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Cultivated News
In the news...

In October last year we brought you news that Canterbury resident, Susan Dents, had received the coveted New Zealand Gardener magazine’s Gardener of the Year award.

In this edition Susan tells how she may never grow veges in her garden again because of the damage caused by the Christchurch quake.

Click here to read more.

How do I prevent weeds growing in my lawn?

To discourage weeds and maintain a thick, dense turf, don't cut the grass too short as this weakens it. Set your blade higher than you have previously been mowing so that the grass (when it’s cut) will still prevent sunlight reaching weed seeds and seedlings.

Monitor the amount of water your lawn gets; at least 3cm every 10 days encourages good root growth and a thick weed resistant turf. And lastly, fertilise in late spring with specialised lawn fertiliser available from your local garden centre.

Drum roll for rhododendrons

Rhododendrons mark the arrival of spring, so why not celebrate by visiting one (or more!) of the fabulous festivals in October which are dedicated to the spring flower.

Dunedin Rhododendron Festival
17-25 Oct 2010

Taranaki Rhododendron & Garden Festival
29 Oct – 7 Nov 2010

Rotorua Rhododendron Festival
30 – 31 Oct 2010

Death and taxes... and now rhubarb

Benjamin Franklin once famously said "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

But now you can add rhubarb to the list! Plant rhubarb this spring and every year, just like your tax bill, it will turn up again. At least with rhubarb it's more of a refund than a remittance.

Rhubarb is a perennial plant which means it is dormant in winter but rejuvenates each spring. It's easy to grow and once planted will produce thick, luscious stems that are ripe for the picking and ready to turn into your favourite dessert – year after year!

Click here to read more

October is a good time to...

Add height and colour to your garden with lavish lupins. Tall and stately when in flower, lupins can grow to around 50cm tall. Flowers are a colourful mix of lavendars, blues, pinks, purples, yellows and reds.

Lupins flower in late spring, so now is an ideal time to plant them. Plant your lupins 50cm apart in a sunny and well-drained spot in your garden with slightly acidic soil. Once planted, water your lupins regularly and add mulch in dry areas.

Growing great herbs

When should I plant herbs?
The great thing about herbs is that you can plant them all year round. If you want a wider range, spring is the best time, but the easiest ones to grow are planted in autumn or winter because they’re hardier. You’ll always find a herb to suit any season.

What conditions do herbs like?
The majority of herbs are happiest when they are in full sun.

How do I plant them?
You should try to use fairly fertile soil. In fact, when it comes to herbs, compost very often produces the best results.

Can you grow them in pots outside?
Absolutely! Outdoor pots are the best place to keep your herbs.

Can I grow them on my kitchen windowsill?
Most herbs like plenty of light so a sunny kitchen would be okay, but try to avoid dark places.

How often do they need watering?
Obviously this depends on the time of year, the dryness of the soil, and so on. Ideally, the water level in the soil should be about 3 inches for your herbs to reach their full potential.

Don’t forego flowers due to shady conditions

If your garden doesn't get a lot of sun, there’s no need to forego colour, variety and interest. Just choose plants that thrive in the shade.

While many plants need sunlight to flower, there are quite a few that do well in part or full shade. Impatiens grow really well in shady areas, and come in a range of bright colours to liven up a dark area.

Hanging baskets are another great option. Baskets are a versatile form of garden decor because you can hang them from a tree or nail them to a fence post - whatever works best for you!
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