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Thursday 20th July, 2017
School holidays are all but done for another term and our house hold has had the sounds of the younger generation holidaying in good ole Gordonton.
Its been a fun week and the kids have been so good and fitting well into nursery life. There was time spent in Uncle Tony's landscape studio colouring pics.... dare I say it ... and time on that sought after Ipad.
Harry had a new shadow that wore copy cat red bands and helped with all the tasks around the nursery that keeps the place tidy and organised. From dumping of the rubbish, to loading of the potting mix onto the potting table, to going to town, to doing the shopping, banking etc.
Then there was the times at the shop and serving clients and using the hand held scanner, bar coding all the plants onto the shop sales screen. For those that are still 7 and 10ish its all new and obviously fun as long as we mixed it all up a bit so that they didn't get bored.
As the team were all potting trees, time was even spent helping us and the logical task for the kids was labelling under the watchful eye of Anita and myself. Now labelling might seem the simplest of tasks but its got to be done right. The label still has be the correct way up and pulled right through so that the wind doesn't blow them off. Then the plants get shifted into heaps, covered to keep the roots moist ready for the guys to bag.
I'm not sure that they were so keen on the fact that we had to be out the door at 8.15 am with all the domestic chores done, like bed made, clothes tidied and teeth cleaned but that said we were never late to work.
Not all things are created equal
Its been another week of potting trees and its like all thing in life but you learn that all things are not created equal but rather come in all shapes and sizes...... not that I have a bit of a root fetish but it never ceases to amaze me at the diversity out there. There must be 100's of genus and cultivars that the team have potted and Anita and I have mostly done all the root trimming and labelling... I said to Anita the other day just this.." what roots don't you like trimming Lol "... well the Ulmus or Elm genus was one that we both agreed on.
The Elmsseem to have quite tough and wiry roots... Now its not the larger anchor roots that are hard to chop but the finer ones are just so wiry or fibrous and don't cut so easily at all and tend to slide sideways in your secateurs and not cut... I did find that if you grabbed them like a pony tail that they did cut then.
We both also decided that one we did like was the ones on Golden Queen rootstock and that is all the Prunus likePlums Peachesand Nectarine that are all grafted or budded onto this particular rootstock. Golden queen root stock are an effective readily available commonly used root stock for many fruit trees. For those of us that have become root connoisseurs, they are orangey in colour, kinda wrinkled looking, like your hand when left in water too long, and soft and easy to trim.
I have to add in here Magnoliasthat have lots of finer roots and look like someone that has lots of really thick hair but these roots are so fragrant and when you cut them, have a sort of sweet, eucalyptus smell, which I find quite pleasant. Every year I say to the new ones to tree potting, here smell these roots and they tend to look at me strangely but do enjoy the fragrance once they have gotten past sniffing roots!
Malusor Appleroots stock tend to be fine with an absence any particular think roots but rather like someones hair with many fine roots and again the trimming was easier if you grabbed the lot together and made like a pony tail and cut the lot at once.
Of course as all things in life they come in all colours, varying degrees of hairiness, stiffness, wiriness but keeping them moist through this process is of utmost importance. For the plant nut in me I cant stand looking at drying roots as they don't look right but when they are moist they look just so alive. I liken it to the colours in the bush after its rained, somehow that green hue of NZ flora just pops after moisture and the green seems to be alive.
To those that have a new seasons tree to plant, be prepared that all the soil is going to fall away exposing shortened roots that have been cut to fit the container. Cutting the roots is just the same as cutting the top and will quite quickly stimulate new white or feeder roots which are really desirable. Take care if there are a lot of these new roots as you don't want to break them all off. Don't plant your new trees with these roots into lots of moisture retentive compost as they may well rot off.
I suggest that you also provide a temporary stake for your new trees so that it doesn't rock in the soil breaking all the new roots every time that the wind blows. At this stage its different than a tree that has rooted around inside the bag as these trees have an established root system and also a root ball that helps hold the tree up in the soil. Now I don't believe in stakes long term as your trees need to learn to grow strong roots to hold themselves up but I do certainly suggest that its a great help to getting them started. The more exposed the position the more necessary the staking to help the trees get a good straight start in life.
Tree Watch .....Ulmus equals Elm
I mentioned Elms before with those really wiry roots and as a genus they are quite a tough and hardy tree that suit many positions and I sure all know the classic golden Elm. The golden elm is renown for its attractive lime / yellow green foliage. Ulmus Lutescens or Louie Van Houte are the two that are commonly sold and to be fair I haven't been able to spy the difference but if anyone does know then please let me know. They both form a handsome rounded long term shade tree that is very popular.
The Horizonatal Elm Or Ulmus Horizontails always amazes me with its form especially when you see it naked in the winter. It has branches that go directly out and horizontal just like its name sake. It's an awesome shade tree with that perfect umbrella shape. While dealing with this style of tree one has to also consider Ulmus pendulawhich is the truly weeping form and cascades to the ground with its pendulous branches. If I remember correctly there are some quite old and handsome specimens of this tree outside the Cambridge town hall and down the main street in Matamata which are large enough to sit and walk under.
If you are into variegated foliage in a specimen tree then consider Ulmus carpinifola variegata. I have one of these at home and it has really attractive green speckled frosted white smallish leaves. It has quite an elegant lacy form and is making for quite an awesome tree with quite a rounded form.
Ulmus Parviflora or Chinese Lace bark elm grows into another handsome speciman tree but with much smaller foliage than say the golden elm or either of the weeping forms and as such have a much lighter or lacier effect. Then there is the Frontier which is a hybrid Elm with one of it parents being Parvifloa and it would seem to be a smaller Elm, relative to the Elm Family and again with fine foliage but also the reputation of having burgundy Autumn tones which is unusual for an Elm.
One that we haven't stocked before is Ulmus Lobel and it would appear that this one has the classic larger leaf but with a much more upright form.. Could be just the tree for down the driveway where you don't want them to get quite so wide.
There are a couple of smaller growing Elms that would really suit the smaller section but nobody seems to know them. One of these is Jacqueline hillier which grafted on a stem to get some height initially as will probably slowly get to two or three metres and perfect for those modern sections. A very attractive dainty green leaf and surely be the most handsome small tree.
Lastly there is Dampiera Aurea with another small and dainty leaf and of course aurea means that its a gold dainty leaf.. another for those than want an Elm and have limited space
Whats new in >>>>>>>>>
Daphne is in stock now of the leucanthe odora form but if you have been waiting for the more traditional sprawling one, then that arrived in stock yesterday. There are large buckets of quite mature plants of Daphne Rubra and Rubra variegata ( the one with the gold edge.) and both with typical Daphne flowers fragrant though maybe slightly pinker than odora. Daphgne Bholua is a tall upright growing one and makes for a tall shrub in the garden, still very fragrant and typical flowers. I really like the form of the Bholua and suggest that its likes the same conditions of most Daphne of morning sun, moist rich but free draining soils.
Yellow Daphne is properly called Edgworthia grandiflora but has yellow flowers that are just the same shape as Daphne, shaded out like Daphne and fragrant like Daphne but isn't a Daphne at all. The cool thing about this plant that I think is really neat is that it flowers on bare stems. The leaves do come after the flowers and they are long and slender. Yellow Daphne forms a small shrub in the garden just like the real Daphne of dimensions of around 100 cm high and wide.
Asparagus Crowns are in and now is the time to plant these. Technically a perennial, these roots that are all hitched at the top, need a dedicated area to grow. Plant at 50 cm spacing apart and I suggest that 10 crowns would be the minimum to get those delicious spears... better to get a couple of bundles of 10. The first year, don't harvest, pick some spears the second year and then they should be in full production in their third year producing delicious spears for at least couple of decades or more.
Maori Potatoesare available for those early plantings, Typically with purple or more coloured skins and if I recollect a softer texture but just awesome for cooking with. I love the different colour skins which looks attractive in a medley of roast veges. There are several cultivars to choose from.. Give them a go!!!
Yams belong to the Oxalis family and need to be planted from now on. Plan to plant them in a dedicated spot and give them a long season. last time I grew these i didn't wait long enough so will have to give them another go in the garden. Next time in a spot where I don't need the space.!
Dry July has many benefits and not only that of keeping a whole lot of dosh still left in your bank account, the recycling bin is nearly empty and the last bonus is the trimming of some kilos from off ones waist line. Hope the last weekend of the hols is a happy one for all the families and it would be especially nice if the weather was fine. If you are looking for trees then Wairere is the place to come, otherwise have a fabulous weekend in the garden..
from Lloyd, Harry and the Wairere Team
Make it a Wairere weekend where even GNOMES know that gardening's not a drag.