A SPRINKLE OF COLOUR
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All around New Zealand during July you can sow a blend of fabulous vibrant flowers, so during spring the garden will be a festival of colour. A Cottage Garden Mix is a blend of easy-to-grow, brightly coloured free-flowering annuals that will help create a charming cottage garden. The mix contains flowers like coreopsis, dianthus, pansy, antirrhinum (snapdragon), aquilegia (columbine), schizanthus, wallflower, zinnia, salvia, calendula and nemesia. What will pop up depends on the climate, so it’s a floral surprise packet! Growing tips ■ Simply scatter the seed thinly over bare soil in a sunny garden bed, rake lightly into the soil surface, firm down and water gently. ■ Keep the area moist through the germination period and seedlings will start emerging 7 – 21 days after sowing. ■ Once the seedlings are around 5 cm tall, start feeding each week with potassium fortified Yates Thrive Flower Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which contains a balanced blend of nutrients to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of colourful flowers. Alternatively apply a top dressing of Yates Thrive Natural Roses Flowers Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food every 6-8 weeks. ■ The range of plants will grow from 30 – 80 cm tall and will start flowering around 12 weeks after sowing. ■ Many of the flowers are suitable for cutting for a vase and will also attract bees and other beneficial insects. ■ Flower seedlings can be vulnerable to attack by snails and slugs. A light sprinkling of Yates Blitzem Snail Slug Pellets can help protect young plants from these slimy pests. Frost protection Winter frosts can damage tender plant foliage and shoots, particularly if unseasonable weather has resulted in out-of-season or unusual growth. There are a few strategies that can be used to help protect vulnerable growth from frost. Move potted plants to a protected area such as on a veranda and drape frost or shade cloth over sensitive plants. Applying Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed Tonic can also aid plant recovery from stress conditions like frost. Don’t prune off any damaged foliage until the risk of frost has passed, as the damaged leaves can help protect the rest of the plant. Clever cloning Do you have a favourite deciduous shrub or vine growing in your garden that you would like to clone? Well, this winter, try your hand at taking some ‘hardwood’ cuttings. It’s easier than you think! Hardwood cuttings is the technical sounding term for taking pieces of stems from plants like hydrangeas, wisteria and grapevines during winter and encouraging them to grow their own roots. Here’s a step by step guide to growing new plants from hardwood cuttings: ■ Choose leafless stems around 0.75 – 1 cm thick and cut off 15 – 18 cm long pieces. ■ The top cut should be just above a node (the bud where the new leaves develop) and the bottom cut just below a node. Make a slanted cut at the top so you can remember which way is up. ■ Dip the bottom ends of the cuttings into Yates Clonex Root Gel - Hard Wood Red. Clonex Red contains a concentrated plant hormone which helps promote root development as well as sealing and protecting the cutting. ■ Insert the dipped ends of the cuttings into pots filled with Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix and keep in a cool, sheltered, well-lit position. Once roots are well established, individual cuttings can be transplanted into small pots to grow until they are big enough to be planted out into the garden.