Monday, 2 December 2013


by Hilary Rowley


I’ve never seen a plum tree in anything but rude health. They seem to be tough and industrial fruit trees, but one of our plum trees is sick as a dog. Its leaves are all eaten and rolled up and it looks almost like leaf curl, but close inspection revealed it was some kind of insect infestation. It turns out other people have this problem too – it’s nice to know you’re not alone in these things. The advice was spray with pyrethrum, so I did. One week on and there is new and healthy growth and most of the sick leaves have fallen off. I think a weekly, evening spray with pyrethrum should do the trick, until the tree has its healthy leaves established again.

Gooseberries are about to become bird food, so if you have a bush, and want to eat its fruit, cover it now. The same goes for strawberries. Red currants, raspberries and cherries are usually ready around Christmas and black currants a little later, so keep a close eye on developments.  If the birds get a taste of your precious fruit before you get it covered they will be a lot harder to keep out.

The elderflowers are flowering fully at the time of writing, so there will probably be still plenty around when you read this for making delicious elderflower cordial and gorgeous, fizzy elderflower champagne. The latter is only mildly alcoholic, and sends your children into a pleasant sleepiness… without any damage to their health.  Recipes are readily available on the internet and at the library.

Sometimes you see something which needs doing in a public place, and think to yourself ‘mmm, I must do something about that’, but that's as far as it gets. When I see that someone has done one of those things, without prompting, and probably without thanks, they are really worthy of accolades. I can think of several examples in Waitati alone. For instance: the person who weed-eated around the Riverside orchard patch in Orokonui Road, the person who mows all the tracks through the scrub at Doctors Point reserve, the person/people who made the incredible walking track around Orokonui Estuary, whoever planted wild flowers on the road verge on Harvey street east of the bridge, and the person who mows the grass verge there. I bet there are heaps more. On behalf of all of us, thank you.


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