It really feels like winter is here when you have to scrape ice off your windscreen in Auckland!
We get excited in July as it is rose pruning time. Roses aren't really meant to grow in Auckland. It never really gets cold enough for the rose to 'hibernate', rest and recover before having to produce those beautiful blooms. That is why they need to be regularly fed to keep them growing & producing and why we try to prune in the coldest months, when there is less chance they will actively grow.
If you have roses and would like them to be professionally pruned this year, get in touch with us - firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to help them get off to a great start this year.
Other jobs this month are tidying all those plants that are now past their best, ready to grow again when the warmth comes back.
Enjoy your garden.
Claire & the team
Firstly, make sure your secateurs are sharp. Secondly, clean them with a bleach wipe or alcohol solution. Then, take off any damaged or dead growth back to new healthy growth. Any branches that are touching or crossing can be removed too. Then, depending on the age, size and shape of the bush, cut back to a few centimetres above an outward facing bud, with a diagonal cut.
Spray to protect against mites, scale and fungus - you can also use an organic bug oil or a premix Rose spray such as Yates Rose Gun.
If they are looking ugly & tatty with old brown leaves and dead flowers, get your scissors or secateurs and cut them off at ground level.
If you have the large invasive variety, I would try to dig them out in these wet conditions, or at least confine them in one spot. If you have the non invasive varieties, now is the time to cut off the old flower stalks & leaves, leaving them tidy for spring.
Cut back to just above new growth at nodes towards the base of the plant. You may want to remove some stems completely depending on how crazy the plant has gone!
If you don't have time to do these jobs or others in your garden in July, our sparkly gardener's would love to help. Contact us here to book an appointment.
Welcome to June - I hope you are enjoying the colourful display from the Camellias this time of year. They can be slow growing, but the pretty petals and glossy leaves are hard to beat as a hedge or as a stand alone shrub at this time of year.
Prune in June is a bit of mantra for our team for those trees that have finished fruiting - such as feijoas. Make sure your tools are sharp and clean to help prevent disease spreading between your plants. We use Dettol wipes for our tools between client's gardens.
We've highlighted a few June jobs that will keep you busy on sunny days in your garden.
Enjoy the month of June
June is the perfect time to plant new fruit trees such as apples, pears & plums. The new seasons stocks will be coming into local garden centres shortly. I think Waimea's selection is by far the best selection. Ask about the right root stock for your soil type. Certain root stocks are better at coping with Auckland's North Shore clay soil.
Don't forget the strawberries - the earlier you plant them, the earlier you will get the fruit.... and they will fruit for longer.
Up in warmer Auckland, it is safe to prune hydrangeas, though sparkly Toni, who originates from Christchurch never likes to do it! Remove any spindly, dead and thin growth, by cutting them out at the base. For the stronger shoots, prune back to 2 - 3 buds from the base. If you care about the colour changes, add lime to help the pink shade and aluminium sulphate for the blue.
This time of year is a good time to remind yourself to clean & sharpen your tools - white spirit works well. I drop my tools off at my local Hammer Hardware where a local tool sharpening guy collects them each week - well worth doing.
Making sure it is dry and your loppers are sharp, now is the time to prune deciduous trees who have lost their leaves. Any branches that are dead or diseased should be removed first, then prune for shape, removing any that are crossing or rubbing against each other and size. You might want to lift the crown, so remove the lower branches or reduce in size, pruning back along the main lateral branches.
If you don't have time to do these jobs or others in your garden in June, our sparkly gardener's would love to help. Contact us here to book an appointment.
Welcome to May - I hope that you have a source of juicy large feijoas, surely one of the best things about autumn time.
We were lucky last week to be tidying a garden with a huge feijoa fall, which weren't loved by the tenants. Toni & I happily tidied them away and took them home to grateful children.
We've highlighted a few May jobs that will keep you busy on sunny days in your garden.
Enjoy the month of May.
Autumn is nature's best planting time, so now is the time for new trees & shrubs to be placed in the earth with love.
Look ahead to spring - if you plant your strawberries now you will be rewarded with an early crop which will fruit for longer.
Now is time to take a look at your indoor plants. A top up of new container mix, a liquid feed and reduce the watering as temperatures have dropped.
Now is the time to plant winter & spring colour and you'll see the stocks of camellia & friends in the garden centre in the coming months. Remember to get some camellia feed too, to keep them happy.
If you don't have time to do these jobs or others in your garden in May, our sparkly gardener's would love to help. Contact us here to book an appointment.
Happy Easter! It is beginning to feel a little cooler in the evenings and the clock change are all signs that we are heading out of summer. Autumn is nature's best planting time, so if you have trees & shrubs to get in, now is the time to do it so they can establish over the cooler, wetter months. Here are a few more jobs in the garden to keep you busy in April.
Love them, love them, love them but always forget to plant the seeds til too late. Not this Easter. Find a sunny spot, open to rain and pop some sweetpea seeds in. This is a great flower for children to plant as the seed is easy to handle and the end product is so sweet smelling and pretty. You'll be thanking me come spring.
Remove all your tired old summer flowers, rejuvenate the soil by digging in new garden mix and some general fertiliser or sheep pellets and then replant with some winter colour - primulas, violas, pansies, snap dragon & hollyhocks are all perfect.
It's your last chance to plant your spring bulbs.
Here's a great guide to help you from Palmers Garden Centre
Keep dead heading your roses and start to dream about next season. Do any of your roses need replacing? Or are you wanting to plant a new rose? If so, now is the time to prepare the site, by removing the old soil turning it over and aerating and replacing it with good quality potting mix.
Now is the time to prune back those summer flowering shrubs that are tired and past it. Shrubs like Hebes (prune to stop them getting too woody) & Hydrangeas, (unless you love the dead heads over winter) will look tidier after a prune.
If you don't have time to do these jobs and others in your garden in April, our sparkly gardener's would love to help. Contact us here to book an appointment.
Sounds easy, and it is but here are some of our golden rules:
Wow - where did January go!
It has been a crazy month for weather with heat and lots of rain too. Weeds and plants are growing crazily in my garden in equal measures. Here are my top tips for jobs in the garden for February
1. Water your citrus - As your fruit develops over summer, it is important to keep your plants well watered. Half a bucket twice a week is what to aim for.
2. Feijoas are fleshy fruits, so to ensure you have lots of lovely juicy feijoas come autumn, it is critical to keep watering at the moment. If you haven't mulched around the base of each plant - do it!
3. Raise the heights of your lawn mower - this allows the grass to stay a little longer, and prevents the soil underneath heating too much. Soak lawns once a week, to keep them lush, and having a regular weed and feed spray regime should help keep weeds under control. Pimp My Lawn offer a good service.
4. Thin apple clusters to about three per bunch − any more than this and the fruit will be small and more than likely to bruise.
5. Weeding, watering, mulching & feeding - keep on top of the basics!
It's time to trim Buxus & fertilise any topiaries in pots. Plants in pots do better with chemical or synthetic fertilisers so use products such as Osmoform, Triabon or Nitrophoska. With February being a dry month, water your pots every 2/3 days. Watering will also activate the fertilisers you use too.
If you need a hand keeping on top of your garden this month or feel frustrated that you don't have the time to make it tidy and presentable, contact us here.
Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the garden with friends and family over the holiday season. The abundance of flowers and summer colour and harvesting fruit and vegetables.
Don't worry if you didn't have time to plant fresh herbs and lettuce. There is still time now to pop to the garden centre, get some seedlings and pop them in. I'm enjoying my basil and tomato plants that I only planted on the 23rd December.
Here are my top 3 essential January jobs...
1. Watering (the right way!)
If you are going to water the garden, make sure you do it right. Deep infrequent watering develops a much better root system for your plants. I recommend 1 - 2 buckets of water per plant every 5 - 7 days. This is obviously dependent on the size of plant, but if you remember the size of the plastic container your plant came in, you want that volume of water x 2. This should be delivered slowly at the base of the plant with a slow running hose (not the spray setting on your hose attachment) in the mid to late evening.
2. Keep On Top Of Your Weeds
Weeds compete for the small amounts of moisture in your soil, so do your plants a favour and make sure they are getting all the water at this time of year. Keeping on top of the weeds is easier said than done, but if you can keep on top of them and just wander once a day pulling out the little ones, then your garden will thank you for it.
3. Plan Your Future Garden
If you are wanting to improve your garden, make it lower maintenance and more attractive for this new year, now is the perfect time to start that process.
Autumn is the perfect time to make changes in the garden as it is the longest time before the harsh summer, for the plants to get established, so now is the time to start thinking and planning for those changes.
Start the process NOW by contacting me via email at email@example.com. We are qualified landscape designers as well as qualified and experienced gardeners, so are the perfect people to chat too.
We offer a FREE consult too where we give you free advice on what's best to plant, what will survive and thrive and garden layouts and designs that will suit you, your style and family home. Get in touch HERE now.
Mulching around the base of fruit trees and garden shrubs will conserve moisture and protect roots from the hot summer sun, especially if you have Camellia, Azaleas or Vireyas.
Fill your pots with summer annual colour ready for Christmas - impatiens, marigolds and petunias are a good option.
If you are growing tomatoes, feed them once a week with a good liquid feed such as Seasol. Remove any lateral side growths and tie up with strong stakes.
Keep planting out those veggie seedlings and sow seeds directly into the soil. Remember to stagger planting every 2 weeks to avoid gluts.
For patio pots, choose containers to use as focal points, rather than lots of smaller pots, which dry out faster. When it comes to watering, do this in the morning or evening, rather than the middle of the day.
With the first flush of rose blooms nearly finished, it is time to do the first lot of deadheading – removing the spent flowers will encourage new stems to appear sooner. A sprinkle of rose fertiliser is a good idea, as well as a layer of mulch. Water roses deeply a couple of times a week, aiming not to water the foliage, just the soil. This helps prevent black spot and mildew issues.
Mow lawns at a higher cutting level for the summer. If you cut your lawn too short, it will dry out more quickly.
Need help to get those jobs done in the garden? Got the need but not the time to do it?
Call us on 021 549 161 - we'd love to help.
Claire & the team
Eugenia ventenatii, better known as lily pily is an often used hedging plant, chosen for its vigorous growth and ability to grow tall quickly to screen out unpleasant views.
It has a lovely reddish tinge on the new growth and really bushy with a fine leaf to give a really dense hedge. A perfect solution - but over the past few years in the North Shore area it has fallen foul of psyllids and thrips - small sap sucking insects which leave lumps on leaves and distort the plant's growth.
After mating, the female insects insert yellow oval shaped egg into the edge of the new leaves. Small nymphs hatch from the eggs and move to the newly expanding leaves, where they feed and develop in the cup shaped pits which are formed by the plant’s response to the insects feeding. Excessive pit formation creates severely distorted or blistered leaves, leaving shoots to appear stunted. Nymphs produce excrement in the form of tiny white pellets, some of which collects on foliage and becomes blackened from sooty mould growth.
So what can be done to stop this damage to your hedge?
Firstly, the health of the plant plays a major role. Plants that are stressed and in poor condition due to lack of water or nutrients are far more susceptible to attack. Make sure that you are watering the plants regularly in summer and during dry times. We've had good feedback from our client Jackie who also uses Kiwicare's Insect Hit Granules applied to the soil every 2 - 3 months. We would also recommend feeding with sheep pellets or a liquid feed of Seasol.
Secondly, spraying with a systemic insectide spray such as Confidor, will kill the nymphs. Systemic sprays are chemicals that travel through the plant and remain in the plant tissue for a period of time. Do read the instructions carefully and remember to apply the second spray, 7 - 10 days after the first. Also, wait for a dry day. Studies have shown that focusing on spraying the underside of the leaves is more effective.
Good luck with your hedge care and if you need our help with treating a bad case of thrip & psyllid infestation, just give us a call on 021 549 161.
We spend a lot of time dealing with your weeds so we know what works and what doesn't.
We know you don't want weeds in your garden, but we also know that you worry about your pets, children, your health and that of the environment. You are asking us more and more for an alternative to "Round Up' and other weed killing products which contain glyphosate which is the active ingredient in Round Up and other systemic (travels to the root system) weedkillers.
You might have heard last week that many European countries are moving towards banning glyphosate by mid 2022. Studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organisation have concluded that glyphosate is 'probably' carcinogenic to humans'.
The scientific community is divided with other studies concluding that the active ingredient in the most popular and some argue most effective weedkiller is 'unlikely' to pose any health risk to humans.
Glyphosate levels in our urine have increased by about 500% over the past 23 years, as the chemical makes its way into our food chain, being so extensively used in modern day agriculture. Even though the levels in humans have increased, they are still considerably below levels that are known to have any impact on animals. So, the next step is to study how levels of glyphosate relate to our overall health.
So back to your garden. Our gardening team have recently done some testing of the effectiveness of non glyphosate weedkillers and organic alternatives, as we thought that if there is another product that is as effective as Round Up, but is a 'safer' alternative, we should use it in your garden - just to be on the safe side.
We have been really impressed with Wet & Forget's 'Hitman' product and we are are now using it as standard in your garden.
Hitman doesn't work if you are killing grassed areas in preparation for planting garden beds, but it is effective on broad leafed weeds (rather than fine grass) and great for weeds coming through cobblestones or paving. You need a good coverage all over the foliage to get the best results. It is also best to apply it at the hottest time of day to accelerate the dehydration of the weeds and it needs to be a dry day too ( 4 - 5 hours without rain).
Taken from Wet & Forgets website - www.wetandforget.co.nz
So, if you don't have time to tackle those weeds in your paving and pathways, get our help before Christmas comes. Contact us HERE to receive a FREE weed spray with every 3 hour garden tidy.