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Friday 29th March, 2019


Nothing to do with plants  but will keep you fit for gardening ... said with  Tongue in cheek  of course... Last year I was supposed to do some training for the Running of the balls... Just to recap this is an annual fun run fund raiser that my cousin Christie organises each year, up in Aucks for Prostate and Hospice. It's nothing too serious and just seemed a damn fine thing to take part in... after all its not every day that you get to pay to dress up in blue drag, go running around the scenic streets of Birkenhead, get a coffee and a bacon / egg buttie on the finish line. Of course the monies raised are for great charities too.

As usual I didn't get around to any sort of training and so Tony and I walked the  five km involved, along with the dogs Zack and Galaxy and with a variety of participants all dressed in wacky blue outfits.

This year in May, is the up and coming Booblicious event and I think that Christie was subtly suggesting that I do some training and of course get an outfit planned. If I recollect there are a couple of pink tutus up in the loft left over from a team Xmas function and I imagine that there will some leather somewhere from those youthful days of the Mardi gras.
But the bottom line is that if we are going to participate, then I will need to do some running, even if it is up and down the drive here at home and I'm sure that it will help with my gardening fitness

But for those around that may just be interested,  in a fun event and for a good cause then mark the event in your calendar,  dust of the lycra, find a pink outfit, get a team together and start some training if, like me, you don't do any already.
So mark in your calendar 
Sunday 26th May 7.30 am from the Bungalo Cafe, Birkenhead Auckland $45.00 per person or $100 for a team of 3....   includes coffee and bacon /egg butties at the finish line, all proceeds of Booblicious are shared evenly between Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and Hospice Waikato..  

Its time ... plant that hedge now... Autumn is the perfect timing

So now that fitness is sorted  LOL  its the perfect season time to get new hedges sorted... I always make the space like a garden bed and either skim the lawn or spray the area off...I know that it can be a bit tricky but when planting plants, think 3 dimensionally or to the space that it will occupy when  fully grown

For example most hedges that will grow to  around 1.5 to 1.8 metres high will end up being somewhere around 70 to 100cm wide... Its worth remembering also that once your hedge has attained the desired height and width that you must cut it back to that, otherwise if will get overall bigger every year... a cm more, twice a year, means that a hedge will gain an inch every year and that adds up.

Spacing is another question that we always get asked and for most medium height hedges its somewhere between 70 and 100 cm apart... Grade could influence this decision and a small economic grade may be planted as close as 50 cm apart and a well furnished plant of a really good grade could be a 100 cm apart.. 

You new hedge also needs to be planted  approx 30 to 50 cm inside the fence line or boundary and start approx 50cm in from  the end.
I would use string line to make sure that when I plant, that they are all  perfectly in line and I make a measuring stick to get them all exactly the correct distance apart... Dig the hole deeper than the plant and break the spoil up.... chuck some tree bricks in the planting hole to get them off to a good start... Just note that you never plant a plant deeper than it is in its container  and so if you intend mulching afterwards then perhaps plant a tad higher  and then mulch to the correct height. 

Remember that to have a great hedge that you need to maintain it, firstly to get it away nice and dense and then, secondly to maintain it in maturity. 

Trim a new hedge as you go so that it bushes up and then grow it to the desired height. I believe that its easier to cut a hedge twice a year as the job is then easier than more difficult. Hedge trimming is usually after the spring flush and then again after the autumn flush.

Camellias are my fav for hedging as they are long term, hardy and forgiving but there are many choices to consider from Pittoporums, Griselinias to Hollies and so on

Sasanqua Camellias are usually first choice in the hedging dept for a Camellia as opposed to other Camellia species.
Consider Setsugekka, Early pearly, Mine no Yuki and Yuletide to name a few

Ang managed to get a couple deals on some Pittosporums  which are quick growing and will make for a cool hedge normally $24.99 each these both $5.00 of top make them, $19.99 each

Have a look at 
Mountain Jade. A lovely new variety of Pittosporum with small pale green leaves and black stems.  Neat and tidy upright habit. Great for hedging. Plant in sun to part shade in well drained soil. Evergreen.

Pittosporum Wrinkle Blue  A very attractive form of our NZ Pittosporum that forms a neat, evergreen tree ideal for screening or hedging.  Glossy, wavy leaves of mid grey-green on stems that have a bluish hue.  Easy  and quick growing, trims well.  Evergreen

Peonies Give them a go?

I often get feed back from clients which I really appreciate  and these comments are from Aidan and did seem to make sense to me. I still would plant in the coldest position in the garden but certainly would experiment with the depth 

Hi there Lloyd. Thanks for the interesting electret and the fabulous pictures of peonies. They are a superb plant. One of my all time favourites. I've done the ice water or ice cube trick too. But recent reading on the subject came from an article on peony growing techniques from an Australian grower who wrote that most people plant the peony tuber too deep. As the tuber needs chilling to flower well, the top of the tuber should only be a few centimetres (1-2) below the soil. Your adoring public might like to know that and give it a try. !! 



It has to be said but Peonies are gorgeous in the garden and in the vase and well worth growing for these stunning blooms. I will say that they typically like a cool root run and so the coldest spot in you garden if you are in a warmer region. I know that our friends in Rotorua manage to have a fabulous display of these in their garden and so are worth giving a go. If you struggle to get flowers then try a trick of putting ice cubes over the position in the winter time.

This year we have dry packed tubers of  five different cultivars for sale which which you can either plant in the garden or into pots. For those that pre ordered these, then you should have had some notification that these are now in for you to collect or get couriered  and for those that didn't pre order I suggested to Cathie that she get some extras. So if you have a hankering to grow your own Queen of the perennials then get shopping or of course come out for a drive.

Peony Kansas. Kansas is a bushy peony with huge, absolutely show-stopping fuchsia-pink fragrant flowers. This variety has a good bud count, and even the golf-ball sized buds are worth noting. Flowers are double in form, and maintain their density and fullness throughout their bloom time. Deciduous

Red Sarah Bernhardt  This is a red version of the well-known 'Sarah Bernhardt,' large bowl shaped fragrant double blooms, dark green shiny foliage with an upright habit, blooms spring to early summer. Plant in full sun where the frosts are thickest and you will be delighted year after year with it's stunning display. Deciduous  

Sarah Bernhardt  Peonies are old favorites for late spring display, prized for their large, colourful and fragrant blooms. Plants form an upright bush of dark green leaves, remaining attractive all season. This popular double selection features soft apple blossom pink petals. Late blooming. Exceptional fragrance. Deciduous

Dr Alexander Fleming  Fully double flowers loaded with deep pink petals. Highly fragrant flowers that are mid to late season. Likes full sun and a good frost or two as peonies do like the cold in the winter. Plants form an upright bush of dark green leaves, remaining attractive all season. Deciduous.

Duchesse de Nemours   A century-and-a-half after its introduction, this fragrant double remains a standard by which all other white Peonies are judged. Strong stems give the blossoms an aristocratic bearing; a touch of yellow at the base of the dense, ruffled inner petals lights them up with a warm glow. Likes full sun and a good frost or two as peonies do like the cold in the winter. Deciduous.

Agapanthus Charlotte
Another newbie Aggie and I have to say that I like the look of this one.
A dwarf Agapanthus featuring tidy fine leaves to around 30cm. Stunning light blue flowers with dark blue striped flowers reaching 60cm. A sterile variety t

Passion fruit These are great plants and have been selling well  and we also manged to get some more. Nice large grade chunky plants that would normally a $24.99 grade, these also $19.99

Some feed back from last weeks email and I have never done the preserve this way and so thought that I would also share this for those who like to try things 

My passion fruit recipe that I've been making for years, it's from my Mother... yes cup for cup of pulp and sugar.  Remember the sugar is the preservative.   Keep stirring it all day on and off and maybe next day until all the sugar is dissolved. Check bottom of Jar.  No cooking.    Keep in the back of the fridge.  I used to keep it all year until the pears were ready to bottle, add about 2 teaspooons to a quart jar of pears, this was a great improvement for the pears.   I'm 82 now and have no one to feed but myself, but still have the urge to preserve the passionfruit.

Last week was all about Figs and Angela grabbed  Brown turkey and Mrs Williams on  a deal too  again $24.99 and down to $19.99. each.  

Another weekend here and I didn't get all the work done that I wanted to this week but that is how it goes... we did get 6 mls of rain so hope that you all out there got a bit more than that but its a start for us here. I am still picking Figs and the Feijoas have just started to come on as well....  don't you just love the harvests of Autumn.  

Have a fabulous weekend 


Lloyd, Harry and the Wairere Team

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