March 2013

March is a good
time to...

Water and grow spinach and leeks. Harvest the last of your runner beans.

Read on for more details...
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Bug out the birds

School holidays are well and truly over but we think it’s always good to have a fun project up your sleeve for weekends or afternoons. Plus, it gives you time to save up the bits and pieces required for creative endeavours like this bug-lookalike bird feeder.

Happy hydrangeas

Are your hydrangeas looking a little scruffy at the moment?

If you have the old fashioned big (grow to person height) variety they might be getting a bit dry in the recent heat.

Put some mulch around the base of the plants.

Once they’ve lost their foliage you need to prune them (this will be around spring). Simply cut the stalk above the biggest buds on each stem. This will ensure they grow well and flower in around November.

If you have a newer variety of hydrangea (the type that only grow to about your knees) all you need to do is cut off the spent flowers.

Watch out for red spider mite (the top side of the leaves will look silver) – often found on plants sheltered under trees.

Spray the plants with rose insecticide or the underneath side of the leaves with a hose – this will wash the mites off.

Burning question

My cabbage trees have holes in the leaves and my kowhai trees are losing their leaves. What’s happening?

Your two native trees are a favourite of the New Zealand moth and are currently providing a tasty snack. Apply rose insecticide to the plants or soapy water to get rid of it.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

Making compost while the sun shines

As most of you will know we’re big on minimising waste at Awapuni Nurseries. Sometimes we have trays of potting mix that we don’t end up using because the seeds didn’t germinate. Unfortunately, we can’t use the potting mix again for seedling germination. Fortunately, we can use it to create compost. So in the last couple of weeks Scott, from our team, has been busy mixing the potting mix with grass clippings and stable manure to make compost. What happens to the compost I hear you ask? Well, it just so happens that we sell it for the very reasonable price of $25 per trailer load (excuse the plug!). If you’re interested just give the nursery a call on 0800 33 2000.

Even though we’ve officially started autumn, the weather has still been very warm lately. So before I sign off – here’s a quick reminder to keep up the watering. Avoid overhead watering and, instead, water the ground to prevent the spread of disease.

Happy gardening
Henri Ham

Cheap and cheerful chives

Pastas, risottos, quiche, pie, soups and more – there aren’t many dishes chives won’t add a tasty flavour to. They’re a staple herb every cook should have in their vege or kitchen garden.

And, unlike many annual herbs, they’re the plant that keeps on giving. Chives will go dormant and die down during winter and then pop up again come spring – meaning no need to replant each year. Already got chives in your garden? How about trying garlic chives – also known as Chinese chives. They have slightly broader, flatter leaves than regular chives and – as you would expect from the name – have a soft garlic flavour.

To plant this grass look alike find a corner or spot of soil that you don’t usually garden in. Because your chives will go dormant it’s a good idea to plant them somewhere that you won’t accidentally replant over while they’re not visible. If you’re worried about forgetting where you’ve planted chives, simply install a marker or grow them in a pot.

Once you’ve picked up a couple of Awapuni Nurseries chives seedlings from your local supermarket, The Warehouse, Bunnings or from our online store, just dig a small hole, place the seedling inside and cover the roots with soil. As the come up they will grow together in a clump.

Once the chives have reached about the same height as a drinking straw, you can start chopping the ends off with scissors and add to pretty much any savoury dish.

Space-saving stocks

As much as we’d all love acres of space for a garden, sometimes it’s just not possible. Luckily, there are so many great ways of growing the plants you love that don’t require much or any outdoor space at all. If your back yard is more tiles and concrete than hills and lawns, why not try using pots, drainpipes, hanging baskets or vertical pallets (google vertical gardens for ideas).

At Awapuni we’ve got heaps of plants that grow well in minimal space. Lobelia, alyssum or our hanging basket mix are perfect for planting in hanging baskets. Herbs are always a great one to grow in pots – particularly because you can put them near or in the kitchen for easy access. And another variety I like to grow in pots is stocks. They come in a wide range of colours, are scented and bunch together nicely. Plus they don’t attract any insects or pests – which is perfect if you want to keep your pots inside. Awapuni Nurseries sells both pastel and bright coloured stocks in both standard and dwarf versions.

If you’re planning on growing them inside, I’d definitely recommend the dwarf variety. Simply pop down to your local supermarket, Bunnings, or the Warehouse and grab a Pop’n’Grow pot or Traditional Value bundle today. Alternatively, head to our online plant shop and get the plants delivered right to your door.

There’s not much to planting stocks in a pot. All you need to do is fill the pot with potting mix, plant the stock seedling, and repeat until the pot is full.

If you plant them quite tightly once they flower they’ll look just like a brightly coloured bouquet – perfect for the coffee table or windowsill.

If you want to plant in a garden bed, stocks will provide instant colour and are perfect companions for lavender, bedded irises, roses, daisies and delphiniums. They all like well-drained, sunny soil and no overhead watering - which transfers several diseases these types of plants are susceptible to.

For best flowering results, pick a spot in full sun, then dig in a little compost, make a small hole, plant and fill in with soil.

Depending on the weather where you are, stocks will take around four to six weeks flower. But if they have trouble flowering, just sprinkle some dried blood from the garden centre to add more potassium to the soil.

Then sit back, wait, and enjoy a brighter home this autumn – so matter the size of your gardens.

Henri and Paul Ham, Awapuni Nurseries Ltd
Pioneer Highway PO Box 7075 Palmerston North 4443 NEW ZEALAND


P: 64 6 354-8828 F: 64 6 354-8857 W: E: