The New Zealand Evangelist
Notes On Gardening
Notes On Gardening.
November, the most bleak and dreary of all months in the northern hemisphere, is, in ours, the most genial and joyous of the year. It is now that spring merges into young summer. The cold and often blighting Equinoxial gales have past, the air assumes a soft, genial warmth, and vegetation, steeped often in “tepid showers,” seems to take a fresh start, and assumes an almost tropical luxuriance. From all our Fruit trees, save the Vine and the Passion flowers, (Passifloræ), the blossoms have past, and the incipient fruit begins to swell. Towards the end of October, Gooseberries, in sheltered situations, are ready to pick for tarts, and Peaches, with other stone fruits, should be thinned of their exuberant produce.
The summer pruning of all Fruit trees had better now be commenced: This consists in pinching off all superfluous shoots, such as disturb the symmetry of the older branches, or are likely to shade the expected crop of fruit too much. By commencing thus early, considerable trouble in the winter pruning is saved; and the sap, by being thrown into such branches or shoots as are wanted for future bearing, increases their growth proportionately. If gooseberry and currant bushes are well managed, their heads, or centre, will be always hollow, for the purpose of letting in sun and air, and thus render the fruit large and well flavoured. But as strong shoots will now begin to rise from the hollow crown, they should be immediately pinched off, or they will counteract the object of this mode of training. The innumerable suckers which spring up between the rows of raspberries should be cut off by the common hoe, a few inches below the surface; and this should be repeated every two or three weeks, when necessary; but if the spade is used, the roots of the bearing branches (or canes) are very likely to be injured, and the crop of fruit much diminished.
Plantations of Cape Gooseberries may now be made, so as to provide a crop of fruit for the autumn. The situation should be very sheltered from the prevalent cold winds, and yet open to the morning and mid-day sun. When this plant grows luxuriantly, page 180 it covers a large surface, and requires its lowermost branches to be supported; they would otherwise trail on the ground, and be much injured by slugs, I find seven feet between the rows, and four between each plant, is sometimes barely sufficient to admit of the fruit being gathered easily. The plants generally last from three to four years, and come into bearing the first.
In regard to Vegetables, pumpkins, melons, gourds, &c., may be safely planted in the open air, and young asparagus, raised from seed, should be planted out on a showery day, in the beds where they are to remain. Peas and beans may be sown all this month, at intervals of two or three weeks, as well as all the cabbage tribe.
This is a charming month for flowers. Although the Jonquill, and some of the early spring favourites, as the Primrose, Daffodil, and Cowslip have passed away, the double white Narcissus, very rare in this settlement, comes into flower early in November; its snow white blossoms form a beautiful contrast, or rather combination with the azure blue of the Borage, (Borago officinalis) long since introduced from the mother country, an infusion or sailad of which, in olden times, was considered a sovereign remedy for a sorrowful heart. Hence old Gerard, in his “Herbal,” extols it thus:—
Bring alway courage.”
I may here remark, that like some other introduced plants, it has escaped from the gardens, and may now be seen, growing in profusion, on the bank, going from the beach up to Wade's Town. I have also scattered its seeds in the Upper Hutt Valley.
Nearly all the Tulips will be in flower, this year, until the first week of November, when the numerous species of Iris, Iria, Sparaxis, Tritonia, and other bulbs open their blossoms in rapid succession, and render this the most flowery month of the year.
Strawberries, in the Hutt, generally ripen on or about the 17th, but this year I expect they will be somewhat later with us.
The Anemonies pass out of flower, just as the sweet briar opens its buds. The white lily usually comes into blossom the last week in this month, together with the Iris Xyphium, the most beautiful of all the bulbous flags.
While writing this, 19th October, I observe that a row of hawthorns, planted in a hedge, will probaby come into flower, for the first time, early in November.