March 2016

Bountiful basil

Basil is a plant that I often get asked how to grow successfully. It seems that some gardeners have no trouble keeping a plentiful supply of basil growing and others struggle to produce a few leaves for the top of a pizza.

The trick to growing great basil is making sure you address its need for warmth. It really likes the sun. If you’re planting outside make sure you pick a spot in direct sun. And if you’re growing it in a little pot to have indoors make sure it’s near a window which also gets lots of sun.

And this love of warmth doesn’t just apply to your regular sweet basil variety. Cinnamon basil, thai basil, greek basil, red basil and basil bush all favour a sunny spot.

You can grab any of the above varieties of basil from your local supermarket, Bunnings or the Warehouse. Alternatively, head to our online shop and have your seedlings delivered direct to your door.

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Mint is a great herb to have in the garden all year round. It’s a tasty addition to drinks, salads, potatoes and more. And did you know growing it near peas, cabbage or tomatoes will improve their health and flavor? It’s also said that mint will keep mice out if planted near your house or near crops that mice are fond of. and keep. Apparently mint will also keep ants, earwigs, cabbage white butterfly and other bugs away. But don’t plant it near parsley or chamomile – they don’t like each other.

Remember, these are companion planting tips and methods we’ve picked up along the way or heard of from other gardeners. We’re not promising they’ll work 100% but they’re worth a shot in any garden – particularly if you’re trying to promote natural growth and keep it pesticide free.

For more information on companion planting visit here. And if you’ve had any experience with mint as a companion plant (good or bad) we’d love to hear about it.

Burning question

My pumpkins are growing out of control at the moment and are getting too big for the area I’ve planted them in. How can I get them back under control?

Pick or cut the tips the end of the vines. This will stop them spreading out and allow the plant to spend its energy ripening the fruit it already has. Make sure you continue to water daily. And if you’re not sure how to tell when your pumpkins are ready to harvest, click here for more information.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

March is a good
time to...

Grow leeks and spinach. Plant your spinach in amongst your leek seedlings. You’ll harvest the spinach before the leeks need the space. Get in your winter veges too. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages and should all be planted towards the end of the month while the soil is still warm. Harvest your runner beans and keep watering!

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Sucker for succulents?

If you’ve got a soft side for succulents, you might want to check out this article from Better Homes and Gardens.

It has a slide show of nearly 30 succulent container plants. And, if you’re keen to recreate the look, it has a key at the bottom detailing what the plants are and other details about the conditions they like.

Growing photos

Viscaria Angel Rose It may not look like much, but these empty beds are the beginning of our new flower trial garden. Two years ago our printer went into receivership and with that went all the photos we were using for our plant labels.

We have been working on building our own photo library since then and are about half way through. Eventually we hope to have a great looking shot of every single plant we grow to make our labels stand out from the pack and look fantastic.

We may even ask our customers if they have any nice photos from time to time!

Happy gardening

Henri Ham

The various virtues of viscaria

Viscaria Angel Rose I’ve been writing these articles for around 10 years now and this is the first time I’ve written about viscaria. I’m not really sure why it’s taken me so long to extol the virtues of this pretty flower. And it has several – virtues that is. Not only does it grow well in bedding, borders, hanging baskets, containers and cottage gardens, its long stems make it a perfect cut flower and it’s incredibly easy to grow.

At Awapuni Nurseries we stock two varieties of viscaria which both grow to a height of around 25cm. Angel blue – which as the name suggests has two-toned blue coloured flowers. And Angel rose, which has pinkish coloured flowers. We also stock a mixed bundle which includes both angel rose and angel blue.

As you know, you can grab your Awapuni seedlings from your local supermarket, Bunnings or The Warehouse. Otherwise jump online and get your plants delivered direct to your door.

Once you’ve got your seedlings simply look for a sunny spot in your garden and plant each one around 10cm apart from the next.

If you’re planting them in a hanging basket or pot, trying growing antirrhinum dwarf, lobelia, alyssum, pansies and polyanthus with them.

Within a few weeks you can expect to see your viscaria flower and then you can expect to see it flower all season long – just another virtue of this often forgotten flower.

Be into win with NZ Bulbs

It’s that time of year again – the time to plant spring flowering bulbs.

And for spring bulbs, or any bulbs for that matter, you can’t go past the selection available at NZ Bulbs.

Located in Feilding, not far from us, NZ Bulbs has the widest range and latest releases of bulbs all available for ordering now.


Visit their website and shop online or call them on 06 323 4516 to request a free mail order catalogue.

And to celebrate the launch of their new Facebook page NZ Bulbs has given us a fantastic prize pack to give away on Facebook.

The winner of our competition will receive several packs of bulbs including daffodils, freesias, irises and tulips. Plus we’re going to throw in some bundles of Awapuni flowers to complement the NZ Bulb prize pack.

To be in with a chance to win check out our Facebook page.

Making use of produce

Got plenty of produce in your vege garden? We had such a good response to the zucchini brownie recipe we shared on Facebook last month from Well Plated that we thought we’d share another couple recipes from there.

We like the look of this tomato, eggplant, zucchini bake and this lovely sounding Asian noodle salad. What’s your go-to recipe for using up your harvest at the moment? We’d love to know – email us here. And here’s a good one from our own catalogue of recipes – zucchini and pepper relish.


Pop’N’Grow taking a rest

In the next month or so we will stop selling our Pop’n’Grow seedling pots indefinitely. These are the seedlings sold in biodegradable pots (pictured) – NOT wrapped in recycled newspaper. We may look at bringing them back in the future but for now we’re taking a break from Pop’n’Grow.

Did you buy Pop’n’Grow because it stocked a certain variety of seedling? Don’t worry, most of the varieties sold in Pop’n’Grow pots will now be available to buy in a newspaper wrapped bundle.

Worried about the quality of seedlings in the newspaper compared to the biodegradable pots? Don’t. The seedlings wrapped in newspaper are exactly the same, top-quality Awapuni seedlings you’re used to. But now you’ll only have to pay $4.29 for your seedlings – the existing price of a newspaper wrapped bundle.

And remember, if you’re ever concerned about your Awapuni seedling purchase simply call us on 800 33 2000 or send us an email and without question, we will replace the seedlings. If you have any questions about this please email Henri here.


Keep safe in the garden

Recently we posted a link on our Facebook and Instagram to an article on Stuff about a Wellington man in a critical condition after contracting Legionellosis (legionnaires’ disease) from working in his garden. For those who missed it, we want to remind people how important it is to wear gloves and especially a mask when working with potting mix and compost.

Here are a few key facts about Legionellosis (courtesy of Ministry of Health).

What is Legionellosis? It is a form of pneumonia caused by a bacteria called legionella, an environmental organism that lives in moist conditions. You can catch the disease by inhaling airborne droplets or particles containing the bacteria. There has been no reported person- to-person spread of legionellosis. The illness may be mild or severe and can sometimes be fatal. It is more common in older people, particularly if they smoke, have poor immunity or have a chronic illness.

How to reduce the risk of exposure to legionella:

  • minimise the amount of dust when working in the garden
  • water your garden and indoor plants using a gentle spray
  • read the warning on bags of composted potting mixes
  • wear gloves when handling soil, mulches, compost or potting mix
  • wear a dust mask when opening bags or using potting mix and compost to avoid inhaling dust
  • open bags of soil products or composted potting mixes slowly and away from the face
  • dampen potting mixes before use
    make sure the working area (glasshouse, potting shed) is well ventilated.
See your doctor immediately if you develop a flu-like illness that is worsening.

For more tips on keeping safe in the garden including information about machinery, pests, stings, poisonous plants and more read Healthier and Safer Gardening from HealthEd.


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: