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Late Autumn

June 2023

As I write the rain is pouring. Here, in Central Otago, we are pleased to see the rain refresh our gardens. Our thoughts are with those further north who have seen enough rain this season.


We are in full 'bedding down for winter' mode, and leaves are being collected in wool fadges,  those who've visited Crosshill will understand how we currently have 7 full fadges and several more to fill before the clean-up is finished. We only collect the leaves that fall on the grass areas, the remainder are left in situ to decompose and nourish the trees. 112-year-old trees certainly provide plenty of autumn exercise for us gardeners but the reward will be wonderful leaf mold in two years' time.


The soil amendment in the Tea Garden has given us nourishing soil in which to plant spring seedlings. This year we grew chamomile, pennyroyal, catmint, calendula, and mint. The echinacea is best left to grow for a few years before harvest, however, we've thoroughly enjoyed watching the bees enjoy the blooms. We grew Lemongrass from seed, advice is that it will perish if left outside in our cold winter so my experiment is to leave a couple of plants in the ground and lift a few to nurture inside. We had a small crop this year but as with echinacea, this plant is best left for a year or two before harvesting.


The new vegetable garden, situated in the front paddock for maximum sunshine, is undergoing soil amendment, this paddock in front of the old woolshed has been compacted by sheep since 1890! With any luck - correction - with lots of hard work, we will have the soil ready for spring planting.


We are super happy with the growth in the Sunset Garden, only a few troublesome areas to correct, namely the control of field sorrel which pops up in several places. Special mention of the dahlias this year, they've been gorgeous, remarkably the Cafe au Laits are still in flower, albeit a little smaller than their summer 'dinner plate' size more 'side plate'.


Andy, our arborist, has delivered more woodchips, the piles are now going through the breaking down (almost hot composting) stage. A mad decision to put semi-shade-loving border plants in front of the woolshed

has meant even more soil amendment. This area will receive excellent morning sunshine but will be in the shade for the hottest part of the afternoon. I haven't formulated the planting scheme as yet, that will be a winter job.


The wisteria, in its third season, produced beautiful white blooms. It has covered three-quarters of the frame in the courtyard already. The large expanse of concrete pavers has been cooled considerably by the shade the wisteria has given. Hopefully next year we will remove more pavers and plant more ground-cooling borders under and around the wisteria.


We thank every one of our lovely visitors this year. We have enjoyed your company and the sharing of garden ideas. We do hope you will visit again in the future to see the garden developments.


The Secret Gardens concept is growing and fulfilling our wishes of sharing time and skills with like-minded gardeners who are becoming friends.


Over winter we will be dreaming up workshops related to all things gardening and garden art/crafts.


Stay warm over winter, and see you in Spring.

Autumn Foliage
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