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Friday 11th August, 2017
Spring is in the Air
Winter can seem quite short if you consider this month to be the first one of spring which I always do... well there are so many signs that the plants are all waking up. Snowdrops and Daffodils are showing their flowers everywhere. Years ago we planted many daffodil bulbs around one of the ponds and there are masses of these gorgeous blooms which Harry picks by the handfuls for the house and to give away. The roses in the garden have all those buds plumping up nicely and I was thinking that we must get the rose feed onto them so that there is available food. We will use a small handful of rose fertiliser around the base of each rose bush not against the stem but rather out further and spread around the plants drip line.
Driving past on the tractor I saw the Hydrangeas that the team had beautifully pruned, that the buds had pushed out and are now showing green and made a mental note to self ... when we move our hydrangeas in the Nursery to dress them with Lime or Aluminium sulphate according to pink or blue if we are not too late ( (Aluminium sulphate should be applied in the winter). Lime is to flower the pink ones pink and the Al2(SO4)3 of course to provide aluminium so that the blue ones flower the right colour. When we pot them the potting mix is Ph neutral without the extra available aluminium and so even though the plant is correct it flowers opposite to what it should..
Walking home last night and checked out that the Campanulata cherry Felix Jury was showing lots of colour and well on its way out into full bloom. The Capanulatas or affectionately the Tui Cherry are the first of the flowering cherries to strut their stuff and I reckon thatFelix Jury must be one of the first, Superba will follow in a couple of weeks. These specie of Cherry have more bell shaped blooms that the Tui love for their nectar and these days we have a resident Tui or three that are helping themselves in our trees.
Magnificent Magnolias .... My favourites
I have been watching the Magnolia Vulcan flower in the garden for the past two weeks and wondering if it was just early this year but this week the whole tree is out in a mass of gorgeous red wine blooms. I think that Magnolias would have to be one of my favourite trees. I do adore the white ones and Magnolia denudata alba would have to be one of the earliest to flower and with, I'm guessing, the purest white of them all. We have several trees of Denudata Alba that are all pushing those furry bud covers off and exposing their icy white tepals.
Magnolias belong to their own family of Magnoliaceae and include many species of both the evergreen and deciduous forms.
Grandiflora Types are the evergreen ones that have large leathery green leaves and often with an orangey colour on the the under side. Typically these evergreen ones have fragrant large white blooms and grow into quite handsome spreading style trees. Some example of cultivars would be Ferruginea and Blanchard and these have lighter or darker leaves and of course some variance in tree form. Then there are a couple of smaller growing varieties of which Little gem has become hugely popular and a less known one called Teddy Bear which does have a lighter leaf shade with a slight curl.
Michelias are also evergreen, which used to be a separate genus but have since been renamed Magnolia and these include the species Figo, Gracipes, Yunnnanensis, Maudaie, Doltopsa and there are also others with various cross (X) parentage. Figo or port wine magnolia is renown for its amazing port wine or juicy fruit fragrance. Such a useful shrub that can be trained into standards or used for hedging. Gracipes and Yunnanensis tend to be similar in that they are also like a large shrub or can be helped into being a small tree. Flowers of these two species are white, fragrant and more showy than Figo. These plants are also useful in that they make for pretty cool standards and hegdes.
Maudaie will grow into a handsome tree with the most amazing glaucous, blue green foliage. Masses of starry white flowers in the spring and typical of this genus are also fragrant.
Michelia (old habits) doltopa Silver cloud is the selected and grafted form of this species. It has attractive lime green leaves and large starry white flowers.
Deciduous types we all know, though it may not be so well known, that the Tulip tree or Liriodendron tuilpifera also belongs to the Magnolia family. The Tulip tree is handsome and has the reputation of being very hardy and tolerant. A large growing tree with an unusual leaf shape which goes the most attractive butter yellow in the Autumn. You could be excused for missing the flowers which are cup shaped, green with an orange strip or colour at the base of the bloom.
Stellata Magnolias or star Magnolia are the ones that have typically the starry shaped blooms in shades of pink or white. Native to Japan these beauties are quite good choices for those that want a smaller shrub or tree to suit a smaller section. Early to flower in the spring, they totally smother themselves with masses of bloom. There are a few cutivars to choose from like Dawn, King rose, Jane Platt, Royal star and Waterlily.
Liliflora and Liliflora Nigra are native to South west China. These are both smaller growing species forming a small but wide tree shape which could be enhanced with pruning. The blooms are a larger tulip shape but are curved and tend to be narrow in form compared to the large goblet shaped species. The form Nigra has a much darker flower colour.
Then there are the Soulangeana hybrids which are a cross between Lilifloras and Denudata. I always think of these ones having the classic goblet shapes in the classic shades of rosy purple/red and white. Soulnageana, Rustica, Ruby and San Jose are classic cultivars of these hybrids and growing into medium size multi branched trees. San Jose and Rustica are often seen outside older homes from the 40s to the 60s and are now quite handsome trees of around 10metres in height.
There are many more species and varieties and some of these grow from medium size to larger trees . I just love those that have the hugest flowers that are often described as cup and sauce style blooms like Iolanthe. The Jury family are responsible for a raft of cultuivars that make choosing just one to have in the garden impossible. To grow beautiful large flowers on a smaller tree to suit todays smaller garden is an awesome desire and there are some truly awersome new cultivars to choose from.
Planning ahead for what is going to be available
Hybrid clematis are stunning with the hugest of flowers that always wow!!! and Bearded Irises are always popular additions to the garden with their gorgeous flowers. If you want something in particular then we will do our best to obtain it for you subject to it being supplied. With this in mind we have a presale page we will shortly be adding to our website where you can order plants that won't be held in stock. Doing it this way means that we can offer more than what we would carry as stock in the garden centre. Clematis hybrids are available for ordering now and the Iris's will follow shortly. Follow the link and check these queens of all flowers out and pre order yours today. JustOnline
Climbing Hydrangea petiolaris(deciduous) is just starting to swell it's buds now and seemanii (evergreen) is looking nice and bushy with a lovely rich green in the leaf at the moment.
Peonies have arrived with some wonderful strong colours to choose from. Many have emerged with the new seasons growth looking lovely and strong.
Our first delivery of Delphiniums arrived today. We have a lovely variety of colours and sizes to choose from but don't forget to spread plenty of slug and snail bait before and after planting to make sure they don't become the restaurant of choice for all your hungry moluscs.
Narcissus (Daffodils) Erlicheer and Casino potted and in bloom looking stunning. The striking yellow and soft cream of erlicheer make a wonderful spring display in your garden.
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.
Potatoes soits time to be thinking about those other early potato crops so that you have fresh new tatties for christmas. Rocket and Swift are your quickest spuds to maturity though its proably early enough top get some other varieties in too!! . Chitting your seed potatoes means that you set them in a warm dry ans light position like in the garage with the light from a window to get those eyes to start growing
Yamsbelong 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.!
Even though it is officially spring from beginning of September it always seems to me that it begins for real in August. Make sure you have finished your pruning, start throwing your fert around in anticipation of some lovely fat buds arriving in your garden on your plants and don't forget to top your hard working weekend off with a lovely meal and a good red, have a wonderful weekend
from Lloyd, Harry and the Wairere Team
Make it a Wairere weekend where even GNOMES know that gardening's not a drag.