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Autumn in the garden

Mar 16

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016  RssIcon

March in the garden

Well autumn has officially arrived, but we are still getting summery days. We are getting rain but not as much as up the top half of the north island, where flooding is prevalent. Our weather patterns are more in line with eastern areas, which are drier. One benefit of the cooler evenings is that you get dew falling on the plants, which helps. With the changes in climate happening around the world due to global warming, we need to be prepared for more weather extremes. 

 

It is interesting to see which plants are surviving the drought well at present. Included are native coastal plants, South African, Australian and Mediterranean plants. Often drought resistant plants have glossy leaves, furry leaves or thin leaves to reduce water loss:

 

Drought resistant plants for Wellington:

Arthropodium cirrhatum, reinga lily- native

Astelia Silver Spear- Native clump plant

Brachglottis greyii -Native shrub

Coprosma kirkii-  great native groundcover

Grevillea spp. An Australian native

Lavendula dentata, French lavender–colourful Mediterranean perennial

Leucadendron spp. -South African shrubs

Myoporum laetum, ngaio – native tree

Muelenbeckia complexa – Native groundcover

Phormium cookianum, P. tenax, Native flaxes

Pachystegia insignis- Native shrub for coastal cliffs

Rosmarinus officinalis, rosemary- from the Mediterranean

Xeronema callistemon, Native plant great for containers

 

 

If you have followed my previous advice about not mowing your lawn over a drought period unless you have a watering system, it should still have some green growth.  When it starts growing again you can cut it back lightly. Ideally you should take off no more than 1/3 of the growth. Similarly, trees and shrubs should have no more than 25% of their growth taken off at one time. It still amazes me how people think that lawn is not a plant. If you scalped your shrubs to within a few cm of their roots every week or two they wouldn’t last long, but that is what often happens with lawns. Old habits die hard!

 

I have mentioned before about grafted trees that have growth coming from below the point where the graft was done. If you get different growth from the top growth coming from below the plant it will tend to take over the plant, as it is the rootstock which is more vigorous than the top growth. You need to nip these shoots in the bud, and cut them out. You get these water shoots in roses as well below the bud union. They look different from the rest of the plant, and will take over if left.

A similar thing occurs with variegated plants (I generally don’t like these!) where you get the green shoots “reverting”. They will be stronger then the variegated ones, so you need to remove them. That also applies to plants with brown or black leaves, which can revert to green over time eg black mondo grass

 

Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

Coprosma Kirkii     Coprosma kirkii 

 

Pachstegia insignisPachystegia insignis

 

Astelia Silver SpearAstelia Silver Spear

Lavendula dentataLavendula dentata

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