January 2019

From the nursery

With some crazy weather late into last year (snow in the south, and hail in the north), we’re still seeing lots of people stocking up on spring and summer veges for their gardens. Favourites are chilli – especially around Christmas, eggplants (seedlings pictured) and loads of lettuces are still being sent out.

A December highlight from our nursery garden would have to be our new sunflowers coming out – taking around nine weeks to bloom. So there is still plenty of time to get some in your garden. Our other new season flower varieties – lupin rose and petunia double mix look like they’ll be staying on as regulars too. In the next few months we start to think about what new lines we want to introduce to the nursery. If you’ve got suggestion you’re keen for us to grow, email us here.

Happy gardening,
Henri Ham

January is a good time to...

Keep up your watering. Water early evening or in the morning before the sun has any heat in it, to maximise the absorption from the plants. Extra attention needs to be given to your juicy plants like tomatoes and strawberries.

Apply mulch around the garden to reduce the need for watering. Mulch will protect the soil from the suns intense heat, and also retain water. Check your soil by pushing your finger down to your second knuckle. If its dry, you’ll need to water.

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Testing out Russian tarragon

A keen vege gardener will often try to grow a few new veges each year. And I believe the same should apply to herbs. The classics of parsley, chives and basil will always have a place in gardeners’ kitchens. But how about testing your green-fingers out on some Russian tarragon this summer?

Russian tarragon is a hardy perennial herb. Its taste can be likened to a cross between parsley and chervil (French parsley). It’s quite a lanky plant and can grow up to 80cm tall. It has slender stems, covered in skinny green leaves.

Often confused with French tarragon, the Russian variety is hardier and more vigorous. Both types have a distinctive sweet aniseed flavour, but the Russian variety is milder. And most importantly (well, arguably), the Russian type is easier to grow as well.

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Edible flowers

Think outside your vege garden box this summer and introduce some culinary flair into your kitchen through edible flowers. With zucchini season in full swing - have you tried the delicacy of a stuffed zucchini flower? It’s delicious but also a lot easier to cook than you’d think. Check out this recipe for ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers.

In salad season, use nasturtiums and pansies to brighten up your green salads. Or freeze them into ice-cubes and add them to iced tea or your favourite summer drink. Chives grow a splendid purple flower great for salads, or sprinkle over eggs – the flower still tastes like chives too.

And if you’re filling up the baking tins, you can use lavender flowers for biscuits and cakes. Try crystallising your rose petals for the decorations on top – check out Ruth Pretty’s recipe here.


Coriander - people love to love it, or love to hate it. Summer isn’t corianders favourite season for growing – people tell me it’s either dying quickly or going to seed. Coriander doesn’t like humid conditions, or dry soil. Coriander also doesn’t like small pots, so if you’re thinking of keeping it inside make sure the pot is a deep one. Water it in the morning, to allow it to dry off during the day.

  I recommend planting coriander in an only partially sunny spot right now. Perhaps in a hanging basket – like this one pictured. This basket has only been getting late afternoon sun throughout December and it’s thriving.

Our coriander seedlings come in regular (9) and bulk (25) sizes, and you’ll also find coriander in three of our mixed herb bundles right now. And you can get hanging baskets from Awapuni Nurseries too – they’re 45cm across and great value at $15, which includes a free hanging basket bundle mix.

Image by I Heart Naptime  

Make your own fairy garden

Looking for activities to get the kids creative these school holidays? Here’s some inspiration from I heart naptime on planter fairy gardens, and how to make your own fairy garden. It’s a great way to avoid all the packaging (and expense) of a store bought one, and DIY at home. Simply use an old bowl or pot, or grab a terracotta pot saucer from Bunnings. Fill with potting mix and sprinkle with grass seed. Use your old toys to create your own fairy garden feel. Don’t forget the washing line, made from kebab sticks and string to finish it off.

Or add some alyssum and gypsophila for a more floral look. But fairy gardens really don’t need to be mini gardens. You can make one just as a floral arrangement by picking a few flowers and placing them in a cup and saucer.


Tomato trouble shooting

Keep on picking out the laterals on your tomatoes, as laterals often don’t produce fruit. Avoid overhead watering, to prevent diseases like blight, rust and downy mildew setting in. Start picking as soon as they are starting to turn red, to encourage more fruit to set.

Watch your watering – spitting fruit is a sign of too much water, and too little water and you’ll struggle to get any fruit. Keep on feeding your tomatoes with a liquid fertiliser every fortnight. Keep tying up your cherry tomatoes on the stakes, as more growth comes through. The stalk can start rotting if you let it fall to the ground.

But one tomato problem everyone wants to have – too many tomatoes. I recommend home-made tomato sauce. Here’s a simple yet tasty Edmonds recipe to try. But watch out on reading whether it’s a teaspoon or tablespoon of cayenne pepper. That makes a huge difference to the sauce. Recycle old screw top glass bottles (that seem to just appear at this time of the year...) and cook up your sauce for the year.


Flaming garden beds

If you want a lively injection of colour into your garden this summer, look no further than celosia. Celosia has bright flowers that make attractive garden borders, and also lovely cut arrangements.

With its flame-like heads, celosia looks like little balls of fire in the garden. It’s a small annual, that grows to around 30cm tall. Large waxy green leaves frame celosia’s spectacular flowers, which bloom in vibrant yellow, orange and reds.

What I like about celosia is that it looks amazing (like a field of fire) when planted on mass. Also, it’s a really easy flower to plant and requires minimal care.

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Specials and deals

Did you know Awapuni Nurseries email out a regular specials and deals newsletter? It’s short and sweet – and gives you details of what’s on special, offers like free delivery Friday (that we just ran in December), what’s new in at the nursery and other quick info. Also nursery tours in December, plants back in season and even free plant giveaways.

To sign up click here. You can unsubscribe easily at any time.

Must-have marigolds

Wanting to add a pop of colour to your garden this January but not sure where to start? How about planting some marigolds for some bright orange pom-pom shaped fun. They also come in shades of yellow, red and cream. Marigolds are highly beneficial in your garden, releasing a strong scent that repels many insects (especially aphids) – making them a favourite to plant next to your tomatoes and roses.

The nursery has dwarf varieties in yellow, mixed (pictured) and red that grow to around 20cm tall. Great for garden borders, bedding and pots. And a marigold tall that will reach 70cm. Shop marigolds here.

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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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