Six on Saturday 18.02.23

I’m typing this listening to very loud cicadas and looking out on a sunny, summer day, just as I should be doing in February. No doubt you have all heard about the devastating cyclone that hit parts of the North Island this past week. In Wellington, we had some heavy rain and a bit of wind but nothing at all compared to what areas such as Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti faced. There was a good summary of the situation on the Radio New Zealand (and here) website this morning. As I type, there are 9 dead, but there are hundreds of people still unaccounted for so this count will likely rise. It is all so awful. Meanwhile, there is a drought in the south of the country.

Anyway, let’s say thanks to Jim at Garden Ruminations, for hosting Six on Saturday, whose knowledge of all things plants and gardening makes him an ideal host and move on to what can be see at the moment outside.

In first place, the karaka berries at the back of the house are turning orange. While loved by kererū, they are highly poisonous to dogs. Luckily we don’t have a dog as otherwise it could be problematic!

Another native at number 2 and one of the lemonwoods that sit around the house, Rub the leaves, and you can really smell lemons. I sort of forget about these as they just sit there, but really should admire them more with their crinkly leaves.

Sticking with native species, there is a wineberry or makomako also to be found by the side of the house. It isn’t perhaps the most healthy specimen, but nice to see in any case.

Meanwhile, over in the herb corner, the purple sage is looking good still and is such a lovely colour. The pineapple sage is still looking good and I still have a few echinacea flowers to enjoy.

There is one lonely little nasturtium sitting out there – though there is another bud or two about to flower. The leaves are certainly being enjoyed too by something (probably one of the many cabbage white butterflies we have seen).

Finally, Japanese anemones are beginning to pop up….the seasons come around again…..

As usual, I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s beautiful gardens in other parts of the world. Hope you are all well and enjoying your gardens in whatever the season is with you.

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis. If you want to get in touch, email me on or


  1. I’m glad you escaped the worst of it over there. It looks horrendous. The lemonwood leaves look nice and glossy – a bit like those of pittosporum. It’s a pity their fragrance can’t be shared digitally, although I think there might be lemon in the fridge – I could pretend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. I so hate hearing about the devastation there. I’m glad you were spared the worst of it. I love seeing all of your greenery. It’s still pretty bleak and colorless here in the US in East Tennessee. We do have a few daffodils blooming. I am actually starting a few seedlings indoors this weekend to have them ready for planting soon. I can almost smell the lemon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post. We have a plant the leaves when cooked with rice give a beautiful fragrance. I think it is the Pandan plant. I will check.
    We read about the cyclone in New Zealand and earlier the earthquake in Turkey Syria. So much destruction and suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a terrible storm. I’m sorry to hear that so many are still missing and so many lives upended after the cyclone. Your garden is still looking great, and the rain is a blessing. Your anemone is such an elegant little plant. Yes, seasons moving on, and always something new! Enjoy the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I do like pretty leaves, and you spoiled us with the Makako. The native plants of your country are also an interesting source of knowledge for us who have never been there. Tks !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So very sorry to read about what is happening in the north. How horribly ironic that the north is flooding, and the south is experiencing a drought. But I am awfully glad that you, your husband, and Charlie are safe and sound with many February pleasures from the garden to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Barbara – Once again your late summer garden picks have me dreaming of our summer to come. It is currently a balmy 7C here, dry and sunny. Although our local weather experts are predicting another snowfall for us before winter finally departs, I am desperately choosing to ignore this!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Unbelievable to have such devastation in beautiful New Zealand. Thank goodness Wellington did not have too much heavy rain and wind …but sad to see people left homeless on the North island.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad you are well, following the cyclone. Crazy times we live in.
    As for the karaka berries, I’d never heard of them before. What an interesting fruit! Do you eat them, yourselves? From what I can tell from Google, only the kernel is poisonous to humans (aside from dogs). Just curious as to how easy it is to eat them without eating the kernel. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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