Sow a sprinkle of colour

All around New Zealand during July you can sow a blend of fabulous vibrant flowers, so during spring the garden will be a festival of colour.

Yates Cottage Garden Mix is a blend of easy-to-grow, brightly coloured free-flowering annuals that will help create a charming cottage garden.

The mix contains flowers like coreopsis, dianthus, pansy, antirrhinum (snapdragon), aquilegia (columbine), schizanthus, wallflower, zinnia, salvia, calendula and nemesia. What will pop up depends on the climate at the time, so it’s a floral surprise packet!

Growing Tips:

  • Simply scatter the seed thinly over bare soil in a sunny garden bed, rake lightly into the soil surface, firm down and water gently.

  • Keep the area moist through the germination period and seedlings will start emerging 7 – 21 days after sowing.

  • Once the seedlings are around 5 cm tall, start feeding each week with potassium fortified Yates Thrive Flower Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which contains a balanced blend of nutrients to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of colourful flowers.  Alternatively apply a top dressing of Yates Thrive Natural Roses Flowers Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food every 6-8 weeks.

  • The range of plants will grow from 30 – 80 cm tall and will start flowering around 12 weeks after sowing.

  • Many of the flowers are suitable for cutting for a vase and will also attract bees and other beneficial insects.

  • Flower seedlings can be vulnerable to attack by snails and slugs. A light sprinkling of Yates Blitzem Snail Slug Pellets can help protect young plants from these slimy pests.



Frost protection

Winter frosts can damage tender plant foliage and shoots, especially if unseasonable weather has encouraged out-of-season or unusual growth.

There are a few strategies to help protect vulnerable growth from frost.

  • Move potted plants to a more protected area such as on a veranda or patio or close to a wall.

  • Cover sensitive plants with frost or shade cloth. You may need to construct a supporting frame out of wooden stakes or wire to hang the cloth over. Ensure that the cloth reaches right down to the ground. Bricks or pavers are a handy way to weigh down the cloth edges.

  • Protect small seedlings on frosty nights by creating cloches out of plastic soft drink bottles, which have been cut in half.

  • Keep the soil moist, as moist soil is better able to absorb and store heat during the day. Dry soil can worsen frost damage.

  • Don’t prune off any damaged foliage until the risk of frost has passed, as damaged foliage can help protect the growth underneath.

  • Indoor plants should also be protected from the cold. Move indoor plants away from bare windows and chilly draughts coming under doorways or through gaps in windows. Many plants that we grow indoors have originated from tropical climates and won’t appreciate being exposed to low temperatures.

  • Applying Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed Tonic can also aid plant recovery from stress conditions, like frost.


Clever Cloning

Do you have a favourite deciduous shrub or vine growing in your garden that you would like to duplicate? It’s easier than you think! Cloning is the technical sounding term for taking pieces of stems from plants like hydrangeas, wisteria and grapevines during winter and encouraging them to grow their own roots.

You can give it a go this winter, July is the ideal time to take cuttings. Why not start by trying your hand at some ‘hardwood’ cuttings?

Here’s a step by step guide to growing new plants from hardwood cuttings:

  • Choose leafless stems around 0.75 – 1 cm thick and cut off 15 – 18 cm long pieces.

  • The top cut should be just above a node (the bud where the new leaves develop) and the bottom cut just below a node. Make a slanted cut at the top so you can remember which way is up.

  • Dip the bottom ends of the cuttings into Yates Clonex Root Gel - Hard Wood Red. Clonex Red contains a concentrated plant hormone which helps promote root development as well as sealing and protecting the cutting.

  • Poke about ½ dozen holes with a pencil into pots filled with moist Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. Insert the gel-dipped ends of the cuttings into the holes and gently pinch the potting mix together to firm them, taking care not to wipe the gel off the bottom of the cutting.

  • Keep the pot in a cool, sheltered, well-lit position. Maintain a moist atmosphere around the cuttings by covering the top with a plastic bag, or the clear bottom of a soft drink bottle. After a couple of months check for new roots. Once roots are well established, individual cuttings can be transplanted into small pots to grow until they are big enough to be planted out into the garden.

Related products

Cottage Garden Mix

This easy-to-grow blend of brightly coloured, free flowering annuals will create a charming, old world cottage garden.

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