A few items of interest have come in, so I thought another newsletter would be a good idea before I leave this Saturday. I had a number of replies to the item about the willow aphids.
From Trish Reynolds in Auckland:
“Thanks for sharing the information about the willow aphid. We spent a weekend about 6 weeks ago, at a bach at Lake Tarawera, near Rotorua and I was stung by a dopey wasp when walking bare foot through some grass by the lakes edge. I then noticed loads of wasps walking in the grass like they were drunk or dopey, then to my left a swarm of nonflying/walking wasps over a dinghy, under a willow tree. I then looked up and the tree trunk was absolutely covered in swarming but dopey wasps and I couldn’t figure out why they should do that – all of them looked they couldn’t fly properly and acting like they were drunk. Now I know exactly what it was and what they were up to.”
From Mike Lilian the willow weaver:
“I am not too worried about the willow aphid......because I have a small enough number of willows that I can fight it off effectively...but it adds a lot of ' maintenance time ' to the annual work-load. But the aphid is going to be a big social problem throughout NZ for a few years yet, because it is already swarming over the willows on riverbanks, farms...in city and country. This will cause die-back, and also massively increase the wasp population, which feeds on the honey dew that the aphids secrete. This in turn is frightening commercial beekeepers as they lose hives to the wasps.”
Recently a young man asked me how he could become an arborist. This reply came from Simon Street, co-owner of Arbour Master in Christchurch.
“Re aborist training, there are a couple of ways to enter the industry. There are one year part time courses at both Otago polytech and Waikato polytech. These are one year full time and probably designed more for school leavers.
The other option is really to ask around and get a job with a company that will look at putting him through a three year part time cert in aboriculture. This is what we have done in the past for several of our guys.
It is hard for us to take people on these days without a minimum of a first aid cert and a chainsaw cert. If your friend could obtain these certificates it would be easier for someone to take him on “off the street”. A class two truck license is also always preferable. If your friend wants to contact me we may be able to arrange a couple of days ‘work experience’ to give him a taste of the industry and learn more about what is required.
Certainly it is getting harder and harder to get started in this industry without the above certificates especially with the new health and safety regulation.”
I have employed Simon and his staff from Arbor Master Ltd for some years now. They are extremely knowledgeable, efficient and professional. So if you live in Christchurch or its environs, and are wanting someone to do some work on your trees or high hedges, I highly recommend Arbor Master Ltd. Ask for Simon or Mark; full details are on their website.
A remarkable feat has been accomplished by Bill Sykes, a retired botanist from Christchurch, who has published “Flora of the Cook Islands”, which is “a complete account of plants found wild in the Cook Islands and plants common in cultivation.” See Attachment 1.Photo 2: Bill Sykes, with his wife Peggy on the left and granddaughter Amelia on the right, cutting his cake to celebrate his publication.
Widely known as the rose Pierre de Ronsard in France, this rose, cultivated by Marie-Louise Meilland in 1985, is a light pink and white climbing rose. It is also known as ‘Eden’.Photo 3: Rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ in my garden in Normandy. H. Tindale.
The leaves have nearly all fallen at Frensham and the garden colours on the clear sunny days are so good, that you find yourself pausing to admire. Much better than the brights of summer.
(Click the images to enlarge or view the gallery)