Home' Greymouth Star : July 20th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
►Veranda salad — an
easy weekend project
If you fancy stepping out on to your patio,
courtyard or balcony and picking some
healthy greens for a salad, then our easy
project is for
what you will
least 30cm in
a trough or
The larger the
pot the more you can grow and the easier it
will be to maintain.
Good quality potting mix.
Seedlings of your favourite salad
During the cooler months you can grow
leafy veggies and herbs like lettuce, baby
spinach, silverbeet, Italian parsley, spring
onions and Asian greens like tatsoi as well as
baby beetroot (you can har vest tender young
beetroot leaves for a salad) and radish.
Here is how. —
Place the pot in a sunny position (at least
four hours of sun a day is ideal). Fill the pot
with potting mix up to around 5cm from the
Place your fingers across the top of the
punnet and in between the base of the
seedlings and gently turn the punnet upside
down, releasing the plants (with root ball
Gently separate the seedlings if required,
retaining as many roots as possible.
Dig small holes in the potting mix. The
holes should be the same size as the root
ball of your seedlings. Allow around 10cm
between each seedling.
Place the seedlings into their holes and
gently firm down the potting mix around
Water over the seedlings to settle them in
and then keep the potting mix moist.
In a fortnight, start feeding each week with
liquid plant food, which will provide the
veggies with a balanced diet of nutrients to
promote lots of healthy growth.
Har vest regularly!
You can start picking individual leaves
after just a few weeks. And the more you
pick, the more leaves will grow.
Enjoy your very own home grown ‘veranda
sprouts are a
good source of
reported to be
are so easy and
quick to grow and can be sprouted in a jar
on your windowsill so you do not need a
garden at all.
There are lots of fantastic reasons to sprout
your own nutritious alfalfa!
Alfalfa sprouts (lucerne) can be sown
throughout the year and are particularly
handy as a source of tasty greenery during
the depths of winter.
Place the seed in the bottom of a wide-
mouthed glass jar and soak in tepid water
for about 3 hours.
Cover the top of the jar with either muslin,
stocking or a cotton handkerchief and hold
in place with a rubber band. Strain off the
water and leave the jar tilted to allow good
drainage and ventilation. Place the jar on
a windowsill, away from direct heat or
Fill the jar twice a day with tepid water,
shake gently, then drain. In around 3-5
days, sprouts should be ready for eating and
can be sprinkled over salads and stir fries.
Sprouts can be refrigerated for about one
week without losing flavour, provided they
are stored in an airtight container.
Winter is rose care time (and there is still
time to plant!)
There are a few simple rose care steps to
take throughout the year, to help keep roses
During winter, there are two important
rose jobs, which will reward you with
healthier roses and more flowers during the
1. Pruning — winter pruning, when
the roses are leafless, is the ideal time to
completely remove any dead stems (which
are usually grey) and then cut all the
remaining healthy stems down to around
knee height (apart from standard or ‘lollipop’
roses). If you have time, prune each stem
to just above an outward facing bud. If you
are time poor or a bit unsure, then take no
notice of the buds! You can even use hedge
shears or loppers rather than secateurs. It is
better to prune roses than not at all.
2. Spraying with lime sulfur — once the
rose is pruned, it is a great chance to spray
leafless rose bushes with lime sulfur, which is
a smelly but very effective way to help break
the rose pest cycle.
Used at the higher ‘winter rate’, lime sulfur
will control scale insects, which are lying in
wait on rose stems during winter, ready to
infect new spring growth. Breaking the pest
cycle during winter will help give the rose
the best possible fresh start in spring.
Pruning tip — If you live in a really cold
area, delay pruning until August as pruning
can stimulate new leaf growth which could
be damaged by frosts.
If you have always wanted to grow an
orchid but doubted your gardening skills,
then cymbidiums are the orchid for you.
They are one of the hardiest and easiest to
grow of all the orchids and make the perfect
potted plant. They flower predominantly
during winter and early spring, so really
come into their own during July and bring
gorgeous colour into the coldest months of
Cymbidiums can produce multiple showy
spikes of flowers ranging in colour from
gorgeous green through to white, cream
and yellow, pink and burgundy. Potted
cymbidiums can be brought inside for a
few weeks to show off their flowers and
spikes can also be cut for a vase (they last for
Here are some easy tips to help you get the
best out of your cymbidium orchid. —
Choose a warm, frost free spot with
dappled light. Harsh afternoon sun can
burn leaves and too little light will reduce
flowering. Having a potted cymbidium
allows you to move it around to take
advantage of the best position.
Cymbidium orchids are native to Asian
tropical forests and mountainous regions,
where they often grow up in the tree canopy.
They require really good drainage, so should
be planted in a very well drained spot in the
garden or a pot with good drainage holes
filled with coarse orchid potting mix.
Potted orchids should not be left sitting in
a saucer of water — it will rot their roots.
Feed cymbidium orchids each week with
orchid liquid plant food from spring through
to autumn. This specially formulated orchid
food provides the right balance of nutrients
to promote green healthy leaves and lots of
►Grow a funny
create their very
own quirky grass
head at home and
watch it grow.
Here are the
Cut off around
20cm of the toe
end of an old
lawn seed (any
variety will be
fine) or bird seed
into the stocking
and then add
some sphagnum moss, coconut fibre or
potting mix so that it is about the size of a
tennis ball and close firmly with an elastic
Next give it a face by drawing eyes, a nose
and mouth with a waterproof pen. You
can also try sticking on ‘googly eyes’ or a
Turn the head upside down and immerse
the top few centimetres into some water
until it is nice and moist.
Select a cup that is the right size to
support the grass head, without it falling in.
Turn the head the right way up and sit it on
the rim of the cup.
Place the cup on a bright windowsill, out
of direct light. Check each day to make sure
it remains moist. If the head starts to dry
out, wet it again or gently spray with some
Supplied by Yates
Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 7
with Gillian Vine
flowers, lilacs run
the gamut from
palest lavender to deep purple.
As well as their scent, colour
has ensured their popularity,
although it must be admitted
that the shrubs are a bit
uninspiring when not flowering.
The common lilac (Syringa
vulgaris), a native of eastern
Europe, is the parent of most
The main exception is single
white syringa x persica alba,
whose parent, the Persian lilac
(s. persica) was introduced to
Europe almost 400 years ago and
is still the most commonly grown
species, its appeal being pale pink
Early European settlers brought
lilacs to New Zealand but their
range was probably limited, as
they arrived here before the most
famous breeder, Frenchman
Victor Lemoine (1823-1911),
got into his stride.
He did not begin hybridising
lilacs in 1870 but was to produce
more than 200 cultivars at his
nursery at Nancy, in northern
Still popular are Katherine
Havemeyer, General Pershing,
Souvenir de Louis Spaeth and
American Walter Bosworth
(WB) Clarke, (1876-1953) could
be said to have taken over where
Lemoine left off.
He began breeding lilacs at his
Californian nursery in 1931. His
rosy mauve Clarke’s giant, bred
in 1948, was the first patented
lilac and his double mauve Alice
Eastwood (1942) and lilac-pink
Ester Staley (1948) are still
Two unusual varieties are
sensation, which has single
purple blooms edged with white,
and primrose, the “yellow ” lilac,
whose creamy buds open to
highly scented almost white
Although late frosts can kill the
flower buds, lilacs are extremely
hardy. Plant them during winter
in a shrubbery or large pots, in
full sun or part shade and fertile
Some growers recommend
that the graft (the place where
rootstock and scion join) go
beneath the soil to encourage the
cultivar to grow its own roots, as
some rootstock has been found
to be less long-lived than the
Lilacs do tend to sucker and
varieties grafted on to privet
rootstock do, too, so removing
suckers from as far below the soil
surface as possible is important.
If lilacs are grown in a
shrubbery, keep the soil clear
around the base of the plant to
make suckers easier to see and
remove while small.
Lilacs are affected by few pests
or diseases, although spring
temperature fluctuations and
moist air can bring powdery
Prune immediately after
flowering to improve the shape
of the bush and to promote
the new growth on which next
spring’s flowers form, then
mulch with well-rotted manure,
mixed with lime at the rate of
100g per bush.
Do not put off pruning, as
lilacs have a short growing
period, from flowering until
after Christmas, so if you delay
pruning, you will miss out on a
good display next season.
Lilac, above, is well-named,
getting its moniker from its most
common flower colour.
Congo, right, was bred in the
famous French nurser y Lemoine
and introduced in 1896.
Below, species lilacs like this
one tend to have lighter perfume
than cultivated varieties.
French-bred Madame Lemoine grown as a potted standard.
Handy July tips
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