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Sunday 23rd May, 2021
To weed cloth or not is an often posed question?
To weed cloth or not, well if you ask me the answer will be a definitive no way. I often get to look at pics of banks and clearings that have been very tidily covered with that plastic closely woven stuff, tacked down with wire pins and then planted through, but the cycle of life gets interrupted, in my opinion. I only have to look to many of the local council plantings on banks covered with that stuff, and to be honest, they look less than desirable, even after some years. The problem is that plants are not getting that all important humus. Ground cover plants can't grow through the soil as they might normally and shrubs and trees wont seed as there is nothing to grow in. Without weed cloth they have a fighting chance.
Now, to be fair, some of those banks are almost solid clay (which is extreme) and these are not good at growing anything as there is no soil level or detritus (leaves and organic matter that will in time add compost, become soil like and benefit the soil). But to cover them with weed cloth means all of this just slides off. Now I hear you say that it won't stay on the bank anyway, and yes to a point you are correct, but time has a way of making it work, especially if there are some plants there where the detritus will collect, and in the long term you may create a new eco system.
For banks that are not so extreme, or even revegetation of creek edges or the like, now is a good time to attack this type of project. I suggest clearing where you want to plant and plant to cover. Plant to cover means that your plants are spaced so that when they grow, say after 2 years, the plants join and cover the ground, this excludes light and therefore you get no weeds. I spot spray so as not to disturb the surface, which also means less weeds until it all grows. Of late we have been using organic sprays, especially around the grasses that we have planted, so timing is all about getting the weed seedlings whilst small and keeping your project weed free until it covers.
Clearing could involve spraying the area clear, planting with relevant spacing and completing with a solid layer of mulch, be it shredded bark, untreated sawdust, wood chip or the like. These will suppress the weeds for quite some time, but be sure to plant with tree tabs, and also side dress with fertilizer, as these mulches can steal the Nitrogen from your plantings. It's really important to maintain weed control until your plantings merge as weeds can quickly take over a project, but I have to say, it is oh so worth the effort when you get the result that looks amazing.
Once everything becomes established then life will cycle as it is meant to, plants will seed, detritus will become compost and feed the soil.
If you do have a bit of a project on hand then we have some plants, that need to move, at quite decent prices as we have too many and I'm still making way for the roses. We have to have the middle of the garden centre clear by next week as the roses are soon to start arriving.
Renga Renga lilies or Arthropodiums and a couple of cultivars like White Knights and Parnel or just cirratum. These have been $14.99 for quite decent plants and are on special at $10 but if you want a few say 10 or more then I would move then to a deal of just $7.50 each.
Olearia arborescens and also traversii of which both will make for quite a tidy clipped hedge or even as shrubs within a reveg project, again these have been reduced from $21.99 to $10 but for ten or more they come down to $7.50 each.
Ground cover Coprosmas are also taking up my rose space and so if you have a bank to cover then these are a great deal for you. Kirkii and Kirkii variegata or even plain prostrata. $16.99 down to $10 but for ten or more just $7.50 each.
Wetland grasses of Carex secta or dipsacea available at just $5.00. Plant at one metre spacings to cover the ground and exclude the light and therefore the weeds.
Just arrived in.... Proteas, leucos and more
Boas, minks and furs are all thoughts that come to mind when I think about the flowers on many of the protea family, especially the ones of the Nerifolia and other species. It's those black fluffy tips on the ends of the flowers that look, well, quite sensual, for want of a better expression. Now these seem to be quite popular at the moment as all that were posted on the web have been pre ordered, however we do have a few that haven't made it to the web as we just cannot get any pics, mainly because they leave us so quickly we don't get to see them in flower to take a photo. Where possible I have linked them to pics They do have coloured labels so you can come see them if you are local but I have also linked them to pics from google searches that represent them well.
Protea hybridMini Red ..A more compact specimen with red goblet shaped flower bract that are red with a satin appearance and adding beautiful colour in the garden from Winter to Spring
Protea Margarita A hybrid variety with medium to large red flowers with a frosted beard.
Protea NeriifoliaThe most well known Protea noted for its free flowering habit with its red flowers with black tips
Protea Passion...A hybrid which is compact and bushy. Showcasing large flowers with pale lime, tipped light pink bracts and a deep maroon almost black centre
Protea Peach SheenAn upright slow growing shrub that produces attractive peach coloured flowers with black trim
ProteaRose Mink An erect quick growing plant with attractive medium size rosy red flowers which can be seen on the plant almost all year round.
Leucospermumsalways remind me of pin cushion flowers and there are a few of those as well just arrived in .. check them out here on the web.
Nandinas are under rated especially these new range of Aussie imports that have arrived for our NZ market. These have made it here as tissue culture though they are possibly being tissued here in NZ now. I have always been impressed with Nandina Gulfstream which has small pointed leaves of quite a nice shade and these colour bright red as we go into the cooler months. Gulfstream makes for a rather dense shrubby bush of around 1.2 metres and would be rather eye catching as a small informal hedge or even as a feature shrub in the garden.
Now we are seeing a range of these small leaf shrubs which I rather like. The big difference I see is that these colour at each growth flush, rather than just in the winter. It was also mentioned that these stunning shrub are a tad smaller than the original gulfstream.
Nandina BlushProduces red new growth when other Nandinas are green (spring and autumn). A compact, rounded, evergreen shrub with that produces red new growth in spring and autumn. In winter months, turns vivid red all over.
Nandina Little FlickExciting new dwarf nandina with vibrant red new foliage taking centre stage in the garden during new growth flushes.
Nandina Magical Lemon LimeNow here is a Nandina for those of you who don't want red in your gardens! Magical Lemon Lime has bright lime green, or chartreuse, new foliage that fades to a lovely deeper green, and will not turn red, even over the winter. The two tone greens look amazing
Nandina ObsessionThis selection of Nandina offers a compact and dense growth habit that grows slowly producing bright red new growth that greens on maturity.
Roses Roses Roses soon to be here and its not too late to order
If you are out in the garden centre this weekend and notice that we have a lot of empty space happening in the middle of the garden centre then know that we are just making space for all the roses that Cecilia has organized to start arriving the first week of June. The potting season will begin in earnest as we grab all the seasoned potting team together and start bagging.
If you haven't earmarked your requirements then it's not too late to do so and we will send you a txt and email when the new seasons stock is potted. Just know that it's usually around 4 weeks for us to undertake potting the 20 odd thousand roses expected. Here are some pics to give you some inspiration.
It's still been beautiful and warm and so deliciously good for planting, go on and get it done. We are determined to get ours done and I'm sure that we will still get space through the potting to do some more. The further out from summer the better the root development will be.
If you are a lime sulphur kind of person then I guess from now on it will be good to apply... your roses will drop their leaves faster than you can imagine. Lime sulphur is also good for fruit trees as it is the best on fungal spore and insect eggs... though Copper and conqueror oil are pretty good too. Just remember, if you do both lime sulphur and copper/conqueror spraying then leave a good couple of weeks between them.
If you are in an area where the cold is descending quickly then you might want to consider spraying any frost tender plants with Vaporguard to help minimise frost damage. We have sprayed our citrus already as it is wise to get it on before the frosts come. Ange tells me the key is the number 3 so spray, spray again 3 days later. Holds for 3 months down to -3 degrees.