Springing into the Garden

Spring is certainly in the air and we absolutely cannot wait to get out into the garden and watch everything wake up after the slower Winter months.

Read on to discover our favourite new plants that have just come into the shop as well as Tony’s expert advice.

There’s a huge number of things we can do in the garden this month but there’s no need to be intimidated! If you’re really not sure where to start, we’re open from 8:00am to 5:00pm every day and our wonderful staff are ready and waiting to help you find exactly what you need to get the most out of your garden, balcony, courtyard or window sill!


Tony’s Tips

September 2018

It’s really lovely to see the arrival of Spring after a cold and seemingly very long Winter. September is the month where more change can happen in the garden than any other month of the year. Blossom season is well underway with new flowers appearing every day but many plants are still dormant or just waking up at the start of the month but are flying along by the end. With all of this change, our role is to encourage, promote and shape that change to get the best out of our plants.

We have new varieties of Tomatoes, new Chillies, new varieties of Peonies and lots of interesting new season stock coming through. A lot of the exciting new season veggies can be planted this month and some cold sensitive veggies like chillies, cucumber and zucchini will be available later in the month.

September is the time to feed everything! Plants emerge from Winter at best rested but depleted and at worst skinny and miserable so a good complete fertiliser applied now helps our established plants get more out of Spring.

  • Feed all lawns, especially warm climate lawns such as buffalo, kikuyu and couch, as they need help to recover from Winter. Use slow release Lawn Builder to keep them going over the coming months.
  • If you are quick, you can still prune hedges to shape before it gets too warm. This will ensure that new growth comes where and how you want!
  • Prune into shape shrubs that have flowered in Winter/early Spring such as Camellias, Luculias, flowering quince, Pieris, and Spirea.
  • Prune cold sensitive perennials like Sunpatiens, Calibrachoas, Salvias and feed them to stimulate new growth and flowers.
  • Start planting new season Petunias. I have already begun planting up our hanging baskets with the spreading Petunias that give us such a great display.
  • Protect your Citrus trees with our improved Citrus Gall Wasp traps. Remove all existing galls before larvae hatch in Spring. I further protect my lemon tree by pruning it back by about 10% when new growth starts. This postpones the gall-susceptible new growth by a month or so ensuring it occurs after the main wasp egg-laying phase. Feed with our high-potassium, low soluble nitrate Citrus food to further increase pest resistance.
  • Protect the new growth on your roses with Rose Gun, Mancozeb and Liquid Copper or Kocide.
  • It’s time to plant! Whilst the soil and air temperature is mild, get your plants in and established before summer. Always improve the soil at planting to facilitate growth and don’t plant deeper than the current soil level of the plant.

Plant of the Month

Tomatoes

I always plant tomatoes in the first week of September, going for early varieties like any of the cherry tomatoes as well as Apollo, KY1, Rouge de Marmande and my all time favourite Plum Truss! I plant warm-season varieties like Grosse Lisse and most Romas a little later.

For Tomato success the rules are simple:

  • Plant into soil improved with compost or manure such as Zoogro and lime to prevent blossom end rot
  • Water regularly but do not feed until the first pea-sized fruits have formed. Early feeding promotes growth instead of flowers, postponing fruiting and increasing disease problems.
  • Dust regularly to prevent pest and disease problems and feed with a high potassium, low soluble nitrogen fertiliser when the plant is in a flowering/fruiting mode.

There are a number of new release tomatoes including an interesting new black cherry called Midnight Snack and an improvement on Black Russian called Choc Top but the most exciting one is Nonna’s Italian Roma, an improved San Marzano type. An early to mid-season variety that bears superior quality meaty tomatoes earlier and quicker. An improvement on the best Roma must be worth trying.