Updated: Dec 12, 2022
✦ The big rush to the holiday season is on. People have begun running around looking for those perfect gift ideas to give to the special people in their lives. Personally, being a mid-forties male, I will of course be leaving it until the last couple of days before the big day because I am an idiot!
In all seriousness, please do remember to enjoy this time of year with your friends and family and look outside the box for gift ideas. If you can shop local and natural, please do. Also, do consider buying plants for gifts as they keep giving long after the holiday period is over.
Ornamental Plant Recommendation…
Buddleja davidii ‘Velvet’
If you have the desire to bring in wonderful insects to the garden such as bees and butterflies, as well as adding an unbelievable colour display to the environment, then you need to plant some of the Buddlejas. This particular one, ‘Velvet’, is part of the Buddleja BUZZ range. The BUZZ range is a large complement of dwarf shrubs that remain compact to about 2 metres. They will flower for months and months in both garden beds and pots.
The ‘Velvet’ variety produces large flower spikes that have a deep rich magenta colour complemented with a deliciously sweet perfume that brings in bees and butterflies throughout the flowering season. The plants do best when given flowering fertilisers regularly (every 3-4 weeks). If they are trimmed after flowering, not only will it increase the flowering capacity over the season, it will also help to keep the plant nice and compact and eliminate any possibility of the plant growing to sparse. Get into the nursery and see the full range of these Buddlejas that will add amazing colour to your garden.
Ornamental Plant Recommendation…
Thymus x citriodorus ‘Variegated Lemon Thyme’
There are a whole host of different Thyme varieties these days. One which has certainly caught the eye of many a garden enthusiast is the Variegated Lemon Thyme. The oil content of this variety is extremely high, hence making the smell and flavour of this plant deliciously strong. The variegated foliage is a real contrast amongst many other of the standard herb varieties that are in our gardens. The gold-edged leaves really look great alongside the deeper green plants such as oregano and rosemary.
Another bonus feature to appear on the plant from time to time (pardon the pun) are delicate, small, mauve-pink flowers. They provide another colour contrast and are edible so can be used to add flavour and colour to your meals. The plant thrives in full sun and will adapt well to part shade. The plant does like the soil to be regularly moist, so keep an eye on the watering. Great used as a low border plant or even between stepping pavers. When used like this between the pavers the garden will be flooded with the intoxicating aromas of lemon whenever the plant is bruised by people walking by.
Fruit tree recommendation…
Ficus carica ‘Edible Fig’
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don’t give figs much of a mention when it comes to growing them in their yard. I am always one to ask why they don’t enjoy figs; the common answer is usually something like ‘I bought a couple of dozen at the supermarket, and they were dry and tasteless’. Until you have eaten a fully ripe fig fresh off the tree you have not experienced one of nature’s most wonderful culinary gifts. So please give one of these wonderful plants a go. The plant itself is a medium sized deciduous tree up to 5 metres. They do best when they are pruned throughout the winter to keep them no bigger than 3 metres both in height and in span.
By pruning to keep the plant this size it will make it easier to protect and harvest the fruit. The plant grows best in nice open sunny positions. It will thrive in rich fertile soils which are full of composted manure. They require moderate amounts of water but being a Ficus variety, they will drink up any excess water that is around. One issue can be if the plant is getting too much water the fruit can actually burst when ripening, so plant your edible figs on the slope or high side to stop this occurrence.
A little bit of trivia is that the fig ‘fruit’ is actually an inverted flower. When you open the fig up this becomes quite obvious as the flower structure is very visible. Feeding the plant with nitrogen fertilisers coming out of the winter and then applying potassium when the fruit begins to form is the ideal way to encourage the edible fruit to form. Most figs produce their main crop in the late summer/early Autumn period. In warmer zones it is even possible to get an early crop late spring!
Seasons Greetings from all at Greenbourne Nursery
On behalf of Greenbourne nursery and The Plant Hub we wish you all the best over the holiday season. Please do your best to not get too busy and find time to enjoy the company of your family and friends. We will be here for you leading up to the big day and we can’t wait to bring in the New Year with you all. So please drop into the nursery for some great advice or just a friendly chat.
Happy Gardening - Daniel “Chook” Fowler
Ph: 02 65 85 2117
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