December 14, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

Ornithological update at the Jury Garden: the kereru bebe is now flying and no longer needs its protective ring fencing. The morepork family of five are still in residence despite the best efforts of the tuis. Mongrel Mob vs Black Power has little on this territorial battle. The Californian Quail have hatched out fourteen babies of very tiny stature which Mama Quail is leading around the garden. We have our ginger cat under house arrest to protect the quail family though the trick is keeping her confined without her realising she is a prisoner. The quail have added greatly to the stress in Mark’s life as Mama is inclined to leave the slowest behind and he tries to reunite the family. We had the first fatality of the slowest, weakest and coldest fledgling despite his best efforts.

  • In New Zealand, cabbage trees or cordylines get attacked by a native caterpillar. It is absent overseas which is why our cordylines can look so splendid over there. Running your hands up and squeezing the middle core of the leaves at this time can effect a reasonable kill rate on the offending caterpillar. The caterpillars hang out in between the leaves at the centre.
  • With the Elton John rains having hit last weekend and intermittent showers since, you can lay mulch on the garden though we recommend getting the hose out for another soak before you do it. We may be in for a dry summer so get onto mulching immediately.
  • The first crop of monarch caterpillars is steadily munching through the swan plants. There will be a second wave and it is these later ones which are likely to winter over in your garden. A bit of planning ahead can ensure that you have feed for the second coming. Start seed now and keep it protected from eggs while the plants get established.
  • If you want decent sized leeks this winter, do not delay on getting seedlings planted. You will still get a crop from seed but they are likely to be smaller. It is also time to plant celery and brussel sprouts. Continue to sow corn, peas and salad vegetables all of which will mature before winter. Don’t delay on getting plants of capsicums, pumpkins, tomatoes and the like into the garden.

  • Now that citrus has generally finished flowering, a spray of copper and summer oil is important to stop all sorts of nasties.