Home' Greymouth Star : October 9th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
the value of
the value of
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 7
here are certainly advantages
in some ways to be running
late with my winter clean-
up as all the old leaves and
debris have been kindly
preventing millions of little
weeds coming to life. . Admittedly in the
meantime the odd weed has sur vived and
grown to an enormous size which takes a
good deep dig to remove but overall it is bare
Low and behold though within a couple of
weeks after removing this layering, the soil is
suddenly smothered with greenery - by the
courtesy of all the little weeds now springing
into life because they can once again see the
light of day.
As I’m going around the garden, I
constantly become distracted with several
other tasks such as amidst the weeds there
is often many little treasures to be found
in the form of small plant seedlings such
as numerous primula candelabra that
have populated one garden area as well as
spreading right out into the lawn. I couldn’t
bear not to rescue all these little treasures
and then find a suitable and ideal home for
them as being so little they will not sur vive
in unlikeable situations. I quite adore these
lovely flowers which unlike other primulas
have very tall stems up to a height of 50-
75cm or so that have twirls of flowers around
the stem at different heights with spaces in
between. They are not that readily available
usually in garden centres but if you do spot
one they are well worth picking up. They
prefer a woodland type situation with a bit
of sun that never dries out particularly in
the summer. They are intolerant of lime but
delight in acid conditions provided by peaty
soil or leaf mould.
There are some gardens where there is
mostly shrubs and often I can just leave
the layering of leaves as a mulch over the
summer. However in other gardens some of
the plants such as perennials that have been
hibernating for the winter now need to see
the light of day to come back to life.
It is always so lovely to welcome back these
summer friends every year and even though
over the years it cost a bit of money every so
often to add perennials — it still works out
cheaper in the long run than to be buying
and planting annuals every year. Mind you I
still end up buying many annuals every year
and making up many pots of colour with
them as I do love to have my patio full of
Now is a good time of year to think about
adding perennials to the garden if you have
any gaps in your summer or autumn garden.
There are many thousands of different
types, colours, sizes and shapes of perennials
but not all of them are that easy to source
You may need to think of looking up the
computer or searching further afield.
I would find it very difficult to recommend
any particular ones as all the ones I have,
have their own special value whether it
is because of their beauty, longevity, their
elegance, colour or size. Not only that —
why should I rob you of the opportunity of
many wonderful and joyful hours of looking
through books etc. to find the type of plants
that would create the picturesque scene you
have in your mind.
Of all the gardening books I have, I
found that the most valued ones that were
regularly thumbed through were more or less
dictionaries of perennials. I found that it was
essential to know quite a bit about perennials
before buying and planting them e.g. what
situation do they like — sunny, dry or moist
and shady. Of course it is important to know
how high they grow and naturally what are
their flowers like and what colour they are.
I suppose delphiniums take up the most
room of all perennials in my garden but
I do adore their tall stately flowers that
provide blooms at least twice in the summer.
Some of the other bulbs and perennials I
have growing here are achillea, agapanthus,
alstroemeria, ajuga, anthemis, aquilegia,
armeria, Artemisia, aster, astilbe, bergamot,
bergenia, Campanula, Macleaya Cordata,
francoa, heuchera, hellebores (winter roses),
dictamnus, camassia, alliums, dianthus,
brunnera, chrysanthemum, eryngium
,feverfew, filipendula, gaura, g ypsophila,
helichrysum, meconopsis (himalayan
poppy), hostas, ixias, kniphofia, Jacob’s
ladder, ligularia, lythrum, papaver (poppies),
peltiphyllum, penstemon, phlomis, Eucomis
(pineapple lily, rodgersia, salvia, saxifrage,
scophularia, sedum, sidalcea, Sisyrinchium,
solomons’s seal, tellima, thalicrum, trilliums,
tiarella, trachelium, verbascum verbenna,
Veronica and yucca. Quite amazing what
you can fit in one small town garden isn’t it.
Nevertheless although I cannot buy plants
for the garden I can at least buy lots of
annuals to make up numerous colourful
MacCleaya Cordata (known as Plume poppy) is a beautiful tall perennial that has large,
attractive, heart shaped, soft grey leaves with soft, feathery and plumy pale pink flowers.
A picturesque scene of numerous perennials photographed in the late Christopher Lloyd’s famous garden called Great Dixter in
Star has five copies
of the NZ Gardener
five copies of NZ
House and Garden
magazines to give
The NZ House
and Garden has
features on an 1880s
a Hawera garden
with its own lawn
pyramid, and making
your own spring
NZ Gardener has
articles with an
expert ’s guide to soil,
some unusual fruit to
try, and how to grow
Send your entries
with your name,
phone number to
Star PO Box 3
Greymouth or e-mail
garden in the subject
line. One entry per
close on October 16.
Chance to win!
Some pretty crimson and white aquilegias (sometimes known as granny bonnets) that
will shortly be coming into flower.
Primula Candelabra come in a variety of different shades adding colour in the late
Summer’s on its way, so make sure
you enjoy the last month of spring in
Veggies to sow in
Patio tomato has been bred specially
for pots, which is why it ’s such a
popular choice for growing on balconies
and patios. The plant itself is a compact
grower that does not need staking, and
the smallish round tomatoes have a
rich flavour. Do not forget to use some
tomato dust to protect the plants from
pests and diseases.
Flowers to sow in
Grown more for its leafy ornamental
display than its dainty flowers, purple
basil is great for adding contrasting
colour to the garden. For example,
the purple leaves look stunning next
to grey-leafed herbs, yellow sedum or
golden heliotrope. The bonus is that
you can eat the spicy purple leaves.
Feed in November
If you keep feeding your roses with
liquid Thrive concentrate for flowers,
they will continue blooming for
months. The added potassium in this
form will ensure the plants are stronger,
too. Just remember to encourage new
shoots by continually removing dead
Prune in November
Prune rambling roses and any rose
varieties that flower only in spring.
Other spring blooming shrubs (such as
wisteria, echium, eriostemon or diosma)
can be trimmed after flowering, too.
November pest watch
White flies are some of the most
annoying pests in the garden. They ’re
particularly hard to treat because the
tiny, moth-like creatures fly away in
droves as soon as you come near them.
Nature’s Way Insect and Mite Spray
will reduce their numbers, but make
sure you always spray beneath the
leaves where the white flies are hiding.
Watch your tomatoes and potatoes for
signs of damage by another sap sucker
— the tomato and potato psyllid.
Yellowing leaves and stunted growth
are the first signs.
November job file
Check your hedges at this time of
year. Trim to tidy up growth that ’s
developed this spring. Search for and
remove weeds growing in the shelter
of the hedge (they can keep themselves
well hidden in the hedge). Feed with
organic plant food and, if necessary,
renew the layer of mulch over the roots.
Plant of the month
Mexican orange blossom
Mexican orange blossom (choysia
ternate) is a citrus relative with glossy,
green, three-part leaves and perfumed
white flowers that are very attractive
to bees and other friendly insects.
This neat shrub tolerates light frosts
and makes an attractive tub specimen.
Prune after flowering and, as you
do, enjoy the scent of the oil leaves.
‘Sundance’ is a choisya cultivar with
attractive yellow leaves.
Garden colour for
As summer gets closer, shade
becomes precious in the garden. But
gardening in the shade presents some
special challenges. First of all, it is
important to select plants that are
suited to the low light sections of
the garden. Shade gardens tend to
have more green than colour but, by
choosing carefully, you can brighten up
those shaded sections.
Plants growing under trees must be
able to compete with the tree’s roots.
Strappy plants such as clivias, liriope or
libertia do well in these situations —
their fleshy roots seem able to extract
sufficient water. Another option is to
strategically place pots that are filled
with short term colour beneath the
trees, and change them frequently. In
warmer frost-frees areas, bromeliads
can be a good choice. Many broms are
epiphytes — i .e. they grow naturally
on trees — so they don’t require much
root room. Gingers and their relatives,
too, can fill gaps beneath trees or
pergolas in frost-free gardens.
Some easy-to-grow foliage plants
look wonderful in the summer garden.
Coleus, with its varied leaf patterns, is
a good example. Coleus grows readily
from seed, which makes it a reasonably
economical solution to filling a shady
area. Sow coleus seeds into starter
trays, grow on in pots and transplant
once the seedlings are a good size.
Iresine, which has the charmless
common name of bloodleaf, is another
good filler for shaded parts of the
garden. It can become a permanent
feature in warmer areas but will need
to be replanted each year where winters
are cold. Fortunately iresine grows
readily from cuttings.
Begonias come in a very wide range
of shapes and sizes so there’s one to be
found for just about any garden. The
tall-growing angel’s wing begonias are
some of the most striking. Not only do
they have attractively coloured leaves,
they produce hanging clusters of pink
or white flowers.
Begonias are susceptible to fungal
diseases, especially powdery mildew, so
check regularly and use a rose gun at
the first signs of disease.
Possibly the most flowery plant
choices for summer shade are the
impatiens. Busy Lizzie impatiens seeds
are available in Yates seed range so
it is possible to grow your own from
seed. Keep the plants well and in good
health by feeding with high potash
flower and fruit. Watch carefully for
any signs of disease and use liquid
copper for control. The bright, cheery,
large Guinea impatiens are becoming
more popular. These aren’t grown from
seed but can be struck easily from
Don’t forget, too, that you can cheat
and add a little bit of colour to those
shaded parts of the garden by hanging
streamers or bunting from trees, setting
up mirrors to reflect what light is
there, or using coloured pots. Let your
imagination take you on a journey to
brighten up your shady garden.
Gardenias are warm
Gardenias have become firm
favourites with New Zealand
gardeners. Their evergreen good looks
and their refined, white, stunningly
perfumed flowers have seen their
popularity skyrocket in recent years.
In many parts we are anxiously
waiting for the first gardenia flowers
to appear. Gardenias will grow well
out of their preferred tropical or warm
climate native habitat, even tolerating
a little frost, but they can be slow to
bloom in cooler areas. Best flowering
occurs when days are warm, even
though nights are still reasonably cool.
Usually by Christmas time, though,
gardenias are in full bloom.
To fl ower well, most gardenias need
a position with some sun. They’ll
grow in full sun in cooler areas but, in
most climates, their favourite aspect is
morning sun and afternoon shade.
Water the plant regularly but make
sure the water can drain away. Dry
gardenias will drop their buds and,
possibly, some of their leaves. Mulch
over the root system with an organic
layer (milled cow manure is ideal)
and make sure that potted gardenias,
particularly, aren’t allowed to dry out
between watering. In very dry periods
helpful to mist spray water over the
leaves on hot days, although not when
the sun is directly hitting the plant.
Links Archive October 8th 2014 October 10th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page