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Edible summer garden

The cold is (meant to be) behind us, which means in the garden, it’s time to look forward. Look forward to our homegrown fruit and vegetables, that is. From basil to beetroot, lettuce and zucchini – it’s all happening in the fruit and veggie patch this December.




The end of the cold means it’s finally time to sow veges from seed. In particular, basil, beans, beetroot, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, parsnip, pumpkin, radish and zucchini can all be popped straight into the soil as seeds.

All summer gardeners know how important it is to conserve water during these hot months, as we all must do our part. So gardening becomes smarter. Enter mulch, it keeps the soil damp for no-water days.

If you prefer petals over produce, or want to produce something ornamental alongside your edibles, sow seeds of ageratum, cosmos, cyclamen, rudbeckia, salpiglossis, and zinnia. Or, visit your local garden centre for some already-flowering options.
If you are a Kiwi gardener in possession of a warm, sunny fence – you must consider planting it with passionfruit. It’s also a great time to plant subtropical fruit like natal plums and tamarillos – don’t forget compost and sheep pellets, or to keep well-watered.

Prepare now for citrus season by planting citrus trees throughout summer. Or, add instant tang to your summer menu by planting an already flowering, large-grade lemon or lime tree. Your 5pm G&T will thank you for it.

Don’t sacrifice the fruits of your labour by letting the bugs, or poor care, compromise your crops. There’s plenty of organic options for keeping summer slimeys, like caterpillars, or fungus at bay – as well as nets to dissuade birds. Water – and mulch – will prevent fruit drop.


Growing self-sufficiency

Vegetable patches the country over expanded this year, as a nationwide lockdown and mile-long supermarket queues inspired many households to grow their own. And for some, the enthusiasm hasn’t waned. Here’s Metropol’s tips for planting out your vege patch for spring.


While it is still too early to plant traditional summer vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, you can continue planting year-round vegetables like celery, lettuce, silverbeet, beetroot, and spinach.

It is an apt time to start planting herbs like basil, coriander, and parsley. Almost all herbs love the sunshine, while others like mint relish the shade.

Sow seeds of summer vegetables like courgettes in pots or seed trays for planting into the garden in late October. Remember, it takes an extra six to eight weeks from germination to planting for seeds.

When it’s not too wet outdoors, start preparing areas of your vegetable garden for summer crops by adding fresh compost to existing soil.

Top tip: Quick-maturing crops like radishes, which can take just five weeks to grow, can give some instant gratification for impatient planters.


Hedging your bets

Luscious additions to any garden, hedges are living walls ideal for creating privacy and shelter, filtering out noise, dividing areas or for creating an elegant garden character. When cared for well, hedges can be immaculate high-impact features. Here’s Metropol’s top tips for cultivating a lush hedge of your own.


Know your shrubbery
From buxus, corokia, Portuguese laurel and Irish yew to osmanthus, griselinia, camelia, beech and holly – hedging options abound. Ask your supplier for the best variety to grow locally, and to suit the weather and soil of your garden.

Hungry hedges
Early spring is a great time to fertilise your hedge to help growth when the weather really heats up.

Thirsty work
Just like other shrubs, hedges need frequent and regular watering. In hot weather, don’t forget to give the roots special attention.

Trim and tidy
Pruning ensures hedges’ long term health, but the right tools are needed for the job. Using a shear like a power trimmer or handheld pruner to trim your hedging enhances the production of buds, and also lets crucial sunlight through to the shaded interior growth.

Shape up
Contrary to popular belief, hedges should be shaped to be thicker at the base – this ensures the lower part of the hedge remains covered in green growth.


Secrets to event success

Running an event without a hitch – whether you’re getting hitched or in command of a corporate soirée – requires a lot of co-ordination. Like any Hollywood blockbuster, the hardest work goes on behind the scenes. And an event planner can save your stress levels, tighten your budget – and more. Here’s our reasons to consider hiring some help for your wedding, event or conference.


Despite what you may think, an experienced planner can actually bring down your costs. Sticking to budgets is what planners specialise in, and they can also help you accurately forecast those costs to avoid any hidden surprises.

Event planners not only have a rich network of contacts who may offer them special rates or package deals, but they are adept at having any awkward price-related conversations which may arise, so you don’t have to…

…Which brings us to the next point. They do all the work, so you don’t have to. The stress and pressure of pulling off an event can reduce the shine for even the most enthusiastic host. So why not outsource that?

Seamless events are rich in details; the little touches which make a person’s day (or night) memorable. This could be physical details like name cards or dietary requirements, to ensuring seating arrangements don’t leave anyone without a familiar face nearby. Event planners live in the details, including the ones you didn’t even know existed!


Networking 101

As the adage goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know”, but how do you get to know the who? Here’s some top networking tips for breaking the ice this conference and event season.



TIME TO SHINE: Attendees generally walk out of an event with a stack of business cards, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, creative cards will leave a lasting impression. Imagine a landscaping business card that sprouts tiny trees when wet!

MAGIC NUMBER: Set a goal for the number of people you will speak to at the event and stick to it. Throw in some curveballs like meeting five people wearing red and five with large briefcases to keep things interesting and ensure you meet a range of people.

PREPARE YOUR PITCH: Prepare your elevator pitch, a multi-million dollar sentence or two explaining who you are and what you do. Keep it punchy and have some icebreakers ready to keep things fun and relaxed. The more you practice, the more confident you will be.

FANCY A FOLLOW-UP? If you meet someone at an event, follow up straight away. Let them know it was great to meet them and offer to follow up with a coffee. All relationships need a little bit of help to get going – networking relationships included.

COOL, CALM AND CONVERSATIONAL: Dread the concept of “networking”? Networking is simply the process of building relationships, not putting the hard sell on. So just relax and get to know people – the rest will come naturally. Make sure you listen so the conversation flows.


Shine bright

Blazing a trail, both figuratively and literally, the fashionably elite have been hitting the catwalk and the red carpet dressed in a selection of shimmer this sartorial season.



There are endless interpretations, with an option for every occasion.



Dazzling diamantes and floor-skimming metallics traditionally reserved for evening attire have been liberated from their after-hour confines and are sweeping into sartorial consciousness as appropriate attire for, well… anytime!


Cut loose in a suitably shimmery midi, step into the limelight with a sequined blazer or bedazzle your tee-and-jeans combo with the sparkliest of accessories.


Minimalism may have dominated on the catwalks for the past decade, with muted colours and shapeless silhouettes, but ‘70s-inspired DESIGNS have trickled down from high-fashion and the last couple of seasons have seen a resurgence of high-octane glamour, glitter, sequins and feathers.


Take the opportunity to shine and add the Midas touch to your wardrobe this season. After all, when it comes to our wardrobes, we’re all about ‘shimmer, spice and all things nice’.




Cottoning on to sustainable fashion

Being fashion conscious is increasingly weighted towards the conscious part of the term. From ecological impacts on the environment to social justice issues in supply chains and modelling campaigns: designers and consumers alike have sustainability in mind.


Smaller collections, less often: Prada’s “refreshingly practical” (as one writer put it) Spring 2021 runway show last month was a pared back collection of well-made, working from home-friendly staples. Such collections may well become the new norm as the industry takes a Covid-enforced rethink of the necessity and eco footprint of large, frequently-released collections.


Cottonised hemp: Made from a hemp yarn that’s been processed to have the look and feel of cotton, cottonised hemp requires less water, chemicals and land to grow than cotton – making it a more sustainable choice. Jean geniuses Levi’s have just released its latest range made of this fabric into New Zealand.


Is pre-order the new order? Instead of releasing fully produced collections, some designers (like Kiwi labels Harris Tapper and Ellis) are opting for pre-order. The antithesis to oft-problematic fast fashion, pre-order might mean a longer wait for shoppers – but could spell the end of left-over, unwanted stock going to landfill.

Tactical textiles: Oranges, pineapples, potatoes, banana and coffee; excellent for eating, drinking and also, apparently, for wearing. New fabrics made from food waste are emerging the world over, with cult New Zealand handbag brand Deadly Ponies recently joining the fray with a trio of vegan handbags constructed from organic cactus leather.



They say love the skin you’re in, but let’s face it, sometimes we just need a little bit of help. We’ve pulled together some of the latest and greatest when it comes to caring for your skin. Time to get your glow on!


Clarins’ young, fresh and vibrant autumn colour collection includes four new creamy INTENSE shades of lip perfectors. The creamy, non-sticky texture plumps up lips and gives a radiant dewy finish, so you get the perfect pout!

Designed by a Kiwi and an Australian, the RAWKANVAS range of products delivers high-quality natural, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, brought to life with aromatic natural scents and beautiful natural colours. The result? Less makeup and more confidence.

Aesop’s first product launch of 2020, the Sublime Replenishing Night Masque, is the newest addition to the brand’s Skin Care+ range and we’re loving the magic of this mask!

Launched in New Zealand and Australia last year, this is the world’s first skincare range to have tapped into the regenerative powers of 100 percent pure New Zealand deer milk. The clever creators have combined it with scientifically researched active ingredients to nourish your skin.Z