My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Free is Good.

So I mentioned that things had happened while I was away, and that I'd tell you about them over a few posts.  One of them was more bunnies being born, check.  Another was my flax seeds that I'd given up on ever germinating. 

I sowed these when I picked them from their pods several months ago.  I dutifully watered them through the drought and then when nothing happened I started ignoring them.

My native plant propagation bible "The Propagation of New Zealand Native Plants" by Lawrie Metcalf, says that you should sow Phormium seed when fresh and germination usually occurs within about 4 weeks.  Hmmm.  Maybe it was the drought.  But anyhoo, now that the temperature has dropped, they've all popped their heads up.  Yay.  I love flax - it attracts the tui, grows well in damp ground and is hardy as all heck.

A mature flax (although they get a lot bigger) with immature flower stalks.

I also have more free trees.  These are transplanted Tagasaste (Tree Lucerne).  I found a little cluster growing (from seed from our shelter belt) in the bare clay where our shed extension is going to go.  I dug them up, separated them and potted them up.  And they all seem to have survived.  These trees prefer well drained soil and so don't do as well in Northland as they do in somewhere like Canterbury where I've seen them growing great guns.  But if you pick your spot right they do pretty well.  They are short lived (8-15 years), attract native birds, nitrogen fixers, flowering now (great for winter bee food), good stock fodder, good firewood and only grow to about 6 metres - very manageable.

Loquats (yummmmmmmy) and Manuka.  Loquats grown from seeds and the Manuka (bee food, firewood, fast shelter) potted up from seedlings growing in my Mother-in-Law's pot plant. (Yes, those are strawberry flowers in the background - not holding out much hope for berries in winter though).

Propagating isn't as hard as I thought - if you start with the easy ones anyway.  Give it a go and if you end up with more than you need, then give them away as gifts, donate them to a school, plant them on a boring'll think of something!


  1. Free is GREAT! We're trying out a few spider plant babes and some segments of those hanging cactus with the bright flowers mum used to grow. It occurred to me after I bought my feijoa tree, that I should have just snipped a piece off someone else's!

  2. It is unreal, all the things over here that can be propagated from cuttings, or from seed, that folks don't know about. If a person had the right set up, they could make lots of money selling propagated plants.They are so expensive in the nurseries.(but so many folks don't have a clue)Your Flax is very similar to our Yucca plant.

  3. You are such an inspiration!

  4. I love flax - but unfortunately they just don't do well in my garden, although some places round Perth grow them well. Might have to try again with some of the original breeds rather than hybrids from the nurseries.


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