Friday, 16 October 2015

Spring is definitely here

And the trees at the Otumoetai Railway Gardens are looking fantastic. 

This is what spring looks like in Tauranga, New Zealand!

Absolutely stunning!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Where do you find your inspiration?

We visited several garden centres recently looking for ties for tying the roses to wires, and also compost and potting mix to repot the citrus trees. I always find walking around garden centres interesting and inspiring, both in what they have for sale and how they display it. 

We saw a fantastic example of a lemon tree in a pot producing a huge amount of fruit, clearly we have been doing something terribly wrong with ours as we have never had that much fruit off ours. So the repotting of our citrus is very timely I think. In all fairness they have also been moved from one temperate zone to another and did receive some minor damage in the move. 

With repotting, some root pruning, foliage pruning and feeding we are hoping that our trees will spring into action and start producing what they should. We also purchased a second lemon of a different variety as we use a lot of lemons plus a lime tree and these will also be planted into pots. While you do have to water and feed them more often than if they were in the ground, I do like the way that they can be moved around and be contained more.

The mandarin tree showing new growth a couple of weeks on from being pruned and replanted.

I have always been quite apprehensive about pruning but have finally grasped the understanding of the purpose of pruning. Maybe my knowledge of plants and their purpose wasn't enough for me to totally understand what I was wanting to achieve through pruning before or maybe as I have developed a better understanding of what each plant or tree is trying to achieve my knowledge and confidence with pruning has grown. I have also seen myself what happens when pruning hasn't been done early and regularly enough and this has also contributed to my understanding of the importance of pruning. 

When I was younger and had no idea of what I was doing at all, the elder members of the family would provide guidance with all gardening matters especially pruning. As time has gone on and they aren't with us any more I came to realise that I was going to have to step up and take on this responsibility completely on my own and the only way I was going to learn was to remember what they had always said and give it a go, and that is exactly what I have done.

The needs of gardeners has definitely changed in my lifetime, I grew up on large quarter acre sections with fruit trees and vegetable gardens being the norm, now with the shortage of land available for housing in many cities and the smaller section sizes we are needing smaller trees and plants around us as there just isn't the room for them now. However we still want everything that we had before, our fruit trees and vegetable or kitchen gardens so container gardening, dwarf root-stock trees, multi grafted trees and pruning are just some ways that we can still achieve growing our own fruit and vegetables on our smaller sections and still have it all. 

With some careful planning we can utilise the aspects and niches around our sections to grow a good variety of produce and still have some interesting outdoor spaces in suburbia with some good inspiring landscapes in our neighbourhoods. 

I enjoy visiting public parks and gardens for inspiration and they are fantastic places to visit and enjoy some chill out time. I also enjoy walking and driving around suburbs and seeing what everyone is doing in their own personal spaces. The smaller section sizes does definitely enable you to enjoy exploring what else our awesome country has to offer, especially once the yard work is done.

Until next time - happy gardening everyone.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Spring is nearly here....

The temperatures are moving just a little, the sun is rising earlier in the mornings and setting later in the evenings and I love it.  I have made a list of jobs that need to be done and have been slowly chipping away at them and progress is being made. 

I have finished pruning the roses and have nearly completed tying them up to the wires. I didn't want to prune them any earlier as I didn't want any new growth to be damaged in the frosts that I knew we would get after the shortest day. They are reasonably new plants and are still in the training period. I am hoping that we have a lovely display of gorgeous scented flowers this season. Most of the roses are down the driveway along the boundary fence, when we moved here there were conifers along there that were crowding out the driveway and were collecting wing mirrors. This year I have chosen new ties for securing the roses and so far I like them, they aren't as noticeable as the black stretchy ties but just disappear among the canes and foliage. Time will tell how they stand up to the weight of the canes and flowers, I don't know yet if I have used enough but I am sure that time will tell. 

I have a thing for scented plants in the garden and that is often the first thing I look for when choosing a variety in a plant. My daphne plant has flowered again and it is just lovely. I love the way that scents can transport you back in time and connect to memories.

The other plant I have been Impressed with has been stock plants, the scent from these catches me every time I walk past them in the garden. They have nearly finished flowering now, so I have cut some and put some in a vase in the living room and have been really enjoying the scent they give. There is nothing like bringing the best of the garden indoors with you.

The petunias are just starting to flower too.

We got some more plastic for the grow house yesterday, this will be my first spring with it built and I am hoping that it makes a huge difference to getting my seedlings started. At the moment it only has plastic at one end and we weren't sure if it would need it on the front, but alas it does as the outdoor heat pump unit sits opposite it and is blowing very cold air straight into it. I am also wanting to make the most of any sunshine that we have to create a lovely warm environment for my seedlings.

It is really pleasant just being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, even if it is for as long as it takes to drink your cuppa and have a walk around the garden. I can't get over how many plants are suddenly coming to life.

What have you noticed coming to life in your garden? Please feel free to share with us all.

Cheers Donna-Maree

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Look what came in the post...

Last Friday my Kings Seeds catalogue arrived in the post and yes I was ready. A few weeks ago I went through their last years catalogue and my seeds and sorted what seeds I need for this coming growing season making a list of what I need in the back of my diary. Although I have some seeds left from last year there are gaps and things that you always need more of every year.

In last years catalogue is circled what I ordered and likewise i have circled what has been ordered in this years catalogue. Even though I order my seeds online I still fill in the order form for my reference and to calculate my costs before I go to their website, that way I am totally prepared and I have already worked out how many bonus seed packets I am entitled to. The bonus seed packets are A seeds only so I don't tend to buy those but leave them to be selected as my bonus seeds. My bonus seed selections I mark in my catalogue as squares not circles. This might seem a bit odd but it works for me. Having my order form already filled in makes the ordering online very easy as you already have all the codes and can fill in the code number instead of having to select everything through the vegetable and flower selection pages.

This year I have selected some flower seeds as well, can't go past sweet peas in my opinion for colour and scent in the garden and an amazing cut flower bringing the essence of the garden right into the living quarters - just magic. My theory with ordering flower seeds is that for the cost of a punnet of seedlings I have enough seeds to keep my gardens full of the little beauties that I enjoy in the gardens around the house. I normally choose scented flowers and the bonus is of course attracting insect life into the garden which always helps with the pollination of my veggies.

My order has been placed and now I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my parcel of seeds, to me that delivery is as good as Christmas morning with my family. 

Come back soon to see what will come in the post, I wonder when it will arrive?


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Whoops ..... Injury in the garden

Saturday afternoon saw me doing some tidying up in the garden, I had a lot that I wanted to get done and had pretty much just started when I couldn't believe my eyes - I had cut my little finger on my left hand with the secateurs. I was trimming back the thyme plant, removing some dead wood and just giving it a really good haircut. I immediately put pressure on it to stop the bleeding - I don't do blood very well.

I got hubby to help dress my finger (the don't do blood thing prevents me from sorting it myself) and once I recovered a bit, I returned to the garden and carried on with what I wanted to do but I left the thyme plant alone.

My finger is healing well but is still a little tender which is a pain that close to where the finger bends but it has served as a good reminder about taking care and watching what I am cutting in the garden.

Since the weekend when I have been working in the garden I have remembered to wear my gardening gloves to protect my fingers from further incidents but also to keep anything that could infect it away from the wound. I count myself very lucky as this could have ended very differently and I do use that finger a lot, which has been confirmed every time I knock it since I injured it at the weekend and I couldn't imagine not having it anymore.

Take care out there everyone and remember that some of the equipment that we use in the garden can be dangerous and harm us.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

April is here...

Wow, I can't believe that we are in April already. The day temperatures are still very good and the evenings and early mornings are a little cooler, but the plants are still growing!

Some things are coming to an end as they do, the tomatoes, courgettes and strawberries are definitely slowing down and stopping production. I am giving the beds a good tidy up ready for the next crop.

I am determined this year to be more successful with my succession planting and cropping. I was a bit late getting organised last year and that affected everything. I have reflected on that and are getting myself more organised, working out when I need to have seeds etc ordered by to allow for sowing of seeds to be ready for planting.

I was looking around online for garlic seed/cloves as I was a little late last year and couldn't really get what I wanted. There were a few sites that I found that I had never heard of before. One of them was CountryTrading  Company from Nelson and I am very impressed with their range. But I am getting ahead of myself. I was looking in particular for elephant garlic. I used to purchase mine for eating from the Whangarei Growers Market but have never previously grown it myself.

I was determined that I would indeed grow some this year, however Country Trading Company were out of stock, which was what I was pretty much expecting. They did however have the facility that I could be emailed when they came back into stock, I dutifully filled out the required information. Over the weekend I received an email saying that the elephant garlic was in stock. So I ordered some!

This came by courier this morning, within a couple of days of my ordering it. I am very impressed with the timely manner and the condition of the bulbs. Check Country Trading Company out here.

Please comment on your favourite seed purchasing company in the comments section below as I love getting your comments.

Happy gardening everyone.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Visiting some of my favourite gardens ...

Today we visited some of my favourite gardens at the Hamilton Gardens. I just love visiting these gardens and seeing the level of maturity they now have, I also enjoy visiting through the different seasons. Today however, was very hot and as a result we didn't get through all of the gardens.

The Indian garden. The last time I saw this garden I was very impressed with design and the hard landscaping, today I was blown away with the vibrancy of the colours in this garden. From comments I overheard I wasn't the only one who thought this way.

The Italian garden - just love this garden, the contained way that plants are grown. I particularly like the citrus in containers and the espaliered plants.

Another one of my favourite gardens is the kitchen garden, no surprises there really. I love the way the walls protect and define the garden. I love the sheer size and scale of this garden and would love a garden just like this. Again there are fruit trees espaliered on the walls in this garden and decent sized raised beds that allow growing of a lot of vegetables. 

I always find looking at gardens very interesting and it doesn't matter how many times I visit a garden I always notice something different each time I go.

Tomorrow I need to check my own garden and get down to the allotment and see what is going on there. Until next time

Happy gardening