May, the last month of autumn, we have usually had a frost or two by now, so frost tender planters will need some protection if they cannot be taken in under cover then covering them with frost cloth is obvious solution. But Vapogard is another, perhaps easier choice. Spray it all over the plant and it acts like Scotchgard on fabric, it puts a protective covering over the leaf, reducing transpiration. Spray it on at the beginning of winter, it lasts for 3 months.
For young plants, and frost below -3c, its is recommended to cover with frost cloth as well. Microclima gives the best frost protection. At 4 or 2 metres wide, its easy to fashion a cover suitable for the size of your plant.
May is the time to replenish the soil so it is ready for spring planting. Sow a green manure crop, then dig it into the soil before it flowers and this benefits the soil greatly.
Sowing lupins or broad beans will add nitrogen as these legumes fix nitrogen from the air. Good to use if your next crop is going to be a leafy green.
Where you have had carrots and other root crops, sow mustard seed. This helps to kill root-eating mematodes that live in the soil, but also, plant your root crops in a different place each year. Oats, wheat, barley and other cereal grasses, add lots of organic matter to the soil, improving the structure and bacterial life. This improves flavour, quality and health of your vegetables.
Make sure your green manure crop is dug into the ground at least 2 months before planting your spring crops, so that it has time to break down and work its magic. Cover with mulch, Portstone peastraw is a great choice and available now.
In the gift area we have an extensive range fo Michel Design serviettes and gifts, and a further two designs will be in store in time for Mothers Day (May 12th). They are always an acceptable present whatever the occassion and complement many a table setting, both formal and informal. Our display has been enlarged and is located just inside the main door - come in and you will be spoilt for choice.
Houseplants are ever popular and our range is constantly being restocked. The miniature Anthuriums (Flamingo Flower) are in demand for people with limited display space, the Cyclamen are always a colourful choice for Mother, and you can never go wrong with a Phalaenopsis orchid to add that exotic touch.
In the foliage section, we have finally acquired a nice fresh grade of Monstera (the Fruit Salad plant), the Maidenhair ferns look especially tempting, and all plants can be made that much more special in one of our ceramic indoor pots with matching saucer. What a better gift, and free gift wrapping too!
Following a feature on Kim Hill's Saturday morning programme about Dove River Peony products, we subsequently sold out of most of our stock, and we are currently placing an order for expected delivery in early May. Keep an eye out for some repackaging.
Autumn is such a beautiful season, the leaves have changed colour, as you are travelling round you will be aware of the bright tones of red, orange and yellow. You will also notice the leaves that have fallen.We really are now into mid Autumn, cooler mornings and evenings but when the sun is out – there is still warmth, therefore great gardening opportunities. Autumn is the optimum time of year for planting. It’s when plants make good root growth; so they’re well anchored and ready to take off in spring.
As well as leaves falling walnuts and hazelnuts will have hit the ground - these require collecting and drying.
Feijoas are in abundance at present – these plants are great as hedging, they are evergreen and produce gorgeous fruit. This recipe has been tested several times and it’s delicious.
Feijoa, Ginger and Banana Loaf
1 cup sugar
1 large overripe banana
11/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups chopped feijoas
½ cup fresh ginger, diced
In a saucepan melt the butter, remove from heat and add the sugar and mashed banana.
Beat well and add flour, spices and baking powder. Fold in the feijoas and ginger.
Place mixture into a prepared tin and bake for approx. 50min until golden on top and cooked through.
Leave in the tin to cool before placing on rack.
Vegetable there is still time to plant brassicas, silverbeet, kale, celery, leeks and broad bean plants.
Corn salad is a hardy little salad plant with a nutty flavour, popular in Europe, that withstands even snow! Simply delicious with an olive oil dressing, feta cheese and tomato.
Give your winter vegetables a spray of seasol once a month for extra nutrients.
Roses arrive in store around Queens Birthday Week, so if you intend to plant some new roses or replace roses this is the time to prepare the soil for these new arrivals. Roses like at least half a day of sunshine but do not like wet feet, so the position selected should be well drained and sunny. Dig some Norlake Sheep Pellets into the soil and leave to settle for a couple of weeks before planting your new roses.
Garlic, Elephant Garlic and Shallots will be instore very soon, if not already by the time you receive this.
Grow great garlic by following our tips
Sections called cloves make up a garlic bulb.
·Before planting, split the bulb into individual cloves
·Dig a small hole about 5cm deep in the soil
·Plant garlic in a sunny well drained position
·For best results, plant around our shortest day – June 21st
·Plant each clove in an upright position, make sure the pointed end is at the top
·Plant the cloves in rows about 15cm apart with about 45cm between each row
·Water in dry weather and weed between the rows
·Harvest late December, when leaves turn yellow/brown
·Dry garlic in an airy spot under cover – this is when you can plait your garlic
Keep feeding your rhubarb with plenty of sheep pellets or fertiliser. You don’t need to ‘cut down’ rhubarb for winter; just remove all old and unhealthy stems. Stems should always be gently ‘wrenched’ from the crown and never cut.
If you are not planting a winter crop, then apply some lime and compost to the soil in preparation for spring planting. Then consider sowing a ‘green manure’ for the winter, in order to feed the soil and to suppress weeds. Try our Lupin, Mustard and Grain Mix, which provides nitrogen, carbon, and a clean up of the soil.
Protect your plants from the upcoming frosts – Portstone has good products.
We have Mikroclima frost cloth, in 2m and 4m wide options.This is perfect for your citrus or placing over ground crops.
Or try a cloche (French word for Bell) these bell shaped plastic covers give super protection to seedlings, or plants.
June is roses month at Portstone. Our rose beds will be filled with high quality Matthews Roses. Portstone is proud to be exclusive stockists in Christchurch.
Please take a look at our rose list or take a copy from our counter, we have a great selection this year and winter is a good time to get your new roses planted as it allows them to establish before the dry summer weather.
Roses love a site that gets at least six hours sun a day. They really are not too fussy when it comes to soil, although it is a good idea to add some compost for heavy clay soil or very sandy soil.
Plant your rose at the same level as it is in the pot, or if its bare rooted position the bud union so it will be level with the soil surface. Keep it well watered while its new roots are growing.
If you want to fertilise you can incorporate some slow release fertiliser at the bottom of the hole. The hole should be large enough to hold plenty of compost. Next month we will talk about pruning your existing roses.
It is a good time now to plant trees and shrubs so that when spring arrives they are in the ground and ready to take off. Two winter favourites are Daphne and Wintersweet, both wonderfully fragrant, and both in store now. There is a pure white flowering Daphne that has the same fragrance as the usual pink and white one. Both grow to a maximum of about 1m high x 1.5m wide. Some people have trouble growing Daphnes and the main reasons is poor drainage and cold, wet winter soil that invites the pathogen phytopthora. This attacks the roots of not only the Daphnes, but Rhodos, Azaleas and a number of other plants.
Lighten up the soil by digging in compost and then also add a good sprinkle of soil conditioner Trichopel into the hole when you are planting. It contains the beneficial fungus trichoderma.
Wintersweet is a much bigger shrub than Daphne that turns a lovely golden yellow in autumn and is then followed by the small waxy yellow flowers that glow like Christmas lights when the winter sun is behind them.
Helebores are another favourite in winter as their common name suggests - Winter Rose. They come in a wide range of colours from pale pinks right through to dark maroons colours, with speckles and without. There are also white ones and lovely limey yellows, and apricots. They are easy to grow and look good all year round. They will grow in deep shade, light shade or full sun. Just cut back last years leaves when the flowers start to appear as this will encourage new growth as well as show off the flowers. Lots of new colours are being bred now, so come on in and view our range.
We have in store garlic, shallots and elephant garlic. You can start planting your garlic from now on. It will need six months to grow. Some like the tradition of planting on the shortest day and some like to wait longer for the soil to warm up. Either way you need to think carefully about how much room you want to allocate to them as they are in the ground for such a long time. Garlic loves free draining soil in full sun. Dig over your plot, add seaweed and sheep pellets and a little lime. Bury each clove pointing upwards at least 5cm below the surface. Keep them watered if there is no rain. I always keep them well mulched with peastraw, also helps keep weeds away. When the leaves start to brown in summer, stop watering. When there are 6-8 green leaves left it is time for harvesting, otherwise they don't keep as well. Leave them to dry in the sun for a few days, then store them in a cool, dark and dry place. Do not store them in the fridge as they will spout and taste bitter.
Elephant garlic is really not a garlic, its a type of leek. Its easy to grow. It likes fun sun and tastes great when roasted. Give them plenty of space as they grow big! If found they grow the best when you let them flower and let the flower spikes die down. Worth a go.
Plant shallots in a slightly raised soil in July or August. They like to have their "necks" out of the ground, with well rotted manure and mature compost. They also take about six months to mature and like the sun.
Time to plant broad beans now
Plant polyanthus, primulas, pansies and violas to brighten up winter days
Make Pumpkin Soup - easy as, pumpkin (if you have a whole pumpkin, pop it in a microwave for 5 mins to soften the skin this makes it easier to cut) add chicken stock, curry powder, ground cumin, coriander or parsley. Simmer all until soft, put through a blender and serve with cream, yum and great on a cold day.
Winter is a good time to think of our feathered friends as with colder weather their food source is not as prevalent as warmer months
Portstone carries a range of bird feeders, seeds, houses to help protect birds
over the cold months. Here’s some Tui’s top tips for bird care –
Birds are vulnerable on the ground so raised feeders are the safest solution.
Sturdy tree branches, or a specially designed hook or stake are the best options for hanging your feeder.
Ensure you keep the feeder topped up so birds know they can rely on it as a regular food source.
Birds feed most actively in the early morning, replenishing their energy after the night.
Regularly clean and dry your bird feeding station or feeder. Feeding food from unclean feeders may contribute to the spread of disease amongst wild birds.
Always keep food dry. Do not allow it to go mouldy as rotten food is potentially harmful to wild birds.
Some birds feed on nectar – use a nectar feeder with sugar water to attract them to your garden.
Portstones fire is inviting and the café is super warm.
In the middle of winter, wouldn't it be nice to have a greenhouse to potter in when the weather is wet or cold. There are a number
of jobs you can do now in the shelter of a greenhouse; re-pot indoor plants, sow seeds for spring planting, plant up hanging baskets so they are in full flower when spring starts. Frost tender plants can be sheltered in the greenhouse, and of course you can grow winter greens and lettuces quicker inside than out. So come in and look at our Winter Gardenz display models and discuss with our knowledgeable staff what your requirements are and how we can accommodate them. Winter Gardenzare NZ designed and manufactured to withstand our strong winds and harsh sun.
Strawberries are instore now. They are such a versatile plant, great for children to take care of and enjoy the delicious fruit. Strawberries can be planted in numerous situations; strawberry beds, planters, pots, hanging baskets and they make a good ground cover anywhere you need to suppress the weeds. Feed them well as they are gross feeders. Mycorrcin is a liquid
fertiliser that is particually good for improving strawberry yields and quality.
Fruit trees start coming into the garden centre this month.
Most of our trees are grafted on to dwarf rootstock to make them more suitable for small gardens and containers.
Keeping fruit trees small means easier harvesting, easier to cover with bird netting, the trees produce more fruit, and you can
cram more trees into a small space
Methods for restricting tree size are ;
1. Multi-tree planting in one hole. Instead of planting them out, plant up to to four trees in one large hole, about 50cm apart. The root competition restricts the size the trees get to in the same way that Bonsai does. Its a good way of having more than one variety of fruit and also of having a pollinator tree if required.
2. Root control/Bonsai bags. Root restriction is the oldest trick in the book; it reduces vigorous leaf growth and induces heavier crops of fruit earlier in the year in the life of a young tree. These specially designed growing bags can be planted in the ground,
into a container, or left sitting on the ground..
Above ground is how commercial orchardists use them especially in cherry orchards. The small trees are kept at head height so harvesting can be done at ground level, not on ladders. It is also much easier to cover with bird netting if you don't want to share your crop.
3. Fruit tree hedges. Planted closely together to form a hedge, fruit trees can conceal a wall, line a driveway or block out an unwanted view. Plant trees about 1 metre apart so that growth is reasonably dense once established, and then prune trees hard when planting to promote lower growth.
Decidious fruit trees, citrus and feijoas make excellent edible hedges. For a smaller hedge, plant blueberries or NZ cranberries which are highly fragrant.
So you can see there are many ways of cramming lots of edibles into a small garden. Come in and talk to our knowledgeable, friendly staff.
Our rose selection is good although some varieties are extremely popular and selling out so do not be disappointed come summer. Our roses are high health Matthews Roses and we are proud to be the exclusive stockist in Christchurch.
Roses can be pruned from now on until August or even September if we get a wet year. Some people seem to think that pruning
a rose is a difficult task, far from it, and however you prune it, you cannot kill the rose!
Roses need to be pruned to prevent them becoming a tangled mess and also to encourage new growth and blooms and to shape them. Choose a fine, still day for pruning so the cuts will heal. Pruning cuts should slope away from the growth bud,
starting about 5mm above the bud and sloping back.
And if you are pruning a rose with many "finer" canes, just cut them all at the same length.
The bud should ideally face outward, and you aim to cut one third to half of the total height of the rose
Also remove any old, weak or wrinkled stems. Don't leave any stubs behind as these will die back.
You can apply a copper and oil winter spray, but wait a few days to the cuts can heal naturally.
Lime sulphur should only be applied if you have had a bad scale problem. Remove any fallen
debris around the plant, as this can harbour disease and put them in the green bin.
Also check the crown of your roses, clear away any soil and give it a light scratch with a wire brush.
Standard roses are pruned much the same, maybe just a little harder as they are higher off the ground.
With climbers you want to retain the long stems and train them according to how you want to grow
your climber, and then shorten the side shoots or simply cut it all by thirds if you don't want your climber
to get too big.
Its that time of the year when seed potatoes start to appear in store so you can get a head start by "chitting" them.
Leave the tubers in a warm, dry place, away from direct sunlight. When the sprouts are 1cm long, trim some of the smaller sprouts off and keep 3 or 4 of the stronger growing ones. Remember potatoes are frost tender so watch for Jack Frost in spring.
A good way to protect them is to place frost cloth over them for those cold nights.
When planting out remember potatoes do not like lime as it makes the potatoes go scabby so they grow better in a slightly acidic soil but usually benefit from a feed of superphosphate or a well balanced potato food, as a base dressing and then a side dressing through the growing season.
If you have had problems with wire-worm you probably still have time to grow a quick crop of mustard which germinates really quickly. Dig the area over a couple of times before planting.
Another use for mustard is to sow it in an area where herbicide may have been sprayed and if it
germinates there you know the soil is safe to plant.
There is a great selection of winter vege seedlings in store, Broccoli, sprouting broccoli, vege combo (great for the smaller garden) cauliflower, onion, silverbeet, kale, and spinach. Even though the ground and air temperature is cooler you can still plant them for spring picking. Once planted apply some sheep pellets for boosting flavours and growth come spring.
Great winter colour in our bedding area –
There is nothing like a splash of colour at this time of year, try our pansies, flowering kale, primulas and polyanthus and violas. Our cascading pansies and violas are just what the doctor ordered for pots or baskets to cheer us up.
July is a good month to feed your pots and baskets with a liquid fertiliser such as Seasol, Powerfeed or organic liquid such as Bio marines fish fertiliser.
Also some dried blood will keep your polyanthus happy and further enhance their flowering and colour.
And last but not least, wrapping your garden up in peastraw, helps keep the cold away – place round your roses and fruit trees and your strawberries and veges. Great blanket over your potatoes and garlic as it breaks down and feeds the soil. $12 a bale.
Our rose selection is outstanding, we have some new and recent releases that you will love.
August weather can give you the feeling spring is not far away, blossom begins to appear, the soil is slowing warming up and its perfect to get your new trees and shrubs planted so their roots establish before spring growing.
Even though August is the last month of winter it is often the stormiest. We are likely to have more frosts, so its important to protect new vege seedlings, plenty of pea straw will do the trick.
It's a good time to finish any winter pruning, if you haven't already; fruit and deciduous trees, roses, hydrangeas, hedges and topiaries.
Spray with copper, anything that's susceptible to fungal problems in summer/autumn, particually roses and fruit trees. Spray them a couple of times before bud burst.
Daphnes have arrived in store, both pink and white, in different grades. Also the lovely new cultivar,
Perfume Princess. It can cope with a sunnier position than the usual daphne, and has larger flowers
with a slightly different fragrance.
A number of camellias are in flower at the moment, making it a good time to choose which varieties you would like.
The dark green glossy foliage of camellias, rhodos, magnolias and michelias make them a fantastic option for creating the bones or structure of your garden particularly the winter garden when other plants are leafless.
The new seasons Rhododendrons come in so there will be a full selection of colours and sizes to suit all sorts of gardens. They are very easy to grow and provide spectacular colour when in flower. Some are wonderfully fragrant, but these are all whites and creams and the flowers tend to be a little frost tender. However, most rhodos are frost hardy as they are native to the mountains of China and the Himalayas. They range in size from nice low compact plants of around half a metre, up to 3 or 4 meres of bushy tree with gnarly interesting shaped branches. The feeder roots of rhodos are right at the surface so a good mulch over the soil protects the from weed competition and moisture loss. Peastraw and bark chips are a good mulch and pine needles are particularly good as they are acidic which rhodos love.
You need to start with a good seed raising mix, this has the right fertiliser in it for seeds, reasonable quick and not too strong. It is important to use this instead of a potting mix which has a 6 month slow release fertiliser in it, not quick enough for raising seeds. Start with a suitable tray/container with drainage in the bottom, 3/4 fill with mix and firm down evenly, scatter seeds evenly, try not to clump, then lightly cover with seedmix. Water then place in a warm sunny spot to germinate, keep moist. You can also buy small plastic covered trays to keep seeds moist and warm. As soon as seeds germinate don't let them get too leggy. When old enough to handle "prick" them out into separate punnets to grow on ready for outside planting.
You can purchase jiffy or peat pots that you can put in individual seeds. For single plants or a few seeds for the likes of silverbeets etc that don't have to be separated. The jiffy range comes flat and when wet swell, then you can see where the seeds are placed in the centre, you don't require any mixes with these. Peat pots you fill with seed raising mix, plant the seed, then water well. Keep moist and warm and when seeds germinate you don't have to repot but continue growing and then harden off first before planting outside. Sowing seed to harvesting - a very rewarding process.
We have the 5 main early potatoes in stock in bags of 6, 1kg and 3kg bags. Still time for chitting them (sprouting) before planting out once the frosts are over. Potatoes like well balanced potato food or super phosphate. When planting, if you put fertiliser in the hole don't sit seed directly on the fertiliser or your shoots will get burnt. Place some soil over fertiliser then place the seed spud on soil. When you see the leaves sprouting, you can mound up the soil so the tubers are not exposed to the sun. This is also when you can begin a light water. Nothing tastes better than home grown new potatoes cooked with lashings of butter and parsley sprinkled over.
Asparagus ‘Jersey Giant’ are available now. These one year old crowns will grow and produce very well in the home garden, for years to come. Asparagus are true perennials and can last in an established bed for 20 years for more. Choose a sunny weed free spot, in slightly raised bed for good draining
As these are a perennial crop, care should be taken to ensure planting beds are free of
all weeds. Raised beds tend to give better results, add plenty of compost, animal manure
seaweed and a complete fertiliser. Harvest very sparingly for the first couple of years to aid establishment
of crowns good home variety and should produce good spears.
We have peonies and lilies in store now and expecting Dahlias, Gladioli and Begonia "bulbs" this month. So now is a good time to prepare and weed and feed beds for your beautiful summer flowers.
For a tasty creamy vege soup this a good base. If you want a different taste just change the base.
1kg of chosen vegetables
1 large potato
1 onion or shallot
6 cups boiling water
2 teaspoon stock powder
1/2 tsp chopped thyme
salt and pepper
225gm reduced cream
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)
Put the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan - cook until soft, remove and blend - return to stove and stir in cream, butter and cheese - garnish with chopped chives or parsley.
In the shop we have a lovely range of evergreen Azaleas for $11.99. These are grown for inside colour which when they have finished flowering you can then plant them into the garden. Make sure you harden them off before planting by gradually over a few days, putting them outside under cover and then planting them in the garden. They like acidic soil and a cool root run with a bit of sun on top. Good to plant with Rhododendrons, Camellias etc
We have been to a local grower and restocked with some larger house plants. Large plants are in high demand so these will sell quickly. There are some beautiful Yuccas with tips or stems in green or variegated leaves.
The sale table has been added to with more Jennifer Dumet ceramic products. These are dishwasher and microwave safe and nothing is over $9.99 special. Also on sale are two styles of mugs at $2.99 special or 4 for $10, in a lovely leaf green colour.
The soil will warming up and your plants will start to take up nutrients and get growing. With warmer weather head outside and start feeding, sowing and planting. Sheep pellets and liquid teas are good organic feeds, while slow release and granular fertilisers are effective longer term. Whatever you choose to use, your plants will be happier and healthier for it, and this will reduce the chances of pests and diseases.
Spray your fruit trees with copper at the first sign of bud burst and then again 10-14 days later. This will reduce leaf curl and other fungal disorders.
Camellias are lovely as a specimen bush, but they also make great hedges with their dark green, glossy leaves. Nicky Crisp is a really good variety for hedging, as it flowers for a long period, and also the bush doesn't get to big. Adorable is another one with adorable pink formal flowers. Treasure Trove is a small growing variety with lovely red flowers. This one wouldn't need much clipping. Many Camellias are in flower now so come in a choose the right one for your setting.
Snow Peas are flat and thin and are meant to be eaten whole. A crisp, sweet tasting pea that is popular in Asian food. They can also be eaten raw, if you pick them early. Great steamed and in stir fries. Peas thrive best in cool weather so now is a good time to plant them out. They are not very fussy where they grow, but a moist well drained, loam is best, they don't like wet feet.
Sprinkle a bit of Biophos when planting, lightly work in the soil, and that should keep them happy. Also protect from slugs and snails. After harvesting dig the roots through the soil to boost nitrogen levels.
Tomatoes are in store this month. We have a good selection, just be aware that they have to be kept indoors or in a glasshouse until it warms up. It is way too early to put them outdoors, but it's not too long to go.
Start preparing your tomato beds with compost and rotted manure or sheep pellets - remember a sun ripe tomato is high in vitamin c, juicy and packed with flavour and might I add one of the most satisfying fruit to grow.
Geraniums and Pelargoniums have just arrived. We have a new variety of Pelargonium "Pinkerbell". A lovely pinky-white flower, compact and fantastic flower production, for your hot and sunny displays.
Tasks for the month:
Begonias and Gladioli are coming in the month.
Fabulous selection of perennial including our popular "Spring Delight" varieties, a whole lot of little treasures for your garden.
Keep on planting out your greens; lettuce, mizuna, broccoli, pak choi, caulis, peas and spinach.
Plenty of strawberries here, waiting to be planted out
And last but not least our Roses are looking superb, plenty to choose from.
Lemon Lavender Friands
185gm butter, melted
1 cup almond meal
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour (can be gluten free)
40ml dried lavender flowers
6 eggs whites
Place almond meal, lemon rind, icing sugar, flour and lavender in a bowl, add melted butter and mix until combined.
Lightly whisk egg whites with fork until frothy
Fold egg whites into almond mix until just combined, do not overmix
Spoon into greased friand tins and place tins on a baking tray
Bake at 200 degrees c for 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean
Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out.
Please note: use English Lavender only as others have strong pine overtones.
All citrus like a warm, sunny site, sheltered from cold wind. They require lots of moisture and fertiliser, so when planting citrus, place half a bag of Magic Mulch (which is the ‘fines’ of Spagham moss with seaweed fertiliser added) to hole first, then the bush on top. This will hold a lot of moisture and food right next to the rootball, reducing the frequency of watering and it will produce larger, juicy fruit.
Citrus bushes grow to approx. 1.8 to 2m high and wide but can be kept smaller by growing them in a container or bonsai bag, or by keeping them pruned. Some varieties are available on dwarf rootstock, so they would grow to around 1.2 to 1.5m high and wide. All citrus flowers are white and strongly fragrant.
The Meyer lemon is the cold hardiest of all the lemons and is easy to grow. Yen Ben is a smaller lemon but has a good sharp acidic lemon flavour. Lemonade lemon is the opposite, with a soft flavour that some people eat as you would an orange. Lisbon has large fruit with thick skin and high juice content. It crops heavily through autumn and winter. Tangelo Seminole is a cross between grapefruit and mandarin. The fruit is flattish with a soft reddish orange colour when ripe. The flesh is sweet, tangy and very juicy. Encore mandarin, a very popular one, is one of a few to bear fruit over summer. Medium size, thin skinned fruit with excellent flavour, very sweet and juicy, and easy peel. Seedless unless cross pollinated by other citrus. The fruit holds well on the tree.
Love your garden – we are here to help you achieve this
October is a lovely month, the days are longer due to day light saving. This gives us gardeners more time to spend in our outdoor area.
In the vegetable garden we are enjoying picking our home grown asparagus, you can pick them from now until December. Check your asparagus bed regularly for new little deliciousness, and give your bed a feed every now and then with some liquid seaweed and sheep pellets. Also keep your asparagus bed free from weeds. Pick the spears are 10-15cm high in the second or third year after planting.
Using your freshly picked asparagus heres a simple but tasty side salad;
10 thin spears of fresh asparagus
12 cherry tomatoes
fresh dill, lemon thyme, basil
extra oil olive
Cut asparagus in 3cm lengths and tomatoes into quarters, lightly fry asparagus in wok or fry pan with a splash of extra virgin oil and lemon thyme until tips start to soften (approx 4mins)
Finely chop dill and basil mix with teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
Remove asparagus from heat and let cool. Toss with diced tomatoes and oil/herb mixture.
Serve with a garnish of dill.
Vegetable of the month
They produce heavier crops, are more disease resistant and more vigorous, live longer than ungrafted plants and they produce tender, glossy dark purple fruit. Best grown in a large pot in a warm sheltered spot, liquid feed regularly.
Tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and peppers can be planted now in the glasshouse or potted into bigger pots and kept in a warm spot until the end of October, then planted out which will give them a good head start.
Tamarillos are in stock now - a fast growing, decorative tree with large, tropical-looking foliage (notice the word tropical - they do need a sunny, warm protected site in well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Avoid all frosts.
It's a beautiful looking tree and the bight red fruit are packed with vitamins, and produce nearly all year round. Prune hard in spring
to ensure good fruiting growth. Mulch well and keep moist during warm weather.
We are slowly but surely filling up with summer bedding plants and veges galore.
We have beautiful geraniums, delphiniums, fuchsias, petunias, impatiens, lobelia, just to name a few. Exciting times ahead!
Colourwave Sunbells "Butter Pop"
Masses of white and yellow blooms that cover the plant for many months. Great for hanging baskets and pots. Something new to brighten up the garden.
Marguerite daisies are unsurpassed for their ability to provide a mass of colourful blooms over spring, summer and autumn.
The Federation series of daisies have been bred for larger flowers and lots of them, and are available in a number of different colours and forms.
Another daisy flower is Arctotis which also flowers continuously but has much bigger, bolder flowers than the federations. Its redeeming feature is its ability to grow in most conditions especially dry, making it very useful for planting on difficult to cover dry banks and to trail over retaining walls. Available in lovely sunshine colours that are enhanced by the extra silvery foliage.
Some great plants for a shady area are the Heucheras. We currently have Marmalade and Lime Marmalade at the great price of $9.99 for good size plants. Marmalade has been around for a number of years now so is a proven winner and is the parent plant of Lime Marmalade, passing on its vigour and toughness. The lime colour is great for brightening up shade areas. All the light coloured Heucheras are best planted in part to full sun. They winter over without dying down or getting frosted.
More Daphnes have arrived in store. This is our last shipment until next winter so be in quick to secure these delightful garden favourites with their most delicious fragrance.
We have several grades to suit all budgets. We also have different varieties, the white, the Himalayan (or tree Daphne), Perfume Princess which tolerates more sun and lastly Daphne burkwoodii.
Our roses are looking fabulous and healthy. We have a great selection of varieties including many new ones, both in standards and bush. We stock Matthews Roses, the very best quality roses.
It is time to seriously think about getting your potato crop in. We still have a good range of seed potatoes although some varieties have sold out for the season. If you have been sprouting them, they should have nice shoots ready for planting but still be cautious if there is any hint of a frost. When they are in the ground have some frost cloth handy to cover them so the fresh growth doesn't get burnt. Mix in some potato food as a base dressing then feed through the growing season regularly with Seasol and once a month, potato food.
Hanging baskets look stunning enhancing porches and verandahs, or hung in areas of your garden on structures. To get the best looking baskets you need to plan what to plant and where your baskets will hang.
Suitable plants for hanging baskets: Annual flowering plants - Aylssum, Impatiens (good for shade), Lobelia, Nasturtium, Pansies, Petunias
Baskets you can eat from - Strawberry, Parsley, Pizza Thyme, Nasturtiums, Tumbling Tom Tomatoes. Easy steps to showy baskets :
Select a suitable sized basket or pot for the chosen area
Fill with a specialist potting mix
Plant your selected plants
Mulch the top of the basket with some spaghum moss or compost.
Our Kings seed range is restocked weekly and we can order in anything you require that is not on our shelves.
Do you have an apple or pear tree? If so, you might want to consider hanging a pheromone trap in the tree for catching codling moth. None of us like biting into a lovely looking apple only to find maggot damage. This is mainly caused by caterpillars of the codling moth. Female moths lay eggs on leaves and fruit. The eggs hatch after 10-14 days and caterpillars bore into the fruitlets carving galleries inside. The codling moth is 8mm long, grey, with black lines and a distinctive copper patch on the wing tips. The pheromone trap lures the male moths to a sticky death. This interrupts the life cycle as the female remains unfertilised. Male moths fly on warm nights when dusk temperatures reach 13 degrees c, then they start to mate when dusk temperatures reach 17c. This is from about mid Sept onwards. Enjoy juicy home grown, maggot-free apples and pears.
Love your garden - we are here to help you achieve this
So heres November, all warm and sunny-we hope! And finally we should be able to plant out the most frost tender plants like tomatoes, courgettes etc, its a good idea to protect them at first from the cold and wind with our plant cloches. It will also stop the birds from pecking at them.
As we all know tomatoes are hard core disease "attractors", so healthy well watered, well fed plants have a better chance of staving off all kinds of aliments. They prefer deep dark, and spongy soil, rich in organic matter, plus a good mulch. Water deeply once to twice a week, depending on weather of course. Try to avoid getting the leaves too wet, soaking is best.
Tomatoes need continuous supply of nutrients to support their rapid growth, and plenty of fresh air.
You can plant your tomatoes seedlings a few centimetres deeper than they were in their pots to stimulate new feeder roots for extra strength and ability for nutrient uptake.
Here are some tomato varieties for this year to try;
Big Beef - An oldie, but a goodie, a giant juicy tomato that has that taste of beefsteak. Beautiful! Great for a sammie or on your toast. Heavy yielder and disease resistant.
Russian Red - Reliable semi-dwarf variety, medium sized fruit. Early bearing and very tasty. Sturdy and hardy and a good space saver.
Sungold - long trusses of up to 20 bright apricot-orange bite sized fruit rated by some as the best tasting cherry tomato in the world. Sensational tropical flavour.
Tasty Tom - Bred to put the taste sensation back into tomatoes. It really is an absolutely beautifully tasting medium sized tomato. Really worth a try.
Nothing beats a homegrown tomato!
Vegetable of the Month
Courgette "Tennis Ball". Round shiny fruit with mottled dark skin and deliciously flavoured flesh. Upright habit makes harvesting a breeze. Unusual and interesting.
We stock organic vegetable seedlings, which are proving popular.
Give established vegetable plants a weekly feed with either Seasol or Grosafe BioPower Seaweed Flake to enhance plant growth and improve yields and crop quality.
It's time to revamp your hanging baskets now so they are flowering beautifully for Christmas and right through the summer and autumn months. We have many pretty options for making a colourful display; come in and we will help you choose something, or ask Bjorg and she will custom plant a basket for you. You don't need to stick to planting just the top of the basket; plant round the sides as well. If using lobelia, then use the cascading variety in the top for it to spill over and hang down, but if you want it round the sides, then use the upright as it hugs the basket neatly. Fuchsias and petunias are a good option if you just want the simplicity of one plant. Other ideas are Ivy Geraniums and Bacopa.
Keep your roses well watered
Liquid feed your baskets and pots
Keep an eye out for aphids
Keep up with the wedding
Make of all take time to enjoy your garden!
Hostas have all popped up now and looking great. Some Hostas stay very small while others grow tall with huge leaves. If you have room in your garden for a large one, it will really create a striking focal point. The colours range from blue-grays to plain greens to a variety of variegated creams and yellows. The flower spikes appear in summer and some are lightly fragrant, but grow them for the foliage rather than the flowers. Slugs and snails are the big enemy of hostas. They chew holes in the leaves and ruin the look of them. Many of the newer varieties have thick leaves that are more slug resistant, but it still pays to put down a light sprinkling of slug bait.
Indoor colour and foliage
Our houseplant range includes stunning Cymbidium hybrid orchids. The leaves are ribbon-shaped and
when long racemens of heavy waxy flowers are produced, the plant makes a truly exotic display.
They are easy to care for and can be put outside under trees, just bring them in or into conservatories
Feeling rained and drained out? Don't blame you. How much rain do we need? So with December here now, lets hope for sunny weather and balmy nights. So now is a good time to attend to your roses, veges, pots and baskets.
Keep dead heading your roses, it will keep them tidy and clean and ready for the next flush of growth to come through. Liquid feed and spray with Enspray 99 oil for pests and fungal problems. And keep the water up, its better to water less frequently and leave that water on longer, for deep watering.
Keep planting out your vege garden, we always have a great range of quality veges available.
We have, amongst others, four interesting varieties of tomatoes looking robust and healthy;
There is a good range of Elite potted colour range that are very well suit to pots and baskets. Including cascading petunias, bacopas and osteospermum, to name a few, at a very reasonable price too. It is a good idea to include spagnum moss in all your containers and baskets that you are planting up for summer. It really make a big difference in retaining moisture.
"Night Sky" Petunia is a recent new release, with white spots on dark violet flowers, that remind one of an ever changing star constellation. It has a mounding trailing habit. It is very unusual and eyecatching plant - worth a go!
Vegetable of the Month
"The humble leek"..... Although it is a symbol of pride in Welsh culture. The leek is a relative of the onion, but has a more subtle and sweeter flavour than onion. I think it is a must in any vegetable garden as it has so many uses, soups, roasted, cooked and chopped up in salads when they are young and frivilous!
We will have leek bundles in store towards the end of the month, depending on the weather.
In the shop we have some lovely flowering house plants as well as new seasons Poinsettias which are great for a centre piece on your table for Christmas. Remember that if you have your Poinsettia from last year and the new growth does not turn red naturally you will need to trick the plant into thinking there are more hours of darkness per day. Do this by putting the plant in a cupboard for a few hours during the day till the growth turns red.
We also have Peace Lilies, Anthiriums and two grads of Phalaenopsis Orchids
A new shipment of Lyfestyle pots have come in for indoor plants that you can plant directly into as they have drainage and saucers
Portstone Gift Vouchers - perfect for giving to lovers of gardening
Happy New Year from the team at Portstone. January is the month for making the most of the long evenings, have a few barbecues, enjoy sharing your home-grown produce with family and friends.
THE EDIBLE GARDEN
You will need to check on your vege garden daily as many plants will be producing in abundance. Harvest your courgettes, cucumbers, beans and peas while they are young and sweet. Regular picking also encourages the plants to produce for many more weeks.
Keep planting out lettuces, silverbeet, spinach and radishes. You can also start putting in seedlings of your late autumn crops like cabbages and cauliflowers.
Your tomatoes will be ripening nicely now. Take the time to clip out the thinner branches around the lower part of the plant as this allows air to circulate better and lets more light in which speeds up the ripening of the fruit.
Leeks will be available this month.
Leeks like a soil rich in organic matter. Dig in plenty of compost or well-aged manure before planting.
As a leafy crop, leeks benefit from one high in nitrogen, which promotes leafy growth.
Plant Leeks in trenches 15cm deep and 15cm apart with rows 30cm apart, making sure they get full sun; if planting in hot weather trim back the leaves to reduce moisture loss while the roots get established.
Your garlic and onions will be ready for harvesting – look out for leaves wilting and dying down. Dig with a fork, knocking off the excess soil and place in the sun to dry for a number of days. Store in a well aired, dry place, like a shed
You may like to plait your garlic, this looks good and stores well by hanging, place 3 bulbs and plait until near end,
using a leaf to tie the end of plait and use this to hang the plaited garlic.
Your strawberry plants will be rewarding you with delicious big juicy fruit, that is if you have been watering andfertiliser them
well. The best method is spraying onto the strawberry leaves, the 2nd best is a liquid feed via a watering can.
Your roses will appreciate lots of deep watering and dead heading - take notice of any roses in
full bloom so you can order for winter planting.
Keep checking for aphids, black spot and mildew on your roses and spray for control. Our range
of Grosafe products has Enspray 99 which is an organic spray. Do this during calm weather, best early morning
or evening. Give your roses a feed by scattering a handful of Nitrophoska around the base (not too close to the rose stem)
and water in.
Nitrophoska is a slow release fertiliser that gives long lasting nutrients to the plant.
February is normally the hottest and driest month of the year Summer. It is important to keep your garden watered, best to water early in the morning or late at night after 7pm when it is cooler. Use your compost and grass clippings as mulch.
The popular mulch pea straw should be available later in the month.
THE EDIBLE GARDEN
We have Leeks in store now, a bundle of 20 leeks for $5.99 - they are a fabulous winter vege,
so versatile and good for you, just remember to feed them as they are hungry little fellas.
A must for all vege gardens, easy to plant - make a 15cm hole with a broom handle,
pop the leek in and water well.
The first of the Spring Bulbs have arrived in store - Daffodils, Hyacinth, Irises, some Crocus and Ranunculus. with many more bulbs to come. It all of a sudden feels like spring is around the corner!
We have Swan plants in store, from smaller grade to large plants - just what the doctor ordered for
those hungry caterpillars. It is a good idea to keep some plants away from the butterflies, as a back
up food for the "little ones". Either by covering them up or take them inside. Also once a plant has
been eaten to just stalks, if you keep it warm and watered it will come back and sprout leaves again.
We have good varieties of vegetable seedlings that are ready to planted out. Remember Marigolds and Calendula planted amongst brassicas will help deter the white butterfly as well as brighten your vege garden up.
1 tin diced tomatoes
5 whole fresh tomatoes
1 large bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch garlic chives
1 bunch dill
1 small bunch hot n spicy oregano
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 chillies to taste
Sugar or pinch of Stevia
Dice onions and tomatoes.
Place tinned tomatoes, garlic, 3/4 of the coriander 1/2 the onions and 1/2 the tomatoes in the blender. Blend to thick "sauce" add desired chillies.
Add in the rest of the tomatoes and onions, splash of vinegar, sugar/stevia and mix throughly
Finely chop chives, dill, oregano and rest of coriander then add and mix well.
Serve at room temperate.
THE FLOWER GARDEN
Deadhead roses, petunias and any petunias and any other flowers that need it. This tidies up the plant and encourages more flowers. Check your garden for signs of stress, diseases and pests. Spray with appropriate sprays. Liquid feeding every second week will greatly help to keep plants strong and healthy.
There is always a good selection of potted colour for instant colour to brighten your pots, baskets or garden beds.
Feijoa are an increasingly popular tree for the home garden; not only does it fruit, but it is highly ornamental as well.
The pohutakawa like flowers put on a beautiful display around Christmas time and contrast nicely with the silver of the under leaf. "Unique" is deservedly a popular selection, with an abundance of early season fruit with excellent eating qualities. The fruit are medium to large size with rough skin and soft, juicy, smooth flesh. Unlike most other varieties of feijoa, it is self fertile so it doesn't require a second tree for pollination. Its great for organic gardens because very few pests and disease affect it.
March is the beginning of autumn which is natures optimal time for planting trees and shrubs. This is when plants make their maximum root growth, so planting now means the roots will get established before winter and then come spring the plant puts on lots of good top growth. So autumn planting gives your trees and shrubs the best chance of establishing well and being a strong, healthy plant. Also as weather cools, you do not have to water as often as you would have done over summer.
So come into Portstone, have a coffee and a wander around our lovely shrub area, and let our staff help you choose the best plants for your requirements.
We are in the process of stocking up for autumn so there will be lots of new stock coming in to make help make your garden look wonderful. Some of our old stock from spring and summer will be moved onto the bargain bin, so if you are looking for a bargain, there will be plenty to choose from.
There are buxus and escallonia, great for hedging at half price.
We also have a $9.99 bed of quality shrubs looking great - these are great cheap way of planting up a rental or a property about to sell. So remember March and April are the best time to plant!
If your garden needs a lift, our landscape designer Carol. With years of design experience and extensive plant knowledge Carol can help you choose trees and shrubs to fill any awkward gaps. We also provide an on site consultation service - just $70 for an hour of invaluable advice.
A more comprehensive concept or planting plan can be arranged by appointment, when we discuss in detail your garden preferences or requirements. Lets create a garden you'll love!
If your existing lawn isn't looking its best then now is the time to give your lawn a make over.
Thatching your lawn once a year keeps it healthy, using a scarifier removes the build up of dead grass which restores the passage of air, water and nutrients.
Look out for grass grub that live just beneath the surface. They have 6 legs, are pale creamy coloured and have a brown head, treat your lawn immediately if you see these.
Feed your lawn with a good lawn fertiliser.
The first of the seasons Pea Straw is now available. Pea Straw is full of goodness that over time breaks down adding nutrients to your soil, it acts as a mulch yet even placed in thick slab allows bulbs to emerge through come early spring.
There is still time to get another crop of lettuces going and basil will also thrive until the weather turns colder. You can plant basil into pots and bring inside on cold nights.
Plant out brassicas, your broccoli, kale, caulis, cabbages and brussel sprouts. By planting one or two punnets at a time you should get a continuous winter and spring feed. Brassicas are heavy feeders so put in compost and well rotted animal manure. Water and mulch to keep the soil evenly moist.
The best thing to avoid the dreaded caterpillers is to cover your crop with bug net or frost cloth until theres no sign of butterflies. So get cracking now so that your seedlings will be well established before the cold weather sets in.
You may wish to start thinking about sowing a green crop in part of your vegetable garden. Do this once harvesting is complete and you wish to rest your garden beds. The main options are mustard, blue lupin, and grain crops. you can get an all purpose mix with all of these seeds in one. Mustard seed is great for helping prevent wire worm, which attacks potatoes and carrots. Blue Lupin adds nitrogen to the soil, and grain crops add protein. They all help improve the soil structure. Best planted in late summer to autumn and let them grow for 7-8 weeks. Blue Lupin is best dug in when stems are still soft and green. Once you have done the initial digging it is beneficial to repeat a couple of weeks later.
Our Hibiscus are just starting to flower and would look stunning in a warm sheltered position.
Bulb, bulbs, bulbs We have so many varieties in store now and they keep coming! Nows the time to get them planted, we stock bulb mix, bulb baskets and bulb food - one stop shop for your spring flowering bulbs! See our guide to grow fabulous spring flowering bulbs.
In the shop we have new design in the Michel Design Works range of soaps, serviettes, matches, plates, room sprays etc. Beautifully presented - these are very popular as gift ideas.
Check out the new baby house plants - there are some interesting little gems.
Growing your own herbs greatly adds to the enjoyment, ensures freshness and enables you to control what sort of fertilisers are applied.
A good herb garden does not need to be large but does need good soil and plenty of sunlight, water, and continued fertilising will give sweet fresh leaves. Liquid fertiliser works very well with herbs.
In our cooler climate, some herbs are seasonal and will not survive a really cold winter. Basil, lemon grass and French tarragon do not survive (although I am going to put some basil in pots and keep out of the frost). The French tarragons cousin, Russian tarragon can tolerate the cold better, it is milder in taste and it's leaves are bigger than.
Other herbs struggle in the heat and prefer to be planted coming in or out of winter - like lettuce, pak choi, bok choi and coriander so if you are planting out now those herbs can go in, also parsley, chives, spring onion, dill, thyme, origanum and many more.
Consider planting some of the more invasive plants like mint in decorative tubs or stick the pot underground and you will not get mint in your lawn!
Coriander- also known as cilantro or chinese parsley and is indispensable to asian cusine. It's a quick growing annual that needs constant fertilising to encourage strong leaf growth. If growing for leaves, pinch out the flower stems which are preceded by fine fennel like leaves. Leaves can be picked and stored in the fridge in a sealed container for many days. Leaves and roots are essential to asian stir fries and sauces. The seeds are used to flavour curries.
Our winter flowering bedding plants are here now; primulas, polyanthus, stock, pansies, violas, poppies, ornamental kale, and hollyhock to name a few.
good selection of Fuchsias for that semi shade sheltered spot or pots and baskets
nows the time to put in a few perennials. Get them in now and they will be ready to burst forth come spring. We have a fantastic selection.
pansies and primulas in flower in our potted colour, for that instant look
huge selection of Tasty Treats fruits; figs, currants, olives, gooseberries, grapes and boysenberries to name a few
keep planting brassicas and spring bulbs
Autumn is the best time to plant.
Temperatures are cooler but the soil is still warm allowing root systems to establish before winter.
Think about planting any trees, shrubs and hedging plants as these give a garden its structure and add a backdrop for any flowering plants. To provide a strong foundation for your garden, a half to two thirds of your planting should be trees and shrubs.
Evergreens offer year-round privacy and shelter, and can be trimmed. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter allowing light to come through; these trees offer the most glorious colours with the changing season.
A selection of fruit trees have arrived ready for autumn planting. They are from a new and exciting range that have been bred especially for the home garden. They don't grow too big, are disease resistant, and easy to grow. Homegrown fruit is so much more flavoursome than store bought as you can leave the fruit to ripen on the tree. This makes them sweeter and juicier. The trees can be trained along fences, up walls, trimmed into balls, or planted in a bonsai bag, in order to maximise space in your garden. These young trees are small enough to fit easily into your car so come in to make your selections.
Our fruit tree list is out now describing our autumn range and what is coming in mid winter. We recommend you place an order early as some varieties are selling out quickly.
For planting your trees and shrubsfollowing this advice to get your new purchases off to a great start
· Water thoroughly to saturate the roots before planting.
· Dig a hole at least twice as wide and 1 ½ times deeper than the roots.
· Mix compost and slow release fertiliser into planting hole.
· Position stakes while you can still see the roots. Staking is important for most young trees to anchor the plant against wind while the roots get established. The best way is to have two stakes, one each side of the tree. Tie firmly with flexible ties.
Firm soil around the root ball. Water well after planting. Add a layer of mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
With any deciduous tree you have fallen leaves so here’s a simple way to take care of them - Rake them up and put into some black plastic bags, add a scoop of soil and water lightly. Tie up the bags and leave in a shady corner of your property. Turn the bags every week and eventually they will break down leaving a beautiful leaf mould which you can dig back into your garden, adding back nutrients and feeding the soil. Do not add big piles of leaves to your compost, as they will stay like that for years.
Now is a great time to continue planting your vegetable garden.
Give it a feed of sheep pellets, seaweed and any organic fertiliser, and allow time for a thorough weeding and mulching. If you are "closing down" a garden for the winter, mulch with thick layers of peastraw as it will keep the weeds at bay and feed the soil. Also consider planting a green main crop such as blue lupin, mustard, or grain.
Broad beans can be planted out. This is traditionally done on ANZAC day, but anytime now will do. Pinch out the top of the plants when pods are 7-10cm long. This will encourage an earlier crop of well filled shoots and help to deter blackfly. Broad beans like a rich, well dug soil, but overall are not very fussy. We stock the new variety "Red Hughey" in seedlings and in seeds, their flowers are a little bit different from your normal flowers, they will surely brighten up your winter days with their wonderful red/crimson flowers.
Your tomatoes can now been removed if they have been planted outside. Pick off the ripe tomatoes and any green ones. Always discard your tomato plants into the green bin as most of them tend to pick up all sorts of diseases at the end of the season which you really don't want added in to your compost bin. Clean up the bed they were planted in, pick up the dead leaves and any windfall tomatoes on the ground. Give the bed a good raking over and a feed if you are going to replant or simply close it off for winter.
Roses - this year's Rose Catalogue is out now with lots of exciting new varieties plus a very good range of your tried and true roses.