a cria [baby alpaca] was born on 26 June to Miss Chile. Rio is a very healthy white male and is becoming more confident with humans but still likes to hide behind Mum. Darwin, our new ram has been doing his job and we have a number of lambs. We have one "rescue lamb" that we are feeding at the moment - fingers crossed that he will survive.
We are also participating in a Local Energy Project by Genesis Energy. Five solar panels have been fitted to our roof which generate solar power. Even on a cloudy day we find that we are generating electricity - any excess is sent to the national grid. The project is in its early days but we hope that it will expand to other areas of New Zealand.
Here are few pictures from the last few months:
Summer this year was very brief. It started out well but by the time it came to 2017 any thoughts of last years drought quickly disappeared.
We had a very busy period with lots of visitors and also media visits. The garden flourished with the constant supply of water and Greg was relieved of his normal summer irrigating duties. Apologies that this post was "lost" - almost as bad as NZ Post!!
Top - NZ White Kaka Beak, Lemons and more lemons!
Middle - Visitors from USA. Some of our oriental lilies
Bottom - Three generational family from China
Spring is definitely here and it is lovely seeing the new growth on the trees. We have been busy over the winter months - adding gravel to the paths and making some new ones. Eventually we hope that we will have gravel paths throughout the garden - it will help to make things easier when it is damp under foot.
Some new additions arrived in the garden too - see the pictures below. Many people think that the monoliths have always been there - beautifully covered in moss and lichen.
Sadly our beloved golden labrador Jaipur passed way in early October.aged 11 years and 3 months. She is laid to rest in the garden next to her companions - Beijing and the ashes of Guangzhou and Delphi.. RIP Jaipur.
It is now July and we wonder where the year has gone! Little Sapphire is little no more and she is developing into a great Assistant Gardener. Sadly in June we said farewell to Guangzhou who has moved to doggie heaven.
The gardens are closed over the winter months.....soon to be opening again in August. We have been busy with rose pruning, now it is the hydrangeas and of course all the other things we planned to do when things were "quiet".
Harry the deer has grown heaps and we hope has reached his peak! The sheep are due to lamb in a couple of weeks and yes we have a new little puppy called Ruby just to keep is on our toes. So who said winter was a quiet period?!
On 21 December 2015 a new member of our family joined us. Born on 6 November "Bombay Sapphire" is a dark golden labrador. She has settled in really well although our other labs Guangzhou [chocolate] and Jaipur [golden] may not think so!
We had a good crop of gooseberries and Greg has been making gooseberry jam and a new chutney - "Kashmir Chutney". Both are very yummy. These can be bought at the gardens and are priced at $10 per jar.
In late September we ventured off to Rome before embarking on two cruises around the eastern Mediterranean. We spent a week wandering around Rome then off on a cruise along the coast of southern Italy, a few Greek Islands and then to Istanbul. After a few days enjoying Turkish Delights we flew to Athens and boarded another cruise ship to venture down the Turkish coast, a few more Greek Islands, Cyprus and to Israel. On our way home we stopped off in Abu Dhabi!
Life resumed to normal in early November!! Thanks to the work we had done in the garden before we left [heavy mulching] and our wonderful house-sitters the garden was looking great when we returned home. We had our first garden visit a week later and then a small wedding the following week!
November is a lovely time in the garden - everything is so lush!
Late September in the gardens brings the beautiful blooms of the Magnolia hybrid "Apollo" [above] This is just one of the many magnolias bred in New Zealand by Taranaki nurseryman, Felix Jury. We also have another of his hybrids - Vulcan - which is a deep wine colour and flowers late August.
Below [left] is the New Zealand native clematis - Clematis paniculata or Puawhananga.
This flowering climber is often seen on the Rimutaka Hill Road at this time of the year.
Also making a splash in the garden is the old favourite - Chaenomeles japonica - or just commonly called "japonica" [photo below right]. This is the old-fashioned variety - red/pink in colour. Next to it is a white form of Magnolia Stellata or Star Magnolia.
July and August have been difficult months at Kahikatea Gardens.
Sadly our Head Assistant Gardener, Beijing passed away on 1 July. He had not been well for a few days and after visiting the vet, we knew we only had a short time left to enjoy his company.
Beijing went quietly in his sleep. He loved going for rides in the wheelbarrow and so he was taken for his final ride to his resting place in the garden.
In mid July Neil injured his back so he was out of action for a few weeks. The most comfortable position was lying on the floor where he was often joined by one or more of the animals. Neil has made a good recovery but is on "light duties"
The good news is that our sheep have given birth to some beautiful lambs. We have a range of white, black and colours in-between!
Yesterday morning we hosted a group of 20 Chinese travel operators and journalists - it was their only stop in the Wairarapa so we felt very privileged to host them. The group is on a "travel trade famil" and are being hosted by Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand. Many many thanks to the team at Destination Wairarapa for arranging this visit. Here are a few pics from the visit.
The vet visited Harry earlier in the week and gave him his first vaccine. He is starting to eat grass and enjoying his walks around the garden.
60 Wilkie Street
[corner of Humphries & Wilkie Street]
41° 4' 37.28'' S,175° 26' 21.01'' E
For a unique garden and animal experience,
visit Kahikatea Gardens
See you soon!