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Friday 10th May, 2019
Open Day at Growing Spectrum
Ang and I were privileged to be invited to an open day at Growing spectrum.
Who?, you may ask, well Growing Spectrum is, in my opinion, one of New Zealand's leading wholesale supplier of plants inclusive of shrubs, perennials and trees. I stand in total admiration for this company who started from similar humble beginning to ourselves. From a roadside stall selling tomatoes and strawberries to the large organisation that it is today producing quality plants that we have in our garden centre.. and of course NZ wide.
The team there is second to none with many of the crew being part of the company for an astounding number of years from the most recent of 4 years to some 30 odd.. and they are all totally committed to producing the best plants.
First up on their agenda was a refresher on the importance of quality potting mix for producing great plants. Growing Spectrum and Daltons have a long standing relationship and over time have created tailored mixes to suit Growing Spectrum's range of products and requirements.
We were then taken on a guided tour through the propagation unit which was so familiar, as I watched the team making and wounding cuttings, reminding me of my early days in the industry. An process that was new to me was that of tissue culture when growing tips of plant material are dissected and then grown in flasks on agar. The steps that followed were also familiar territory as the group was taken through the heat and mist unit and then onto tubing.
It was quite exciting to see their potting machine in action as this is another advent from the days when it was all done by hand... though I noted that hand potting was still a necessary skill as not all plants suit machine potting.
I also learnt that the softer range of pots that are used today are made from recycled plastic and technically should go out in the recycling to be made into pots again.
After lunch we were lucky enough to check out the open ground tree production nursery which is where I started out in Hort some 35 years ago. From where I stood I can totally appreciate the time and effort that goes into all aspects of horticulture... I have been on the end of that spade too LOL.
Its a big thanks to Grant, the team and of course the owners of Growing Spectrum who opened the doors of their business and made the day possible for us. The nursery was immaculate, I never spied one weed or anything out of place!!! Everything I saw just cements my philosophy that a tidy, organised and systemised work environment is surely the most efficient way to achieve great results and of course due to Wairere's ongoing relationship with Growing Spectrum we are able to bring these high quality products to you.
A full on week with berries, autumn coloured trees, Lilacs shrubs and more
Lilacs (Syringa) are also back in good quantity and range which is awesome as these are popular and there is now a range of Cotinus, those gorgeous smoke bushes that also display some pretty amazing autumn colours. Syringa (Lilacs)
Start thinking about sprayingfruit trees with lime sulphur particularly if they are looking manky, leaves half fallen and with spots. Lime sulphur will very quickly defoliate them giving you that winter look. I give a warning though that not only does the stuff smell very Sulphurous but it can stain white house walls, fences and can be harsh on your sprayer . On that note lime sulphur is one of best for sorting out overwintering spores of the fungal kind and the eggs of pests that like to think that they will get the jump on spring.
Autumn is also a great time to sort that lawn out and spray out the broad leave weeds if you are inclined and give it a good feed with conventional lawn fertilser... Best to throw the lawn fertiliser around on a wet day so that it washes in straight away and doesn't burn the lawn... Bioboostis a suitable longer term form of N for lawns too and its formulation will be easily spread by a lawn boy... organic fert to boot.
It's not just the lawns that could be fed but all those Camelliahedges too, citrus,fruit trees and the gardens in general... With all this warm autumn and the rain that we have been getting the plant will like a tickle up with some food... Rooster booster. Bioboost and Sheep pellets are all good too.
Everything seems early this year and I am guessing that it's because this year has been so much drier than previous years. Growers can actually get out there and get stuff done .. I have organised the guys to get onto topping and tailing these bearers of those tasty red fruits that we all love.
There is nothing like getting them into the ground nice and early so that the plant has a strong root system before winter and then will crop well just before Christmas.
Something a tad special
Casimaroa or white sapotes which we have never had before and, to be fair, I don't actually know too much about them. If I recollect they were always grown in the tunnel house of my first ever nursery position and so I have always assumed that they are frost tender. On a quick google I read that they have been recorded as surviving as low as - 5 degrees but perhaps maybe once they are bigger and more established. They will grow into quite a large tree and tolerate various soil types. They are only semi deciduous with leaf volume thinning after harvest.
Their taste, according to a googled site, is like banana custard so that means they would be a fav of mine as I just adore custard. There is a variety of fruit colour as some ripen to a darker green and some to yellow. The fruit skin is soft so they are usually harvested before they soften to lessen bruising.
Eucryphia Nymansay or leatherwood... I got these in especially as it is not often we see them available. A narrow evergreen tree with attractive simple single white flowers. I have one in the garden at the nursery and I just love it. If I remember correctly, from the Chileans that work here, the bees are also very fond of this tree as the flavour of their honey, a bit like Manuka honey.
We currently have an extensive selection of Rhodo's as more arrived this week. These are an excellent plant for gorgeous colour displays at the end of winter and into spring. The flower colours range from yellow, white, pink, red, purple and even almost blues. They are evergreen and sizes range from half a meter up to around 4 meters so lots to choose from.
Rose potting is now on the white board in the office, labels are printed, Daltons Rose mix recipe for us has arrived and in the bin waiting, planter bags are here and the centre of the nursery is being cleared for the big event.
The good news is that current rose stocks are all half price (except flower carpet bushes), apples and pears still with 30% off except the new seasons apples that arrived yesterday, they are Little Rascal, Mischief, Scallywagand Teachers Pet. Don't forget to check out our New To Us Section for any other new season plants that we have.
Peonies are still available in 3 varieties, we have kept them nicely chilled so they are good to plant now and don't forget that beans and peas are also still good for planting. Grab them now while we still have some of each variety.
Don't forget, Sunday is Mothers Day so book that Cafe for lunch and then come for a wander in the nurserygarden or a browse in the garden centre. Vouchers are always a great gift if you are stuck for an idea.