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Winter Rose Care
My main stalks in my roses look old and almost dead. Beyond giving them a generous prune in winter, what more can I do to give them some life?
Dealing with weeds before planting bulbs
We have just bought our first house and are landscaping the garden. We would like to plant some bulbs, but we need to rid ourselves of these weeds. They just keep coming back! Could you please tell us what they are and how we best get rid of them once and for all! We want to plant something much prettier there.
Tips for Gardening in the Winter Months
A New Year with Thriving Gardens
Top tips to Help Your Garden Survive Summer
Daffodils have stopped flowering
My clumps of daffodils have stopped flowering or much reduced, despite receiving bulb fertiliser. What could be the problem?
When I buy bare root trees to plant, please tell me how deep should the hole be and what is best to put in the hole i.e. compost or manure, or not add anything at all?
I have a Yucca plant that is several years old. It is in a ceramic pot and is root bound. What could I use to give it some nourishment in the form of a mulch, fertiliser or liquid food?
Growing fruit trees in pots
I rent, so all of my garden is in pots and containers in case I have to move. Are there any fruit trees that I can grow in pots? I would love to grow plums, apricots, apples, nectarines, feijoa (I better stop there). Are there any places selling fruit trees that I should be talking to?
Prevent rust on garlic
How can I avoid rust attacking and spoiling my garlic crop? Each year I start with fresh garlic seed bulbs and I have tried planting all different areas of my garden, but they are always attacked by rust.
Growing Thick Lawns
I have used a product to spray the weeds and now have some sparse patches. How do I thicken my lawn and when do I do it?
Evergreen Shrubs and Plants
I have started my garden at my first home, which was previously all grass. I have put in lots of cottage style flowers and would love ideas of what types of evergreen shrubs and plants to add to give it more depth and interest over winter.
Plum Tree Care
The leaves are eaten and tiny on my 5-year-old Plum Lucy tree and the bark is peeling. It did set heaps of fruit, but they all dropped off. What can I do to promote good health please?
Preparing for Planting Tomatoes
How can I optimally prepare my soil for planting tomatoes this spring? I have quite sandy soil. With the cost so high I want to harvest a huge crop I can freeze for sauces next winter!
How to Garden Organically
Caring for your Rose Garden
14 years ago I planted a Loving Memory rose and it hasn't flourished at all. I have fed it special rose manure, put banana skins around and it is in a dry sunny position. All my other roses are thriving except this one. Should I transplant it? When?
White Sticky Bug
I seem to get a white sticky bug quite often on my moth orchids that I have inside. What can I use to get rid of it and to stop it from reoccurring?
Winter Vegetable Planting Guide
Transplanting Pansy Tree
I purchased a property three years ago with a small urban garden containing several native and exotic mature trees. These are under-plant with younger exotic trees and shrubs, including a tree pansy, ginkgo, and Japanese maple. I believe the tree pansy is struggling for enough light and water in its current position, as I have yet to see it flower. When would be the best time to move it, and what position, conditions and treatment do they prefer?
Transplanting a Buxus Plant
Being a rebuild in Christchurch we lifted, relocated and replanted to our new garden, all of our Buxus Sempervirens hedging on the same site. Over the summer some of the Buxus hedging have turned from a lush green to a rusty, orange colour, a few have died off. Can you tell us why this is happening and how to rectify this problem?
My "Crimson Spire" columnar apple tree of six years has become a problem. It has grown well, plenty of blossoms but little fruit. Now a wart like growth has appeared on the trunk and branches. I am unable to find any cause or remedy for this; can you please advise?
We have three Pittosporum trees (about as high as our one-storey house) but since spring, one has turned its toes up and died. The second tree’s leaves have started dying and I have no idea why. They are beautiful trees for the birds and get enough water as we have a punga tree in the middle and give it gentle watering. Fingers crossed for the third surviving. Do you have any idea what’s happening? No sign of any illness in the leaves prior.
I have a raised bed garden that I weeded and dug over in preparation for some winter veges but there's not one worm to be seen. I’ve tried relocating worms from other gardens on my property, but they continually disappear. Is wormless soil ok to grow in?
My question is about roses in May. Mine have a bit of rust, so I have lightly trimmed the bushes. Does that matter so close to winter? What is the best time to prune in Christchurch?
Growing Healthy Roses
Our family loves roses and my mum is an avid gardener, however she always has difficulty with her roses. She is wanting to know how she can encourage healthy and abundant flowers? What is the best natural spray for rust and brown spots?
Please can you outline a spraying schedule for roses. Each year I’ve used Shield and Super Shield and still the leaves look awful. Do I need to look at a winter clean up?
This year we have a lot of ‘black spot’ on the second flush of roses. Is this within the actual rose, or is it just showing in the leaves? I cut them off and don’t allow them near plants, but the next lot also has black spot in some cases. Can you help?
Scale on Roses
I have 3 roses with bad scale, I have tried every remedy I can think of including natural. What can I use to eliminate this? It has not spread to others, yet. Is moving them the best idea?
Rootbound garden and no space to grow
We have quite a small garden and no space anywhere else. The garden is very root bound from surrounding trees. I’d love to plant some flowers but am unable to dig through the soil. Any suggestions?
Maidenhair Fern Care
Over the years l have brought many Maidenhair ferns, but l has never been able to keep them alive for more than a few months! I put them in different rooms in the house but that makes no difference! Please what can l do to keep my latest one alive?
Growing Strawberries and Vegetables
I am new to growing fruit and veges. For strawberries what soil preparation is required and what type of area do they grow well in? How close do I plant veggies seedlings and what depth in the soil?
Lack of Dahlia blooms
I love my dahlias, but I often lose them over winter. Some come up again, but others don’t. Our soil is mostly clay. Do you have any suggestions to help?
Feijoa Tree Maintenance
I have a feijoa tree, what do you suggest for winter maintenance and from spring onwards?
Potatoes & brown staining on flesh
I have been growing potatoes for years and this year I planted Maris Anchor, Cliff Kidney and Jersey Benne. These are the only ones I get seed potatoes for each season and plant in my garden. For some reason this season they have brown staining/marks through the flesh when I peel them otherwise, they look perfect shape and colour on the outside. Can you help – is there something missing in my soil?
The best time to sow Pumpkin Seeds
When is the best time to sow pumpkin seeds? I had plants growing in March this year which had many flowers, but I think it was too late in the season for pumpkins to form and mature. Only one plant had a pumpkin growing.
Should I have self-pollinated the flowers as maybe there were not enough bees in the garden?
Adding colour to your Courtyard
I would like to add some colour to my small courtyard. Can you suggest some flowering plants for summer?
Caring for Cyclamens
I have a Cyclamen which I put outside under a bush when it died off. To my delight it has two fresh healthy leaves, so I have re-potted it and put it on the table in the conservatory. What care should I give it?
Producing More Feijoa Fruit and Flowers
I planted two feijoa plants two years ago which have grown about 1.2m tall. One has more flowers and fruit, the other has only produced a few flowers and no fruit. They are planted in the same location and have the same amount of water and fertiliser. Is there a way to help the plant produce more flowers and fruit?
Reviving Old Gardens
Last year I grew potatoes in my veggie garden. I have just dug in a mixed cover crop. When is the best time to apply dolomite and a general fertiliser, and what would be the best crops to plant next?
Soil Care for Tomatoes
Can I plant my tomatoes for this year in the same garden spot as I did last year and if so what is the best fertiliser to put in there?
Growing Tomatoes in Same Location
Is it okay to plant my tomatoes in the same spot as last year? Is this a problem or should I do something to the soil before I plant?
I pulled some flax out of my garden. What sort of nutrients can I put into the soil to get decent growth as nothing there is taking off?
All About Mixes
My question is how the different mixes (e.g. the tomato mix) help the plant grow? Also, would they work for other plants and do they need to be changed after some time?
Fresh Soil for Containers
Because we rent, I am gardening in containers such as tubs, buckets and even a bath! This is my second year, and the vegetables (beans, zucchinis, lettuce, tomatoes, beetroot etc) are as good as last year’s crop. How do I keep the soil viable for next year’s crops?
Flower & Rose Beds
Inspired by the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground, we would like to regenerate our soil. What mulch did you recommend for our flower and rose beds? We have a clay soil that has been treated with gypsum to improve aeration, but the soil is lacking in rich nutrients. Also, I recently read that bark depletes the soil of nutrients as it breaks down, is this true?