This week has been snowy. Most of the wet weather were isolated towards Banks Peninsula. However, I was at the Christchurch Botanical Garden today, and remnants of hail can still be seen among the shady parts of the garden. All around, the Prunus family have started flowering, and so the display of Spring flowers have begun.

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Rainfall this week, 7.5mm. Weekly high of 16.7dC and low of -1.5dC. Some morning frosts as well. I had a feeling that this Winter is going to drag out into Spring.

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The woodlands at the botanical garden is awesome. I had an enjoyable walk in the garden today despite it being cut short due to the change in weather. A good Samaritan even warned me to get going as the weather is going to rain and my jacket is not going to help. My favorite part of the botanical garden is the Curator’s garden, which is the vege patch. The native garden is amazing too, just inspires me about native plantings.

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The conservatory is finally opened! And look, bananas!

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Back at the Orchard Cottage, the prune plantings are now completed. Prune plums are essentially European plums, smaller in size, packed with traditional flavors, freestone, much unlike modern Japanese plums. From left:-

  • Cheviot Prune – Sweet and juicy fruit with a dark blue skin. Very cold hardy. Pollinates with all other prunes and greengages. Great to eat fresh, bottle or preserve.
  • Italian Prune on myrobalan – The world’s most popular prune plum! Dark purple skin, egg shaped, freestone, fine textured rich flavour and very sweet. Self fertile.
  • Sugar Prune on myrobalan – An egg shaped, freestone with purple skin, yellow flesh and very sweet. It is an excellent dessert or dried prune, ripening in mid February. Pollinated by Greengage.
  • Stanley Prune on myrobalan – Stanley’ is late (Feb-Mar) European variety. It produces a purplish-blue freestone fruit with a green/yellow flesh. It is juicy and has a sweet, slightly insipid flavour. It is self-fertile and itself a suitable pollinator. The tree gets large and fruits young. A heavy cropper it prefers a cooler temperate climate. A prolific cropper and an excellent pollinator. Dark blue skinned fruit with sweet and juicy golden flesh.
  • Ahipara Prune on myrobalan – A very special plum found growing in a long abandoned orchard on the Ahipara Gumfields. It is a large egg shaped classic looking prune except it ripens earlier than all the others, in January. With a dark red skin, yellow very sweet sugary flesh and free stone it is an excellent plum. Self Fertile. Similar to the Victoria prune.

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The berry plantings are now completed too!  The spiny Worcesterberry being trained against the wall on the left, and the other trailing berries trained along the fence. From left:-

  • Worcesterberry – American gooseberry with large purple/green fruit between October and November. Mildew resistant.
  • Boysenberry Tasman – A mostly spineless berry with medium to large berry size cropping well and easily harvest. Deciduous.
  • Hybridberry Thornless Jewel (Hortberry2) – Large, firm conical rich dark red/black berries. Old fashioned boysenberry flavour, juicy and sweet. A boysenberry cross.
  • Boysenberry McNichols Choice – Berrys are medium to large in size, with a high yield, and a large number of berries per lateral. Excellent for your own picking and processing.
  • Loganberry Waimate – White flowers in spring followed by large dusky purple-red berries, excellent aromatic flavour. The receptacle is left behind when picked.
  • Boysenberry Mapua – A mostly spineless berry cropping well in late season. Large berries easily harvest. Deciduous.
  • Hybridberry Berry Delight (Marahau) –  Mouth watering large dark rich red fruit with a delicious boysenberry/loganberry flavour. This bramble is crossed between boysenberry and loganberry. Harvest when fruit turns dark red and are easy to remove in December and January.
  • Boysenberry Brulee – White flowers in early spring are followed by large firm conical dark purple black berries. Crops in December to January with heavy yeilds under the ideal conditions. Fruit are ready when they are easily removed.

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Like I said, some plants like to have an early start to the season, like this Almond All-in-One.

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How much do I not know about hazelnuts? Just found out these are the catkins, the male flowers. And there is supposed to be some red female flowers too, which is yet to show.


The Orchard Cottage this week. Frosty morning. I might do some grafting tomorrow. Some guerrilla grafting with Red Leafed Blackboy Peach, Transparent Gage Plum, Whakapirau Gold Plum.