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Friday 15th March, 2019
Autumn is Natures planting season
Wahoo we got 20 mls of rain the other day and I know that there must be more coming because its Autumn LOl. I often get asked if its a good time of year to plant and I know that we still need a bit more rain but I reckon Autumn is the best season of the year to do the job.
This is the case for many reasons and the first that springs to mind is that the ground is still very warm after the summer and just ideal for that all important root growth.
Second reason is usually the moisture in the soil and I know that we need a bit more rain for that to happen but already the plants are using less. In the nursery we have cut back to watering every second day just because the plants are not needing it. I guess that the shorter and not quite so hot days is the reason.
If you can find what you want to plant then by all means get it and get it into the ground... Sadly new seasons stock is not available until either June or July (but you can pre book now) and whilst these are good planting times too the ground is warmer in the Autumn. My advice with winter planting is not too much compost in the planting hole as compost can hold excess moisture and the feeder roots can rot. Obviously this all will depend on the soil type and of course sandy soils need some compost to hold the moisture and probably even in the winter.
I know that the guys who have been taking care of the gardens are planning on a big Autumn plant and reshuffle this year so that we get all new plantings established before the next summer. To that end they are getting the areas all organised and tidy, mulched if needed, so that when the plants are ready its into the ground they go.
Don't forget now is the time to order new seasons roses and trees, so get those places ready in the garden.
Last call for flowers
The autumn flush should be much more lush than the flowers that we have had over the summer. Bloom size should increase again and the intensity of colour should be more normal and hopefully the flush will last for much longer.
It's seven weeks from when you cut your roses back to when they flower again. So if you do this now or over the next couple of weeks you will sneak one more flowering in before winter. Meaning your roses then should be peaking at the end of April or first couple of weeks of May depending on when you do the job.
Don't forget to throw some rose fertilser around them as well but out from the main stem to where the feeder roots are. Some watering wont go astray either well at least until some more rain comes.
Once this last flush has happened, don't be tempted to dead head or remove the spent flowers as this will just encourage another growth phase. Let the rose form hips and set seed so that it thinks that its year is over and the wood can harden off ready for the winter prune.
The problem here in the Waikato is that our Winter is relatively warm and the rose would never really stop if you keep pruning it but rather just try to flower again. It's a good idea to follow the above and force your roses into retirement for the year.
Lime sulphur in late May will really help make the leaves drop for the year especially if you have stopped dead heading. It's early to be talking about Lime sulphur but you could be planning ahead as it's perfect for cleaning up those overwintering spores, eggs and that annoying white scale. Small warning though, Lime sulphur does smell a tad, will stain if sprayed against buildings and the like and will burn foliage so only use on deciduous plants.
While on the subject of roses I am planning on advertising a sale on the Radio for the last couple weeks of March and so I thought that I would let my readers know in advance before this goes to air. From this weekend all roses in the nursery will be 30% off the label price... If you see anything here, then be in quick otherwise check out the roses that are due in and back order yours for June delivery.
Wet feet, Boggy soil then Tupelo is the tree for you
What is a wet position or wet feet? Well in my book its a spot that is wet or boggy all the year around. we all have those spots in the garden that tend to be wetter in the winter but that doesn't necessarily make it require plants or trees that do well in the wet. My guide is that most plants will grow in most positions that tend to be dry in the summer and then wet in the winter as they are just seasonally wet. It's when that spot in the garden is still wet in the summer that you need specific wet feet plants.
Here at Wairere we have all the extremes with the nursery and its gardens apparently overlooking a old Waikato river course. The area where the office and the villa overlook are on quite sandy banks from which water almost constantly leeks from the sides into the flood area of the Komakorau drainage board drain.
This lower level swamp area has as you would expect has quite a high water table and is totally a wet feet position and is very soft in the winter but the surface does dry somewhat over the summer. I can assure you that the water table isn't that far away..
Interestingly enough we have managed to grow plants there that I would never have thought would have cope with the said spot in the garden but on the whole have done very well. There is a lot to be said for sometimes just giving things a go.
Nyssa sylvatica or Tupelo Such a great tree with its claim to fame in that it will not only tolerate wet feet but actually do really well in those swampy positions. I will also say that there is an example of a very handsome Nyssa knocking on some 30 years old, here in the nursery, in what I would describe as quite a dry spot. So the Tupelo could be a tree for those average to the always wet positions.
This tree is now a very handsome shade tree that always colours well going into the Autumn regardless of whether we have that sudden cold snap that makes other trees colour. Its lesser known claim to fame is how it attracts the bees not that the average person would notice any flower at all but the bees certainly do.. I was standing under the tree one day and it was just humming and then I noticed all the bees and the quite insignificant flowers.
This weeks arrivals
Feijoaswould have to be one of the easiest to grow fruits needing very little in the way of care to give masses of produce. Of course some food and water and mulch around the top of the bushes will certainly go along way in helping produce larger sized fruit but other than that are pretty easy. Delicious to eat raw, bottle or make chutneys and sauces. I know that these clones from Waimea are amongst the latest in newer varieties grown for all those desirable characteristics that we like.. Choose from Anatoki, Kaiteriand Kakarikiki
Echium fastuosum or Pride of Madeira interestingly belongs to the borage family, giving your garden that Mediterranean appeal and will also attract the bees into the garden
A stunning evergreen sub-shrub that has fuzzy grey-green leaves that form large broad rosettes at branch ends. In spring and summer large spires of tiny blue flowers with crimson stamens make a dramatic statement. Happy in a sunny well drained position.
If nothing else the Pomegranate has gorgeous bright orange flowers that are just stunning and then followed by those large, burnished red fruits that we know or see at the supermarket now and then. The fruit is high in Vitamin C, B5, Potassium and anti-oxidants. Its great that many fruiting plants can also have a high ornamental value in our garden by being attractive as well as productive. Deciduous.
A tough and hardy deciduous shrub with an interesting network of bare branches that usually have thorns. In winter these are covered with tight clusters of buds that open out to exquisite snow white blooms with a tinge of green in the centre. The flowers are followed by ornamental fruits that look like small quinces and rich green foliage.
Snail vine aka Phaseolus CaracallaOMG, something for those that really like something a bit special... snail shaped, fragrant flowers. A perennial twining climber that is named for the unusual flowers that are said to look like a coiled snail. The flowers are delightfully fragrant and shaded in purple with hints of yellow. Needs a sunny sheltered position away from frosts. A close relation of the bean and grows just as quickly. Ang didn't get many of these so be in quick.
I think that the flowers on this shrub / small tree, from the Yunnan province in China, are just amazing and remind me of giant fried eggs sunny side up.
This evergreen tree is breathtaking in full flower. Huge frilly single white flowers with bright yellow stamens open from fat juicy buds in mid winter through to early spring. Soft grey-green foliage. Plant in sun or dappled shade.
I have to say our roses have done amazingly well looking good throughout. Get in before we start to advertise on the radio... Roses are all now 30% off and this includes every rose still in stock ... bushes, climbers, and all standards including weepers and pillars.
I have included Applesinto our 30% off sale this week so if there is an apple of your eye then check these out too.
Not only do the weekends roll around fast but so do the seasons, I can't believe how dark it is in the mornings right now and cool to boot. The days are still pretty warm but there is no longer that huge water requirement needed by the plants, although I would Like a good drop of rain to make the grass grow.
I often get asked at this time of the year about leaves and their marks and spots but at this time of year they have nearly completed their task of producing food and its the end of their life cycle. Its often normal for the leaves to be tatty and tired as in a few more weeks, give or take, they will start their internal process to fall.
Its going to be another gorgeous weekend so make the most of this glorious weather which is just perfect for gardening ..