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Friday 17th November, 2017
All good things must come to an end... Who made that rule?
We have a great team that help keep our nursery looking fabulous and I can assure you that there is always plenty to do. With our plants all being in containers they need constant care in the sense of re-blocking so that, as they, grow they access more light. Spent flowers always need to be removed to ensure they always look gorgeous and they constantly need to be re-fed so that they don't run out of food and have that hungry nitrogen deficient look. Then there is keeping up with weeding and of course plant training. Its what we do and we love it.
Sadly though this week we must say goodbye to our couple from Chile that have been here working for the past two years helping us maintain Wairere's high standard of plants and serving our customers in the shop.
Cecilia and Hubby Claudio are off to Germany looking to a new life and all the challenges that will bring. Tonight we are putting on dinner for them and the team to say our last farewells though I 'm sure, that in this modern world of all things techno and social media, that they will be keeping an eye on us down here in little ole NZ and be keeping in touch.
One of my absolute favs ... PKL syn Poor Knights Lily
If I had to name a plant that I just adore, then the Poor Knights Lily (PKL) would have to come almost to the top of my list. Now its extra special to me because this baby is also a NZ native, endemic to the Poor Knights and Taranga Islands in the north of New Zealand. Xeronema is quite an unusual name and belongs to the family Xeronemataceae who I will confess don't really know anything about. According to Mrs Google Xeronema is the only genus that belongs to this family but there are a couple of species that exist. The one that I know. and writing about. is Callistemon and so aptly named as Callistemon just happens to also be the genus name of those Australian red bottlebrushes that we all know so well. It will be no surprise then to work out that Xeronema has gorgeous red bottlebrush flowers.
It wont be too hard to work out that this unique individual hailing from those northern Islands is a tad frost tender and is most at home on the sea cliffs and rocky island outcrops. To that end to we can also assume that PKL will make an awesome pot plant because if it grows on the cliffs face, then it will tolerate some neglect that I know happens to plants in pot. Not only suited to pots but also dry and rock gardens, full sun and perfect drainage but no direct frost.
Of course well fed and well looked after it will reward you with stunning architectural lime green foliage and those stunning oversized tooth brush like flowers.
Handsome evergreen tree and Avo's to boot
Looking for a handsome evergreen tree that does more than just look attractive, then consider the Avo, Persea americana. Now this is a tree for a warmer climate like the Bay of Plenty or more North but once established can withstand frost to -2 or -3 and so that means for us in the Waikato we should be able to get one of these away in our gardens. As a tree these will naturally get to approx 10 to 12 metres high but can be maintained to a smaller size to suit a smaller position. I imagine that the Avo orchards maintain the trees to a smaller height so that they can pick the fruit more easily.
Hass is probably the most well known clone and interestingly enough the trees are self fertile, having both male and female flowers on the same tree. Like all things in life getting it on together can take a little more organisation... and its all about temperature and cross pollination will always end in bigger crops. Avocado's have a unique flower opening and closing sequence that can disrupt the production of fruit in cold winters if both A and B varieties of avocado aren't present. The reason being that some varieties of avocado have flowers which open as female in the morning and male in the afternoon while other varieties have the opposite sequence.
This means that when plants from both flowering sequence groups are present then bees can visit both male and female flowers, in both morning and afternoon periods, which means a better chance of success for a good crop. Fruit can still be produced where no pollination partner is available, however bad weather and bee numbers can hinder the amount of fruit produced in a season and there is a possibility that some seasons you may get no fruit at all.
To summarise... all varieties are self fertile but weather conditions and namely temperature will influence the amount of fruit set. Planting a mixture of both Type A and B will increase pollination.
Last call for Kumara and we have some stunning plants in and they need planting now for the long growing season.
Don't hold it against them just because they belong to the morning glory family... yes that's right, the same family as that climbing vine with the gorgeous blue flowers, which is such a weed!! So the family name is Convolvulaceae and the fancy Latin is Ipomoea batatas. (Don't ask me to pronounce it!)
So this means that Kumara love to grow in a long warm season. I have grown these and on the whole they have been quite an easy crop to grow, they just need some space, and for quite some time too!!
Prepare the soil with any ferts, compost prior to planting and don't feed them again otherwise they will put all their energy into growing tops and not tubers. Lime the soil at this point as well. Don't dig deep, just aerate the soil. Ideally they like to grow in a light soil with a pan or hard layer underneath so when they hit the hard spot they will start to grow tubers.
Make a mound around 20 cm high and plant them like a J in the soil, get the slip mostly all in the soil and just leave the outer leaves showing and keep them moist until they take off. Those brand new slips can run out of water if the soil surface suddenly turns dry. I have always planted mine at 40 to 50 cm spacing along a mound.
One growers secret for growing kumara is to not cut the runners back but rather keep lifting them so that the tops don't root into the ground. This will mean that they will put their energy into growing the tubers. My old boss knew a thing or two when we planted them through left over polythene mulch.... the poly would have stopped the tops rooting down and kept the soil much warmer as it attracts the heat.
When the plants start to die down and the tops are going yellowish, approximately 4 to 5 months then this is the time to harvest. Take care lifting these beauties out of the soil as you want them as undamaged as you can and then dry them off in the sun for a few days and they should store for up to 5 months in a dark airy cupboard.
These are available in bundles of 25 for $9.99 per bundle. Follow the links above to purchase online.
One of our suppliers dropped a new rose out there and has obviously taken its name from the distinct spot in the centre of the flower and they are pretty neat. The colour of Sweet Spot Calypso is the most amazing colour of pinkish red and hints of yellow with a pink spot in the centre.
Sweet Spot Yellow is a pretty deep yellow in the buds and then fades out to a pretty lemon yellow and almost to white while maintaining the dark spot in the centre. These both have all the high health attributes and free flowering that we all expect from todays modern roses. These roses are said to flower from spring to autumn on a compact bush that should be ideal for container growing, garden beds, decks or patio locations, edging a boarder or decorating around your home. Like all roses they will like some slow release fert in spring and again in summer. We have limited supply of both bush and standards.
Sights to see
A good thing to do is to walk in the tree tops of Sequoia sempervirens, the redwoods, in Rotorua... I dont know if many know about this cool tourist attraction over the Mamakus but if you are over that way one day its worth doing. The magnicifcent trunks of the redwoods are just magic to see and then there is this cool walkway suspended some metres above the ground.
While you are over there take in a tasting at the winery that is located just at the top of the gondola ride when you enter into Rotorua and meet Annie who is the very capable hostess with the mostess. Take in the views overlooking the lake and taste a few wines and perhaps order a cheese board or an antispasta platter to go with the wines.
Whahoo my beans are up, lettuces are in and seed sown for our usual zucchini all summer long harvest. Gardens have been replanted and just need to be mulched and then we are on track for our christmas brunch. So much easier when we are organised!
What to get for Xmas?
I have been thinking about ideas for gifts for Xmas and being the happy gardener that I am I tend to look to gardening implements as they are always so useful and well received. A really good pair of secateurs are worth their weight as the fit in hand and sharpness of blade and more importantly how cleanly they cut will always make pruning any plant so much easier and if you aren't constantly having to sharpen the blades and re align them then all the better I say. We use ARS equipment both at home and at the nursery as the quality ensures economy in the long run as they keep their ability to make good clean cuts throughout their life. They are also much easier on the hand when using them all day.
We have lovely deluxe boxed sets of pruners which are great for cleaning up the herb or perennial beds, dead heading perennials or roses or cutting flowers for home decoration. They are stainless steel, and you can have them plain or with a floral patern.
Hoe'sare always useful around the garden, either the long handeled hoe or the short handeled ones which come in both left or right handed options. These are a Japanese style hoe which is very maneuverable around plants and of very good quality.
Vouchers are always a great idea if you aren't sure what would be enjoyed the most. We have recently implemented an evoucher system that allows you to send a digital voucher via email. Just select this option when you are buying your voucher online. It is an online only option so we can only give you a printed voucher in store.
Gloves. Deadheading time for roses will be here soon and with it the prickles that like to grab you as you reach across the bush. We have rose pruning gloves available which have long sleeves attached giving great protection to your arms as you reach into the bush. These are especially good for more elderly folk who feel the bite from the roses that much more easily. We have a whole range of gloves in fact, even some for the young up and coming gardeners in the family.
The roses are looking amazing which you will see if you get our instagram feed or facebook, as we like to post our favorite pics online there. This is a great place to find a rose you like as we try hard to ensure the rose is depicted correctly in these photos. Each pic usually has a link to our website, for that rose, if you are wanting to purchase any roses you see. We have a great selection of roses still available in bush, standard, patio standard, pillar and weeping. There are a couple of new releases just out this week to check out. These are being touted as the Decorator Rose and are pretty amazing. They are called Sweet Spot and you can get Yellow or Calypso. Check them out on the website or come and see them if you are local, it is well worth the trip.
The lawn at our place had become like a paddock with broadleaf weeds popping up everywhere so I have sprayed the broad leaves out and its looking way nicer. There is still time for you to do yours if you have this problem.
The NZ Flower and Garden Show currently has tickets on sale via ticketek, this is said to be the pinnacle event for everything inspiration, design and horticulture. This is on 29Nov to 3 Dec so hopefully you have the opportunity to go see it. It is being held at The Trusts Arena grounds in Waitakere, Auckland. This is the first major flower and garden show in Auckland since the Ellerslie Garden show so hopefully this event will be well supported.
If you have an event you think is worthy a spot in our events page then please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have to admit that I'm loving this fine weather, not too hot to work and not wet either yay! Getting so many jobs done. Whatever your time is taken up doing, hopefully you are in a place where you can enjoy this lovely weather too.