Time to get growing in autumn

Courtesy of Yates.

Courtesy of Yates.

MANY USES: Passionfruit can be harvested and spread over the top of a Kiwi pavlova or cheesecake. You can also use passionfruit to make sorbet or add it to a tropical punch. Picture by Babiche Martens, New Zealand Herald



As the growth of many plants slows during the last month of autumn, other plants are just getting started. It’s time to sow and grow lots of fabulous cool season veges and flowers. Happy gardening everyone.

Perfect pavlova topping
Peak passionfruit season is mid to late autumn so it’s an ideal time to start thinking of all the delicious ways to use this delectable fruit — perhaps spread over the top of a pavlova or cheesecake, made into sorbet, added to a tropical punch or turned into heavenly passionfruit curd.
Passionfruit can be harvested when the skin turns from green to wrinkly purple, though most fruit will fall from the vine when they’re ripe. Check for fallen fruit underneath vines regularly.
Keep passionfruit vines well watered while the fruit are maturing as moisture stress can result in premature fruit drop.
You can start feeding passionfruit vines again in spring with a potassium rich fertiliser like sulphate of potash, which will help encourage lots of flowers and wonderful fruit.

Earl Grey anyone?
There is some controversy surrounding Earl Grey tea and how it came to be named after Charles Grey, who was the British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. There are stories that the tea recipe was created by accident, that it was blended as a symbol of gratitude to Earl Grey for one of his men saving a Chinese man’s son or that it was to suit the quality of the water where Earl Grey used to live.
Whatever the real story, Earl Grey tea combines bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia) with black tea to give it its distinct flavour and aroma.
Many modern day Earl Grey blends use bergamot flavouring or essential oil, however, you can also make your own wonderfully fragrant Earl Grey tea using the intensely flavoured dried rinds of bergamot oranges. So, if you’re a lover of Earl Grey tea (or would like to make bergamot orange marmalade), then it’s time to grow your own bergamot orange.
Bergamot orange trees are vigorous growers and can reach 5m tall, though can be kept smaller by pruning. They are hardy trees that need well-drained soil and a full sun position that receives at least six hours of sunshine a day. The fruit, that has skin the colour of lemons or limes, ripens during winter and early spring and is very acidic. Its tart juice can be used as a replacement for lemons.
When planting a new bergamot orange tree, or any citrus tree, improve the soil in the planting hole by mixing in some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone. It contains rich organic matter to improve the quality of the soil and is a natural source of slow release nutrients and New Zealand seaweed to help promote good early root growth. Water the new tree in well after planting.
In spring, start feeding each week with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food to encourage healthy leaf growth, a strong root system and lots of flowers and deliciously fragrant oranges.

Small space apples
If you don’t have a big backyard, being able to pick your very own apples doesn’t need to be just a dream. There are lots of varieties of apples that can grow in a sunny spot in tight spaces as well as pots, meaning that home- grown apples can be a wonderful reality.
The Ballerina range of apples are columnar, which means they have an upright habit, making them ideal for small and narrow spaces. Ballerina Polka grows to around 3m tall but only 60cm wide, however, it will be smaller if grown in a pot. It has medium- sized round fruit, which have green skin that develops red areas where exposed to the sun. The apples are crisp and juicy and are delicious when eaten straight from the tree, but can also be used for cooking and drying. In spring the tree is smothered in very pretty white and pink flowers, which bees adore, and produces fruit on spurs close to the main trunk. Polka will need a pollinator to ensure the best possible fruit set and other compact apples such as Ballerina Waltz and Bolero are ideal. Look out for the Waimea Nurseries Ballerina range of apples in your local nursery this winter.
When planting apples in the ground, mix a handful of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food into the bottom of the planting hole. This not only helps to improve the soil’s water and nutrient holding capacity and structure, but also provides the apple tree with gentle, slow-release organic nutrients as it establishes.
For container grown apples, choose a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix and a large pot with good drainage holes.

Festival of flowers
You can never have too many flowers in your life (and the birds and the bees will love you for it too).
Autumn is the perfect time to plan your late winter and spring flower show and sowing flowers from seed is an easy and economical way to achieve masses of colour. Here are some beautiful flowers that can be sown in Autumn:

  • Aquilegia Columbine. Sometimes called Granny’s Bonnet, these delightful cottage style plants have unusual and very attractive flowers in cream, pink, yellow and lavender combined with dainty fern-like foliage.
  • Calendula Pacific Beauty. Taking only 10 weeks to flower, calendulas put on a bright show of apricot, yellow and orange flowers. Calendula flowers can also add some pizzazz to a salad.
  • Cornflower Mystic Blue. Creating a beautiful cottage meadow feel, this is a hardy, easy to grow variety that produces an abundance of beautiful double flowers in rich shades of blue.
  • Cornflower Double Mixed. If you can’t decide which cornflower colour to grow, this mix of pinks, blues and whites creates a gorgeous display of flowers that also makes a great cut flower.

Before sowing or transplanting flowering plants into a garden bed or pot, enrich the soil or potting mix first with some Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. Once the flower seedlings are around 5cm tall, start feeding with potassium fortified Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which contains a balanced blend of nutrients to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of colourful flowers.

Proteas
Plants which produce flowers during the cooler months bring much needed colour to the garden as well as providing a source of food for hungry bees and birds. Native to South Africa, proteas are spectacular autumn and winter flowering plants that not only look great in the garden, but their flowers also make a long-lasting cut flower display.
Protea Pink Ice is a well-known favourite which grows to around 2m tall with dark green foliage and large deep pink flowers with a darker centre.
King protea has spectacular large pink flowers on a bush that grows to around 1.5m tall.
Proteas needs well-drained soil in a full- sun position that receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day. They are drought tolerant once established but should be watered regularly during their first summer. Most proteas are also tolerant of frosts down to -5 degrees C.
To keep proteas compact and looking fantastic, remove spent flowers regularly. Or, by cutting new flowers for a vase you can do two jobs at once.



As the growth of many plants slows during the last month of autumn, other plants are just getting started. It’s time to sow and grow lots of fabulous cool season veges and flowers. Happy gardening everyone.

Perfect pavlova topping
Peak passionfruit season is mid to late autumn so it’s an ideal time to start thinking of all the delicious ways to use this delectable fruit — perhaps spread over the top of a pavlova or cheesecake, made into sorbet, added to a tropical punch or turned into heavenly passionfruit curd.
Passionfruit can be harvested when the skin turns from green to wrinkly purple, though most fruit will fall from the vine when they’re ripe. Check for fallen fruit underneath vines regularly.
Keep passionfruit vines well watered while the fruit are maturing as moisture stress can result in premature fruit drop.
You can start feeding passionfruit vines again in spring with a potassium rich fertiliser like sulphate of potash, which will help encourage lots of flowers and wonderful fruit.

Earl Grey anyone?
There is some controversy surrounding Earl Grey tea and how it came to be named after Charles Grey, who was the British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. There are stories that the tea recipe was created by accident, that it was blended as a symbol of gratitude to Earl Grey for one of his men saving a Chinese man’s son or that it was to suit the quality of the water where Earl Grey used to live.
Whatever the real story, Earl Grey tea combines bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia) with black tea to give it its distinct flavour and aroma.
Many modern day Earl Grey blends use bergamot flavouring or essential oil, however, you can also make your own wonderfully fragrant Earl Grey tea using the intensely flavoured dried rinds of bergamot oranges. So, if you’re a lover of Earl Grey tea (or would like to make bergamot orange marmalade), then it’s time to grow your own bergamot orange.
Bergamot orange trees are vigorous growers and can reach 5m tall, though can be kept smaller by pruning. They are hardy trees that need well-drained soil and a full sun position that receives at least six hours of sunshine a day. The fruit, that has skin the colour of lemons or limes, ripens during winter and early spring and is very acidic. Its tart juice can be used as a replacement for lemons.
When planting a new bergamot orange tree, or any citrus tree, improve the soil in the planting hole by mixing in some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone. It contains rich organic matter to improve the quality of the soil and is a natural source of slow release nutrients and New Zealand seaweed to help promote good early root growth. Water the new tree in well after planting.
In spring, start feeding each week with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food to encourage healthy leaf growth, a strong root system and lots of flowers and deliciously fragrant oranges.

Small space apples
If you don’t have a big backyard, being able to pick your very own apples doesn’t need to be just a dream. There are lots of varieties of apples that can grow in a sunny spot in tight spaces as well as pots, meaning that home- grown apples can be a wonderful reality.
The Ballerina range of apples are columnar, which means they have an upright habit, making them ideal for small and narrow spaces. Ballerina Polka grows to around 3m tall but only 60cm wide, however, it will be smaller if grown in a pot. It has medium- sized round fruit, which have green skin that develops red areas where exposed to the sun. The apples are crisp and juicy and are delicious when eaten straight from the tree, but can also be used for cooking and drying. In spring the tree is smothered in very pretty white and pink flowers, which bees adore, and produces fruit on spurs close to the main trunk. Polka will need a pollinator to ensure the best possible fruit set and other compact apples such as Ballerina Waltz and Bolero are ideal. Look out for the Waimea Nurseries Ballerina range of apples in your local nursery this winter.
When planting apples in the ground, mix a handful of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food into the bottom of the planting hole. This not only helps to improve the soil’s water and nutrient holding capacity and structure, but also provides the apple tree with gentle, slow-release organic nutrients as it establishes.
For container grown apples, choose a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix and a large pot with good drainage holes.

Festival of flowers
You can never have too many flowers in your life (and the birds and the bees will love you for it too).
Autumn is the perfect time to plan your late winter and spring flower show and sowing flowers from seed is an easy and economical way to achieve masses of colour. Here are some beautiful flowers that can be sown in Autumn:

  • Aquilegia Columbine. Sometimes called Granny’s Bonnet, these delightful cottage style plants have unusual and very attractive flowers in cream, pink, yellow and lavender combined with dainty fern-like foliage.
  • Calendula Pacific Beauty. Taking only 10 weeks to flower, calendulas put on a bright show of apricot, yellow and orange flowers. Calendula flowers can also add some pizzazz to a salad.
  • Cornflower Mystic Blue. Creating a beautiful cottage meadow feel, this is a hardy, easy to grow variety that produces an abundance of beautiful double flowers in rich shades of blue.
  • Cornflower Double Mixed. If you can’t decide which cornflower colour to grow, this mix of pinks, blues and whites creates a gorgeous display of flowers that also makes a great cut flower.

Before sowing or transplanting flowering plants into a garden bed or pot, enrich the soil or potting mix first with some Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. Once the flower seedlings are around 5cm tall, start feeding with potassium fortified Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which contains a balanced blend of nutrients to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of colourful flowers.

Proteas
Plants which produce flowers during the cooler months bring much needed colour to the garden as well as providing a source of food for hungry bees and birds. Native to South Africa, proteas are spectacular autumn and winter flowering plants that not only look great in the garden, but their flowers also make a long-lasting cut flower display.
Protea Pink Ice is a well-known favourite which grows to around 2m tall with dark green foliage and large deep pink flowers with a darker centre.
King protea has spectacular large pink flowers on a bush that grows to around 1.5m tall.
Proteas needs well-drained soil in a full- sun position that receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day. They are drought tolerant once established but should be watered regularly during their first summer. Most proteas are also tolerant of frosts down to -5 degrees C.
To keep proteas compact and looking fantastic, remove spent flowers regularly. Or, by cutting new flowers for a vase you can do two jobs at once.

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