June 2019

From the nursery

They may look like little mouse droppings, but they are so much more than that! I’ve been collecting swan plant seeds for a few months now, from the swan plant grove I planted in spring. I have two and a half moccona coffee jars full now, and there looks to be lots more there.

Some of the earlier seed I harvested has already been germinated in our greenhouse, and will over wintered ready for sale and bagging up in spring. It’s a lot of fun harvesting the seed and my grandson really enjoys helping out. Give it a go some time.

Happy gardening,
Henri Ham

What’s new at the nursery

We’ve got lots of exciting new gardening products in our on-line shop right now. Want to encourage the wild birds? We’ve got Tui wild bird feeders, bird seed bells and bird seed mix.

Check out our Tui worm tower ($36.50) – it can hold up to 1000 worms. This in-ground composting system creates healthy soil as worms feed on your kitchen scraps.

We’ve got velcro reusable plant ties for your winter vege, and 45cm wire hanging baskets to place your flowering annuals in. Had any winter rodents trying to come inside lately? – check out our Nooski pest control for mice and rats.


Seed potatoes are also available from our online shop. They’re Tui certified, meaning they are assured to be free from pests and diseases. Did you know potatoes can be planted at any time of the year, provided they’re not exposed to the frost?


June is the time to…

Don’t let the colder weather deter you from getting out in your garden. There’s plenty you can be doing right now, from planting winter flowers to composting.

Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale and winter lettuces can all be planted out now. Remember to mulch around them to keep the weeds down. Watch out for slugs and snails – apply slug bait or use an organic beer bait to trap them.

It’s also time for broad beans to go in. If you’ve already got yours established, check to see they aren’t falling over. Stake them at each end, and wind string between the stalks to give them support.

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Strawberry plants

Our strawberry plants are nearly here. June is the time to start planting your strawberry plants to ensure a plentiful supply come Christmas day. This season we’re stocking both ventana and camarosa varieties. Both varieties produce firm, medium sized fruit, and are very tasty. Ventana produce more fruit earlier in the season, and camarosa have a greater yield later in the season. Making them an ideal combination to plant together for a prolonged strawberry season. And remember, make sure you don’t leave it too late to put up your bird netting.

Click here if you’re new to growing strawberries, and wanting to know more.


Beat the winter blues with violas

The winter blues in our house are not the sort to get you down. To be precise, they’re blue violas, light blue lobelias, lavender primulas and moody blues pansies. And they’re all excellent ways to inject some bright colour into your winter garden.

If your garden is looking a little bland after your summer flowers have dried up, now is the time to plant these winter annuals. And if you’re not feeling so ‘blue’, many of these pretty flowers also come in shades of pinks, purples, whites and yellows as well.

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  Photo credit: thisNZlife
Image by I Heart Naptime  

Touch up your lawn

Do you have some dried-off patches on your lawn, or large areas of moss or weed? After the long summer we’ve had, it’s likely your lawn might be looking a little worse for wear.

Now is the time to fix it up, so it’s in top shape come summer. First you want to be clearing off any weeds, with some weed killer. Leave for a couple weeks, then rake / hoe off all the dead parts. The more effort you put into your lawn, the better it will look. Then I recommend giving it a good feed of lawn fertiliser, in preparation for the lawn seed.

Next grab your Tui ‘Lawn Force’ lawn seed from our online shop. It’s Superstrike technology means it encourages super-fast germination. Follow the instructions on the packet. Water a little and often, and you’ll see results after 7-10 days. Lastly, remember to also try to keep everyone, including animals off this area (until it’s at least 5cm high) to give it the best possible start.

Rose pruning - learn from the experts

It’s almost rose pruning time again. Depending on where you are, you should be pruning your roses between late June and mid-August. We really recommend visiting one of the NZ Rose Society’s free demonstrations if you’re not sure on what you should be doing.  Here you can learn what to do from local rose experts – they are happy to share their knowledge and experiences, and answer any questions. Visit here for a list of all the locations and dates. They range from Auckland down to Otago, being held at a variety of public and private gardens.


Introducing blue gum & pine trees

Two new trees we’ve started growing at the nursery are the blue gum and pine tree. The blue gum (pictured) is an evergreen tree native to Australia that can reach heights of 30 - 55m. The (radiata) pine is an evergreen tree that grows up to 15-30m – you’ll see this all over NZ in block-planted forests. Both trees are widely used in construction, but they’re also perfect for shelterbelt planting and firewood.

You’ll find both blue gum and pine trees under our landscaping plants (firewood & shelter-belt categories) on our website. Right now, they’re nine months old - the blue gums are around 45cm tall and pines around 25cm tall. Both are $3 each, or $2.50 if you purchase 24 or more.


Colourful kale

Flower gardens tend to look a little dull at this time of the year. But there are some plants that thrive once your summer annuals pass their best. Ornamental kale an annual grown for its pretty waved leaves and bright winter colours - is the perfect plant to insert some liveliness into your garden right now.

Ornamental kale grows in large, low rosettes, like prizes in your garden. It’s a compact plant that closely resembles a cabbage. While you can eat it, it’s mostly grown for its colourful leaves. But if you’re really keen on tasting it, you’ll find ornamental kale has a very bitter taste.

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Caring for your fruit trees

With the mandarins and lemons looking good to eat right now, it’s easy to only focus on filling your fruit bowls rather than caring for your trees. But it’s also a good time to give some winter-care to your fruit trees right now. For the expert advice, I recommend reading Sarah Fraters (from Edible Gardens) guide to what you should be doing in your orchard right now.

For quick beginner tips I recommend mulching around your trees, and if you haven’t had much rain, give a deep weekly watering. For mandarin trees that are growing very densely, thin them out as soon as you’ve harvested the fruit. And when harvesting all fruit, remember to cut rather than pluck. In saying this, fruit that plucks easily off a tree is the best indicator of ripeness – far more than judging it by the colour of its skin.

Spring and Autumn are best times to plant new citrus. But if you’re not in a frost prone area you can plant all year round. Those in the cooler regions will want to be thinking about frost protection for their new trees right now. And if you’re not confident on what to plant, I recommend lemon trees -as they are hardier than most others.


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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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