The Tūpare Diary

28 February, 2024

The late summer malaise is setting in. There’s plenty of colour still around but everything is starting to look a little beaten up, akin to a boxer entering the final round. Our main focus is on deadheading and ’prettying up’ herbaceous plants with a healthy dose of weeding thrown in for good measure. The occasional downpour is giving us no respite from the wildflowers and lawns almost as if nature has a playful hand in keeping us on our toes.

We’ve been cutting back herbaceous plants to their basal crown in hopes they have enough time to put on a second lower flush of growth and flowers. Our efforts seem to be paying off, with some early signs of success. As we transition to autumn we’ve started assessing the previous season for what we could have done better. Right now we’re marking plants for relocation before they vanish like it’s some sort of magic trick.

There’s a consensus among the team that roses are more trouble than they are worth, serving as magnets for mildews, fungus and slime. I’ve never understood the love for roses, although this may sound bleak, we look forward to their demise so we can replace them with what we consider "real" plants. While this sentiment might not be shared by all, time will prove us right. On a brighter note the rhododendrons and camellias remain steadfast, providing a reliable green backdrop to the garden's landscape.

It was all hands to the pumps last month for the Turkey the Bird gig on the river flat. Shane, Ayla and the volunteers put in a couple of hard days' work in preparation for the big day. From what I heard the event was a success. I would have helped but I was on holiday for the preparation period and then needed to catch up with my ‘jet-lag’ on the day so let the team shine like they usually do. Nobody got hurt and nothing burned down - I couldn’t guarantee that if I was on site anyway so I think that was a wise decision on my part.

Overall, Tūpare is in fine form. As autumn approaches, the garden takes on a serene charm, making it a joy to be at each day.

Head Gardener

Head Gardener Nick