July 13, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

  • Alas we are told that global warming may not mean a rise in temperature here to enable us to grow our own coconuts and mangoes but merely more extreme weather events such as last week’s tornadoes and Northland’s floods. So do not go planting tropical fruits in the garden this week.
  • However, it is a great time for planting all other ornamental trees and shrubs. Where possible, avoid staking when planting out. Some rocking movement encourages the plant to strengthen its trunk to hold itself up. Without wanting to anthropomorphise plants, they do get lazy if you stake them firmly and they rely on the stake. That said, plants in very windy conditions or standards which have not developed sufficient strength in the trunks to hold up their heads yet will need some support. Always use a flexible tie such as old pantyhose or strips of rubber (from inner tubes) to avoid ringbarking the trunk by rubbing. Few plants survive ringbarking. You can buy balls of stockinette in garden centres which last for a couple of seasons in the garden but shun the garish colours if you can. Black is the least intrusive colour for tying plants in the garden.
  • It is still good dig and divide weather.
  • Prune roses, wisterias and hydrangeas.
  • The sweet scent of daphne brightens up the winter garden but if you have just bought a plant, look for a position in half sun with good drainage and friable soil. Outside a window, by a door or path is good for sniffing as you pass.
  • August will be a busy time for planting in the vegetable garden so take any opportunity you can to prepare the ground in July. Sow seeds in trays now of lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, silverbeet and spinach so that you have good seedlings ready to plant out in the garden as soon as the weather warms up.
  • It is not too late to plant broad beans.
  • Winter vegetables may need a winter spray of copper to beat fungal diseases. While you are about it, copper is a good clean up spray for roses and deciduous fruit trees.