Garden lore

Subjugated gardens abound, and I can see why. Unless discipline is maintained from the moment the spirit-level is laid across the earth, you are nourishing a vast, tactile, heavy-scented siren which will keep you forever in its thrall.

Hortus by Mirabel Oliver (1990).

Choosing plant containers

While round bellied pots are often more pleasing to the eye, you will save yourself a lot of trouble if you only plant short term annuals or leafy plants in them. More permanent woody plants fill up the space with dense packed roots and it becomes very difficult to extract them for repotting when the root mass is larger than the opening at the top of the pot. All container plants need repotting at least every two years to stay in optimum health (and who wants an unhealthy looking container plant on display?) but to extract one from a round belly pot requires cutting the roots with a knife until you have it small enough to pull out. Too often you can end up breaking the pot. Straight sided vase shapes or cylinders are a much easier shape to work with for woody plants.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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