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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Flowering Amaryllis belladonna. NZ PLANTING IDEAS.

Amaryllis belladonna flowering. Long lasting flowers with bright luminance.

Amaryllis, Landscape plants. NZ Landscaping ideas.

Amaryllis belladonna in leaf.

Plant of the week - Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna can be seen to shoot up flowers seemingly out of nowhere, surprising most gardeners with its scented flowers on tall stems in late summer, Amaryllis belladonna also has an attractive deciduous leaf that grows after flowering. Strap like glossy leaves die down in summer to feed the bulbs.
There are also white and darker pink flowering varieties.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Morris & James Pottery

Morris & James Pottery and Tileworks. Some of the amazing products available from Morris & James.

Morris & James Pottery and Tileworks

An amazing collection of hand crafted pottery for sale. Pots, including the stunning new Graffio collection, unique wall art, funky serving platters, excellent range of tiles, NZ wall plaques, stylish water features and much more!
The cafe ,workshop and showroom are situated at 48 Tongue Farm Road, Matakana, ( just after the bridge ), North Island, New Zealand. There you can enjoy a browse through the showroom and visit the Cafe for a taste of local produce and wine.

To view the Morris and James website please follow the link:

Sunday, July 24, 2005

New Zealand Gardens to visit.NZ.

The New Zealand Gardens Trust has a very useful website for people visiting or living in New Zealand, gardeners, garden enthusiasts and landscape designers wanting to locate and visit outstanding New Zealand gardens. Using the search options to find New Zealand gardens in the location nearest to you, this attractive, easy to use website with details on 158 Gardens to visit in New Zealand will suit garden enthusiasts and landscape designers alike.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Gardening* TIP OF THE WEEK* - Ground cover Plants

Evergreen ground cover plants are most often low growing plants with a trailing or clump forming habit. Ground cover plants are one of the best ways to cover an area of garden that may be requiring greenery, is weed infested, a particularly difficult area of the garden to get into to cultivate or hard to maintain area.

Evergreen ground cover plants are an excellent natural way to suppress weed growth in your garden, as well as adding to the soils ability to retain water in dry weather, reduce soil cooling and deter rain compaction to soil during wet / cold weather. Evergreen ground cover plants will also help in the prevention of soil erosion on banks / sloped areas where soil requires stability. Evergreen ground cover plants generally have fast root and leaf growth, along with many species that grow underground stems, or clump forming varieties that also give fast soil stability.

Planting your ground cover plants according to the soil situation is important to gain good plant growth. Many alpine type plants require a more rocky soil with higher acidity. Conifer varieties will require these types of soils where other species may require a more sandy clay loam soil. Lower growing Phormium varieties will thrive as a ground cover in most soil situations, although they do seem to like any clay soils in New Zealand.

Evergreen groundcovers are ideal for planting in areas of the garden where there is low light, where lawns will not survive, underneath trees and in areas of full shade or particularly poor soils. Varieties of moss will grow well in shaded garden or low light and will tolerate low foot traffic. Most evergreen groundcover plants require smaller amounts of fertiliser, usually a handful of general fertilizer at the time of planting. Compared with annuals and heavily flowering perennials, evergreen groundcovers generally have the bonus of less maintenance.

Some evergreen ground cover plants to note:

Liriope muscari-
Thin, strap like, mid to dark green leaves with low gloss. Purple flower spikes to 30cm in some cases. Liriope muscari is an excellent landscaping border plant, brightly coloured flowers as well as evergreen leaves allow the Liriope to blend into many planting schemes. Prefeing a dry soil situation, Liriope is very useful in hot climates to achieve a green look all year. There is also a variegated variety available.

Leptinella calcarea-
An endangered New Zealand plant and will grow for many home gardeners and landscape gardeners alike. Leptinella calcarea has fine, feathery, low growing, distinctly coloured foliage sometimes turning very bronze/purple, with small, bright yellow flowers.

Ophiopogon jaburan-
Commonly known as Mondo Grass, is a clump forming, lawn mow-able, evergreen ground cover plant that prefers some shade. Fast growing, under ground spreading perennial with strap like, mid-dark green leaves, white to purple flowers, followed with violet fruits on spikes.

Ophiopogon jaburan as well as O. japonicus prefer moist well drained soils, and usually require fertilizer application when planted. Try to use weed mat to control plant growth where you require the edges of the groundcover to finish, as Ophiopogon species can be very invasive toward the garden if left to grow.
Note: Some herbicide sprays can be used around and through Ophiopogon to kill weeds. The Opiopogon is immune to some spray settings. Roundup will not kill them in lower doses.

Rosmarinus officinalis-
Commonly known as Rosemary, will grow in dry soils as well as moist soils as long as they are well drained. Rosemary will trail across the soil and cover large areas in very little time, providing dark foliage and bright purple flowers.

Rosemary will provide fast erosion control and stabilise new garden areas that may be on steeper landscaping sites. Rosemary will shelter from wind for younger plants that are establishing and also help to control insect pests.
Ideal in any herb garden in both containers and wild, heavenly scented in summer and a culinary delight anytime of the year.
Note: Keep trimmed regularly to help avoid Rosemary becoming too invasive.

To see a range of Rosemary varieties please follow the link below:

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Landscape design UPDATE

Perspective sketch. Pheonix Palm underplantings. Titirangi residence. Auckland, New Zealand.

Before Photo. Landscape designers Auckland.

Pheonix palm gardens before photo. Used by the landscape designer to help create perspective landscape concept sketches. NZLANDSCAPES.COM.

Landscape Structural Plants. NZ landscape design.

Agave showing strong, bold form with fleshy smooth textured leaves, lime/grey green colours of this Agave variety allows it to blend gracefully into any landscaped garden. NZLANDSCAPES.COM Landscape design Auckland. New Zealand.

Landscape Plants. NZ landscape design ideas.

Variagated Succulent. Flowering with bright tubular flashes of colour. NZ landscape design ideas New Zealand.

Landscaping Plants. NZ landscape designers. Auckland. NZLANDSCAPES.

Rock Lillies and Orchids show spectacular blooms. NZLANDSCAPES. Plant photos. NZ landscaping plannts and ideas.

Landscaping plants garden ideas. NZ.

Bright flowers and strong foliage plants in landscape design. Auckland New Zealand Landscaping ideas NZ.

Dry Situation Plants. Nz Landscaping ideas. NZLANDSCAPES.COM.

Succulents growing well in dry soil situations. Perfect for under large Palms and tropical style rock gardens. Able to withstand dry zones, succulents will prevail where other plants would struggle to survive.

Vibrant Plant Foliage. Landscaping Ideas. NZLANDSCAPES.COM.

Vibrant plant foliage will brighten any garden situation. Requiring little or no soil some succulent varieties will thrive in harsh conditions.

Landscaping Ideas. Yucca.

Photo of Yucca aloifolia. Suggested landscaping planting ideas for under large Pheonix Palms. Another option Cordyline 'Emerald Goddess' preferably a fairly compact growing variety.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Gardening*TIP OF THE WEEK* - Winter Tree Planting

Many landscapers and gardeners prefer to plant trees and shrubs during the late autumn and winter months. This is the time where most trees are dormant, or if they are deciduous, have dropped their leaves, and are in an almost suspended stage of growth.

Late autumn and winter is the time of year where transplanting a plant within the garden, planting a nursery stock plant, or planting a tree or shrub into the garden from a container will cause the least amount of stress on the plants.

Provided the soil is not frozen your plants can be placed in the ground and will give the plants plenty of time to establish themselves into their new environment during the winter months and prepare them to sprout and blossom successfully in the spring season.

Given enough time to develop new roots and ease the plant slowly into the soil structure and surrounding environmental conditions, the plants have a much higher success rate than if they were transplanted or planted out in the early spring where temperatures can dry out soils rapidly.

There are several states your plants may be in when purchased or lifted.

Direct transplanting:

When transplanting trees or shrubs within your garden, most tree varieties (depending on their size of course), prefer their roots to be under cut the year previous to enable a root ball to form, (To be discussed in future blog entries).

Lift plants carefully from their current position using a sharp spade, take care not to damage or disturb the main root ball and try to lift the tree or shrub with as much root material as possible. In some cases trim larger roots back.

Place the plant root ball in a hole to a depth slightly higher than the soil level as the plant will subside over time, with a width two times the width of root ball. Create holes in the walls of the planting hole with a garden fork. This loosens up the sides and allows plant roots to penetrate the soil more easily. Fill in surrounding area with soil from the hole and press down with some pressure to remove air from soil.

In most cases transplanted trees or shrubs may require staking for the first seasons to hold them solidly in place. As always water the plant at the time of placement and mulch the surface around the tree or shrub, taking care not to suffocate the trunk or main stems.

Container stock:

When planting from containers into the ground the same principals apply as above, if the plant is root bound then cut back roots that are damaged or restricted, especially at the base of plant root ball, and free up the remaining roots gently with your fingers. Place in position and stake, water and mulch as you would with a direct transplant.

Bagged, burlapped or Hessian wrapped plants:

These plants have been usually grown in the field, are hardened to the environment and have had their roots wrapped or are placed in plastic bags ready for planting. The same planting principals apply here as with container and transplanted plants.

Remove plant from plastic or burlap / Hessian sack, take care to avoid damaging roots as the plants are placed. Stake the plant, water and add mulch.

Bare rooted plants:

Bare rooted plants are available and are plants with no soil on the roots. Inspect roots when removed from packaging, sawdust, etc, and remove any dead or diseased tissue, prune off any dead or damaged limbs or branches, then place the plant in a bucket of water for a few hours to allow the roots to take up some water.

Same principals as above for the planting hole, in this case provide a raised cone of soil at the base of planting hole for the plant roots to be evenly spread out over. Start to back fill the hole with soil, hold the plant in place and shake it as the hole is filled in around the roots, shaking the plant will help remove air pockets from around the plant roots.

Stake the plant, water and apply mulch.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Plant of the week - Phormium 'Surfer', Carex 'Frosted Curls'

Phormium 'Surfer' is one of the phormium family that has unique, striking, olive green foliage with bronze/black edged leaves. The twisted leaves form fairly fast growing clumps up to 75cm tall. The foliage colours lend to many planting styles and can be seen being used in commercial as well as residential landscape design planting schemes.
Carex 'Frosted Curls' is an outstanding New Zealand native grass, it is hardy in most soil situations, best grown where the soil is not too water logged. The light green/silver foliage is soft on the eye, blends well into most landscape design situations, has beautiful foliage movement in the wind. A definite favourite plant for any silver/white garden lover.

NZ PLANTS Phormium 'Surfer'. Landscape Ideas NZ.

At rear: Phormium'Surfer'. At front of photo: Carex'Frosted Curls', both New Zealand native grasses. Plants and landscaping ideas NZ.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Lifestyle Block Master Plan. New Zealand landscaping. NZLANDSCAPES.COM.

Lifestyle Block Master Plan. Hamilton, North Island, New Zealand. All plans drawn by NZLANDSCAPES are able to be viewed in both Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop with layers added for guide lines and plant information. Available to clients of NZLANDSCAPES.COM.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Gardening *TIP OF THE WEEK* Seedling growth in Winter

Mid winter-early spring is the perfect time to set up an area in the garden for propagating seeds and growing seedlings. To be ready for spring planting of annuals and vegetables, find a place in the garden that gets all day sun and use a plastic growing tunnel, wooden boxes or polystyrene crates with glass lids (cold frame) to grow your seedlings under. The growing containers will require some ventilation during warmer winter days.

Growing seedlings in cold frames and plastic tunnels

Enjoy an early harvest of seasonal vegetables as well as prepare your garden for stunning displays of annual flowers by protecting young plants and seedlings in a cold frame or growing tunnel.

How do Cold frames work?

A cold frame is a smaller version of a green house. They collect solar heat, keeping temperatures warm at night, thus protecting from frost or damage from cold weather. Where some gardens are not large enough for a structure like a green house the problem can be solved by using a cold frame.

Placed directly over plants in the place where the plants will stay positioned right through the season or with a base on the frame for seedlings in trays.

What is a cold frame?

A cold frame is generally made from wooden, plastic or lightweight metal sides, creating a frame with an adjustable glass or clear polythene lid. Preferably attach the lid on a slanted angle to allow moisture drainage, with a hinge for ease of opening.

When to use a cold frame / growing tunnel?

With vegetable crops cold frames allow vegetable growers to plant for early crops in late winter/early spring to get the jump on the season, also where colder climate vegetables can be started in autumn and grown right through the winter under cold frames.

Likewise with ornamental annuals the same theory applies, start seedlings in late winter/ early spring and produce early growing strong, hardened off seedlings.

The cold frame is perfect for hardening off seedlings allowing the plants to adjust to a colder climate before being subject to the full elements.

Tips for use of a cold frame or growing tunnel.

- When temperatures are expected to reach below zero cover the entire cold frame or tunnel with a plastic sheet or tarpaulin and insulate the outer sides with mulch or straw.

- When seedlings reach a size almost ready to plant out open the cold frame or ends of growing tunnel for longer periods each day, still closing it at night. This will help adjust your seedlings ready for planting out.

- When sun gets stronger be sure to lift lids or open ends of tunnel slightly to allow air flow and excess moisture to escape.

- To prevent plants from getting leggy and growing too tall too fast paint the inside of the cold frame white to reflect light more evenly and reduce stretching. Most plastic growing tunnels donĂ‚’t require this treatment as the light penetration is more even.

- When preparing winter vegetable crops propagate seeds indoors in late summer and place them in cold frames in early autumn so they have time to harden up to the colder elements and are ready for planting out.

- Get the jump on early spring vegetables and spring/summer annuals by introducing the seedlings to cold frames during the last weeks of winter.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Gardening - Planter/Container selection.

Choosing the appropriate container for your plants will promote good plant health and attractive displays within your garden or home.

What Plant container to choose?

With almost an endless range of plant pots and containers on the market it can sometimes be difficult to know what container will suit a certain situation. Sizes and materials used as containers for a particular landscaping situation will depend on what effect you are trying to achieve.

Traditionally terracotta pots, window planters and wooden wine barrels blend well into any cottage garden or pottager style garden, wooden tubs that can be constructed to suit any size plant are more suited to larger gardens with a more colonial, country style.

Large earthen, glazed, copper, or hypertufa pots are found to be used in most modern landscape design situations as garden features. Large urns create beautiful water features, Bold glazed pots are perfect for accentuating borders or as a way to emphasis or direct focus on an entrance way.

Ideally the containers you use will look their best when chosen to compliment their surroundings. Landscape uses are limited only by the imagination in what you can achieve with stunning pots and containers.

Plant health and watering?

For the healthiest container plantings, choose containers that allow enough space for plant roots to develop. For faster growing annuals and vegetables allow enough root space the equivalent of the space used by top growth in the root growth area. For slower growing Rhododendrons and Conifers allow a touch more than root ball space for maximum health. As a general rule, deep rooted plants require deeper pots.

Providing the appropriate container for the plants moisture needs and drainage requirements will ensure good plant heath. For moisture loving plants avoid terracotta and sphagnum moss containers as they dry out quite quickly.

These porous types of containers work fine if well irrigated during the summer months, ensure that the entire pot is wet down for maximum water holding. Wooden planters are slightly better at holding water and may not require heavy watering during dry spells.

Copper, stainless steel/ galvanised steel, concrete, plastic, glazed ceramic or lined terracotta pots hold the water well. Terracotta pots can be weather conditioned by applying a coat of marine varnish to the outside of the pot.

As always during winter months the watering regime will decrease according to your individual plant requirements.

Caring for plant containers?

Regular examination of your pots will alert you to any problems you may have. Cracking of ceramic and clay pots, rot in wooden planters, snail housing, and general decay of containers can be rectified before more container problems and possible plant deaths.

Use of pot feet or claws, saucers and pot trays will help avoid damage underneath heavy containers or messy pots. Catching any overflow of water from your container on to hard surfaces will avoid staining or decay to the hard surface.

Remove any used soil from containers if storing them. Soils will become stagnant when left to sit, and become unusable.

A suggestion is to throw used soils into compost bins if there is no sign of fungal disease in the used soil. Be careful not to add too much unused slow release fertilizer in the compost as worms may be burn by the fertilizer.

Cleaning plant containers?

Before replanting into any used pots, scrub the pots/containers thoroughly with a solution of hot water, and ten percent household bleach. With a brush remove mineral stains and grime from both the base, sides, as well as both the inside and outside of the container. Rinse thoroughly once clean.

Plant Containers. Types, uses and tips.

  • Copper or brass -– Can be expensive, also very attractive. Another way to achieve the copper look on larger plant containers is to wrap the container with copper foil/ sheeting, a lower cost option with an excellent aged finished effect.
  • Glazed ceramic - There is an amazing array of sizes, styles and colours available. Select the style best suited to plantings and be sure to check for any damage to pots at time of purchase.

  • Clay dish or low bowl -– Excellent for low growing shallow rooted plants, ideal in front of other taller containers, perfect for use within water features or even as small succulent gardens. The only warning is that some shallow planters will dry out all year round.

  • Wooden tub/ Barrel - Very spacious root area allows room for small trees (Citrus, Conifers), as well as larger shrubs (Camellia, Rhododendron) to be grown. Treat inside of planters with a non toxic wood preserver or use wood that is treated for below soil surface.

  • Terracotta pots and trays -– Huge variety of styles and landscape uses. Adaptable to most landscape situations, and are a little more inexpensive than ceramic pots.

Terracotta is best soaked in water for at least an hour before planting, thus helping to maintain maximum water holding ability. The addition of paint to the exterior can help hold water also, a product available now that is almost more terracotta colour than terracotta itself is a product produced in Australia called Megatreat liquid Terracotta which can be used on the exterior of your terracotta pots to refresh old pots or turn concrete pots and planters into terracotta!
To view the Megatreat website follow link below:

  • Plastic - Also available in a range of colours and styles. The only disadvantages are black plastic tends to draw heat and dries out soil rapidly. Plastic also tends to deteriorate when left in the sun for long periods.

  • Hypertufa -– A medium for containers that is low cost and can be created by the home garden enthusiast and landscape designers alike. Larger pots can be made on-site and situated straight into their desired location.

For details on how to make hypertufa pots and general information please follow the link:

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