Moorf
valued helper
Canterbury, New Zealand

Hello All from Waddington, Canterbury, NZ

26 Jun '06 3:23 pm
Hi,

I'm Helen and I live with my hubby and dog in Waddington which is about 50km inland from Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand.

We've been in NZ for nearly two years now, and moved out of Christchurch to Waddington in December 2005.

We love it here and won't be returning to the UK if we can help it!

I stumbled across this forum whilst desperately seeking out information about my gorgeous flaxes which were 2+ metres tall - until the snow. We had nearly 2ft dumped on us and we were without power for 2 days. I did as much as I could to bash snow off of the plants but at points it was a losing battle.

Hubby and I are both keen gardeners and have been knocking the once overgrown garden into shape. We have tons of natives planted throughout the garden, plus a small vineyard (150 vines), a small orchard, a grass tennis court which I have my beady eye on for MORE landscaping (who needs tennis courts ???!!), a paddock filled with many varieties of trees, 3 cheeky chooks and a more formal grassed lawn area. It keeps us busy. It's not huge - totals just under 2 acres - we're not "lifestylers" - we know our limits!!! Huge respect for those that care for acres and acres of land...

Anyway... (sorry to ramble).. I'm after some advice. Before I go at my flax (arrrghhh my beautiful flaxes - I could cry) with a machete or petrol powered tool, will they stand up again if I leave them longer? They are flat but not "snapped" if you get my jist....

So, that's me - hope to be able to contribute to the forum as well as glean advice from all you fellow gardeners!

Cheers
Moorf

Dixie
garden enthusiast
User avatar
Waikato-New Zealand

Hello

26 Jun '06 4:15 pm
Hi there Helen ,Reading your story ,I have to ask "Are you Moosey`s twin sister ??? " I didn`t realise that flax could be damaged by snow ,but have read Moosey`s account of her garden damage - I am sure that if you cut the flaxes right back to fan shapes ,and possibly lift and divide as I have done with too large clumps ,they will come on again . Is the snow still there ?
Regards ,Dixie (North Island)

Moorf
valued helper
Canterbury, New Zealand

26 Jun '06 5:46 pm
Thanks for the welcome Dixie :)

Having now spent an hour or so going through this amazing site I wish I was Moosey's twin sis - think of all the cuttings I could get :wink:

Well I guess I'm going to have to stop trying to straighten out the all the flax plants (really, they are HUGE great clumps at least a metre wide at the base, some larger) and get brutal with something sharp (any recommendations for a suitable tool - I used a stanley knife last time but it was a tad tedious!).

Should I do the cutting back now or wait until spring? Here in Waddington we do have lots of snow left in the garden, just 10km down the road in Darfield it's pretty much gone and after going through West Melton earlier this afternoon (off to pick up Summer, our dog, from Bunny Lodge kennels!) there's no snow left there at all!

Oh, there I go, rambling again! :oops:

Moorf

moosey
head gardener
User avatar

Flax Monsters

27 Jun '06 4:00 pm
Dear Moorf,
Are you absolutely sure you aren't me? Want to know what I've been doing for the last three days, just kilometers down the road from you? Tools - one axe. One shovel, half sharp, one kitchen knife (oops). Purpose - to REMOVE the species flaxes which have been flattened by the snow. Hey - I could come down the road and show you! just kidding, but if you want to take heart, you are not alone. And - no, they just get flatter, and look worse, and their middles get full of leaves and debris, and the only thing to do is get them out.

But it's really hard work! Saws are no good. And you might break the axe...

It's the Tenax ones, the ones that are supposed to be upright, that I've lost faith in. Many started off as cute little red toned plants, usually sourced from the local bargain bin. Then over the years they've reverted to the species, and grown monster leaves, and lost their colour.

Are you absolutely sure that we aren't gardening twins? Blimey - something to think about!
Head Gardener
mooseyscountrygarden.com
http://www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

Dixie
garden enthusiast
User avatar
Waikato-New Zealand

flax

27 Jun '06 5:18 pm
It`s the way you say "Aaaargh ! " that gives you away -you are Moosey`s sister !
To remove a large flax bush , do you know a local farmer who is quite kind and could bring his tractor over ? We put a Snig chain around the base of the flax,after chipping around as close as we could to it .The snig chain will tighten ,and the tractor can pull it out easily ,as the roots do not go deeply at all. You should be able to cut pieces off that will become new plants .
Dixie.

Moorf
valued helper
Canterbury, New Zealand

27 Jun '06 6:09 pm
Heheheheh, I've met my match!

Now, with these flaxes, half my bloomin' garden would disappear if I removed them (okay, slight exaggeration, but I'm having a hard time imagining the view to the Old West Coast Road, not to mention the noise, when they are removed).

I think I shall have a go at cutting them down somewhat before going the whole hog!

:cry: I could cry.....

moosey
head gardener
User avatar

28 Jun '06 6:32 pm
If you cut them with, for example, the kitchen knife, so that the flax-stump is just over ankle high, then two things are possible. I speak from extremely personal experience!
1. YOu ignore the flax-stump, then in about nine months time - hey presto! It has grown new leaves, is about knee high, and actually looks very nice. The months in-between are dreadful, though.
2. After knifing all the leaves off, you 'dig in' so to speak for the long haul with an axe and a shovel. Eventually it works. YOu get a good work out. And hopefully you don't wreck the axe.

Then there's Dixie's much more practical farmer-tractor option. Good luck!
Head Gardener
mooseyscountrygarden.com
http://www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

goose
Weekend Gardener
User avatar
Coatesville , New Zealand

Cut them down before going the whole hog..

29 Jun '06 10:08 pm
After what my flax went through and survived I think you will find yours will be tough enough to survive the snow as well.
Snow was not involved with mine but they had everything chucked at them and now they are bigger and better than they were before. My poor flax were unfortunate to be growing between the mature Poplar trees beside our driveway and when we decided to chop down the Poplar trees the poor flax had the machinery flatten them & then if that wasnt bad enough the tree men ground the stumps of the poplars but the flax got caught up in the grinder so nearly every bush was twisted and shredded.Even though we were worried about the wind because they were a great wind break, we thought they were so bad we had to pull them out. Out came the tractor and chains we pulled one out but even with the tractor it was hard work. We decided to leave the rest and see what happened. I cut them hard back using the loppers and an axe to take away the real bad bits and as I said earlier they now look great again!!
I think you should try cutting yours back first and wait and see. I think they will surprise you.
Goose

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Moorf
valued helper
Canterbury, New Zealand

30 Jun '06 1:38 pm
Thanks goose - that's exactly what I've decided to do - I started chopping away at them yesterday (using extendable loppers which are so much better than the stanley knife / kitchen knife).

I'll get some pics sorted - I'm leaving some to see what they do and the others I'm chopping....

jacqueline
Thankful Gardener
User avatar
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Flax!

30 Jun '06 7:17 pm
Wow, everyday I'm learning something new! Really an eye opener for me reading all your posts regarding the Flax plant - like beauty and the beast? I've always admired them on Moosey's main website, still do! Thanks for the enlightenment and the humour shared!

Hello there, Helen - welcome and happy virtual gardening!

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