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.
It really feels like we are nearly there. It is warmer and I wore a t-shirt all day yesterday!
Here are my picks of the essential jobs that need doing in my and possibly your garden this week.
1. If you have children who run around bare feet and complain of the prickles, then you have Onehunga weed growing in the lawn. Buy some Prickle weedkiller and give the lawn a spray. It is killed really easily.
2. If you have a tropical garden or love that look, now is the time for planting Hibiscus. Lots of different varieties available. I have the larger Sinesis variety at the back of my beds, as hedging along with Griselinia Lucida, and the smaller varieties can be towards the front of the beds.
3. Plant your summer veges now and remember to stagger plant over the next month, so you have a regular supply. Plant your basil next to your tomatoes as companions - apparently it improves the flavour of the tomatoes.
4. Pots and containers will need more regular watering now it has warmed up. If you know you forget to water, maybe think of mixing in some water storage crystals with the potting mix.
5. If you haven't already, mulch your beds to conserve all the moisture that fell over the wet winter.
6. Liquid feed your plants to give them a boost. I love Seasol that you can connect onto your hose and spray direct from the bottle. Lots of fun!
And remember that if you can't quite get into your garden as life is busy, get our help before time runs out. Call me on 021 549 161 to get our sparkly team of gardeners on your side now.
Some of you may have heard of companion planting - when you plant mutually beneficial plants next to one another, but we use the term 'companion gardening' to describe when our gardeners garden alongside the garden's owner.
Why employ a gardener when you can garden yourself?
Here are a few reasons we've been told....
What do our gardeners say about companion gardening? Victoria, one of our companion gardeners, told us a bit more.
"I love companion gardening. It is so lovely to spend a morning or a day with someone who is also passionate about gardening and it is very rewarding to be able to help out in a garden that is truly loved. It's also a great benefit to be able to talk about the garden, why that plant, why there, when does it like being pruned, how do you propagate it. All questions we know the answers to but I love getting another person's perspective. Gardening is a subject we can never fully know, so gardening with someone who has been hands on for years is an invaluable experience. Everyone has their different ways of doing the same thing!"
When someone is looking to companion garden with us, we meet them in their garden and spend time getting to know them. Then we carefully match one of our team of gardeners to the client and their garden, to ensure that they are companioned with someone they can enjoy gardening with.
If you think that companion gardening might be something you, or someone you know and love might enjoy, contact us now to arrange an initial catch up by calling Claire on 021 549 161.
It's all about making the right choices for your garden, but it's just as important to know what doesn't work. Check out your garden for any of these sins of the soil!
1. Planting trees and large shrubs too close to your house. You are asking for an arborist's or builders bill somewhere down the track. Check how big the tree will get at maturity. Unless you live on a lifestyle block, be cautious planting any tree in a smaller sized garden. Big trees in small gardens just don't work.
2. Weed mat - it destroys soil structure, compacts the soil so air and water can't penetrate and over time doesn't stop weeds anyway.
3. Planting too many plant varieties. Heard the saying "less is more"? It applies to gardens too. It is well worth getting some expert advice and having a planting plan, so you don't get carried away.
4. Cheap, solar, spiked in the ground garden lights.... need I say more.
5. Not paying attention to that expensive ready lawn you laid. You will need to get it treated and sprayed regularly to stop weeds invading.
6. Choosing a garden style that doesn't suit your lifestyle. If you are thinking of looking after the garden yourself, just make sure that you have the time and the inclination. This is a good conversation to have when you plan the garden or consider buying a house with a high maintenance garden to.
We can help you remove that huge tree, remove the weed mat and nurture your soil back to health, plan a perfect garden for you, treat your lawn or help maintain the high maintenance garden you have. Call us on 021 549 161 to start the process.
Hi - I'm the founder of Floribunda Garden Care & Claire Talbot Garden Design. I live in Hauraki, with my husband Mark and our 3 children, Tom, Molly & Charlie & 2 elderly cats.
4 years ago I decided to follow my passion, and studied Landscape Design at Unitec. It was the beginning of a journey where I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some wonderful people who are passionate about plants, gardens and garden design.
I wanted to create a business that would provide job opportunities for women who wanted to flow work around their families. The team started small with first Toni, who I knew from Playcentre days, then Nadine, next Viv and then Pam and her son Zac. I utilised the skills of Naomi to provide my clients with stunning landscape designs. Keely left the world of banking to join us, after graduating with her Diploma in Landscape Design. Then we met Victoria, with her wealth of horticultural knowledge after interviewing her on Takapuna Beach. Next Andre, with her strength & passion for outdoor work and Terry, with his attention to detail. We love the way he folds our garden bags every Thursday, ready for the week ahead! We are always looking for the right people to join the team too.
Nowadays, the vision of the business isn't solely around work opportunities for women, but to give opportunities for our team to work in gardens, doing work that they love and are good at.
With a team of gardeners we are able to match client to gardener to garden. It is like match making. I love to meet a new client and choose which gardener would be a perfect pairing.
I think my skills are being organised and being generous with my knowledge to clients. I offer a free garden consultation so that I am able to share ideas and create relationships with those who live around us on the North Shore. I'm also happy to recommend other local businesses to help with garden related jobs too, such as Simon, the great French window cleaner and Steve, the waterblaster! Did I forget to mention Travis, the hedge & tree trimmer....!
With having a landscape design background, I am able to share ideas on garden layout as well as what plants are best in what spots. I particularly love bringing together different leaf textures and shapes into a garden and suggest plants that look great together.
My goal is to grow the business three fold over the next 3 years and spend more time designing. To do that we need more clients, so if you know anyone who doesn't have the time or isn't able to keep their garden tidy and looking beautiful, let us know. We'd love to help them. And we offer a 20% discount on a garden tidy for new referral clients.
The best way to contact me is to call or text 021 549 161.
Spring is nearly upon us! Here is our list of jobs that need tackling in your garden this month.
1. It's time to apply lawn fertiliser to stimulate new growth and also get rid of those weeds. We offer lawn treatments through our partnership with Pimp My Lawn, so if your lawn is looking a little sad and weedy, email us to book your treatment.
2. Fertilise your trees and shrubs with either sheep pellets or long term controlled release fertiliser granules. Great to do this just before it rains heavily, so the water helps dissolves the nutrients into the soil.
3. It is still rose planting and pruning time. Here is Toni, our rose expert, pruning and staking some older plants in Devonport this time last year.
4. Prepare vegetable patches with lots of organic matter, compost, blood and bone and lime ready for spring planting.
5. Plant strawberries, rhubarb, new citrus, fruit trees and veggie seedlings! It's been wet so a handful of slug pellets will help protect those new plants.
6. If you have indoor plants, hanging baskets or patio pots - give them a tidy & feed and repot into a larger container if they are looking squashed.
Let us turn your garden of need into a "Garden of Eden". Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a time for our gardeners to care for and tidy your garden this month.
This week, we've got our garden designer hats on to talk about plant portfolios and more specifically hedging plants.
What's a plant portfolio, I hear you ask?
When garden designers design a garden for a client, they select a range of plants (the plant portfolio) that...
1. suit the conditions
2. suit the clients style
3. suit each other.
In most average sized gardens we are looking at choosing...
Today we will talk about your WALLPAPER - that is what you have around the edges & boundaries of your garden.
First - Hedging plants
Before you plant a hedge ask yourself these questions.
1. How Tall Does This Hedge Really Need To Be?
and then ask yourself
2. Am I Prepared To / Able To Trim It Myself?
3. Can I Afford For Someone To Come At Least Once A Year To Trim It For Me?
Hedges can be expensive things to maintain. If it is screening from neighbours you are needing, do you need screening all along the fencing or would a few strategically positioned trees do the job?
Go out with a measuring tape and measure the height you really need, and then choose a hedging plant that grow to that height.
Our aim is to save you time and money on hedge trimming.
We've listed some hedging plants below with their growth heights that might just fit the bill....
1. Pittosporum 'Mountain Jade' - suitable for smaller spaces
2. Camellia sasanqua setsugekka - single white flowers in winter / early spring
3. Michelia 'Figo' - lovely scented flowers in spring / semi shade
4. Feijoa 'sellowiana' - if you need something which gives autumn fruit
5. Ficus tuffy - bright green emerald foliage, great alternative to Griselinia
6. Griselinia littoralis 'Broadway Mint' - go to North Shore hedging plant, happy kept shorter too.
7. Eugenia ventenatii (lily pily) - quick growing, dark green and glossy with bronze/red new growth
8. Photinia ' Red Robin' - dark green foliage with red new growth
9. Griselinia lucida - large green glossy tropical leaves
Remember, you can choose any hedging plants that you love, but you'll need to keep them under control if their natural size is larger than the spot you have.
A great nursery that provides hedging already grown ready to sink into the ground is Twining Valley Nurseries
Perfect if you lack patience and just want that instant hedging gratification!
If you would like a FREE CONSULTATION for your North Shore garden and advice on hedging email us by clicking here.
When you have empty space in your garden beds, weeds will grow, so here is our pick of the bunch for great plants which can fill those gaps in your garden.
If you need help choosing your garden's fillers, contact us. We'd be delighted to pop round and give some advice. Email us at email@example.com to book an appointment.
As soon as we met Victoria, we knew she was a perfect fit for us and our clients.
Originally from Ireland, Victoria followed her heart and settled with her husband Richard in Rothesay Bay a couple of years ago.
She is from a family who loves to garden...
"Both sets of my grandparents were gardeners, one garden had clipped hedges, stunning hydrangeas, roses and colourful annuals, the other was a productive small holding, a little wild but very pretty with chickens, dogs and us crazy kids running around trying to steal peas, blackcurrants, gooseberries, spoiling our Sunday lunch! I’m sure my brother and I were handed a trowel and told to help and I can remember being fascinated by my Uncle growing Chrysanthemums in a darkened shed to get them flowering for Christmas, he’s still doing it forty years on, oh and my granddads gorgeous tomatoes, I still have fond memories of their smell as I entered his greenhouse. But gardening was just was one of those things old people did, so when I was younger it didn’t really sing out as something I wanted to do."
Victoria attended horticultural college in England and whilst studying, she got a call from her old employer, James Dyson (of vacuum fame), who had just bought a beautiful but quite run down Country Estate. She was given the opportunity to help him transform the garden. She says it was the best gardening experience she could have ever asked for.
"It’s amazing how fast you learn when you have hundreds of acres to look after and more and more to be planted. Plus with an unlimited budget and owners that were up for anything, as long as it was grander than Prince Charles - (a close neighbour) I was in gardening heaven!"
She eventually decided it was time to leave England and move back to Northern Ireland, and again she found another beautiful country estate that was having a bit of an overhaul. Victoria spent another couple of years there developing gardens, setting up polytunnels, productive greenhouses and cutting gardens.
"I really do have to pinch myself sometimes. I can safely say that when I look back and think about all the beautiful planting, growing and cutting that I have done over the past 15 years I have been one very lucky gardener. And still everyday I learn something new. Horticulture is such an amazing subject - you can never know it all, there’s always something mother nature hasn’t shown you yet! It’s amazing."
We asked Victoria to share her top gardening tips with us:
"There are so many gardening tips and they are all as important as the next one, but for me, if you get these fundamentals right, your garden will look amazing:
Soil - whatever you do, ensure your soil is as weed free as possible, has good structure i.e. not to clayey or not too sandy, you want to ensure that you mix in as much organic matter as required to make it friable and full of nutrients. As they say, feed the soil, not the plant and it is so true. A good layer of organic matter e.g. mushroom compost, compost mix, horse manure, pea straw (learnt that one today) works so well. Mulch over the top in the autumn / winter and dig it it early spring before planting.
Right plant, right place - different plants thrive in different planting situations, some love deep shade, some love full on sun and some with tolerate a bit of both. Some like to be dry at the roots and others can sit in wet conditions for weeks / months. If you give your plants their preferred situation they will reward you with beautiful, strong healthy growth. Plant them where you want them to go but where they aren’t going to be happy and you will end up with a sick, disease prone straggly plant, that will be more of an eyesore than a masterpiece.
Know you plant - it takes 5 minutes to look it up, all plants are so different, not just where you plant them but how and when you feed or prune them. Getting this right will pay dividends.
Be vigilant - get out into the garden and down into your plants, have a chat with them. By doing this you are more likely to spot pest, disease and other disorders quickly. The sooner you spot them, the sooner you can treat them and the less impact they are going to have on the plant and the rest of your garden. A 10 minute walk and chat every week can work wonders on unwanted problems."
Thank you Victoria! We are so blessed that Victoria now works with us and our sparkly gardeners in all the beautiful gardens we care for around the North Shore. She brings to the team her amazing horticultural knowledge, sparkling personality and is such a lovely person to work alongside.
To have Victoria work in your garden, send us an email. We would love to introduce you.