Bridget's Veggie Patch - July 2013

Wow what a cold snap we have been having, I know we should not complain here in Auckland but 5 degrees is a bit harsh where we come from. With all this cold, wet, hail and wind there is not really a lot of gardening going on. But lets face it, I always have a project.

This months new project is to tart up the area around my chicken coop and the children's fort. I think this area looks cool, but it does need a little softening in my opinion. It is an area I look at from my kitchen and dinning room and to me it seems a bit like a wooden jungle. I have always wanted to have a garden where I could just wonder around and pick flowers which I could display in vases around my house. My Nana always had lovely arrangements from her garden, however she did come from a large stock farm and had extensive vegetable and ornamental gardens. Living in the middle of Auckland I have always struggled for space and used any spare garden beds for my vegetables. I feel now, that a flower garden with varieties specifically used in cut arrangements would suit this new area perfectly.

Mike obligingly built a raised edge in front of the coop fence and has filled it with garden mix, from Auckland Landscape Supplies of course. (Poor man did it all in the pouring rain too!) I have been out and purchased an array of perennials that are proven cut varieties. I have chosen to plant lots of Delphinium and Penstemons, throughout these I have also dotted Echinaceas, fragrant Dianthus, old fashioned Gipsophila and Poppies. Because the chicken run is along a fence line, I have gone for a cottage garden and planted these varieties randomly rather than in groups. I am hoping that this will result in a burst of colour and a relatively natural look. Immediately outside the hen coop I have grouped some Limomium together which will hopefully result in a nice blue show. Now all I need to do is make sure I give them a good feed every four weeks and wait for spring and abundant blooms.

Leucadendron Tecomanthe New_Flower_Garden
Leucadendron is great for cut flower arrangements Although not a part of my new cut flower garden, I was impressed by the show of flowers my Tecomanthe currently has. I know it doesn't look much now, but I have to put a photo of the new garden in, that way when it is humming with flowers you can appreciate the before and after.

Below are some photos of what I am hoping that my flowers will look like this spring. The nice thing about Echinacea is that it last for ages in a vase and once the petals fall off, you are still left with a really attractive cone which in its own right is useful in a cut arrangement.

Watermelon_Taffy_Penstemon Delphinium_Galahad Echinacea
Penstemon 'Watermelon Taffy' by Living Fashion and purchased at Kings Plant Barn Delphinium Galahad from Redfire Nurseries and purchased at Kings Plant Barn Echinaceas from Kings Plant Barn.

We have also sprayed all of our fruit trees and plants with Copper Oxy. This is good for combating a wide range of diseases in fruiting plants, most of all black spots on apples, pear and grapes and for leaf curl on stone fruit. We will now continue to spray at 3 weekly intervals up until buds have formed. It is important to stop spraying before the first bud bursts as this can then contaminate fruit.


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