December 2015

Rhubarb and ginger fizz

Summer is here. And there’s nothing like a cool, refreshing drink on a lazy summer’s day. If you drink alcohol you might like to check out the strawberry margarita and mojito recipes on our website. And this rhubarb and ginger fizz recipe from My Darling Lemon Thyme can be made with or without something stronger.

Ordering for Christmas

Place your order at our online shop by 9am Monday 21st of December for delivery before Christmas. If you’re ordering from TradeMe you need to make payment for your purchase and or made contact with Donna by mid day on Monday the 21st December.

Ordering between Christmas and 5th of January
Place online orders by 9am Tuesday 29th December for delivery that week and by 9am Tuesday 5 January for delivery the following week. There will be no delivery or pickups of Trademe purchases during this period.

Nursery hours:
Our office and the physical shop at the nursery will be open Monday to Wednesday only during the last two weeks of December. Our hours return to normal on Tuesday the 5th of January.

Summer salads

As we said in the November issue of Cultivated News, salads are a symbol of summer. And this carrot salad, with its strawberries and herbs, is fresh and tastes like summer. It's also super simple to make. Visit our website for the recipe.

Cultivating coriander

In our opinion coriander is a must-have herb for the garden. But sometimes it can be a little tricky to grow - as shown by the recent Facebook competition we ran asking what plants you have trouble growing when many of you answered with coriander. So we've pulled together all of our top tips for growing this some what particular but great tasting plant.

Visit here for a list of tips to growing coriander. And if you have other ideas for getting the best out of coriander, please email us.

Take a tour of the nursery

Last year's tours of the nursery were so popular we’ve decided to do them again this year. We held our first one this week but we’ve still got two more. The next two tours are on Wednesday the 9th and 16th of December.

Everyone who attends will receive a free bundle of seedlings, the chance to win more seedlings and of course our regular nursery deals such as $1 potted colour plants, three bundles for $10 and our new Pick & Mix deal (fill a pot with any seedlings for $4). Tours start at 10am.

So if you've ever wanted to see what happens behind the scenes at Awapuni lock one of these dates in your calendar and visit here for more information.

Lastly, please let Jo know whether you’re planning to attend by flicking her an email via or phoning on 06 354 8828.

December is a good time to

Add some festive colour to your garden by planting red and white petunias and impatiens. Keep planting gourmet veges (like fancy lettuce, radishes and spinach) and herbs (like basil, coriander and rocket) so you have a continuous supply over summer.

Don't forget to get some sweet corn in the ground too. Make sure all your gardens have a layer of mulch applied and watch out for aphids. Water your garden in the morning to prevent the spread of disease or leaves from rotting. And lastly, dig up your new potatoes for Christmas lunch or dinner. Yum!

Read on for more details

Bird watching

I’ve been watching the state of my lawn deteriorate for a while now. But when I noticed recently that there were more weeds than grass I decided I had to do something about it. So a few weeks ago I re-laid it. And then I re-sowed it again. And again. And again. I'm sure many of you will have faced the problem I have – birds! Even Coalette (pictured) has struggled to keep the hungry birds away from my grass seed and at bay.  

Luckily, I have more luck getting our nursery seeds to germinate and flourish and if you’d like to see just how we go about that you might like to attend one of the FREE tours of the nursery we’re holding during December. Scroll down this newsletter for more details on the tours and we hope to see you there. And if you’re planning on ordering seedlings prior to Christmas or in the new year, please take note of our opening hours and delivery schedule also further down in the newsletter.

Happy gardening and have a safe and enjoyable festive season.

Henri Ham and the team at Awapuni

Working on watermelon

Recently we asked you, our customers, which plants you have the most difficulty growing and which you would like some advice on planting. From the many replies two plants overwhelmingly stood out – coriander and watermelon.

So this month we’ve included my top tips for cultivating coriander (see further down in the newsletter) and here is a guide to getting the best out of your watermelon plants – which need to be planted now.

While I encourage everyone to give a crack at growing any plant they choose, watermelons require around three months of sun and heat averaging above 20 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, not all areas of NZ are able to provide these conditions so my first advice is; be realistic about whether your garden can provide the heat required for successful watermelon fruit.

Watermelons grow across the ground like pumpkins so they need a bit of space but it’s fine if they grow (otherwise known as trail) back across each other. What’s important is finding a spot in your garden that has very free-draining soil. If your soil isn’t free-draining you will need to mound it up to help create this effect.

Regardless of your type of soil, you’ll need to dig in lots of compost and manure to deliver the nutrients the plants require to kick off. The flowers will require pollination to develop fruit, so it’s great if you’re able grow your watermelon near other plants, like lavender and salvia, which attract lots of bees. Before you plant cover the area in mulch like pea straw. This will help provide more nitrogen to the soil but also keep the fruit off the direct ground which will help prevent them rotting.

When you’ve found the perfect location for your plants simply pop each seedling in around 20-30cm apart.

Read on for more details

How to encourage kids in the garden

Here are our top three tips for getting your kids interested in gardening.

1. Keep it quick – plant fast growing vegetables that can be harvested early. Veges like radishes, lettuces, peas, courgette and spinach all mature quickly and can be eaten off the plant or before they full mature.

2. Keep it easy – make sure you plant your seedlings in places that it’s easy for small people to reach and work on.

3. Keep it fun – grow anything that’s different and colourful or can be eaten straight from the garden. Try rainbow beet for its colour, Italian broccoli for it’s space-aged looking shape and sugar snap peas and strawberries for their tastiness straight off the plant. And don’t let the fun stop at planting and eating. Get your kids involved in any form of pest control. Who doesn’t remember trying to catch white butterfly with nets? Or for a more modern approach, send your kids out with water guns to get the butterflies or water the plants. If you have any other tips for keeping kids interested in gardening we’d love to know.

Flick us an email here. And if you’d like to get your children started in gardening why not give them a kids’ gardening set of tools this Christmas. Visit our online shop to order one today.

Complementary companions

Cooking isn’t the only reason you should have coriander in your garden, coriander is a great companion plant to grow. It helps repel aphids from your patch and if you plant it in amongst your carrot rows it will protect them from pests. Just don’t plant coriander anywhere near fennel as it prevents fennel from forming seed.

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 coriander as a companion plant (good or bad) we'd love to hear about it.


Astound, astonish and amaze with asters

Who doesn’t like to receive a few compliments about how great their garden is looking? I do. And I bet you do too. So this summer if you'd like to astound, amaze and astonish your friends with the colour and beauty in your garden, try growing asters.

The bright coloured flowers come in several shades of pink and purple, red and white and look fantastic in the ground but also make great cut flowers.

At Awapuni, we stock two different varieties – the dwarf which grows to around 25cm high and the tall variety which grows to around 75cm high.

These striking looking flowers are also popular with bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Which makes them great for planting in a spot where you need extra pollination – like your vege garden. They’re also a perfect companion plant for growing next to roses, petunias, marigolds and cosmos because they all like the same conditions – full sun and free-draining soil.

Pick up some aster seedlings from your local supermarket, Bunnings or The Warehouse. Alternatively, head to our online store and get some Awapuni Nurseries seedlings delivered direct to your door.

Once you've found the right spot to plant, dig in some compost and blood and bone fertiliser. To get the amazing effect you're after plant them quite close together – no more than 20 cm apart for dwarf and 40cm for the tall variety.

Read on for more details

Great gardening gifts

Got a keen gardener or chef in your family? Plants are the gift that keep on giving and are guaranteed to be a hit with any die-hard gardening or cooking fan.

Gift a selection of Awapuni seedlings in advance of Christmas to any green-thumbed friends or relatives.

Alternatively, plant petunias, a hanging basket mix or other Awapuni flowers in a paradise planter or pots for those who like colour around their porches and verandahs. And for those who like to whip up masterpieces in the kitchen, try planting a variety of herbs in a paradise planter, pot or container.

If you're feeling generous why not throw in a pair of gardening gloves, secateurs or a trowel with your gift. Any new gardener will need these and any experienced gardener will love a spare!


Congratulations to Cultivated News subscribers for being subscribed during November Fiona from Palmerston North, Annette from Whangarei, Sharon from Woodville, Helen from Wellington and Kim from Pahiatua. And congratulations to Robyn from Tokaroa who was the winner of our Labour weekend paradise planter competition. Robyn was selected randomly from everyone who made an online order from Awapuni between 1-26 October. She won a paradise planter, potting mix and enough Awapuni seedlings to fill it.

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: