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Winter Gardening Projects


As we move into winter and dig out the thermal socks, gardening might be the last thing on your mind. It may be chilly outside, but there is still plenty of work to be done in the garden during the winter months. No reason to hole-up indoors.

 

 

GET LANDSCAPING
Colder weather presents the perfect opportunity to start new landscaping projects, such as building raised vegetable beds and fences, edging paths with paving, setting up irrigation and redesigning the garden layout in preparation for spring planting – all the stuff that makes our gardens better.

PLANTING YUMMY CROPS
Get your winter vege garden going with peas, broad beans, spinach, carrots and sweet corn. Stay vigilant when it comes to weeds – they can grow surprisingly fast in winter.

TRANSPLANTING AND TIDYING
Now is the time if you have perennials that you want to lift, divide or move. Cooler months are also the ideal time to move smaller deciduous trees such as Japanese maples. Don’t forget to deadhead your bulbs and annuals, removing all finished flowers and stems.

JUST ADD COLOUR
Winter flowering plants such as camellia, pansies, and hellebores will provide plenty of colour and interest in the garden area close to outdoor spaces if you choose. Berry-producing plants are another option.

HEAT TREATMENT
Any form of outdoor heating will extend your use of the garden for a month or two either side of summer. Go for one of the great-looking portable gas heaters now on the market or try a chiminea, brazier or fire bowl.


 

Getting to grips with autumn


Cooler days and nights have arrived and in true autumn form the change in weather patterns is turning the leaves to gold, burgundy and pumpkin before they float gently to the ground. For many avid gardeners that is the signal to snip, prune, compost and plant anew.

 

 

The compost equation: All those lovely crunchy leaves make great compost, layered of course with other organic garden waste, a few worms and lots of water. You might also try mixing in a few bits of seaweed from your local beach but be sure to soak it for several days in clean water to remove excess salt.

Pruning practice: As lignification sets in and plant stalks become harder and more woody, it is time to cut them down to size in preparation for new spring and summer growth. Unless you really know what you are doing, when it comes to pruning, less is best.

Planting particulars: Spring and summer bulbs should be going into gardens and pots around this time. Mass plantings always look fabulous, and so too do complementary and contrasting plants. Think textures, heights and colours such as purple, blue and yellow Dutch irises and golden daffodils, blue grape hyacinths with creamy freesias.

Green goodness: If you decide it is out with the old and in with some new, consider compact evergreens for foliage and also for feature landscaping. Check out some of the native hebes especially the mounding varieties, the hardy rengarenga lilies and silver grey kakaha (silver bush flax).

Nature knows best: Take a leaf out of nature for colours, species and design ideas. Don’t go overboard, however. A totara tree may look great in an alpine environment, but is definitely not suitable for a small suburban backyard!


 

Landscape magic: Trellis Warehouse


The warm weather is here, so if you’re looking to improve your outdoor features – trellis is a multi-purpose style hero which can transform your al fresco areas. Here are Metropol’s ideas for using Trellis Warehouse’s premium grade treated pine at your place this summer.

 

PANELS AND GATES
A trellis fence, screen or panel adds a sense of privacy and seclusion while creating a beautiful backdrop for outdoor living. Zoning-off your space is not only practical for separating gardens and perimeters, but it can create a sense of intimacy and atmosphere for entertaining.

ARCHWAYS AND PERGOLAS
Create an elegant entrance way with an archway or pergola. The charm of a gazebo flanked with creeping flora is a celebrated garden feature and is perfect for marking the entrance to a special spot. Talk to the experts at Trellis Warehouse about different styles.

FURNITURE
For 30 years, Trellis Warehouse has been supplying Cantabrians with quality trellis products custom-made onsite at the Addington factory. The team produces everything from trellis panels, picket panels and gates, to archways, summer seats, picnic tables and gazebos.

Contact Trellis Warehouse for a free measure, quote and consultation. Laminated posts and hardware; delivery, painting, staining and installation is available for retail, trade and wholesale customers.

Mondays to Fridays 8am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 8:30am to 11:30am.
Email info@trelliswarehouse.co.nz.


 

Growing a summer garden


Summer is so close you can taste it. The festive season is almost upon us with holidays and of course Christmas. As holiday mode takes hold, enjoy relaxing evenings in the garden with a hose in one hand and a drink in the other!

 

KITCHEN GARDEN

  1. This is a time of rapid growth so ensure you pay attention to watering, weeding, feeding and spraying.
  2. You can still sow seeds such as beans, beetroot, parsnip, radish, lettuce, spinach, and sweetcorn directly into the soil. Sow seeds every two weeks to ensure you have a continuous harvest.
  3. Plant seedlings of lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, tomato, pumpkin, courgette, capsicum, and cucumber.
  4. Protect plants from caterpillars with Derris Dust or an organic caterpillar control.
  5. Be aware of slugs and snails in both the kitchen and flower gardens and keep an eye on any nasty insects on plants as they will multiply in warm weather.
  6. Be vigilant in removing the laterals off your tomatoes once a week or you will end up with out of control plants. Ensure the plants are firmly staked and water regularly.

FLOWER GARDEN

  1. Plant seedlings such as chrysanthemum, dianthus, portulaca and salvia.
  2. Roses and perennials can still be planted. Just ensure the new plantings are well watered. Remove dead flowers from roses to encourage new blooms.
  3. Lift spring flowering bulbs once the leaves have died down completely and store in a cool dry place.
  4. A layer of mulch around the base of garden shrubs will conserve moisture and protect from the sun.

CONTAINER GARDENING

  1. Fill pots with flowering annuals such as petunias, marigolds, or impatiens for a bright Christmas and summer display.
  2. Keep up watering in warm weather.

LAWNS

  1. Don’t forget the lawn. Raise the lawn mower up a level for the summer season. If cut too short lawns will dry out more quickly.
  2. Water the lawn early in the morning so it can absorb the water during the day.
  3. Apply fast acting lawn food to keep lawns fresh and green.

 

Sustainable Spaces


Creating food in your own backyard is a great way to minimise your environmental impact. And it’s not as time or labour intensive as you might think!

 

Raised vegetable gardens, homegrown herbs, low-maintenance fruit trees, backyard beehives and DIY compost – they are growing in popularity as we increasingly seek sustainability from our spaces.

Growing your own food is a great way to limit the contaminants, such as hormones and pesticides, you’re exposed to, and, with fewer resources required to reach your plate, they are less taxing on the environment.

SOWING THE SEEDS
When you’re starting out, seedlings can be a safer bet than seeds and those from a nursery even more so. Don’t go crazy on specialised supplies; start with the basics and learn as you go. You’ll find plenty of information online or you can head into your local nursery if you need to talk to the experts.

POWERFUL PRODUCE
Tomatoes, cucumbers and lemons are a mainstay of Kiwi gardens, but there are more exotic, high value plants that can also be grown easily, such as berries, avocados, limes and cauliflower. Fruit trees are a great addition to the backyard and can be grown up or along fences in smaller sections, or miniature varieties are available.

BLACK GOLD
There’s a reason compost has been called black gold; it’s the single most important supplement you can give your garden. Transforming your food scraps and other natural waste into this nutrient-rich, organic fertiliser is also free, easy to make and good for the environment. Just jump online and you’ll find plenty of easy to follow instructions.

THE BEES KNEES
Meanwhile beekeeping may require a little more research – and space – but is well worth the effort. Beekeeping supports community pollination, food supplies and fosters bee populations outside of the commercial beekeeping industry. Plus who doesn’t love honey? Need we say it’s the bees knees? You’ll find plenty of support at the Christchurch Hobbyist Beekeepers’ Club.

The garden doesn’t have to be just a place of peace; it can also be a place of purpose. So why not get out there and make the most of the warm days, after all, you reap what you sow!

 


 

Spring into gardening


Spring is a season of regeneration in the garden, but just like most things in life, new growth doesn’t come from nowhere. Here are Metropol’s tips for growing a luscious garden by the time the season hits its peak.

 

 

CLEAR IT UP
Remove all the debris like leaves, sticks and whatever else has gathered over winter. Then, get weeding! Make sure you get rid of the roots to rid your garden of weeds once and for all. It can also be time to cull any old plants, make like Marie Kondo and remove those which no longer serve.

SORT OUT YOUR SOIL
Just like your skin, soil can get dried out and dull over winter – so early spring is time to moisturise that dirt. Start early so beds are ready for planting once temperatures increase. Begin by adding organic material like compost or manure in an even layer, a good rule of thumb is 40L of organic matter per 2sqm of garden space, worked in thoroughly. This aerates and improves organic matter, nutrient content, and microbial activity.

SOWING THE SEED
In Canterbury and the lower South Island, where our temperatures can take their time to rise, don’t risk your seeds by planting them too early. Instead, consider seeing your favourite summer plants indoors with seed trays. Some gardening gurus recommend waiting until Labour weekend to make the call on whether your summer seedings should go in the outdoor soil.

LOVE THY LAWN
Showing your lawn some love now could make all the difference to whether you are enjoying some soft, full and green grass this summer. The secret? Fertilising well and often will lower the PH of the soil, which should promote the growth of your lawn – and not those pesky weeds.

 

ON THE TOOLS
Make sure you’ve got the right tools at hand to help you get your garden into shape, and that they’re sharp and in good working order. Some essentials include:
• A good pair of gloves to protect your hands from dirt, thorns, and splinters
• Some sharp secateurs which will cut, not crush, stems
• Loppers to prune harder to reach areas or thicker branches
• A garden fork to turn and dig soil
• A hand trowel for replanting
smaller plants
• A short-handled square shovel for digging holes, moving dirt, and edging


 

Thyme to plant


We can all benefit from a little more “thyme” in the garden. So we’ve pulled together our top tips for thyme; a kitchen staple that’s easy to grow, low maintenance, and adds a serious touch of taste to stuffings, slow-cooked meals, soups, sauces, pesto and herb breads.

 

 

Ahardy, drought-tolerant herb which can be planted in gardens or pots, thyme comes in a number of varieties, the classic being Thymus vulgaris, with its full, rich flavour making it the popular choice for casseroles and roasts.

Growing thyme from seed can take work, so it’s best to go with seedlings planted in free-draining soil or gravel in spring or autumn.

The popular perennial does best in well-drained soil in full sun, thriving with some protection from cold winds and wet winters.

It loves a good trim post-flowering to encourage new growth, and to help your plants last. Once established, thyme won’t need watering and it’s winter hardy, so you can pick leaves year round.

Use thyme fresh, dried or preserved in butter, vinegar or oil.

Pro tip: it can be used to make cough medicine, a hair rinse or a skin cleanser!


 

Success is in the soil: Terra Viva


The topic of soil doesn’t sound as exciting as talking about stunning strongly-scented roses or a bumper crop of sweet strawberries, it’s actually more important. Terra Viva’s Peter Worsp tells us why.

 

 

PREPARATION IS KEY: Like most things in life, the preparation determines the end results – and this applies to success in the garden. The better the soil, the better the results, so avoid the temptation to just rush ahead and bung the plants in.
Plants are just like us – we thrive in the right conditions and we suffer in adverse conditions. If the soil is well-prepared plants get off to a quick start and continue down that path.
So, what makes for well-prepared soil? Digging over to approximately 30cm (about a spade’s depth), breaking up the clods, and adding compost, real blood and bone, a dusting of lime, sheep pellets, and gypsum in compacted heavy soils.
Well dug-over soft soil allows the roots to get out quickly to anchor the plant and draw in nutrients which translates to growth.


FLOURISH WITH FERTILISER: Most plants have specific fertiliser needs so getting the right fertiliser mix is important. Plants use potash to produce flowers and fruit which is why rose food has a very high potash level; too much nitrogen gives lush foliage growth but minimal flowering. Conversely, lawn food has no potash but high nitrogen to give strong foliage growth, i.e. lawns. Sheep pellets are still one of the most effective and popular fertilisers, improving fertility, soil texture, and encouraging earthworms.


COMPOST, COMPOST, COMPOST! One of the top gardens in Christchurch positively glows with health and productivity and the keen gardener’s secret is: “Generous and regular applications of compost”. Compost adds fertility, improves drainage/aeration, texture, and encourages earthworms whose actions and secretions add to the soil’s quality. Poor, heavy clay soils can be turned into fertile productive soil by adding gypsum and compost. Gypsum breaks up heavy compacted soil, adds calcium and sulphate nutrients, and improves the effectiveness of fertilisers. Using compost at the same time stops the clay particles sticking together again.


PLANNING WITH pH: Soil pH measures alkalinity versus acidity in the soil, with most soil being somewhere near neutral. However, there is a group of plants which need acidic soil to thrive, including rhododendrons, azaleas, blue hydrangeas, daphne, camellias, and blueberries, and using acid fertiliser will keep them happy. Use a light sprinkling of lime to create alkaline conditions for lavender, delphiniums, lilacs, hostas, and sedums. Get the soil right, get the results!


Visit Terra Viva at 242 Roydvale Ave, Burnside between 8.30am and 5pm every day, or call them on 03 358 5565.


 

Dishing the dirt


Winter’s arrival may conjure up images of the indoors, snuggled up fireside with a good book or Netflix series. But green thumbs know winter is not the time to retire the gumboots and secateurs. Instead, it’s an opportune moment to prepare for the flowering seasons.

 

 

Whether it’s a full-scale landscape or pre-spring spruce up, here’s our pick for the handiest gardening trends, tools and tips to help you in the garden this winter

The Tip: Let’s landscape
With summer foliage long departed, June and early July marks the best time to re-think your landscaping. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing up a new spot for a vegetable garden, want to plant some citrus, or relocate some shrubs and small trees. Now is the time to do it.

The Tool: Garden carts
Move over wheelbarrows, there’s a new yard companion making tracks. Often sporting four wheels with an extendable handle, the gardening cart is gaining traction as a functional addition to your shed designed to make your days in the garden easier.
While wheelbarrows have long been the go-to for carting gardening waste, soils and tools, the flat bed of a cart is perfect for also moving more delicate items like pots and plants. Some models even come with lids which can double as a seat or bench.
When looking for a gardening cart you may want to consider its ability to bear weight with a sturdy chassis; its manoeuvrability with pivoting wheels, and how easily it can tilt and dump your contents.

The Trend: Indoor plants
If there’s no landscaping to be done, why not indulge that desire to turn your attention indoors and embrace the greenery trend of the decade: houseplants. The addition of indoor greenery to home, retail and commercial spaces is a gardening trend that just won’t quit. And there’s no better time to bring your gardening indoors than over the chilly, wet wintry months. Not only do houseplants freshen up your space, there’s a bunch of evidence interior vegetation can provide psychological benefits like stress-reduction, boosting creative thinking, and reducing anxiety. As many indoor plant parents will know, it’s always important to ensure your houseplants are well placed for sunlight, watered regularly and get enough access to warmer temperatures.


 

Thrive through winter


Your little garden projects don’t take a break just because it’s coming into winter… and neither should you. We’ve pulled together all of the tips and tricks to making sure your Garden of Eden stays alive and thriving.

 

 

  1. Don’t forget your roots: While we’re certain Six60 wasn’t being literal… in this case, we are. Winter is the perfect time to replenish your soil and make sure that it has all of the nutrients it needs to fight off that winter weather. Just as we need lots of vitamin C in winter, your garden needs good fertiliser.
  2. Catalogue your crops: You wouldn’t go out in the snow in your swimmers; the same goes for your choice of vegetables in your garden. Make sure you plant the appropriate crops to the season – broccoli, garlic, kale, onions, silverbeet and spinach are just a few.
  3. Too much at stake: Understandably you can’t be in your garden 24/7 to hold down the fort. Ensure your plants are protected from the cold winter winds by staking them – it’ll provide them with the extra support they need to make it through the chilly months.
  4. Ring-a-ring-a-roses: The colder months are the best time to plant your new roses. It’s also a perfect opportunity to prune any existing ones you have growing. This will help them with growth and help them avoid any pesky diseases.

If you want more help and advice, head into Terra Viva Home & Garden. They have all the tips, tricks and tools to meet your gardening needs, while also offering a full landscape design service that is very popular with customers.