Award winning landscape designer and author, Xanthe White, has been Daltons brand ambassador for over ten years. She has plenty of gardening experience and knowledge to impart to home gardeners and professionals alike. Here Xanthe shares her passion for gardening, along with tips, advice and gardening secrets even the most weathered gardener may not know.
I’ve always been a strong advocate for keeping Spring fever under control. But this year...?
It’s well known by gardeners that the weather doesn’t really stabilise until Labour Weekend. From then we can do as we please in the garden and plant somewhat at whim, but before then we need to be cautious of cold snaps and Spring storms. But this year I feel like an unseasoned gardener. The edge of Winter with the first blossoms, the daffodils, and the last of the magnolias has set me off on a dizzy spin. I know what I shouldn't be doing but just as the bulbs push up with the lengthening days and warming temperature, Spring turns on a switch inside of me that says 'go garden crazy'. It‘s a bit like puppy love that comes once a year.
So I’m going to offer sensible advice, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be following it at home!
- Read the back of your seed packets and sow according to instructions.
- Do not plant your tomatoes until labour weekend unless you have a proper green house.
- Plant in sequence. Do not fill every gap of the garden right now because you can see lambs and daffodils. Think about what you want to plant later and plan your spaces.
- If you want new potatoes on your table for Christmas start sprouting them now and plant them mid September.
- Love your soil. This is advice I always follow. Freshen up compost, plant then mulch.
And while you follow the rules I’ll enjoy carrying on trying to break them.
We have some exciting projects coming up in Taranaki this year which will be open to the public. Still under wraps but hopefully all will be revealed soon! We are also really happy to be working with Eastwoodhill, our national arboretum, on developing the gardens beneath their amazing collection of trees.
And my favourite garden of all, Daltons Plantation, is looking for a wonderful launch into Spring this year. Our aim this year is to expand the productive gardens so we have even more beautiful produce for the café. The chooks' new rotating runs are built and well worth checking out. In the kid's productive garden, the Buzzy Bee, is blooming and is hoping to have some real bees joining him soon. There are insect towers and a new greenhouse which is urgently needed after the cold winter that has snapped everything back. On the ornamental side the Vista now has a beautiful thick grove of Senkaki Maples from Tamata to finish it off. Both Judith and I are enjoying polishing the details as the gardens mature. A do recommend a visit.
But in the meantime, do as I say, not as I do!