Monday, November 30, 2020

Hawkes Bay Iris Group Safari 26 October 2020

By Maggie Asplet

Around the 25th of October each year we celebrate Labour Day here in New Zealand.  This year the invite to join the celebration on this day and to view irises was so well received.  Why? Because COVID19 had caused so many cancellations that I was beginning to think "Iris things" were something of the past.

Wendy and I prepared a day before for our 3 hour drive to stay in Havelock North with Bev & Jim Haliburton. We had a reasonably early start the next morning crisscrossing the Hawkes Bay region (east coast, North Island of New Zealand) for the Hawkes Bay Iris Group Safari.

Our first garden visit was to the home of John and Lynn Lees, Taradale, where not only we enjoyed looking at the garden, but as everyone arrives, the catching up with each other begins.


In the shed was John's pride and joy

Lucy's Blue Silk and White Elephant

This is a town garden full of treasures

We then set of for a visit to a nursery and garden owned by Bruce and Karen Carswell, Twyford Irises, named after the road they live on.  This is a beautifully nursery with a picking garden in a lovely rural setting.

Nursery photos - as you enter the nursery a lovely picking garden is available

This was our first chance to stop and really have a catch up; it was morning tea, time for refreshments.  For any of you that have travelled to New Zealand, you will know that we love our cuppa time.

One wee dog helped himself to something to eat

With my cup in hand, I then wondered around the rest of the garden.  Just lovely and a real credit to Bruce and Karen.


We then had a 20 minute drive through countryside to the home of John and Heather Trim where they hold the Hawkes Bay Project Irises.  These are all irises that have been hybridized by people who have lived in the area.  It is a continuing project for this iris group.

In the middle we have Heather discussing with Huib Selderbeek some of the growing conditions of these irises

John and Heather both do a bit of hybridising themselves 

Back in our vehicles again, we head to Huib and Helen Selderbeek's home for more garden sharing and also lunch. The images will not show just how challenging this garden is with some areas steep, others dry, and with a delightful boggy patch at the bottom of the road.  It was a wonderful spot for our shared lunch.

Pond pictures

I have circled the pond area - just right of top centre.  This image also shows the many rocks and stones on the ground, and perhaps how steep in places.

Lunch time, and while we were sitting talking, one of our native birds, the Tui decided to join us.

A small selection of beautiful beardless irises - perhaps a story for another day

Lunch was over and it was time to head back towards civilization.  Our next stop was to the home of Brenton and Fiona Le Prou.  Located on a town section and with a little thinking outside the square, in this case inside the pot, was an amazing selection of miniature and small bearded irises.  Unfortunately, bloom season for these irises had passed, but there were still other irises to be seen.

Here is how Brendon manages to grow so many of the small irises and also two of his beautiful birds that live on the other side of the netting

Not a TB person, Brendon still managed to find a couple of them in flower during our visit.  As you can see, it was such a beautiful day to be out and about.

Our next stop was to the home of Brian Townsend.  It is another small garden, but still with some wonderful treasurers.  

Brian won the Begg Shield at our Convention last year.

Brian, with his best shoes on is pointing at an iris that we spend considerable time trying to remember the name of.  Not sure that we agreed in the end.
A beautifully keep lawn and garden bed at Brian's

It was then time to get back in our cars and head to our next garden.  This is at the home of Joy Kennerley and again a small town garden. From the moment you stop outside the drive, you just get the feeling there will be loads to see.

The image in the middle is Nobody's Child

As you can see, so many gorgeous plants and a very peaceful place to wander around

It was finally time to get into our cars just one more time; we had already seen 7 beautiful gardens, heard a lot of laughter and just enjoyed some wonderful time together.

One final garden to see was at the home of Jim and Bev Haliburton. It is were we did our final wander around and questioned just when we would all catch up again.

Unnamed - Iris pallida and I swertti 

Beautiful blossom trees with tall bearded irises growing underneath

You can't have an iris safari day without afternoon tea.  This was a rather special occasion - this year was to be the Society's 70th birthday celebration, but not knowing what was happening around lockdown, a decision was made to cancel 2020 convention.

So, not to be forgotten the Hawkes Bay Group decided afternoon tea would honour this milestone.
A cake and a beautifully handcrafted card were presented to everyone.

John Trim had the honour of blowing out the candle

It was a fabulous day out, very busy with 8 gardens in total, and a fair few miles travelled.  It was so good to have been able to catch up with other iris people and to share the passion in such difficult times.

Thank you so much Hawkes Bay Iris Group and all your members for such a wonderful day out.

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