September – All About Gardening

With Michael Coulter

You know its springtime….the body starts to seize up. Meant to get a Southerly last night but I think it took a detour. Typical Canterbury weather.  Warmest August on record for New Zealand. Record high August mean temperatures recorded throughout N.Z.  This made the warmest August on record since 1909.

In August 2013, Auckland was the wettest and warmest, Christchurch was the coolest, Dunedin was the driest, Tauranga was the sunniest and both Hamilton and Wellington were the cloudiest.

We get the horrible ‘nor easters.  Average temperature about 15 degrees, but the ‘nor easters make it feel like 5 degrees.

I’ve seen some stunning magnolias this year. Lincoln University have a fantastic magnolia collection at the end of Farm Road.  Don’t forget to check them out.

Last weekend I went to the Daffodil Woodland with the family. The daffodils extend over two hectares on the south side of the Avon River in Hagley Park. Crossing the road I spotted a gentleman cutting himself untold bunches of daffodils for ‘free’.  The roar I let out caused the family to disown me for a period. They were embarrassed, but I was MAD.  It would be one of my ‘pet hates’. The man disappeared as many eyes were fixed on him.  Another gentleman approached me and said he agreed with my castigation of the ‘daffodils thief’  As he stood there holding a beautiful bunch of daffodil tied with a rubber band and ribbon.  I’m visiting a friend in hospital and I paid for mine.

The Canterbury Horticultural and Acclimatisation Society leased 1.5 hectares of ground from the Domains Board between 1864 and 1930. This popular area was commonly known as The Zoo as a menagerie of animals and birds were housed in the area.  In 1933, James McPherson, Park Curator, initiated the planting of 16,000 daffodils among established woodland of oak and ash trees.  By 1943, 500,000 bulbs had been planted.  Today, it is one of the most popular springtime attractions in N.Z.

So if you see someone helping themselves to ‘our’ daffodils, don’t be afraid to tell them that it is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Cherry trees are nearly in full bloom. So are kowhai trees, magnolias, forsythias. Soon as they finish flowering, prune to encourage new growth. Lawns are growing. Give them a wee feed. Don’t cut too low. Cutting low encourages moss.

Q;    Can you use copper sulphate on moss?

A;    Won’t do much good.  Wet & Forget will kill moss.  Use on pathways.

Keep weeds away from your garlic.

Good time to cut back chrysanthemums and split up dahlias.

Start preparing ground for sowing seeds.

Q;   Buddleia davidii.  I know Monarch butterflies feed on them.

A;   We shouldn’t be growing these plants.  Also known as Butterfly Bush, they are an introduced shrub from China.  Unfortunately, the plant is also highly invasive and spreads profusely by seed into disturbed and natural areas

Mexican daisy is also considered a weed because of its ability to form dense mats of ground cover. It too, is very invasive.

Don’t forget, October 7th,  the Spring Garden Awards.

Also the Daffodil and Alpine Show is coming up.