Home' Greymouth Star : April 10th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 7
To a certain extent I nd myself
saying the same thing every year
but it is impossible not to be
repetitive in some ways as on a
yearly basis the garden itself is
very repetitive unless you completely change
the plants every year.
I have been living in this garden for over 35
years now and naturally during that time I've
gradually learnt what are the best and the most
attractive plants that perform for a long time.
ese are the plants that are given a home
and so I now make very few changes unless
something outgrows its situation and I have to
remove it and replace it with something else.
Once again it is that time of year when the
garden is sort of starting to look the worse for
wear and I would have to describe mine as
looking very natural (rather than describe it as
untidy) because I have spent very little time in
it lately. As I have said in the past, at this time
of year, I prefer to let it peacefully fade away as
it presents a picture of rustic charm and natural
I have changed my tune many a time as far as
what I like and dislike as far as garden plants go
for various reasons. I have learnt to highly value
plants that have the ability to look attractive
for a long period, that do not require much
maintenance and are disease resistant.
When I rst moved to this house there were
a couple of old common mophead hydrangeas
which I immediately removed. I was not at all
fussed on hydrangeas.
Nevertheless I've certainly changed my
opinion over the last few years as I gradually
discovered how many new and lovely di erent
types of hydrangeas there are available. In
fact I have become quite besotted by them ---
particularly the double ones.
One of the main reasons that they have
become one of my favourite plants is because
they come into ower in early summer and
then they just sit there with their lovely
green and lush leaves and their colourful and
attractive ower heads that remain in pristine
condition for months on end regardless of what
the weather does to them.
Many of you may not be aware of just how
many attractive di erent varieties there are
available today as the new ones are so pretty
they don't last long in the garden centres. I
particularly love the ones with double owers
and one of my favourites would have to be
hydrangea trophy which usually has rich
creamy owers with tones of green. However
on saying that some of the more mature owers
on my bush at present are a very light blush
pink whereas others are blue. I guess it must be
the mixture of soil underneath that is causing
this variety of colour.
Of course you can dictate the colour of
the ower by adding lime or other alkaline
materials to get pink owers whereas acid soil
will produce blue owers. Hydrangeas I nd
are very easy to grow and while they do like
partial shade they will stretch their branches
looking for the sun and grow rather tall and
leggy if they are planted in dense shade. While
they do like moist soil, they do not like soggy
Another rather di erent but very attractive
hydrangea is macrophylla ayesha. e large
attish ower is composed of a very large
number of tiny orets. Each sepal has raised
edges, curving inwards, giving the overall
appearance of owers similar to a lilac. It does
have a reputation of being rather delicate and
it is one of the few hydrangeas that are lightly
scented. e colour range is pale blue through
to white and pale pink, depending on the
acidity of the soil.
I have a number of other very beautiful
hydrangeas in my garden such as the quercifolia
snow ake (oak leaf hydrangea), hydrangea
paniculata, hydrangea aspera 'villosa, hydrangea
nightingale, hydrangea bloody marvellous,
some of the lacecap varieties and one with
ere are also many new hydrangeas
becoming available that have very beautiful
double owers. Some of the ones to look out
for are together, recracker, you me emotion,
you me eternity, you me forever, you me passion
and you me romance.
You me forever has been sitting in a pot for
some months now waiting for a home and
goodness knows where I'm going to plant
raspberry crush that I purchased the other day.
Who could possibly go past its luscious deep
pink owers with leaves that are a brilliant mix
of autumn tones. It will undoubtedly be one
of the stars of the autumn garden scene in the
future when I conjure up a space for it.
April, mid autumn, is a gentle month in
Veggies to sow
e generation of kids who have grown
up thinking that peas come in plastic
bags from the supermarket freezer will be
astonished to discover that peas grow on
living plants. Introduce the children in
your life to this miracle of nature, or grow
fresh peas just because they taste so good.
Peas can be sown now in areas with mild
winters. In cold climates, where winter
frosts will kill pea owers, wait until later
(say, early spring) to sow peas.
Flowers to sow
Corn ower is an old favourite that adds
trendy blue touches to the garden. Mystic
blue is the romantically named blue
corn ower in Yates seed range but, if you
want more than just blue, sow corn ower
double mixed, which blooms in a variety
Feed Happy birthday rive
When planting out ower seedlings
for a winter-spring display, settle them
in by watering with some rive. rive,
which is celebrating its 50th birthday this
year, has long been used by professional
gardeners to kick-start new plantings.
Choose from the traditional rive
powder or the new liquid concentrates.
e autumn tidy up continues in April.
Cut o dead owers, long whippy shoots
and anything tired or burned. Heavier
pruning is best left until later in the year.
Black spot, ear wigs
Remove black-spot-infected leaves from
roses and pick o any other plant parts
that are showing signs of fungus. Do not
put diseased leaves or owers into the
compost. It is best to wrap them in plastic
and drop them safely in the bin.
Holes in leaves and petals are often
made by ear wigs. Make rolled newspaper
traps or spray with Yates Nature's Way
Check container plants
If plants have been in the same pot for
a number of years, this is a good time to
take them out and check the roots. Trim
o anything that's damaged or rotten. If
the potting soil is full of compacted roots,
loosen them gently or use a sharp knife
to cut through the outer edges of the root
ball. Pot into fresh mix and, if necessary,
into a larger pot lled with good quality
Yates Premium potting mix.
Plant of the month
Plectranthus are warm climate, soft
leafed plants that mostly bloom in shades
of blue or lilac. One of the best for home
gardens is plectranthus mona lavender
that grows up to about a metre and does
well in frost free, semi shade.
Autumn lawn care
April's an important month for the lawn
because, in most areas, it's the last chance
to get the lawn into shape before winter.
Feeding, weeding, pest control, patching
and thickening are the lawn activities that
should be completed before the arrival of
very cold weather.Feeding
If you're in a relatively warm area where
the lawn is still actively growing, there is
plenty of time to feed with a long term
lawn food. is will continue fertilising
for almost three months, taking it well
In cooler climates you will want
something that acts much more quickly
so that you can get maximum growth
before winter. Hose on Lawn Master
Rapid Greening is the answer because it
is applied as a liquid that gets quickly into
the grass. In most cases, new growth will
begin to appear within a matter of days.
A selective weedkiller removes broad
leafed weeds such as dandelions, clover,
cudweed, daisies and others from the
lawn, thus giving the grass a chance to ll
the gaps before the cold weather. Use a
one-step fertiliser and weeding product,
but read instructions carefully before
applying. Tur x will remove most broad
weeds from lawns without harming grass.
It is available as a concentrate and a ready
to use spot spray.
Paspalum and summer grass are invasive
pest grasses that grow well in the warm
weather. Do not let them ower and seed
or they will be with you again next year.
Cut clumping grasses o at ground level
with a hoe or sharp knife or carefully
spray with Zero, taking care to avoid
contact with wanted grasses.
Getting rid of lawn insect pests is easy
these days with the help of lawn insect
control. e 500ml hose on container
covers 150 square metres and can be used
to treat common insect pests such as
porina, black beetle, cut worm and grass
grubs. One treatment lasts for weeks.
Lawn fungal diseases are di cult
to identify but if you see regular dead
patches, sometimes accompanied by a
cobwebby e ect on the lawn, it is likely
that a disease has taken hold.
e problem will often disappear as
the weather cools but, if it continues, it
may be worth treating with Yates Fungus
Fighter. Patching and thickening
April's a good month to x holes in the
lawn or thicken the grass while there's
still growing time. Yates Quick Fix lawn
seed germinates rapidly and contains
a nitrogen-rich fertiliser that helps get
the lawn started. It's coated with a
unique fungicide and bird repellent that
maximises your chances of success.
ù Supplied by Yates
Hydrangea raspberry crush --- a gorgeous new hydrangea that a home will have to be found for.
e lovely double creamy green owers of hydrangea trophy.
Hydrangea macrophylla ayesha which is quite di erent to other hydrangeas. e pretty
owers change their colour according to the soil condition.
Hydrangea blue wave often starts of blue but then changes to pink.
April jobs to do
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