Biggest disappointment- the non-arrival of my seed from the SPCNI pool in the United Statte, due to MAF finding a speck of fungous. A year's new genes missed out on.
Biggest improvement in a garden –Hollard’s Garden, Taranaki. I had previously visited this garden in October, and been disappointed, but visiting in November I saw a totally different garden. Pretty much my ideal sort of garden – well laid out, lots of unusual plants, and lots of unusual combinations. I loved it. Runner up – Auckland Botanical Gardens – I visited twice – July and November – and the gardens were very interesting both times, with lost of interesting plants and well thought-out advice.
Biggest surprise of the year – “Richmond” Garden I was a bit worried about visiting this garden, as I was not sure about whether I would like it. I was expecting it to be very austere and unwelcoming – threatening almost- but found it to be a charming a peaceful garden. It is certainly not a cottage garden, not a modern succulent garden, but it is a stunning piece of garden art and everyone who gets the chance should visit.
Worst mistake in a garden – is a tie this year. The Palmerston North Rose Trial gardens looked dreadful this year. Apparently the gardeners swapped their brand of spraying oil, and the roses did not like it. This year’s trial will be next to useless I think.
The other tied garden I will not name, because I do not want to cause them trouble, but a nationally rankled garden had a huge patch of one of the most poisonous noxious weeds, Cape Tulip, Homeria, in full flower. To the gardeners’ credit, when I told them they immediately destroyed all the plants.
Most spectacular plant. No contest here. The wonderful red mistletoe growing on the banks of the Atiwhakatu River, just upstream from Donnelly’s Flats, flowering just before Christmas. A most remarkable sight- just a pity we can not grow them in the garden.