Home' Greymouth Star : November 14th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7
Ialways start off my gardening days
with intentions of getting this, that
and a few other certain urgent chores
done but it never works out like that.
I bought several trays of plants
recently to plant up as container plants and
as they were getting quite big, I desperately
needed to get them transplanted into pots.
But first of all I needed to get out into the
front garden and give the rhododendron ina
hair a good pruning back as it was growing up
over a window (goodness knows why I planted
it there in the first place.)
e front garden is really a woodland type
garden and I mostly just let it look after itself
but of course once you get in among it you
find it is not looking after itself at all or at
least it is not looking after some of its smaller
plants. In fact it is trying to suffocate them
with large leaves from the nearby magnolia
and my much loved blue campanulas were
struggling to see the light of day. Not only that
they had shifted themselves to the back of the
garden where they would not get any sunlight
and therefore not produce any flowers this
year. So naturally, I had to find spaces at the
front of the garden and shift them but first I
had to tidy up that part of the garden and dig
in some compost.
en I noticed that a number of the
rhododendrons needed dead heading. If
I see a job that needs doing it, I m often
quite impulsive and do it there and then
as other wise I m likely to forget about it or
not get a chance to get back to that area. I
do consider it is important to deadhead the
rhododendrons as otherwise the goodness
goes into producing seeds rather than into the
Anyway I ended up doing numerous chores
I had not planned on doing and it was at the
very end of the weekend I started potting
up my containers. Every year I tell myself
that there is no need to pot up a whole lot
but I still do because I know that later on in
late summer and autumn I will get so much
pleasure out of all the picturesque scenes they
Over the years I have used numerous
different annuals in containers but now I
mostly stick to certain ones that I know will
last for many months. While I have many
fuchsias, geraniums and pelargoniums in
containers I also love some really colourful
pots with annuals. For long lasting beauty you
can not go past the mixed colour cascading
lobelia and a trailing lilac lobelia both of
which are extremely long lasting.
White or blue flowering bacopa (or sutera as
it is sometimes called) are another two trailing
plants that are very long lasting and are very
I usually put about four or five of the above
trailing plants around the edges of a large
round container and in the centre I plant some
impatiens or begonias which also last for many
months. I do prefer the double impatiens but
I could not find any last year. However I was
delighted to obtain some recently as apart
from being prettier than the single, the plants
are more compact and seem to last a lot longer.
Begonias are also another favourite as once
again they have the ability to be very attractive
container plants for many months.
I have used petunias, nicotianas and a
number of other different flowers and
although it is only for a short period that they
put on an amazing display (particularly the
double petunias) they do not last as long as the
Mind you I also need to choose plants that
will tolerate quite a bit of shade as it is partly
shady areas that I need the containers for and
the lobelia, bacopa, impatiens and begonias do
thrive in part shade conditions.
Sometimes it can be hard to be enthused
about potting up numerous containers now
when you know it is going to be some time
before they start to look attractive but I have
learnt that they give many months of pleasure
as the garden starts to look the worse for wear
in the autumn.
At the moment the garden is looking more
attractive day by day as so many different
plants come into flower including the late
flowering camellias and rhododendrons,
azaleas, cornus tree, wisterias and naturally the
roses are also suddenly coming onto the scene.
It is always lovely to have some new flowers
and finally a beautiful azalea named softlights
has decided to produce some of its double,
very fragrant flowers that have a delicious
combination of pretty soft colours in tones
of lemon, apricot, pink and white --- such a
pretty spring delight.
November is the last chance to get your garden
into shape before summer. It is the time to patch
lawns, improve drainage, spread mulch, plant
summer veggies and flowers and install new
Veggies to sow
Baby squash.--- Now that the warm weather s
reliably here, plants like baby squash will germinate
from seed, grow and be ready for har vest in weeks.
ey are easy veggies for the home garden and taste
best when fresh off the plant. e more you pick,
the more new fruit will develop. While you are
in the veggie patch, keep cutting asparagus from
established plants. In warm areas, early flowers on
tomatoes might need help with pollination. Shake
the flower stems to open the pollen sacs and get the
pollen flying around.
Flowers to sow
Portulaca.--- Colourful portulacas have moisture-
holding leaves that make them some of the best
succulent flowers to choose for the summer garden.
Portulacas just love the heat! Seed can be sown
straight into the garden bed but it s often safer to
sow into pots of pre-moistened seed raising mix
where the seeds can be carefully monitored. Cover
portulaca seeds very lightly, if at all, and mist-spray
Give fruit trees --- such as avocado and citrus ---
that were fed in late winter their second feed for
the season. Wait a bit longer in cool areas. Dynamic
lifter plus fruit food is the perfect combination of
organic and inorganic.
Cut back lavender bushes lightly after flushes of
flower. Trim off old blooms from other perennials
and shrubs, too.
Remove any fruit that has developed on
ornamental blossom trees. Watch out for thrips
--- if weather is dry these pests can arrive in
plague proportions to discolour leaves and spoil
light-coloured flowers. White fly and passionvine
hoppers are active, too. For fruit and veggies, these
can be controlled with regular sprays. Make sure
you apply under leaves, as the pests are often taking
Plant of the month
Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).---
is hardy climber has thick glossy leaves that
nicely set off the sprays of white perfumed flowers.
It can be trained as a standard, clipped into shape
or grown in a good-sized pot. It is one of the
toughest and most attractive climbers available.
Mulch.--- November s a good month to renew
layers of mulch on garden beds before the real
heat of summer hits. Mulch acts like an insulating
blanket that protects the soil, keeps soil temperature
even, smothers weeds and retains moisture.
Water soil well and spread any fertiliser before
applying mulch. A sprinkling of Dynamic Lifter
will feed plants and also keep beneficial soil
microbes working well.
Creating a raised garden bed
A raised, no-dig veggie bed has many advantages.
It does away with the need to bend, obviously there
is little or no digging, and the growing medium can
be topped up on a regular basic. So if you want to
give it a try, here are some tips.
Start by selecting a site in a sunny position. Build
a frame with boards, bricks or whatever you have
available. is can vary from about 30-50cm deep.
e higher the sides, the less bending will be
required but make sure you can reach all parts of
the garden from the sides. Pre-formed, above-
ground beds make starting off even easier.
Fill the bed with good quality soil or use the
method that was first pioneered by Australian
Esther Deans in her 1970s book Growing Without
Place a 50mm thick layer of newspaper (not
cardboard or glossy magazine paper) in the bottom
of the bed. Overlap the paper so there are no gaps.
Cover with pads of lucerne hay as they come
off the bale.
Sprinkle on a dusting of organic fertiliser.
Cover with 20cm of loose straw.
Scatter some more fertiliser on to this layer.
Continue layering in this order until the
garden bed is as high as you would like.
Tip a circle of rich compost 10cm deep and
about 45cm in diameter in places where seeds or
seedlings are to be planted. en plant into this
At this time of year you can sow seeds of dwarf
or climbing beans, beetroot, carrot, corn, melon,
pumpkin, radish, baby squash and zucchini. Sow
seeds or plant seedlings of cabbage, capsicum,
celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, silverbeet and
Feed the plants regularly with a liquid fertiliser
and make sure they do not dry out. Water as
required, ideally in the early morning when
evaporation is low. Morning watering also allows
the leaves to dry quickly, which reduces the risk of
fungal infections taking hold. A layer of organic
mulch around the plants will help retain moisture.
When you are growing any sort of veggies, it
is a good idea to rotate your crops. is means,
for example, a leafy crop is followed by a fruiting
crop such as tomatoes, or a legume crop. Typical
legumes are beans in summer and broad beans or
peas in winter. ese can be followed by a root crop
(carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc).
Before planting each new crop, add more soil
or layers of compost, manure and lucerne where
necessary or dig some aged organic matter ---
manure, mushroom compost etc. --- into the soil.
Supplied by Yates
November job file
e old tea rose General Galleni is already covered in blooms.
Cascading mixed lobelia with pink impatiens create an attractive picture in a wall
e long cascading flowers of wisteria snow showers gracefully hang down over the
Azalea softlights have highly fragrant and beautiful double flowers with a mixture of
very pretty soft colours.
e Greymouth Star
has five copies of the
November issue of NZ
House and Garden and
NZ Gardener magazines
to give away to our
is month s NZ House
and Garden includes
articles on a Whanganui
glass artist, checking
out a North Canterbury
farmhouse and a home
on Waiheke Island.
e NZ Gardener has
a guide to peas, a DIY
natural bug control and garden maintenance to help
sell your home.
To enter the draw your entries must include your
name, address and
Send them to.---
C/o Greymouth Star
garden in the subject
One entry per
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