Five-minute gardener: Your tasks for this weekend

Narcissus in grass around a tree trunk.

Narcissus in grass around a tree trunk.

Plant your narcissi with haste. These usually look best planted in groups; preferably with only one variety in each group. Or try planting them in the grass around the base of fruit trees – the only drawback is remembering to stop mowing the area once their leaves emerge.

Prune overgrown or out-of-shape pelargoniums, geraniums, marguerite daisies and perennial wallflowers. And take cuttings if wanted.

Continue to dead-head perennials. It may seem a tiresome task but it doesn't take long and it is most effective in giving your garden a cared-for look. Renga renga lilies and agapanthus are obvious subjects, but even the likes of felicia will take on a new freshness if the old flowers and seedheads are removed. Deadheading will also postpone the need for trimming of small shrubs, and prolong that long, hot summer feeling.

Plant lilies in well-drained soil. Lilium regale and Lilium candidum are possibly the easiest to grow, being more tolerant of lime than most. Other lilies will benefit from leaf mould to maintain the acidity which they like.

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How to create the perfect patch of grass

Ripening blackberries.

Ripening blackberries.


​Prepare lawns for sowing or repair by removing perennial weeds. Dig over the soil incorporating well-rotted manure or compost, then leave to settle for up to six weeks.
When ready to sow, remove any weeds that may have sprung up in the intervening period, and tread up and down and across to pack down the soil. Next, rake back and forward and across, then sprinkle over a general-purpose fertiliser and rake again.

Sow seed by scattering half of it walking down the length of the lawn, or area; then scatter the remaining half by scattering as you walk across the width of the lawn. Or use a special seed dispenser. Lightly rake over again to cover as much of the seed as you can with soil. Wet lawn using a light sprinkler and keep damp until the seedlings are established.
Lawn sowing may continue well into April and early May, depending on where you live – the colder the district the smaller window of opportunity you now have.

Sow silverbeet about 1cm deep in rows 50cm apart, in soil preferably with lime and blood and bone added.

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Earth up celery and leeks, and water well – preferably to their roots not leaves as this can engender mildew and rotting.

Prune boysenberries and blackberries after fruiting by cutting all canes that have just borne fruit to the ground. Then mulch generously with compost.

 - NZ Gardener


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