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Visiting New Zealand
by Terry Dowdeswell
by Terry Dowdeswell


Terry Dowdeswell is the owner of Dowdeswell's Delphiniums in Wanganui New Zealand.

Be sure to visit his site at

January 12, 2003

tractorsm.jpg (95800 bytes)Ever thought of visiting New Zealand?

Last month we had the great pleasure of hosting Anne Cook and Anita Haight from Dawson Creek, British Columbia. These two ladies both have beautiful gardens back home and came down to NZ while the plants are resting. This year, after visiting a garden fair in the South Island of NZ they came to help out on our nursery and have a look around Wanganui. Although the weather was cold and the Gods of the equinox still slugging it out, they weren’t deterred and found plenty to do.

Both said they actually love weeding. Now I’ve heard some stories in my time but that one really takes the cake – or so I thought – but there they were on hands and knees tidying our display garden prior to the November open weekend while I was dropping pine branches all about them. They also spent time de-anthering the delphiniums ready for pollinating, potting up delphinium cuttings and pricking out the young seedlings.

Hosting people like Anita and Anne also means we get a chance to show off our small city (pop 40,000), the botanic gardens and the beach. Is Wanganui really the paradise we think it is? Well, Anne spent about as much time in real estate offices as she did in gardens and seems intent on finding a second home here. We get quite a few of you Canadian snow birds down this way and we’d sure love to have these two return some day.

Pollinating is now in full swing in the production houses and we have been blessed with a wonderfully fine and warm couple of weeks, so seed set seems to be good. I say “seems” because you never really know just how good (or bad) until the seed is harvested. Sometimes pods which look plump and full of seed open up to reveal a false pregnancy. Talking of seed; we have an interesting project running over the next two years. A masters student from Massey University is, among other things, helping us identify methods of harvest and storage that most prolong the life and enhance the viability of our seed. This, together with the advances in our breeding programme, will make for a very interesting summer or two.

Please remember our Wanganui Daybreak Rotary Club’s “Seeds of Love” project to help eradicate polio from the world. The money should be raised by the time the delphiniums flower. See

Enjoy your winter under the snow. It’s getting warm here!

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