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- 9th Jun: Thank you for having such an amazing range of roses... Kath, Auckland
Garden Care by Season
Just because the weather is a bit milder and things are beginning to peek out of the ground, gardeners imagine that it is time to get busy! Although a gardener is always looking for things to do out there, this is the time of the year when there is such a superb surge of growth going on, that it is essential to ENJOY the burgeoning of Spring and not get too busy doing stuff. Wander around with your hands behind your back, or a glass of something good in hand, and observe close up the quickening of the leaf and blossom buds; the pushing up through soil of the bulb leaves, the awakening of the dormant shrubs and phenomenal growth as nature girds its loins in response to more warmth and light.
The fact of the matter is that spring just happens. Having put in the hard yards in Autumn and mulched protectively in Winter, spring is not such a busy time in the garden. It is really only by the end of November that the garden starts to become demanding as spring growth is cut back and summer settles in.
Summer Garden Jobs
Summer is the time when you laze in the hammock in the shade of a tree during the hot hours of the day, a cool lemonade in one hand and a good book in the other. During the cooler early morning and late evening times, ensure that your plants have sufficient H2O! Get those sprinklers going or, if you have time to spare, do the job by hand, remembering that there are so many things you can do with your other hand whilst you hold the hosepipe! Like dead heading, weeding, squashing aphids, or hanging onto a chilled Chardonnay!
Deep watering is always preferable to a quick, shallow sprinkle and evening is preferable to morning as the plants can drink to their hearts content during the night without having to compete with the sun's heat for the precious liquid. And remember to mulch, mulch, mulch in order to retain moisture and improve soil quality. Mulching also inhibits weed growth and makes weeding out those that do get through easier, as the soil is friable.
The gorgeous first flush will be over by mid November and it is time to give the roses a fairly vigorous pruning and deep feeding so that they will flush again in another 7 - 8 weeks time. See our section on pruning and spraying (LINK) for expert advice.
Whilst large gardens (as well as commercial operations like ours) have to resort to spraying with chemicals, the smaller garden can employ a wide range of cultural habits to avoid having to use these sprays.
Many of these will be in full bloom now and it is essential that you spend some leisure time dead-heading the spent blooms before they produce seed in order to prolong the flowering period. As it is the sole obsession of every plant to produce seed in order to ensure self- survival, by taking away that option, you force the plant to produce more blooms for you to enjoy. Some perennials benefit from being cut back after flowering - as opposed to just dead-heading - Ferret around in the inner leaves of the perennial clumps and you will discover a colony of snails and slugs sheltering. Pop them in a bucket and get rid of them. (Boiling water is kindest as it is instant - then chuck them on your compost heap). Cut back early spring flowering perennials to 15-30 cm to encourage new growth for the next flowering period. Prune back Marguerite daisies to encourage new flowers for Autumn and to keep plants compact and healthy.Fruit Trees:
Be sure to keep a vigilant eye on the birds as your fruit ripens or they will beat you to it. Put nets over the fruit, hang old shiny CD's on the branches, or encourage your cat to nap under the tree by planting Catmint at the base. Apricots are the only fruit trees which should be pruned in summer - usually this occurs around February once the fruiting period is over. Water all fruit trees well in dry periods and mulch well too. Check for Codling Moth, Thrips & Pear Tree Slug. If found take appropriate action with an organic or chemical insecticide. This is the time of year to feed your Citrus Trees with a good Citrus fertilizer and lashings of compost.
Hedges, Topiaries, Standards: After the spring flush is done, give them a serious haircut and shaping in early summer so that they do not have to be done again until the end of the season.
Veggies: You should begin to enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of you labour in terms of lettuces, rocket, fresh herbs - like basil - yum, cabbages, radishes etc. Make sure that your tomato and cucumber stakes are firm and that you are snapping off the lateral shoots of your tomatoes. Take a look at those fantastic zucchini flowers - if I were a bee I would dive in there headfirst! Watch the zucchini as they grow and pick them early, because one day they are the perfect size and the next day they are too big! Sow seed of lettuce and mesclun successively so that you can continue to pick to your hearts content. Mulch the soil to feed, protect and conserve water.
Holiday Garden Care:
For indoor plants, place wet towels in the bath or in the laundry sink, water plants well and sit them on the towels. When you return give them a good drink with plant food added.
* Disease Resistant Roses
Elina Creamy yellow
Paddy Stevens Coral pink
Loving Memory Red
Gold Medal Gold
Just Joey Apricot
Marie Dot Apricot orange
Avalanche Creamy white
Remember me Orange
Racy Lady White
Uncle Walter Red
Compassion Pink bronze
Dublin Bay Red
Golden Shower Gold
AUTUMN GARDEN JOBS
- Autumn is a special time of year in the garden with the main fanfare of the summer coming to an end in a blaze of leaf colour prior to "fall". Whilst the team at Wairere consider autumn the optimum time for planting new trees and shrubs it is also a time to complete those jobs that will set the garden up for renewal in spring.
- All trimming of hedges and plants should now be complete. Don't trim any plants beyond mid April as you will encourage new growth that can be damaged by wet cold conditions.
- Autumn is a great time to sow new lawns or patch existing turf. The soil is warm enough for the seed to germinate and there is usually plenty of moisture from up above to avoid the dreaded sprinkler.
- Perennials should be cut back hard and divided if you feel the clumps have got a little tired. When you divide perennials choose your new plants from the outside divisions. The centre of the plant will be the most "tired" part of the plant and should be discarded. Remember to have your secateurs nice and sharp and wipe with disinfectant regularly to avoid spreading disease.
- Clean up any diseased foliage from roses and other shrubs that have dropped to the ground. Hold off hard pruning roses until July however a little light tidying with your secateurs won't do any harm.
- Plan and prepare any new garden beds by digging over well and adding compost. If you leave digging new beds until winter the soil will be too water logged for walking on which will lead to compaction.
- Fertilize Camellias and Rhododendrons with acid fertilizer.
- Finish planting bulbs in the garden or containers. Perhaps put a marker discretely in the ground so you remember where they have been planted!
- Plant winter greens in the veggie garden such as Cauliflower, Cabbage and Broccoli and harvest potatoes and pumpkins.
- Go to Wairere with an empty boot or perhaps a trailer for new trees and shrubs. Plant whilst the soil is still nice and warm ensuring good root development and be one step ahead for spring.
Whilst winter is often a time for Gardeners to hibernate along with the rest of Nature, there are 1 or 3 jobs that it is important to carry out at this time of year to ensure the continued good health of your plants.
Most importantly, July is the best month to prune your roses so sharpen those secateurs, find your thorn proof gloves & get ready for action.
Wairere Top Tip: ensure you choose a dry day to do your pruning even though they are few and far between. Not only will you enjoy the task more, but your roses will heal faster with a touch of sun on the pruning cuts. Refer to our comprehensive Rose Care instructions for further planting, pruning and winter spraying tips.
While you are in a chopping mood cut back your Hydrangeas by at least 1/3. Making sure you cut just above a swollen leaf bud.
Fruit trees should be pruned at this time of year. Cut out crossing and overcrowded branches. Shorten the side branches (laterals) to stimulate new fruiting side shoots. Cut out any old unproductive branches and generally tidy. In case you are at your happiest when operating a saw of some kind it is important to remember to not reduce the total volume of your tree by more than one-third!
Protective spraying with Copper Oxychloride should be done just before bud burst so make a diary note to carry this out just before the end of winter. It is particularly important to spray Peach Trees to prevent Leaf Curl and other diseases. Make sure you spray the ground around the drip line of the tree as well as the tree itself. The drip line is where the further most branches reach out to.
Whilst we are discussing fruit trees this is the time of year to choose new fruit trees for your home orchard. At Wairere we have a fabulous range of well grown fruit trees, from the every-day favourites to the rare and unusual. There is nothing like the taste of home grown fruit. Don't worry if you don't have a big garden there are now dwarf and narrow upright varieties that can be grown even in the smallest patch. Many are suitable for container growing, especially Citrus. Our staff will be happy to assist you.
Deciduous Trees - Winter is also a fantastic time to choose and plant your shade or feature trees. They are easy to handle at this time of year when they are bare of leaf. Remember to stake well for the first year whilst your precious tree is making new roots. Wairere Top Tip for planting new trees: place the stake in the planting hole with the tree before filling with soil - this will save you struggling to get it in position and will ensure that it is firm. Always use a soft stretchy tie (like the balls of string that we have in stock) to secure the stake to the tree. This should be removed after approximately 12 - 18 months.
Perennials - Towards the end of winter practice slug and snail control on emerging Hosta leaves. If you are a lover of Bearded Irises (and why wouldn't you be) these will benefit from a side dressing of lime in winter. Hellebore clumps should now be in bud and flower. These exquisite perennials are definitely in our top 10 and for me make winter gardening worthwhile. Any old manky foliage from the previous season should be cut off the clumps at this time to make the most of the flowers. If you don't already have Hellebores in your garden then now is the time to make your colour choice and ensure you have the pleasure of their welcome flowers next winter.
Daffodils and Jonquils should be starting to make a show. Remove any spent flower heads but remember to leave the foliage until it dies down at the end of spring. If it gets in the way of emerging plants or just looks lanky, you can gather the filiage together in a bunch and tie a knot in it at ground level. The reason for leaving the foliage on whilst it dies is so that it can feed the bulb and fatten it with nutrients for next year's show.
Container Plants can be kept healthy with regular liquid feeding at this time of the year. Any that are slightly frost tender or don't like being water-logged should be placed in a sheltered warm position. If you don't have many flowers in the garden it's not too late to fill a container with Polyanthus, Primulas, Pansies etc. Along with Cyclamens, these are certainly worth considering to brighten a dull winter day. Place containers at the front door, on the outdoor table or on the deck in a sheltered position.
Winter delights - Though this is a quieter time in the garden there are still many flowering plants to tantalize your senses at this time of year. It is well worth popping along to the nursery to see what is in flower. Plant now for immediate satisfaction and look forward to a winter wonderland next year.
-Camellia varieties - long flowering period and so easy to grow
Once you've done all that, make yourself a nice hot cuppa, give yourself a pat on the back, put your feet up and remember that old Chinese proverb - "He who plants a garden plants happiness"
© HL Nurseries Ltd trading as Wairere Nursery