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What to do for winter


April is when autumn really gets going. The days are noticeably shorter and night temperatures cooler, so we need to be preparing the garden for winter. Here are Metropol’s tips for what to focus on in your mid-autumn garden.

 

 

Blooming bulbs

Spring bulbs may still be planted now, if space is lacking plant them in containers and pack them in. Bulbs in pots can be planted much closer than those in the garden to achieve a full display when flowering.

Vege versions

Tomato plants will be getting to
the end of their season so remove the old plants and dispose of the vines especially if they have had any disease. Best not to compost them. Dig potatoes if the ground is likely to get water-logged and store them in a cool dark place.

Leaves and lawns

Fallen leaves literally smother lawns, preventing light and oxygen from penetrating. If you don’t want patchy lawns this spring, collect

the leaves and pop them in your compost bin or in a separate bin to make leaf mould.

Flowering and fruity

Cut back perennials. Prune berry fruits. Do clean up spraying on fruit trees so that any pest or disease will not be carried over to the next season. Any frost tender plants need to be moved inside if in containers or else covered for protection once the harder frosts start.

In general

It is important to cut back any over-hanging branches on trees or shrubs near pathways and to treat paths for moss so that we are safe when the weather is wet and cold.


 

Makeover your makeup


So, you’ve spring cleaned your home, re-organised your wardrobe and sorted your summer skincare – but it might also be time to declutter your makeup bag. We look at what to keep, what to chuck (and when), and what to add.

 

If you’re a lover of makeup, chances are that you have more than one type of mascara, lipstick and any other beauty product in your makeup draw.

And if so, there is an even higher chance your makeup mountain is looking a bit cluttered.

Which is all very well (a lady’s got to have options), but besides the obvious hygiene reasons – makeup’s expiration date can impact its performance.

And no one has time for that. Not to mention the catharsis of a good, old-fashioned clean out.

Here are our tips for keeping your cosmetics under control.

WHEN TO SAY GOODBYE
Look for the use-by symbol. This resembles a wee opened jar icon and should have a time like either 3M, 6M, 12M, 24M or 36M inside. Yes, the M means months!

WHAT TO TOSS
Have a product that looked cool in the packet but didn’t work that well for you? Throw it away or donate it, there is no point hanging on to something you are not going to use.

HOW TO DO IT
Investing in a YouTube-worthy makeup storage system doesn’t absolve you: too much (or unnecessary) stuff, is too much stuff. Instead, find your product faithfuls, and stick with ‘em.

WHO TO KEEP
When collating your arsenal of makeup bag heroes consider; concealer, foundation, a smudge-proof mascara, neutral lipstick and a basic blush. Then, build in a primer, setting spray, highlighter and one heroic palette.

WHERE TO TAKE IT
Don’t send your pre-loved products straight to landfill. TerraCycle offers a makeup and skincare packaging recycling scheme, as do some brands. Unopened, non-expired goods can also be donated to Women’s Refuge or Dress for Success.

Handy tip: De-cluttering is good but so is regularly cleaning the products you hold onto. Experts say a couple of times a month, whilst others say every seven to 10 days. It just depends how frequently you use them.


 

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.

 

Glowing up for summer


While we pack away our winter clothes and pull those lighter, brighter summer garments to the front – it’s important our skincare is also kept up to season. After a winter and early spring hibernating under sweaters and pants, no pre-summer skincare tip is as crucial as exfoliation. Here’s our tips for prepping your skin for the warmer, sunnier months ahead.

 

EXFOLIATION STATION
Exfoliating is vital in the lead-up, as well as to maintain, throughout the sunniest season. Pre-season, it’s an often-cathartic exercise to remove any scaly winter build-up. And once the sun arrives, it reduces clogging of your skin as humidity increases, you’re regularly breaking a sweat, and continuous coats of SPF are being applied (at least we would hope!)

KNOW YOUR TOOLS
Physical exfoliation is popular on the body, using delicate granules or brushes to remove the surface layer of dead skin. When it comes to the more delicate face, chemical exfoliation dissolves dead skin cells, delving slightly deeper to assist with new cell turnover. Enzyme exfoliators are also increasingly popular, as a more natural option relying on bio-active ingredients derived from fruits.

SAFE AND SMOOTH
Whichever exfoliator works best for you, it’s important your skin is also being protected. Moisturisers act as a barrier for your skin and prevent dehydration. Even better, dual-purpose moisturisers include SPF and if anything, SPF is the most important. New-age facial sunscreens, like those by Ultra Violette, Mecca and Emma Lewisham, combine hydrating, lightweight properties to nourish and protect.

EXFOLIATION TIPS:

  1. Use an exfoliating mitt in the shower for your body
  2. Craft a DIY body scrub with coffee grounds, coconut oil and vanilla extract
  3. Try a gentle AHA, BHA or enzyme exfoliant for your face and decolletage – always patch test before use
  4. Sunscreen is a daily non-negotiable
  5. Consult a dermatologist if you have sensitive or problem skin

 

Growing good health: Terra Viva


There’s plenty to love about growing your own fruit and vegetables. Terra Viva’s Peter Worsp tells Metropol about the holistic health benefits of this rewarding pastime.

 

MIND MATTERS
The mental health benefits of gardening in general have been well documented in studies; ranging from early-onset dementia to hyperactive children. The studies pinpoint the calming influence of the outdoors, the physical handling of the soil itself, and the satisfaction of growing your own food.

VERY VITAMIN-Y
The benefits of vitamins are well-known, especially the efficacy of vitamin C in citrus, so that old lemon tree that still produces so vigorously may well hold the key to dealing with next winter’s colds. For all age groups vegetables are high in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, minerals, and fibre to protect against cancer and heart disease. We’re all conscious of what goes into and onto our food these days so growing your own gives certainty about sprays etc.

CURIOUS KIDDIES
Persuading children to eat anything that’s remotely green and healthy is an uphill battle. However, in case we didn’t know it (!), children have mysterious thought processes and it’s been shown that they’ll happily eat something they’ve grown themselves. So start with simple easy plants like lettuce, radishes, and strawberries (the only fruit that has its seeds on the outside) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

HEALTHY WALLET
Growing vegetables gives you a healthy body and mind, a great sense of satisfaction – and a healthy pocket! That convenient back garden vege patch can save you big bucks, especially at this ‘in between’ season of the year.

QUICK TIPS:

  1. Herbs are quick, easy, ultra-useful, and happy in pots if space is limited.
  2. Tomatoes are still the leading summer vegetable with great flavour, good health benefits, and such a multi-purpose kitchen staple. Heat, consistent watering, and feeding are the keys to success.
  3. Love fresh fruit but short of space? Any fruits or vegetables with good colour are classic health providers, including beetroot, blueberries, tomatoes, and red capsicums, and all can be grown in pots.
  4. Soil preparation is the key to growth so dig down to a spade’s depth and mix in blood and bone, a dusting of lime and sheep pellets to provide loose and fertile earthworm-attracting soil.

 

Raising the toddlers of the plant world


Also known as “vegetable confetti”, microgreens are the quickest food crop urban gardeners can grow – often as simply as in a container on your kitchen windowsill.

 

Not to be confused with sprouts – germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed and shoot – microgreens are the seedlings of leafy herbs and plants that are harvested less than a month after germination.

The stem, seed leaves and first set of true leaves are all edible.

Common microgreen varieties include amaranth, basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chard, chervil, coriander, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley, peas, radish, rocket, spinach, and sorrel.

Growing microgreens only requires good light – a well-lit kitchen bench, sunny windowsill or balcony – a suitable shallow container, water and a growing medium.

MIGHTY MICROGREENS:

• Microgreens are a nutrient- dense food that contain digestible vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and are packed with flavour, colour, texture and living enzymes
• Some studies have shown microgreens contain considerably higher concentrations of vitamins and carotenoids than their mature plant counterparts
• Many varieties will regrow and produce several harvests

HOW TO GROW:

  1. Line seed tray with moistened paper. Fill tray with moist growing medium, e.g soil or burlap, about 2 to 3cm deep
  2. Sprinkle seeds over mix, press in lightly
  3. Water by misting with a spray bottle
  4. Place on a drainage tray in warm spot
  5. Water every day as needed, but avoid overwatering!
  6. Cover seeds with clear lid or plastic bag with holes snipped for airflow to encourage germination
  7. Harvest after the first two true leaves emerge from the cotyledon by snipping off at soil level

Outdoor options


Al fresco season feels upon us, or almost, which means it may too be time to update your outdoor entertaining areas. Whether that’s a patio, deck or poolside space – here’s Metropol’s pick for items to consider.

 

Posh perches
Outdoor seating is essential if you plan to while away the days and evenings in your outdoor sanctuary. From elegant outdoor lounge sets, to dining arrangements or comfy and casual bean bags – furnish your exterior entertaining with weatherproof, long lasting materials.

In the shade
A sun umbrella can transform your space from a sauna to a shady haven, while adding a stylish silhouette – and of course protection from UV rays. Choose long lasting fabrics and strong frames and bases which can withstand those nor’westers.

Table talk
An outdoor table is an obvious place to congregate to enjoy meals, beverages and each other’s company. Choose a modern square shape or more traditional round in timber, concrete, glass or resin. Pair with casual bench seats or more formal individual chairs.

Game goals
What are our spaces, if not for having fun? Spice up your exterior area with some outdoor games like giant connect four, Jenga, pétanque or Scandinavian favourite, Kubb. Start a scoreboard and let the games – and competition – begin.


 

Extend your shelf life


Styled well, shelves can be a catalogue of beloved life knick-knacks on show for all, but done with less consideration can appear as a clustered after thought. Rather than being s(h)elfish we thought we would share our top tips to styling your shelves.

 

Book smart:
This may seem obvious, considering bookshelves are not new on the home décor scene, but experiment with the configuration of your books, stack them vertically, horizontally or in an L-shape. You can even try colour coding the spines, or displaying a particularly special title front on.

Texture and accents:
Add contrasting textures like glass and ceramics, plants, and metallics to bring some eclecticism to your shelves. Rearrange items and try different combinations – layer items, arrange in odd numbers, and with greenery creeping between shelves.

More is more:
A shelf serves the function of display and storage. Interior designer and blogger Chris Carroll says to avoid only displaying three or four items like your home is an art gallery. Instead, give your shelves personality by creating a visual story.

Quality over quantity
While too much negative space is not a positive, too much clutter is also not the goal. Instead, balance the space and interest by only incorporating items you truly love – whether that’s treasured family heirlooms, your favourite book titles, or a coveted vase.


 

Coffee table styling pro tips


So, you’ve bought a beautiful new coffee table. Now, how to adorn this focal point to suit your home? Metropol compiles some tips to help.

 

ALL ABOUT BALANCE
Too many knickknacks look cluttered, but too many large items looks heavy. The solution? Balance the small with the large.

THE HIGH AND THE LOW
Likewise, mix up your height scale. Variation gets attention, whereas equal levels can go unnoticed.

SWAP WITH THE SEASONS
Mix up key components to suit what’s happening outside. Spring? Consider some fresh blooms. Winter? Time to light a comforting candle.

SYMMETRY…OR NOT
Consider aligning objects in an even grid, or adversely, choose an asymmetrical grouping of three to balance your coffee table books, candlesticks, or ornaments.


 

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