You’ve heard of Shark Week, right? Well, this is New Zealand Week here at the Sierra Foothill Garden, and I hope by the end of this week you feel like you had a mini vacation there.
After three weeks there visiting the Marlborough Valley at the ‘Top of the South’ Island, I was able to see a surprisingly large amount of gardens, NZ native plants, garden centres and just beautiful scenery. The plants are totally different here, so there are no thoughts of bringing NZ to the hills of California, but I appreciated so much that exotic difference and also some similarities between those who love native gardening here, and there.
Sunday- Rarangi Beach
Monday-Blenheim Wineries and Gardens
Tuesday-Totaranui and Abel Tasman Nat’l Park
Wednesday-Birds of Abel Tasman
Thursday- Nelson, New Zealand
Friday- Picton and the Marlborough Sounds
Saturday-The Plants of New Zealand
Sunday- Rarangi Beach, Blenheim, Marlborough, South Island, NZ
Rarangi beach was home base. Located on Cloudy Bay, Rarangi is a small strip of beach north of Blenheim on the South Island and is home to some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises.
The seasons here are reversed, our winter is summer here but the rainfall is the same, approx 25 inches (655mm), however they get more in the summer than we here in California.
There was found, the Rarangi Beach native plant restoration area and the most adorable pair of Rhodesian Ridgebacks ever. At a beach just north of Rarangi, you can crack off a few green-lipped mussels right off the rocks at low tide and steam them that evening for dinner.
Rarangi Landcare Group– homeowners plant NZ beach natives and weed out the invaders, protecting small mat forming native Daphnes with driftwood edging.
Here, lupine, CA poppies, sweet broom and borage have escaped from the nearby home gardens and are weeded out, making way for the native grasses and beach plants to thrive and spread. Surprisingly, California quail are here, and with no predators (NZ has few mammals), multiply in peace.
Local schools and an Outward Bound group, as well as the Rarangi homeowners, do the planting and weeding to restore the beach to it’s pristine condition. Approximately 8,000 plants have been established, including sand tussock (Austrofestuca littoralis), native daphne (Pimelea urvileana) and spinifex (Spinefex sericeus).
The beach is nearly deserted and good fun for dogs to play on. Sundays, more people come to enjoy it and children make forts out of driftwood. Shells abound, especially after the scallop boats have come and gone.
Tomorrow-Marlborough Wineries and Gardens….