There are many walks in the area. Two that can be completed in an afternoon are Emily Falls Walk and Dennistoun Bush Walk. Both very different.
After driving through the small (tiny) picturesque village of Peel Forest at the base of the Southern Alps foothills turn left onto Blandswood Road and then at the end of the seal turn right onto Lookout Road and onto the car park.
Emily Falls Walk. Lovely bush and listen to the bellbirds singing.
Walking up the road to the track entrance the air is filled with the ringing sound of the Bellbirds singing in the trees. Starting on the track is easy but soon winds its way upwards for about 15 minutes to the top of the ridge. On the way large 'old man' Fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) hang over the track and at this time of year are in full flower. Many ferns line the walking track along the way.
At the top of the ridge the track divides to go to Emily Falls or Rata Falls.
Taking the Emily Falls track defend to the steam and walk up stream for about 100 metres. With little recent rain you wont get your feet wet but with gentle and careful rock hopping rejoin the track to the Falls. Lovely bush area and nice stands of South Island Kowhai ( Sophora microphylla).
Return the same way and return time about 1.30 hours to 2 hours. Photos
"Old Man" Fuschia - Flakey orange bark
Dennistoun Bush Walk. Spectacular 1000 year old trees.
This excellent flat bush walk is found on Blandwood Road before heading up to the Emily Falls car park. A large sign on the side of the rad with a nice mown grease picnic area makes it easy to spot.
A wide waking track leaves the panic area and forks into a circular track around the area.
Within a few metres of entering the track gigantic Totara, Kahikatea and Matai trees are encountered. These extra large trees are remnants for the extensive logging carried out in the 1800’s. Now about 1000 years old these are spectacular in size, form and structure. Not just one or two but many trees are scattered through this reserve.
Apart from the walk and trees take a very short side trip to the saw pit area and imagine to work that early foresters undertook to fell these large trees and hand mill them into usable timber.
Enjoy the walk amongst these giants, enjoy the singing of the bellbirds.
Saw Pit where felled logs were cut into usable timber
The Giant Trees
To help with identifying the trees the short description below will make it easy. The leaves of these trees are all different but as they are large stand back and look up at them and identify the leaves against the sky.
There are a number of useful links at the end of each description.
Totara, Podocarpus totara. Easily recognises by its tough green spiked leaves about 25mm long and 4mm wide and its stringy bark totara grow into very large diameter trees up to 30m high. Here on this walk are excellent examples of very large specimens.
"One of the largest trees in the forest, its timber was prized by Maori as being the best for building their massive war canoes, and was also the main timber used for carving. Until more recent times it was also valued for bridge and wharf construction, as well as a wide variety of other uses ... Ancient Maori custom demanded that when a totara tree was felled for timber a young seedling had to he planted in its place in order to appease Tane, the god of the forest, for removing one of his 'children' " (Metcalf 2002).
Kahikatea, Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, (previously Podocarpus dacrydioides) is the tallest native tree in New Zealand. The one growing here are certainly tall and criss cross the track with their large surface roots.
It can be recognised by the leaves which are very small being about 1mm wide and 3mm long tightly packed along the stems. The colour may change for a large purplish green to an olive green. The trunk has a nice flakey pattern to it with approximately 75mm diameter pieces of bark flaking off at different times. Large rounded surface roots cover the ground around the tree.
Pride of China, Hardy Gloxinia, Chinese Trumpet Flower, Garden Gloxinia
This beautiful clump-forming perennial is excellent for rock gardens and borders. It has handsome foliage and upright stems bearing large, trumpet-shaped, usually bright pink, flowers in early summer. It grows to a height of 60 cm with a spread of 30 cm, but dies down early in autumn. It is frost hardy, but should be protected with mulch during cold winters. It makes an excellent talking point in the garden.
Incarvillea is a beautiful flowering plant with low growing clumps of glossy, deeply divided leaves from which arise 25cm - 50cm leafless stems topped by clusters of flowers, each flower may be up to 75mm across. The first few blooms on each plant often appear before the rosettes of mid-green leaflets have fully developed.
Blooming from late spring to midsummer, the large terminal heads of exotic trumpet-shaped flowers are a bright magenta to rosy-pink, with yellow throats and are held well above the rosette of dark green foliage on stout stems. ‘Alba’ and 'Snowtop', are white-flowering varieties.
The fleshy taproot must have excellent drainage as they do not tolerate wet or waterlogged soil in winter and grows best in a rock garden or raised bed in a position that receives some sun every day. Remove faded flowers to encourage more buds. Excellent for cut flowers.
Sometimes it is best to treat them as short-lived perennials but it is well worth the extra effort to grow these plants.
The crowns are easily damaged and plants are very late to emerge in the spring, Do not disturb them and you will be rewarded with exotic looking flowers each spring. Grow Incarvillea in deep, sandy soil that has been liberally enriched with compost. They need consistent moisture while in bloom.
Protect the young growth from slugs but otherwise no major problems.
Crowns should be buried 75-150mm below soil level in a area with full to part sun that is protected. Plants should be mulched in autumn with dry straw or some other mulch, to protect the crowns from winter damage.
Seeds may be sown in the spring or autumn in sandy soil in a cold frame or they may be sown in trays of soil outdoors and covered with sheets of glass. Seeds need no pretreatment but need light to germinate. Do not cover them with soil. Seeds take about 14 days to germinate with soil temp at 10-15° C. Propagation can also be by very careful division in spring but mature plants do not like disturbance.
The genus Incarvillea belongs to the family Bignoniaceae and consists of 17 species native to central and East Asia, including the Himalayas. All are suitable for rock gardens and borders. Some species are annuals, although those in cultivation are usually perennial. Some of the shorter growing species from higher altitudes of the Himalaya’s, Tibet, India and Turkestan have the largest and most exotic flowers. Most species flower in shades of magenta and deep rose-pink although one or two species come in shades of yellow or white. Unlike most other members of Bignoniaceae, which are mainly tropical woody plants, species of Incarvillea are herbs from temperate regions. Incarvillea is named after the French Jesuit missionary and botanist Pierre Nicholas Le Chéron d’Incarville.
The most commonly grown species is Incarvillea delavayi.
Everyone recognises the daffodil as being a major
element of spring garden displays. Magnolias are just as important in the
spring garden and make a fine show once established. A drive around any town or
city in NZ will enable the keen observer to spot many different magnolias
flowering from early spring to late spring.
One of the most important magnolias is Magnolia
campbellii, but there are others equally important depending upon the effect
gardeners are looking for. These include M kobus, M stellata, M x Soulangiana,
M wilsonii and M seiboldii.
Magnolias belong to a large, varied genus of 125
species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs from east Asia and the
Americas was named after French botanist Pierre Magnol. The leaves are usually
oval and smooth edged. Known for their elegant flowers and their distinctive
character, magnolias are a showy group of shrubs and trees. The large
spectacular flowers are generally large, fragrant and solitary with colours including
white, yellow, pink or purple, and may be shaped like a funnel, cup, saucer or
Magnolias require deep, fertile, well-drained and
aerated, mildly acid soil. The fleshy roots are fragile so the plants do not
transplant readily. They thrive in sun or part shade but need protection from
strong winds. The flower buds are frost sensitive. Branch structure and
developing flower buds add interest in winter. Some magnolias flower when they
are 2 or 3 years old and others take 10 or even 20 years to come into flower.
They are well worth the wait.
This deciduous Himalayan species eventually grows 24 m
tall with a 12 m wide crown in the right conditions and there are a few this
size in NZ but usually they are a lot smaller. Its slightly fragrant flowers
are up to 25cm in diameter and appear on leafless branches from late winter to
mid-spring. Plants raised from seed may take from 6 - 20 years to flower. It is
reliably hardy. Today there are some really good NZ raised cultivars and
hybrids to choose from. ‘Alba’ has pure white flowers; ‘Charles Raffill’ is
white and rose purple; ‘Lanarth’ is a deeper rose purple. Magnolia ‘Vulcan’
with dark red flowers.
Deciduous and conical, this Japanese species can reach
10 m tall although it is not often seen this big in cultivation. Its aromatic
leaves are 20 cm long and mid-green in colour.
The flowers are produced in early spring before the foliage and have
long, narrow petals sometimes stained pink at the base. It can be seen planted
as a street tree around Christchurch.
M. stellata (star magnolia)
This many-branched, compact, deciduous shrub from
Japan grows 3 m tall and wide, with aromatic bark when young, and narrow dark
green leaves. Fragrant, starlike, pure white flowers, 8 -12 cm wide, open from
silky buds in late winter and early spring but its flowers are sometimes
damaged by sudden frost. It flowers when quite young, and has several cultivars
in shades of pink, including ‘Rosea’, ‘Waterlily’, the most prolific flowerer,
has more petal and slightly larger white flowers. Though the shrub’s floral
display is enchanting, its wonderful open form would recommend it even if it
failed to bloom.
This deciduous hybrid between Magnolia denudata and M.
liliiflora first appeared in Europe in the 1820s and is now represented by many
cultivars. It is an erect tree 8 m tall and 4.5 m wide, usually single trunked.
The dark green leaves are tapered at the base at rounded at the tip, with a
short point. Blooms in goblet, cup and saucer shapes and in white, pink or deep
purple-pink appear from late winter to mid-spring, before and after the leaves
emerge. ‘Alexandrina’ flowers are pure white inside, flushed rose pink outside.
Goblet-shaped cultivars include ‘Lennei’, beetroot purple outside, white to
pale purple inside; ‘Lennei Alba’ with pure white flowers; and ‘Rustica Rubra’,
rose red outside and pink and whit inside.
M wilsonii and M seiboldii
From China, these spreading, deciduous shrubs or small
trees grow up to 6 m high and wide. In late spring and early summer fragrant
cup-shaped yellow flowers with red or magenta stamens hang from arching
branches among narrow dark green leaves that arc velvety be h. These smallish
trees represents a group of deciduous summer flowering species from China, with
pendent flowers distinguishing them from the upright ones of the better know
spring-flowering species. The white blooms are beautifully fragrant.
Magnolia roots arc
fleshy and fragile so transplant carefully in spring. Container-grown plants
are the best. Look for well-branched plants. Plant them in a fairly shallow
hole - just deep enough to cover the roots - but give them enough space for the
roots to develop horizontally, and leave enough space for the free in its
water until established, and then taper off to watering during dry spells. Most
well-established shrubs growing in a good garden loam can easily tolerate a
week or two without water. The frequency of watering and quantity of water will
be determined by a number of factors, including soil characteristics and
exposure. If the soil is not naturally rich, provide an annual application of
organic mulch. Provide generous fertiliser until plants are established.
Some species of
magnolia arc attacked by scale. If not controlled carefully, it can cover the
plant. The tree is usually able to repel any diseases if properly sited and
growing vigorously. Prune magnolias as specimen ornamental trees. To avoid
water shoots, any summer pruning should be very light. Remove dead wood
such a fantastic display that all gardeners should find a home for at least one
of the fabulous plants.
Before starting out as a hobby beekeeper there are some tips you need to know:
1. Check local rules as some councils do not allow back yard beehives.
2. Having your hives side by side is a lot easier long term. It means you can transfer frames of stores/brood between the two, if one hive is weak.
3. Check the location of your hives on your property. Bees take-off from the hive in the same way aircraft take-off from a runway so you want their flight path to be away from your washing line and whoever lives next door.
If the hive is pointed toward a doorway or gateway, having the bees fly past can be in unnerving and increase the risk of stings.
If bees are flying past washing a lot they leave little brown stains on anything white, which isn't very good.
4. Read a Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand a few months before you get your first hive. This is a very good book and will tell you everything you need to know.
5. Obey the rules regarding recording and reporting, it is about protecting the industry.
The use of all seasons spraying oil is a natural and easy way to control a wide range of garden pests and diseases. Do not be afraid to use it on a wide range of plants. This is a simple precaution often forgotten but much valuable produce is lost each year through a failure to do this simple operation. Exceptions are very tender plants with thin fragile leaves. The control of pests and diseases is improved greatly by getting rid of all the pruning’s, rotten fruit and mummified fruit that harbour pests and diseases.
How to use All Seasons Spraying Oil.
The use of all seasons spraying oil is a natural and easy way to control a wide range of garden pests and diseases. This is a simple and organic way to control pests and diseases. Follow the directions on the label.
Do not be afraid to use it on a wide range of plants. This is a simple precaution often forgotten but much valuable produce is lost each year through a failure to do this simple operation. Exceptions are very tender plants with thin fragile leaves. The control of pests and diseases is improved greatly by getting rid of all the pruning’s, rotten fruit and mummified fruit that harbour pests and diseases.
Winter flowering plants are important in providing unusual spots of colour in the garden. Eranthus is not exception especially when it flowers on the coldest days of the year in July in New Zealand.
The small golden yellow, buttercup like flowers appear above a rosette of roughly serrated bright green leaves on a stem only 10 cm tall. They are great for woodlands but look equally at home near shrubs in a garden border. They are easily propagated by division or from seed. After several years left undisturbed it will have densely colonised a small area and when in flower be a real attraction.
Eranthus has about 7 tuberous rooted species which are native of Europe and northern Asia. E hyemalis originates from France, Italy, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria growing mainly in woodland areas. Great information can be found in this special edition of International Rock Gardener No 49 January 2014.