Escape to a tropical location this summer by bravely walking into your garden. There are a huge number of incredibly luscious tropical plants that can be easily grown in Auckland, but here are 10 of our favourites.
Boldly announcing the arrival of spring, Daffodils (Narcissus species) are easy to grow and will look fantastic for many springs to come. And despite what you might think, they come in an array of unusual and interesting shapes and colours.
Transform your living space and add a touch of x-factor with the addition of some plants. Indoor plants are a great way to freshen up a room, helping making the space seem softer and more inviting. And in many cases it's even good for you! Various studies have looked at the benefits of houseplants which can include filtering the air and increasing your sense of wellbeing.
Along with windmills, clogs and cheese, Tulips tend to make many of us think of a small, flat, picturesque European country. For despite first being first cultivated in Ottoman Empire, they became so popular in Holland that the demand massively increased the price of the bulbs, leading to them briefly being used in place of money.
Winter is coming, in just 4 months or so. The wildly mild dampness and slight chill will swiftly descend, gathering us all in its grip. But as winter nears its end, an array of delightful spring bulbs will erupt, providing dazzling displays, scintillating smells, as the spring is heralded in glorious fashion.
Of course the harsh mild humidity of an Auckland winter seems like an odd thing to think about during our scorchingly hot summer, but then again, now is the time to plant Spring Bulbs to ensure that you have an eruption of colour to celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring.
Tired of clichés? Instead of comparing you to a summer’s day, or giving a rose by another name, we thought we’d come up with a few living gift ideas that might pique your interest. And with these gifts, as long as you play your cards right, care for them, attend their needs, and provide them with the correct lighting conditions, they’re sure to flourish.
Given how often lavender turns up in soaps and shampoos, it is very appropriate that the name derives from the Latin word ‘to wash’ (Lavare). Easy to grow and delightfully fragrant, lavender looks great by itself, in hedges or as part of a cottage garden.
Use up those excess tomatoes and create a delicious tomato Kasundi. The recipe for this delicious chutney comes from Simon, the manager of our St Lukes branch. Initially inspired by Anabelle Langbein's recipe, Simon has honed his version over the years, much to the delight of those around him.
Another Mediterranean favourite, oregano is fabulous with grilled vegetables, in tomato dishes and sauces, with cheeses and on pizza. Choose the Greek variety for strongest taste. Easy to dry for future use. Historically, the Greeks and Romans used it as a disinfectant, to ward off spirits and as a shampoo for its scent – up to you.
As the harsh rays of summer unrelentingly beats down upon an unsuspecting earth, it can times be hard to keep your garden looking fresh and green. So to help we've made a list of our favourite drought resistant plants, perfect for creating a luscious and colourful garden during even the driest summers.
Last year Ocean Grow introduced Combat 3-in-1 for Roses, making it easier than ever to grow gorgeous and healthy roses, and it can also be used on other ornamentals. Combat is a three-in-one fertiliser, fungicide and insecticide, stopping diseases and pest in their tracks while providing the minerals and nutrients essential for healthy growth.
Mint is easy to grow and can be used to make a wide array of tasty sauces and incredibly refreshing beverages. There are loads of different varieties to choose from. Wild mint has the strongest flavour, common mint is softer, while basil and chocolate mints bring different qualities and flavours.
John Palino's latest recipe is a delicious barbecued burger, perfect for wowing guests coming over for a bbq.
As the sun unrelentingly beats down, it's easy to let things slide a bit in the garden as the ground quickly dries out. And sadly, water stressed plants are more likely to get hit by pests or diseases.
So to help we've come up with a few tips that should make it easier to keep your plants happy, healthy, and watered.
Despite their lofty status and poisonous bodies, there are some things that can cause problems to Monarch Butterflies and their larvae. But thankfully we can, with a bit of know how, make sure their needs are well served.
As the weather starts to improve it means it’s time to pick your fresh greens from the garden and make some creative salads. Combine those tasty green with fresh smoked salmon, and it’s a recipe you’re going to love.
Delicious, versatile and nutritious, and for a slight twist try growing garlic chives. This perennial herb should last for years. Chives grow into small clumps, and can be harvested regularly all year round, and taste great in a wide range of situations, and are especially good in salads.
Spice things up in the garden and the kitchen by growing some chillies this season. We've a wide range of incredible chillies available to grow from seed or as a plant. However, at times this variety can make it hard to pick the right chili plant for you.
Unlike most carnivores, that carefully stalk their prey or set their traps, carnivorous plants spend most of their time in a vegetative state. Aside from swaying in the wind, or being knocked by a passing animal, they rarely move. Venus Flytraps are the exception, as they occasionally burst into action, snap shut and then devour their prey.
While parsley is easy to grow, and can be grown all year round in Auckland, it’s often under-utilised. Aside from the occasional half-hearted garnish. Which is a shame as when used properly it’s delicious, especially in recipes like this one by Allyson Gofton.
While you may think Italian, the name is actually Greek (meaning kingly or royal). Though basil is actually thought to originate from India. But who knows…and it tastes nice regardless!
As ever the year races on. You blink only to find that time has moved on at an alarming rate. Which can be frustrating when you realise that you missed your window of opportunity and are now stuck waiting for the next one. And while this holds true in many areas of life, it’s definitely the case when you need to redo a lawn.
Organic growing is something that many people often aspire to, if only it weren’t so difficulty. However the perception that it’s harder, involves more work, is somewhat of a misnomer. Instead it’s important that we work smarter!
Members of this family can be found naturally the world over, in almost every habitat. Frequently beautiful, many of these orchids are mainly found in remote and often hard to reach locations.
Loved by many and hated by a few (blame a gene!) the name coriander comes from the Greek word for bug. Originating in ancient Egypt, it is one of New Zealand’s favourite herbs, used in Indian cooking, salads, stir-fries, and to add freshness to meat and savoury dishes.
Life once again erupts from the cold hard depths of Auckland's dreary and damp winter. And with springs arrival we once again see a plethora of delightful perennials once again erupt into blooming glorious displays, but if you've space for a few more, check out some of the flowers that have just come in, and are sure to be perennially delightful.
This recipe was kindly supplied for us by the excellent Head Chef from the Friend of the Farmer Cafe at our Takanini branch. The results are incredibly tasty, and it's an easy enough to follow that even I managed to successfully create deliciousness.
Amidst the sudden resurgence of life, as plants once again burst into action, it's worth grabbing your spade and getting stuck in! And the earlier the better! For the sooner you get your veggie garden up and running, the sooner you'll have a mass of homegrown, deliciously nutritious veggies to eat!
Growing from seed is as economical and easy way to grow plants. Whether you’re growing flowers or veggies, growing from seed allows you to choose from a much wider range of interesting and unusual plants, while allowing you to enjoy watching and nurturing your plants from the get go.
What have Bees ever done for us?
Stung us, buzzed about, but then there was the wax, and honey. Not to mention the fact that they are responsible for pollinating approximately a third of all our food crops.
The ancient and stylish art of Kokedama has recently become all the rage.
The name itself, when roughly translated means moss ball. Which sums up what they are but probably fails to capture their elegance.
Falafal is often seen as a difficult thing to make from scratch, but this recipe is easy, great for getting Kids involved, and can use up peas and broad beans from the garden. Though if you're running short of ingredients you can get away with using frozen peas and broad beans.
The backbone of any herb garden, parsley is easy to grow, stores well, is incredibly versatile and tastes utterly delicious, especially when used right.
It may be the name of several popular Japanese restaurants around Auckland, but it's also the name of a peculiar and potentially delicious citrus fruit.
Despite their slightly alien appearance, few things taste as delicious and tender as steamed asparagus stems picked fresh from the garden. And what's great is that once established they can provide masses of these tasty treats every summer for years and years to come.
Whether you're short of space, or just like a challenge, there's bound to be a peculiar and interesting way you can produce masses of tasty fruit.
Making pizza at home is a lot of fun and it could get even the kids involved. I usually make my own dough (and sometimes I even store extra dough in my freezer). But if you are short for time you can always buy a pre-made base from the grocery store.
Can you hear the sounds of secateurs being sharpened and saw teeth being set? These tools are about to be put into action because July’s the most popular month for rose pruning.
And when should I ask the question?
The first time I pruned unsupervised it seemed an easy task. I began staring at a qunice thicket. But then, with secateurs and chainsaw in hand, I quickly demolished the thicket to uncover the pear tree below.
As soon as I start to cook any concerns over the state of my breath swiftly disappear, quite quickly I start using garlic in cloves. And while I will avidly munch chocolate or put away cakes, I’d definitely prioritise my allium consumption over all else. For without onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks, food would lose a lot of its lustre.
In the cold winter months there is nothing better than a nice meat loaf to warm us up. I hope you enjoy this as it was one of my restaurants signature dishes.
The quality of the air in which we live is essentially important to our health, our fitness and our well-being. Scientific research by NASA has shown that plants are capable of absorbing pollutants and breaking them down, cleaning the air.
Through the coldest depths of winter, into the gentle warmth of spring Pansies will provide a delightful display of colour that's bound to warm the cockles of your heart. And if you happen to get peckish when out and about in the garden, you can even have a quick munch on the flowers.
Cultivated across the world, and beloved by most, their name is actually a misnomer. Even the most productive strawberry plants technically won’t ever produce a single berry (at least according to botanists), and instead produce aggregate fruit accessories.
It's been unseasonably warm, yet winter (in all of it's mildly damp glory) is coming. But while the ground is still warm it's a great time to get perennials, shrubs and trees planted, as it gives them plenty of time to get settled in, well rooted, before next spring.
So to help you take advantage of the weather, and get your garden looking great for the bleak winter, here are 5 great shrubs to plant for winter colour.
It's citrus season and we'll soon be inundated with mountains of tasty lemons. Chef, Gaetano from The Friend of the Farmer café at Kings Takanini, has whipped up a recipe to make good use of these tangy treats.
8 Easy Steps to get your garden sorted this Autumn
Whether it's a total mess or just mildly out of sorts, here's a quick step by step guide to stop feeling overwhelmed and quickly get your garden spick and span.
Stop autumn feeling too dreary, and take advantage of the great weather for planting, with these quick tips to instantaneously get your garden looking bright and cheerful.
Whether you just find them pleasing to look at, or you want a bit more privacy from those nosey neighbours, hedges can be a great addition to your garden.
And unlike many dubious investment portfolios, funds invested into hedges are rarely squandered. In fact, provided you take care of them you’ll find that they steadily grow without too much intervention, and they’ll even benefit when you start to trim a bit of the edges.
Soil is the permeable boundary between life and death, between the Earth and the Sky. The soil beneath our feet isn’t just the inert and static remains of the weathered away Earth; it’s actually a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem full of minute particles of rock, water, humus, complex colonies of bacteria, webs of fungi, and a whole host of larger creatures such as worms.
Autumn is in the air, but winter is coming. So to ensure you get the most out of your veggie garden this season, we’ve made a list of some of our favourite veggies to plant this season, and some tips that should get you going.
It's feijoa season and they are in abundance! It's at this time of year where almost every staff room will have a bag of these juicy fruits place in the center of the table, or a visit to your aunty is not complete without leaving with a mountain of fruit sure to last you to the end of the month.
Check out this great recipe to make the most of the most of these delicious fruits.
Avoid having a drab and dreary autumn and winter with this helpful guide. It'll teach you how to quickly and easily plant up a pot with a glorious mix of flowers that will change with the seasons.
Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, once remarked that “It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion on them. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.”
He was talking about a horse, but I’m sure that if soil was sentient, the same could be said about being stood on all day.
Before coming to these strange and distant shores I had never even heard of Feijoas. So when I first came it was with some trepidation that I tasted some of those slightly odd looking fruit. It didn’t help that the person who introduced them gave a slightly exasperating description of what they tasted like. So much so that while I understood the words, I had very little clue as to what they were on about.
As feijoa season begins again it’s worth keeping an eye out for a relatively new, and incredibly annoying uninvited Australian guest, the Guava Moth, that has started to cause problems to fruit growers form Northland down at least as far as Katikati.
We’re now more than a week into the year of the monkey, and we thought that before the lantern festival starts and before festivities end, that we should find out what plants we have that can help us enjoy a lucky year.
Passionfruit season is here! This delicious tangy fruit is not only a special sweet treat but also full of nutrients; vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and magnesium to name just a few. Passionfruit are yummy on their own but can also be used in baking and desserts. Our manager from King’s Takanini cafe "Friend of the Farmer", John Palino, has a great recipe for making a Passionfruit fool.
Unknown till relatively recently Finger Limes have become increasingly popular as a gourmet bush food. However a cursory description of this prickly Australian fruit tree, with their fruit full of globular juicy vesicles, doesn’t really do them justice. But perhaps the fact that they‘re often called the caviar of citrus gives a hint of their delightful flavour.
Now in it’s 20th year, the Heroic Gardens Festival is still going strong. Showcasing a stunning range of gardens across Auckland, the festival has helped provide bursts of inspiration and excitement to budding gardeners since they it first started. And it’s all for a good cause.
Elegant and lightweight, the designers of the Esteras pot range have clearly found beauty in simplicity. Weighing almost nothing when empty these pots are incredibly strong, enduring, but with a refined air of sophistication.
It’s not exactly rocket science, but NASA was still interested.
As part of a clean air study, NASA put together a list of air filtering houseplants in 1989, partly with an aim to send them out of this world and use them to help clean the air on space stations. Here are 11 of our favourites.
Why jet off to exotic locations when you can enjoy lounging around under palm trees in your own backyard, in your own home-grown tropical oasis.
Or you can of course do both. Enjoy the occasional trip to really tropical climes, while still enjoying the occasional lounge around in your backyard.
It seems strange to imagine Indian food, Thai Food, Sichuan Food without chillies. Until Christopher Columbus travelled to the Americas chillies were unheard of in the ‘Old World’. However this lack didn’t last long, after their discovery their use was quickly and enthusiastically spread by people all around the world, as they tried to spice things up a bit.
Need to figure out how to deal with those bone-dry spots in the garden, or suss out how to create a gorgeous, low maintenance garden that can take the heat. Here are a few of our top picks.
Although their common name in the US sounds like they’re a 70’s jazz-rock-fusion band with pretensions, Mandevillas are actually a genus of delightful sub-tropical and tropical vines. Vines that in New Zealand regularly erupt each summer with vibrant eye-catching flowers in a variety of colours, including whites, pinks, and reds.
The year has once again flown by, and we’re now seconds away from Santa once again breaking into our homes ladened with presents. An exercise that is no way strange or costly for any of the adults in the house.
But before he, or indeed anyone else comes, it’s nice to get things looking nice and festive. And what better way to do this than by decorating your home with some plants that'll help spread Christmas cheer.
Popular, gorgeous and widely grown, but here are a few fascinating facts about roses that you may not know.
To get a sneak peek behind the scenes of one of the gardens in this weekends Garden Design Fest I talked to garden designer, radio & TV personality, Tony Murrell.
Despite being regularly overlooked, Roses in addition to looking gorgeous can also be used to create some delightfully delicious deserts. Here John Palino provides his friends scrumptious take on the Traditional Indian Desert Shrikhand.
All too often people are out off growing their own veggies. But while being a truly amazing gardener may take a bit of working, enjoying delightfully fresh veggies and herbs from the garden is really as simple as:
1. Preparing, 2. Planting, 3. Protecting
Terrariums, there’s a world within. They’re your own biosphere neatly nestled on your table, desk or shelf. They can look peculiar, graceful, jagged, soft, refined, and very trendy.
There are few plants more capable of brightening up those dark, shady spots in your garden as the almost unkillable and strangely delightful Clivia. Above their dark strap like leaves burst a stunning display of trumpet shaped flowers. Available in an array of creams, yellows and oranges, depending on the variety you're growing.
Variety is the spice of life, so brighten up your salads, and add an array of delicously tomatoey flavours by checking out some of the different kinds of cherry tomatoes that are around.
Easy to grow, beautifully scented, there are loads of reasons to love lavender. But sadly this versatile herb is often under utilised, so to give you a few ideas about what to do with lavender, here are our top 10 reasons to love lavender.
Along with possums there is another unwanted Australian guest that can to cause our fruit trees problems. First found in Northland in 1997, 160 years after possums were first introduced, the Guava moth seems to be slowly making it’s way south, and now seems to have made it to Auckland.
Growing Organic is something that many people aspire to do. Growing organically is better for us, better for the environment, and when done well is sure to keep us inundated with masses of utterly delicious seasonal food all year round.
And when done right, growing organically needn't be hard.
Tired of eating the same old tomatoes?
Add a bit of variety to your tomato eating experience by learning about 10 of our favourite open pollinated Heirloom Tomatoes.
Plant instant colour for instant effect. Here are 10 of our favourite flowering annuals currently available in our potted colour range.
Growing Herbs is a great way to add bursts of flavour to your meals. It’s an easy way to get access to large quantities of fresh herbs that would otherwise be expensive or hard to find, and a great resource for if you want to get creative in the Kitchen.
Stunning and delightful when done properly, hanging baskets aren’t hard, but they’re easy to get wrong. Especially in the deeply harsh depths of our fairly dry summer where a lack of water will often turn the plants in your basket into dry desiccated dead things.
But they are also easy to get right. So to make it easier to get right here or some handy hints that may just help.
They came to our planet from outer space.
After they’d landed they confused and excited us with their peculiar and long lasting flowers. Of course they originally come from Earth.
Basil is always popular. But for many, it’s hard to keep up with demand. It just tastes too good. However, if you check out the tips below you should be able to grow so much that you will almost be sick of their delicious leaves.
Native to western Africa, growing in the rainforests of Cameroon to Western Sierra Leone, the Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) has recently gone global and become one of the hottest houseplant around.
Trailing plants are all the rage. But not all plants are created equal. Here are our 5 favourite hanging plants. With a few honourable mentions at the end.
Bees are hugely important to our survival. Thanks to their work many important crops are pollinated. And without their work we’d struggle to get apples, beans, blueberries, onions, pears, plums, and peaches, just to name a few.
There are surely few better ways of getting stupendously healthy and nutritious Superfoods than growing them organically in your garden, and freshly harvesting them just before you munch them up.
But sadly it appears that eating Superfoods doesn’t give you super powers
So some of the health benefits of sorrel include its ability to boost eyesight, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, build strong bones, increase circulation, increase energy levels, help prevent cancer, reduce certain skin conditions, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, slow the ageing process, protect against diabetes, strengthen heart health, and improve kidney health. Wow, what doesn’t it cover?
Sometimes getting your lawn just right can seem surprisingly difficult. Alongside our already extensive range of lawncare products we have a few new things in that may well help you get things just right. And of course, if you're not sure what's going wrong come in and ask for some expert advice.
We join Judy Horton from Yates who shows us how to sow seeds successfully for a bumper crop this spring.
Weeds often get a bad rap. Okay, they regularly pop up at astronomical speeds, outcompete seedlings that you’ve carefully nurtured, and just generally cause a nuisance. But from another viewpoint it’s not them, it’s us.
They’re delicious, nutritious and easy to grow. They’re great in salads, on sandwiches. They can be tangy, nutty, hot or even sweet, depending on what plants you grow. But they can also cause confusion. For despite their similarity, microgreens aren’t sprouts.
Joe Robbins joins us from the TVNZ studios with his guide to growing and caring for Orchids. You can usually find Joe working in our Remuera store although he'll be back on Good Morning TV very soon.
There is something so nice about picking our own fruits and baking a delicious cake.
My recipe for today is a bit different and for those of you who are gluten free here you go, but because it tastes so good and light, I know many of you would like this dessert.
Motutapu is a gorgeous, picturesque island situated in the Hauraki Gulf, joined to Rangitoto by causeway, and easily accessed on weekends via the passenger ferry that departs from Downtown Auckland. With stunning and unique views, unusual wildlife, gorgeous walks, around 100 hectares of regenerating native forest, and a rich history, the island is definitely worth a visit.
But for some people the island is also a site of regular physical exertion, as they work to help the largest ecological restoration conservation endeavour currently happening in New Zealand.
Grow your own produce year round!
It's mucky, it's creative, it's the latest craze - and it's so much fun!! Try making your very own Kokedama - a Japanese hanging string garden (or 'mossball').
Is it too cold to grow vegetables right now? Actually no, if you follow a few easy rules, you too can join the move to grow healthy organic food at your place! Even in the depths of winter because nature knows you need food ALL year round!
Winter is here, but good planning will see you with a wonderful garden. It is the time of year when we should be planting some deliciouse fruits and vegetables like strawberries, fruit trees, carrots, beet root, broccoli and more. But all year round you can plant letuces, most herbs and kale. These you can continusly pick all year.
I would like to give you my favorite kale salad recipe.
A tight knit team with years of experience, the crew at Takanini share a passion for plants and expertise in everything from conservation, insect & disease control, to specialist knowledge of roses, fruit trees and sub-tropical plants.
I’ve been oddly passionate about growing fruit trees for years and have a veritable library on the damn things. And I’ve spent far too much time having fun snipping away, while pruning, grafting, and budding. Though what is perhaps stranger is that I even enjoyed the time I’ve spent digging in heavy clay in order to provide the perfect planting hole for my latest addition.
Whether you're taking to a hopelessly overgrown tree with a chainsaw, balancing up a ladder with a pruning saw, or snipping small branches off with a pair of secateurs the basic principle is the same.
Now is a great time of year to be planting trees, and like all good things, it is worth ensuring you start off well. Here's 5 things you need to know when planting will help you get the best out of your trees, and ensure they grow strong and healthy, providing joy for years to come.
Huddling from the bone-chillingly mild, though damp, winters day can at times get depressing, therefore we thought we’d come up with a list of our 10 favourite winter flowers that are perfect for keeping the winter blues away and adding a bit of colour to your life.
Auckland Landscape Supplies is a Kiwi, family owned landscape supply company. We have been trading for 13 years with our flagship branch in Merton Road in St Johns. Last year we opened our newest yard in the carpark area of Kings Plant Barn Takanini.
Veteran restaurateur John Palino, former host of The Kitchen Job and Auckland mayoral candidate, has just opened his latest venture, Friend of the Farmer Café at Kings, 163 Airfield Rd, Takanini.
We asked him a few questions about his latest venture.
Despite being highly sought after, humans were strangely slow to start domesticating these delicious fruit. It was only in the 1500s that they became cultivated more widely, mainly for medicinal purposes. And the first garden varieties weren’t developed until the 18th century.
Joe Robbins joins us from the TVNZ studios with his guide to growing Super Greens.
You can usually find Joe working in our Remuera store although he'll be back on Good Morning TV every second Friday.
No, this isn’t about the bloody dynastic wars in Medieval England. It’s about the bloody mess that I often find myself when the roses come in. It’s about the battles that inevitably erupt as people scramble past each other, surrounded on all sides by thorns, in a quest to procure the right rose.
Though if you want to make your quest somewhat easier, you can pre-order online or if you're not sure what you want, come in and ask in-store.
Joe Robbins joins us from the TVNZ studios with his guide to growing house plants.
Now you can enjoy nature from the comfort of your home. Though to be fair, this isn’t a recent development, as plants have been grown indoors for a fare wee while now.
One of the stranger things that always caused considerable friction between my brother and me when I was growing up was fruit, especially citrus. Whether it was an orange, a mandarin or a lime we’d demolish them. But that little lovely child was always quicker off the mark than I, and regularly beat me to it, leaving me unable to get that sour taste in my mouth.
Anzac day is a day where we commemorate all New Zealanders killed in war and honour all the New Zealand service Men and Women that have returned to New Zealand. But the date itself is the anniversary of when the Anzacs landed on the Gallipoli peninsular in 1915.
I recently popped down to Baradene College to see the Tread Lightly Caravan (TLC) in action. TLC is an award winning, mobile environmental classroom that aims to show students how our everyday choices, what we eat, how we travel, and what we buy, can all make a huge difference to the environment.
So of course it makes sense that upon arrival, I soon found myself huffing and puffing on a bike as I tried to generate enough electricity to power a kettle, two light bulbs, a heat gun, and a sander. And as I started to sweat in the midday sun, I in no way felt embarrassed as a bunch of students watched and laughed as I struggled and gasped for air.
Often over winter your deck or patio can be lacking in colour. Try planting a container with several layers of spring bulbs, which will fl ower from winter through to spring. And with the addition of cyclamen planted on top, it’s sure to be the envy of the neighbourhood!
Named after a Czech Jesuit Botanist, originating from Southern and Eastern Asia, and known for their stunning flowers, Camellias have at times been oddly involved in some of the great upheavals that have shaped the modern world.
As a gardener I find growing Swan Plants, the host plant for the Monarch Butterfly’s caterpillars, to be a weird though satisfying experience. From stripy caterpillars to graceful Butterfly, there is no time during their lifecycle where they don’t look amazing.
Kings Plant Barn has been a proud long-time supporter of this festival, and this year we’re lucky enough to have a stronger than usual connection; a garden that belongs to Takapuna staff member Lyndell Shannon and her partner Mick Roberts. Which was thankfully enough of an excuse for me to get away from the hustle and bustle of being in-store and spend some time in this beautiful and delightfully cool, award winning garden.
The amazing Wizard Hose expands up to 3 times its length and retracts back automatically!
It can be incredibly disheartening when the plants that you have invested time, energy, and love into get ravaged by insects, hit by disease, or just generally start to struggle. And I suspect that many a new gardener has been turned away due to these sorts of disasters.
But while some failure is unavoidable, most instances can either be dodged or stopped with the application of a bit of know how and perhaps a touch of elbow grease.
I had lots of plans for what I was going to grow in my new veggie garden. However a wet spring, and the need to remove a sprawling matt of bamboo roots from my garden, meant that some of my plans have gone awry. So in a fit of desperation, I’ve even started eating flowers.
As somewhat of a country kid, the crowds in the run-up to Christmas often leave me somewhat terrified. So to make my Christmas less stressful, and to help me avoid the rush, I decided to come up with some simple handmade gifts to give.
And to hopefully make it easier for you, I thought I’d post a new gift idea each week in the run up to Christmas.
Despite the occasional bouts of fine weather, and the fantastic growing conditions, I’ve found myself way behind in the garden. In fairness, this isn’t my fault; my left arm recovered from a dog bite just in time for me to to sprain it. But on the bright side, it’s encouraged me to garden vicariously and read about the trials, tribulations, and techniques of other gardeners.
No, this isn’t about the bloody dynastic wars in Medieval England; it’s about the bloody mess that I often find myself when the roses come in. It’s about the battles that inevitably erupt as people scramble past each other, surrounded on all sides by thorns, in a quest to procure the right rose.
For years I felt that salad was basically pointless. Despite the weird and wonderful concoctions created from my parent’s garden, the very word, Salad conjured up crisp, tasteless supermarket lettuce and watery tomatoes. An association that I assume came about because I’m vegetarian, which meant that whenever I had food at an omnivores house, I was invariably served up this sort of salad by people unused to catering a meal without meat.
They are normally red through and through, though they are rarely political. But many other colours are available, as a quick search around Garden Stores and Farmers markets will show that Tomatoes come in all shapes, colours and sizes.
As the wet dampness of winter starts to fade into an unpleasant memory, I will hopefully start to spend more time in my garden, especially in my veggie patch.
My own love affair with flowers got off to a shaky start. When I first started gardening I had no interest in frilly things and instead concentrated on growing food. It wasn’t until I watched a bumblebee force its way into one Snapdragon flower after another in our St Lukes store, when I should have been working, that I got hooked.
October is the month for sowing new lawns or renovating existing ones. This is because the soil temperatures have warmed up and seed has an optimum chance of germinating.
After years of viewing tomatoes as something that should be angrily extracted from a can, I finally began growing my own tomatoes again three years ago. In fairness, my reliance on tins was not entirely through choice; it came about largely as an unfortunate combination of dealing with day-to-day student life, laziness, and summer holidays.
At Kings Plant Barns we have everything you need to grow the best spring veggies! Just think of the healthy, varied and cost effective meals you’ll be eating soon!
I have decided to try my hand at companion planting. Planting which will hopefully both brighten up my garden and help keep my plants pest free and healthy (and with any luck help me produce terrifying surpluses of food this season).
Urban beekeeping is the only way we will continue to reap the benefits of locally grown produce! Luckily, urban beekeeping isn’t difficult and you can even ‘dip your toe’ in by renting beehives; we do all the work and take care of the registrations and disease inspections so that you can enjoy the many benefits of having bees without any of the risk.
While I’ve always found Bees interesting, our relationship has at times been rocky. On the plus side they provide honey and account for approximately 80% of all insect pollination (which is crucial to our survival). But detracting from this is their occasional tendency to sting.
A decade ago I was reluctantly pressed into service, given a spade, and forced to dig an endless number of holes for my parents home orchard. This proved to be a laborious task