August can be an interesting month. If the weather warms up it is ideal gardening time. However, be careful as the weather can sometimes carry a ‘sting’ in its tail and send us back into winter mode.
All things going well August should be all about getting back into the garden, preparing for spring planting and just generally having a tidy up.
New season stock starts flowing into our stores and soon we will be busting at the seams, wondering where to put it all!
Seed potatoes placed in trays now (with their blunt end upwards), and left in a warm, frost free area that gets plenty of light for a month to sprout before planting, will get you off to a good start and you will be enjoying tasty new potatoes at Christmas.
Jersey Bennes are our most popular variety. Great for boiling, salads, casseroles, soups or mashing. An excellent potato for Christmas lunch!
Strawberries are one of the easiest and quickest fruit to grow. They don’t need much space and will fruit successfully grown in tubs, hanging baskets and even share a piece of vegetable or flower garden. Choose a sunny well drained spot and fork in Tui Strawberry Mix then mound up the soil and plant the strawberry on top. After planting put layers of straw around them which will keep the fruit off the soil and allow the fruit to ripen without the risk of rotting.
Now is the time to kill moss in lawns. Nichol’s Lawncare will kill the moss and encourage new grass growth to take over all in one application.
Rhys, Nichol's Dunedin
Asparagus ‘jersey Giant’ produces 2-3 times more spears than its older cousins. It is a good home variety and should produce good spears for harvest inside the second season. After purchase don’t let it dry out – it can be useful to soak the crowns in warm water before planting out. Plant the crowns in a sunny spot away from other crops so that the asparagus remains undisturbed. Prior to planting, dig in some compost and make sure the area drains well as asparagus hate wet feet. Avoid harvesting in the first year rather let the spears open up into ferny fronds – they are building up good strength below ground. In the second year a few spears can be cut.
Later in September a new variety of Asparagus Pacific Purple will be available, this variety of asparagus produces distinct dark spears. It is sweeter than it’s greener cousin, besides being more tender.
Also arriving in August: Dahlias, Boronias, Large Camellias, Proteas, Gladioli and Begonias, Rhododendrons, Deciduous Azaleas, Daphnes, Maples and much more!
Karen, Nichols Dunedin
Of all the shrubs that you plant in your garden, roses are the most rewarding. They flower through the spring, summer and autumn, and this morning I noticed perfect blooms on my ‘Summer Song’ and ‘Hamilton Gardens’, so we even get a treat in winter! They are fragrant, very resilient and come in a huge range of colour. I have noticed that the colours are particularly intense in this part of the world, more so than in warmer areas, perhaps it’s something to do with the light.
Roses are offered for sale now, because they are dormant. It is without doubt the best time of year to plant them, as they can establish before the main growing season, and then have a full ten months in which to grow into a good stout plant, without disturbance.
Roses resent being planted into ‘second hand’ soil, a problem that occurs when you are replacing roses in an existing bed. The soil should be dug out and replaced. As they are going to be in the same spot rewarding you for years, it is worth doing the job well. Specially prepared Tui Rose & Shrub Mix is available, and an addition of Super Sheep Pellets and Blood and Bone would be beneficial.
Dig a good hole for your rose, they are heavy feeders and won’t thrive if you dig a hole just big enough to stuff it in, be generous! Roses are ‘budded’, which means the roots are grown on a vigorous wild rose, and then buds of the different varieties are attached to the top. I have drawn a diagram to show how they look when they start to grow.
When planting roses, make sure they are firm in the ground. Standards need to be staked at the time they are planted, so that the stake does not damage the roots, which it might do if pushed in later. The stake should go right up into the heard of the standard rose, if it is under the head of the rose the top of the bush can break off in high wind.
Some roses do well in pots. The Flower Carpet range being a good example. It is important to replace the soil in the pots during winter, and to feed them during the year. It takes a lot of food and energy to grow the bush during the year. Then at pruning time we remove it all! To get the best results you have to keep feeding your roses. For those in pots, some of the slow release fertilizers are recommended, where as in the garden beds granular Rose food will do. Frequent smaller applications always work better than a good dollop.
We have a really good range of roses this year, some new varieties that we have not had before, some are selling out fast. Come in and browse through our selection and choose your favourites. We look forward to sharing our love of roses with you.
Sue, Nichols Invercargill
After living under the inversion layer in Cromwell for a few weeks it’s nice to see clearer skies and sun again. We’ve been waiting for the arrival of our deciduous trees and now have many to choose from for either ornamental or shelter use.
We also have our fruit trees available with once again a very comprehensive selection – please refer to our fruit tree list.
If you are after a particular deciduous tree or fruit tree it would pay to get in touch with one of our stores and place an order as they are selling through quickly this year with some varieties already sold out.
We advise using two year slow release fertiliser tablets and staking when planting to give them a good start.
Another good fertiliser to add is Novatech which is similar to Nitrophoska Blue but releases over a longer period.
Remember now is the time for making sure your spraying and pruning is up to date. If you’re not sure what should be done please call into the garden centre where one of our friendly staff will be able to help you.
Pest Disease & Control. Pests and diseases can significantly affect the appearance of the tree and fruit, as well as affecting the general health and vigour of the tree if badly infected. Prevention is much more effective and successful than trying to cure once infected. Spring is an important time of year to maintain the spray programme, as pests and diseases are more active and the tree is opening up through the buds.
Jackie, Nichols Cromwell