Down in the patch

Now the shortest day has passed and deciduous trees and shrubs are in their dormant stage, it's time to get the winter spray programme into action.

Bloomin' Good

A family of lizards captured the imagination of garden writer Virginia Winder this week.

Living at one with nature


VIRGINIA WINDER - Taranaki Daily News

Rachael and Jason Ruakere and their boys are living a simple life at Puniho Pa.

Down in the Patch

Taranaki Daily News

Strawberries have arrived in garden centres and are available to plant.

A United Nations of orchids


"Welcome to the wilderness," booms Allan Watson.

Down in the patch

If you are intending to grow garlic this year, now is the time to start preparing the ground and buying bulbs ready for planting between mid and the end of June.

Dora the explorer


"I was sitting on a 45-degree slope and I was trying not to slip backwards," the New Plymouth woman says. "My legs and feet were cramping while I was trying to balance on this steep hill."

Jean's gorgeous gardens

Jean Walker, 81, has created her fourth stunning garden.

Bloomin' good

If you're often on the receiving end of a "get those muddy boots out of here" rant, it may be time to bow and scrape.

Down in the patch

The high rainfall we are now experiencing creates ideal conditions for applying the annual dressing of lime to lawns and, where applicable, flower and vege gardens.

Ripe for a luscious persimmon


Many years ago, Gail and I were in Amsterdam and spotted some fabulous fruit in the market.

Yew'll be a head turner


Autumn marks a slowing down in the garden.

Bloomin' Good

When I attended last year's National Orchid Expo, held for the first time in New Plymouth, I was star-struck.

Down in the Patch

Sow brassicas, mustard greens, pak choy, snow peas, spring onions, lettuce, spinach and broad beans. It's still mild, so anything planted now will steam ahead in the growth stakes.

Camellia Sasanqua


One of the joys of gardening in New Zealand is the autumn flowering camellias.

Down in the patch

Now the soil is moist and the temperatures are cooler, it is the ideal time for giving all your acid-loving shrubs a top- dressing of acid plant fertiliser.

Rich in love and laughs

Dorene & Ian Vickers show off their Tikorangi Gardens.

Even when things get messy, Ian and Dorene Vickers can see the bright side of life.

Black Forest, Berry Forest . . . who cares, it's chocolate

Whittaker's has triumphed over Cadbury in a stoush over what they can name their mixed berry chocolate offerings.

Musings from the public gardens

So much has been happening at Pukeiti that it can be difficult for the casual visitor to keep up. Time for an update, then.

Down in the patch

Use the warm wet weather as an opportunity to start planting winter veges.

Garden that nourishes

Chinese New Plymouth resident Zongyu Huang.

Sarah Foy visits a Chinese haven in central New Plymouth whose custodian nurtures a garden and her family at the same time.

The stranger the better


Last week we looked at the Cornish plant collector William Lobb who collected giant redwoods and the monkey puzzle tree and brought them into cultivation.

Gifts of the land

Margaret Smith tells Virginia Winder about adhering to nature to get the most out of her Tikorangi lifestyle block.

Pest grass warning

A pest grass is popping up around Taranaki and should be destroyed. Both common pampas and purple pampas are classed as eradication pest plants by the Taranaki Regional Council.

Towering trees fit for a king


Saxegothaea trees are found living in the deep forests of Chile and Argentina. These splendid conifers are podocarps, related to our rimu and totara trees.

Share your seeds

An autumn seed swap takes place at Kama and Pete's house, 26 Glenpark Ave, New Plymouth tomorrow, from 1pm to 3pmish.

Down in the patch

Rain has arrived yet the soil remains warm and if you can get new plants in, they should do well in terms of getting a good start on growth.

Community garden

Adele Wisnewski, senior community work supervisor.

Practical gardening skills give offenders a chance at a better future.

Wind-resistance with looks


I was happily driving up Mangorei Rd the other day, and there on the left was a high bank topped with pohutukawas.

Down in the patch

The dry weather continues and the challenge of keeping lawns and gardens fresh and green gets harder every day.

Hope and faith

David Self's Manaia garden

Manaia gardener David Self is raising hope.

Gardens face ruin if it doesn't rain soon

"We need it to rain"

Coastal Taranaki School pupils, from left, Catharine Carrie, 17, Charlotte Walsh, 17, and Jana Taingahue-Rongonui,

It's not only Taranaki farmers praying for rain, townsfolk are suffering too.

The clifftop gardens


I'm always amazed at how groups of gardeners get together in Taranaki to create or improve one of their local parks or reserves.

Built on solid foundations

Chris and Steak Goodin's garden

Visitors to this country garden at Okato are guaranteed to leave as friends.

Down in the patch

Growing is still thirsty work for plants in autumn. Even though there's been some rain, it's still dry.

Gardens teem with cicadas and crickets

Cherry McLeod

First it was wasps, then aphids, and now cicadas and crickets are in bumper numbers.

Down in the patch

If you are contemplating planting roses this winter, you need to be planning what you are going to plant and get them ordered now to avoid disappointment.

Location key in garden plans


Wasn't Womad fantastic? No rip roaring winds and no predicted deluge, allowing us to sit back, relax and enjoy three days of wonderful music. What was your favourite?

The crunch bunch

Owners of Maple Park Apple Orchard in Brixton Brett, left, and Steph Lye.

Crunch, thoughtful munch and toss. That's the pattern of Steph and Brett Lye's day.

Unexpected delights

Rachel and Rodney's garden.

The diminutive exterior is deceiving - inside and out back is a stylish garden and classy hosts.

Natural beauty sets scene for Womad

Womad strap

It's that wonderful time of year again - Womad time, the best three days of the year for me. I just love new music, and what better place to discover it than Womad.

Down in the patch

Rain is forecast, so now is a good time to feed evergreen fruit trees such as citrus and feijoas.

An oasis in the broken city

From a grey wasteland to an ebullient ray of light, temporary gardens are popping up in the City of Gardens in the most unlikely places.

Garden guardians

gard strap

They weren't always welcome but today, volunteer gardeners at The Gables keep it lovely.

Send her down, Hughie


When I first came to New Zealand almost 40 years ago, I worked for the Duncan and Davies nursery out at Brixton.

Down in the patch

Autumn is nature's best planting time as it gives plants a good long period to establish so they can gain optimum growth before next spring.

Down in the patch

Partial water restrictions began in the New Plymouth and Stratford districts last week and water conservation is urged.

Oakura revival

Wendy Gibson strap

Sarah Foy visits an Oakura garden, once open to the public, that is being revived.

Tending to the soul

Dawn Bowen's strap

Out the back of Dawn Bowen's wee unit near Pukekura Park is a magical garden of rambling and rampant plants.

The plant master


A beautiful bush walkway has been lovingly landscaped in New Zealand native flora.
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