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Summer Has Arrived

And with summer I look forward to the more orchids appearing on Ulva, in our garden and around the road sides. But this year the various “Spider” Orchids have been a big disappointment. I found only a couple of blooms of Dancing Spiders, none at all of ” C iridescens” and while there are lots of plants of our most common “C oblongus”, only a very small percentage have flowered. 

But I’ve found 3 separate plants of “Caladenia lyallii “, and if these flower (mid to late January ???) will be only the 6th I’ve found on Ulva. Again their flowering duration is very brief, so easy to miss. 

Ladies Slipper Orchid

The first of the seasons Ladies Slipper Orchids have appeared high up on an old Rimu Tree

Ladies Slipper Orchid

These are a little early this year, as I wouldn’t normally expect to see them until New Year.. Ladies Slipper get their name from the flower bud, which looks like a tiny high heeled slipper. Initially named Dendrobium cunninghamii it was the only “Dendrobium” to be found in New Zealand..I understand the botanists decided it actually was a separate genus, and after discussion obtained permission from the Maori Queen to rename the species “Winika”, which is the Maori name for this delicate bloom

Aporostylis bifolia

“Odd Leafed Orchids” are quite common on Ulva, and I’ve been watching the buds develop for a few weeks now, and yesterday discovered several had opened in the two days since my last tour. 

White Sun Orchid

White Sun Orchids  are extremely frustrating. We have several clumps in both Sails Ashore & Kowhai Lane Gardens. Frustrating, because you just about have to watch them non-stop when you think they are about to open. It will always be on a fine sunny day and the opening period is always brief. Sometime measured in minutes rather than hours, and NEVER in days

Black (Potato) Orchid

Last year i didn’t find a single Black Orchid, and so far this year just a single stem.

“Bamboo” Orchids

Although most are now finished there are still a few cascades of Bamboo Orchids to be found

“Green Bird” Orchids

Although not yet out on Ulva there is a large roadside patch of Chilioglotus cornuta in the village and most are in bloom. 

Oystercatchers Nesting

Black Oystercatcher nesting is well under way, with the Landing Bay pair probably only a week or so from hatching. The pair at Boulder Beach were late starters this year, but I see they have a clutch of 3, with the last one laid probably hatching around Christmas day.





Lucky Weka

Weka are the original opportunists, and this one got super lucky. Unusual to find an octopus in a beach pool, as they are quite capable of returning to the sea if they get cut off as the tide falls. This bird has two chicks, so a nice dinner of “wheke” coming up





One of the things I really enjoy doing is making relishes and chutneys and preserving fruit. It can be a bit of an issue with fruit, as mostly they are at their most plentiful when we are busy with summer guests. But early December is when tomatoes are plentiful and cheap. So picking a couple of days when we were quiet  … the house smells like a pickle factory, not really the best for guests… I bought 20 kg of tomatoes, 10 kg of onions and had two boilings of Tomato Relish. Filled one of our shelves completely. These will be ready to eat next spring. ….. I like relishes to mature for best flavour. My Bible is Digby Laws Pickle and Chutney Cookbook ISBN 0 340 4115X.

Any surplus of our own tomatoes will be stewed with courgettes and frozen. The first of the crop should be ready mid January, and in full crop a month or so later.