Winter 2020

From the nursery

Another season has past, but this Autumn has been like no other. All New Zealanders have been affected by the pandemic and the nursery is no exception. We’ve had highs and lows, and more highs. From the end of March until now we’ve seen some extremes in sales, some good and some bad. The day before lockdown, I saw customers in our shop fighting over vege plants. That was a distressing time for everyone and all the changes that were happening were a lot for people to get their head around, including me. Everything at the nursery was changing on a weekly basis. There were many questions that we had to find answers to: during lockdown could we have staff working at the nursery to keep the seeding and growing ticking over?

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Happy gardening,
Henri Ham

Gardening away a pandemic

Back in autumn, as the country began the great toilet paper frenzy, gardeners (and non-gardeners!) around the country suddenly went potty for plants. Hardware stores, garden centres and our own Awapuni Nurseries online shop, seemingly overnight, sold out of seedlings and plants – enough to make you wonder if Covid-19 had fast-forwarded the calendar to spring.

Which meant that in the space of a week, our normally abundant seedlings levels at Awapuni had been seriously impacted. Then came lockdown; with no staff to pick, pack orders, and re-plant the continual supply of seedlings needed. Suddenly, I found my-self rather busy at the nursery!

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Get berry ready

As winter’s only really beginning across the country, it may seem crazy to talk about summery fruit like strawberries. But, right now is the time to get your garden ‘berry’ ready – if you’re after home-grown, delicious strawberries this Christmas.

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Now is the time to…

In June you’re able to see the bare bones of your garden, as everything from summer starts dying down. So now is the perfect time to start pruning your trees and roses, prepping new sites for your spring orchard and focusing on the vege patch.

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Pretty P’s

Are you looking to inject some lively winter colour in your garden? I suggest you look to any of our polyanthus, primula or pansy varieties – our three pretty P’s.

They’re all winter blooming flowers, that if you plant now, will be popping colour into your garden right though to mid-spring. They all work well in pots, hanging baskets, edging or garden beds. Pansies and polyanthus will grow to around 15cm high, and primula (pictured) 30cm – making an ideal to plant in the middle of a large pot, and have lower growing flowers around the edge.

Did you know that yellow and blue pansies often have the stronger scents, and this becomes even stronger first thing in the morning, and late in the evening?


New to the nursery

Introducing Kawakawa (pepper tree) – it has heart shaped leaves, making it easy to identify. They’re hardy, wind resistant and frost resistant when they’re a bit older too. Plant them 1m apart, and they’ll grow to 6m tall – in free draining soil.

We’re also offering some hot (or chilled!) wine deals from Alpha Domus Wines, and Husquvana garden sprayers from Motoland. Given recent difficult times, we want share our support for our family businesses.


Citrus care

Watch out for sooty mould (black sticky blotches) on your citrus trees – while it actually won’t affect the fruit quality, if it gets bad enough blocks sunlight getting to the leaves, and impacts their growth. Having sooty mould is a sign that aphids and other sap sucking insects are infesting your tree. A neem oil spray or insecticidal spray will get rid of the insects, although you may need a couple applications. This won’t remove the black mould though – for this use a soapy water spray; if possible, just before it rains.

Did you know your lemons are deemed ‘ripe’ from when they’re only half yellow? If you’re overloaded with fruit, try our Awapuni lemon muffins or Chelsea Winters lemon squeezy slice. Remember the juice from a lemon freezes really well - simply squeeze and pour into ice cubes trays, and when frozen transfer into zip-lock freezer bags, to use as needed. Lemon juice will keep for around three months once frozen.


Mulching autumn leaves

The nursery driveway looked like a road to a forgotten world after two months of the gates being shut over lockdown. To tidy your autumn leaves up, shred them first by running a lawn mower over them, to halve their decomposition time. If adding leaves to your compost heap, remember to turn it first and aim for every month on-going. Adding lime, or a layer of soil between each layer of leaves will also help speed up the process.

Try composting leaves in a black plastic rubbish bag, and storing them under the house. If the leaves are very dry, lightly dampen them in the bag with the hose. Sprinkle in half a cup of lime; you can also add in a layer of grass clippings or soil to give it a head start. Stab around 10 holes into the bag – 6 -12 months later, it will have reduced to around 1/3 of the size, producing a dense black leafmold mulch.


How to clean rusty tools

Winter is an ideal time to get your tools back into tip-top condition. First give your secateurs and clippers a good clean in soapy water, to scrub away sap and dirt from the blades. If they’re in really bad condition, soak overnight in a half vinegar, half water mix. For large shears, soak a rag and wrap them, covering with a plastic bag and tying, to avoid evaporation. Rinse with water, then use steel wool (steelo) to buff off any rusty parts. Lightly oil with WD-40, linseed oil, or even kitchen vege oil if you’ve only got that.

For sharpening secateurs try a kitchen knife sharpener; or grab a multi-tool sharpener (for your shears) from Bunnings. It’s recommended to give your tools a light clean and oil after each use, as the sap from plants is corrosive to them.


Gardens to visit

Get out and about this winter – check out the New Zealand Gardens Trust to find local gardens in your area. A few pics from our team are: Aryrlies, in Whitford, East Auckland – a very well-known garden, plus 35 acre wetland. North of Auckland, you’ll find Omaio - a coastal property of 18 acres; five minutes from Matakana; Omaio also offers a bed & breakfast for garden lovers. In Hawera, Taranaki the Puketarata Garden is a large country garden of natives and exotics; it includes walking tracks through a QEII covenanted gully.


In the South Island – Woodend Gardens, five minutes from Blenheim features a wisteria walk, and avenue of flowering cherry trees. Broadfeild Garden is just out of Christchurch, is 3.5 ha garden including Kauri forest, beech forest, canal pond, cricket oval and more.


If you’re a fan of ours on Facebook you may now be seeing less of our gardening tips, special deals, giveaways and more. To keep seeing these – go to our Facebook page and click on the ‘Following’ tab under the top photo. Then click ‘See First’. This way you’ll never miss out!

Awapuni Nurseries Ltd, Pioneer Highway,
PO Box 7075, Palmerston North 4443, NEW ZEALAND
Phone: 64 6 354-8828 Fax: 64 6 354-8857

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