Romancing the Rose

Our first roses will  be blooming now. So many types and varieties grow almost world wide. The name for a “rose’ is almost the same in any European language, an indication of its antiquity. Early poets all sang praises of the rose. Dried roses have been found in Egyptian tombs. “Rose” by any name signifies joy, beauty and  love. During […]

Herb of the Month – Jerusalem Artichoke

Have you got a sunny empty spot at the back of your garden? You may like to try this ancient tuberous sunflower species grown by native Americans long before the arrival of Europeans. It is an attractive tall growing perennial with sunflower heads up to about 10cm across. It grows from white underground tubers that are rich in inulin, can […]

Herb of the Month – Chickweed

A real nuisance once it gets into your garden, this plant does have its uses! Originally native to Europe and Asia it now grows wild throughout much of the world preferring cultivated moist soils but is not fussy, becoming variable in size and habit. Buried seeds are known to retain their viability for at least 25 years and the plant […]

Herb of the Month – Five Season Herb

Five Season Herb Plectranthus (Coleus) ambionicus  – family lamiaceae (mint) A member of the well known, ornamental Coleus, widely grown as a decorative garden plant for its attractive variegated red leaves. Cream bordered This plant is becoming popular and sought after. There have recently been several enquiries about it. There are two varieties now available in Christchurch, one has plain […]

Herb of the Month – Briar Rose Rosa rubiginosa

Common names –Sweet Briar, Eglantine Rose The species is native to Europe, Western Asia and South America. It is a deciduous, thorny, woody, hardy shrub. It is branched from the ground to 3 – 4 metres and does well in arid conditions. It was brought to New Zealand early on as a deciduous ornamental for its single pink, highly perfumed flowers and […]

Herb of the Month – Rosemary

ROSEMARY Rosmarinus officinalis “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance” – Shakespeare, (Hamlet) This had to be the herb for the 50th Anniversary of the Canterbury Herb Society. Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, the Latin name Rosmarinus translates as “dew of the sea” due not only to its native habitat but the dew like blossoms seen at a distance. It is a very […]

Herb of the Month – Frankincense

What is Frankincense? Frankincense is the aromatic resin used in incense and perfume obtained from five trees in the genus Boswellia. The Frankincense or Olibanum trees have a papery bark, sparse branches, paired leaves and white flowers with yellow or red centres. They are native to the arid stony dry lands of the Arabian Peninsula – Omen and Yemen, and […]

Herb of the Month – Puarangi – Native Hibiscus Hibiscus trionum

Puarangi – Native Hibiscus Hibiscus trionum Puarangi, a short lived perennial, was considered to be a native plant but more recently considered to be of African origin, possible brought here by the Maori. Here in the cool South Island it is better treated as an annual. H. trionum grows to 50 – 80 cms high and has bright green, slightly […]

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