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Friday 13th October, 2017
Did someone turn off the spring rain tap at last?
Last weekend of the school holidays and what an amazing week it has been.. well for us at Gordonton anyways, if only because it has been mostly fine. It always amazes me at how much growth occurs when the sun comes out and it gets warm, the plants seem to grow inches in just one day.
It was interesting to note too, that a client from Taupo had bought from us a Hydrangea Bridal Bouquet and had just popped in to buy another and then wondered if something was wrong with hers at home as ours were now three times bigger.
I put it down to the fact that Taupo is that much cooler and also that plants in black pots sitting on black weed cloth in Gordonton are just so much warmer than being in the ground and of course the nursery is so sheltered these days. Not too mention potting mix is designed to be an optimum medium for growing plants which is a good reason to get the best.
Hopefully the fine week that we have had here in the Waikato is finally starting to dry the ground out especially for those farmers and the like that need grass to grow and paddocks to dry out for the cows and machinery. I am guessing that there is still a way to go before the ground is warm and dry enough to start planting the maize crops that appear all around this region.
Some of our gardens are on sloping banks and these have started to dry out nicely so finally we are able to get in with vehicles, plants and trailer loads of mulch. The past couple of years we have been removing Acanthus, Ivy and Agapanthus and are now in the fun stages of replanting. The whole space is under many trees like Birches,flowering cherries, and one of the fancy Nyssa and so is quite the woodland area and suits all the shade loving plants. Rhododendrons, Camellias, Pieris, Hydrangeas, Daphnes and Ilam azaleas have been chosen and are all being planted in an informal woodland setting. Of course there are some sunny spots and so some mock orange and Lavenders and daisies are all being added for colour.
We are mulching the entire area with mega mulch or shredded bark so as to suppress the weeds and then will maintain weed control by spot spraying carefully with roundup. The less that you disturb a soil surface the less the weeds grow. Its worth remembering that roundup works only on green material and if you spray early in the morning before the sun gets up there is very little drift. If you need to get close to plants then reduce the pressure that you are spraying at, and one last pointer, the closer the nozzle is to the ground the less spread or spray drift, so its really all about timing and technique.
Roses are Tess, White Romance, Wollerton Old Hall, Kathryn Morley, Diamond Design
While on the subject of gardens and getting them looking nice, we are all usually planning for up and coming events through the Spring, Summer and Autumn, like Christmas, weddings, big birthdays or just an excuse to party in the garden and want the place looking fabulous.
A handy tip to know if you want your roses flowering for the occasion is to cut them back like a winter prune 7 weeks before the event. You will need to feed them and if suddenly it stops raining then you actually may need to water them. The theory is 6 to 8 weeks depending on how warm or cool it is but 7 weeks is good middle ground and the buds should be showing colour.
I asked around at some of our most reliable suppliers about the turn around for re flowering of daisies and lavenders and these also are around the 6 week mark but again depends on warmth etc in the summer months. Daisies may be as quick as 4 weeks but Spanish lavenders may be slighter longer at 6 weeks. Again water and feeding play an important part to bring on many great displays. This may be an area that you experiment with!
Another suggestion is to grow pots of annuals like impatiens as these are constantly in flower and then use them as accents in the garden should colour be lacking.
Ensure that hedges and edges are up to scratch and lawns mowed then add the pots of colour and your place should be ready to party just like ours will be.
Finally we are right in the middle of the spring flush so resist trimming hedges or anything like this until the growth spurt finishes and the new growth colours back to its normal green and then go for it.
Crepe Myrtles, or correctly Lagerstroemia indica, are small growing trees that are summer flowering and have pretty crepe like flowers in shades of pink.. usually from soft to bright, reddish or mauve-ish pink shades. Crepe myrtles also have great, red, autumn colours but I love the bark on their trunks, cinnamom coloured and a silky texture that you just want to reach out and stroke.
Prunus Shimidsu Sakura, Lagerstroemia indica, P. Mt. Fuji, Lagerstroemia Petite Snow, P. Tai Haku.
The flowering cherry Prunus Shimidsu Sakura is just popping at the moment and I think it is one of the prettiest of them all. Gorgeous pink buds that open to very very double blossoms of pale pink that fades to almost white. I know that everyone will just love this blossom. Interesting but if you have one of every type of flowering cherry, then you would have a succession of blossoms from early spring until now!!! This one makes for an ideal medium size shade tree as it has quite an umbrella form so a goodie to have on the lawn as a feature.
Don't forget that flowering cherries also have yellow orange shades in the Autumn and so have a lot going for them.
Shirote Mt Fuji and Tai Haku are another couple of white double flowering cherries that should be out doing their thing right now as well.
Hosta'swith their colourful bold leaves brighten up those shaded gardens and look their best I think when grouped or mass planted. If you are into leaves, of the non smoking kind, like I am then there is nothing better than their new spring leaves. I always like to combine them in drifts with other similar plants that are evergreen like helleboresand liriopes so that the garden gets held togather in the winter when the hostas disappear.
Hopefully we will be moving on from that almost symptomless fungal disease Downy mildew but the next fungal infection will be black spot and green fly AKA Aphids which can ruin your flowers that should be on the way right now. Super shield is the spray that you need to use at first sight of either pest and disease and do a couple of spray just two days apart. This will break the spore count and should deal to the aphids. The second close spray is to get anything missed from the first one.
Aphids are really good at breeding, managing to give birth to live young without a male in sight and in quite a quick turn around as well.
As the weather becomes more stable and dry then spraying should be less of an event but remember my rule, spray before rain and then after rain and then you may not need to spray again.
Yipee the long weekend 'Labour weekend' is not far away being so if you want your plants delivered by the weekend (21-23 October) please ensure you place your orders before Sunday 17th for courier delivery. The last day for dispatch by courier will be wednesday the 18th of October. we need two full working days to get plants to their destination befiore the weekend.
The garden centre is looking just gorgeous at the moment with all the new foliage on the maples, a few of the roses are starting to open and show colour and all the pretty perennials that have arrived, such a cool time of year where it all looks so fresh. A fine weekend is looming so have fun with kids as they are back to school next week, dont forget the lawns as Im sure that they will need mowing ... just like ours do.
Have a great weekend.
Lloyd, Harry and the Wairere Team
Make it a Wairere weekend where even GNOMES know that gardening's not a drag.