Favourite bloom


Dahlia favourite

What’s your favourite flower in the garden right now? Mine is this beauty – a rather seductive dahlia. I know you are going to ask me the name of it, but sadly I don’t know. But it’s gorgeous, right?

Beautiful summer roses


red david austin roses carolyn parkerPink rose bouquet and archgertrude jekyll rose carlyn parkerbeautiful peach wedding bouquetBride with wedding bouquet. Pink roses and astrantias.
Ooh, I love rose time. My Souvenir de mme Leonie Viennot literally smothers my picket fence at the front of my house at this time of the year. In fact, I’ll have to cut it back quite a bit this season because it’s actually pushing the fence over! The rose has been there for years (I planted it when I first got here) and it flowers freely each year for most of the year, with its peak in November (late spring) and early December, depending on the weather. But there is always a good smattering of roses after a good dollop of rain at any time of the year.

Another favourite is Gertrude Jekyll (third image from top, by Carolyn Parker), though the David Austin reds are also divine (top image, also by Carolyn Parker). Pictured are Tradescant, in the centre, Falstaff above that, and The Prince below.

I enjoy mixing rose colours too, as in these wedding bouquets.

Make sure you keep your roses well watered this summer. A parched rose will attract bugs and make it more susceptible, in its weakened state, to disease.

GARDENA giveaway!

GARDENA Gardening Tool KitGARDENA Terrace Hose Box 10mUnleash your passion for gardening with this fantastic prize, brought to you by GARDENA.

We have one prize pack, which includes a GARDENA Terrace Hose Box and a Gardening Tool Kit, valued at $198.99, to give away.

Small, lightweight and easy to transport, the GARDENA Terrace Hose Box can be neatly stored, making it perfect for irrigation in small gardens and terraces, as well as camping or other leisure activities.

The GARDENA Gardening Tool Kit is the perfect set for all Kiwi gardeners. The kit includes a trowel, a grubber, secateurs and a hand brush, all in a spacious box, perfect for any additional utensils. The clever European design even includes a lid that doubles as a dust pan!

For more gardening inspiration, visit gardena.com

To go in the draw to win, simply CLICK HERE to email our Flaming Petal competition inbox and tell us why you’d love to win.

ENTRIES CLOSE AT 12 NOON ON 10TH DECEMBER 2017.

Guess the flower


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Let’s play a game. Can you guess the name of the pink, bell-shaped, pendent flowers? Post a comment below if you can.

Bring on the spring flowers


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Tulips and roses are looking good right now.

What’s blooming in your patch?

Sleep workshop

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You may not know this about me, but I’m a certified sleep science coach (among other things).

So…. can’t sleep? If you live in Auckland, join me at my next workshop to find out just why you can’t sleep – and what to do about it.

www.facebook.com/howtosleepwellzzz/

A show of ranunculus


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Did you plant ranunculus this year? They may well be flowering now, depending on when you planted them; if not, they will be soon.

For inspiration, look at this gorgeous bouquet with deep burgundy-wine ranunculus (top) created by Sarah Winward and photographed by Kate Osborne, two very talented ladies.

No flowers? No problem. Use foliage


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It’s winter downunder, which may mean there’s a lack of flowers in your garden. No problem. Pick foliage instead. You can make surprisingly good-looking displays using foliage alone.

For the biggest impact, select a range of leaves with contrasting shapes, colours and textures.

Plant Now: Sage, Rosemary & Thyme


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Missing your fresh, summer annual herbs? No problem. Plant some winter-hardy perennial stalwarts instead. Thyme, sage and rosemary are all tough herbs that will survive the winter gloom. And they’re not only delicious sprinkled onto winter roast meats or as the star ingredient in recipes such as sage gnocchi (make your favourite parmesan gnocchi recipe and add copious amounts of chopped sage – yum!), they look fab in a vase too. And they’re medicinal!

The gorgeous bouquet immediately above (fourth from the top) features thyme, rosemary, lavender and Geraldton wax flower, among other flowers, but it’s the herbs that give it its delicious perfume. The second image from the top features sage and lavender, and the third photo has sprigs of rosemary. Pick herbs and mingle them with flowers for an aromatic display indoors.

Medicinally, thyme and sage are excellent herbs to have on hand for combating colds. Both have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help soothe sore throats. A simple herb tea can be drunk throughout the day or gargled with at the first sign of a sore throat. Infuse a handful of fresh sage and/or thyme leaves in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. (Note: sage should not be taken if pregnant or breast-feeding.)

Or make a thyme syrup.

  • Steep ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves in 300ml boiled water, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain out the leaves and add ¼ cup honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Store in the fridge and keep no longer than a week.
  • For children 1 year or older, give 1-2 teaspoons every 2-3 hours. Teens and adults can take 1-2 tablespoons at a time.

Growing thyme
Thyme likes a sunny spot in free-draining soil. It doesn’t like wet feet, so add pumice or horticultural grit to improve drainage if required. If planting in pots, use a potting mix that’s low in nutrients. Rich soil encourages softer growth and diminishes flavour. Plants in the garden also have low fertiliser requirements. Drought and cold hardy.

Growing sage
Sage likes full sun and a limey soil (add some lime to your soil if necessary) that’s on the dry side. Soil does not need to be highly fertile. This plant is drought and frost resistant.

Photo credit: Second photo from top is from Real Maine Weddings.

Winter flower arrangement

 

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There is usually a slump in the number of flowers available for picking during winter, but there are nearly always a few stragglers left over from the autumn garden. Even an unruly mishmash of flowers, berries, seed heads and foliage can make for a beautiful indoor display.

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Pick a selection of flowers and foliage. Choose a pedestal bowl wide enough to hold a florist’s foam-based wreath. Soak the wreath in water. The best way to do this is to place the foam on the surface of the water and let it absorb the moisture. When the foam sits just beneath the surface, it’s ready to use. If you force the foam into the water you will get dry patches.

Place the wreath on your pedestal bowl. Drape fresh, woody prunings around the foam to disguise it. Use the prunings from grapevines, potato vines, dogwood, or any other  bendy material.

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Start to add your plant material, pushing the stems into the foam wreath. If you have any delicate stems, wrap florist’s wire around the stems then insert wire and stem into the foam.

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Continue inserting flowers into the wreath, rotating the pedestal bowl as you go to ensure the arrangement looks even. You do not have to pack the flowers in tightly at this stage. Keep rotating the pedestal bowl and fill in any gaps as you go.

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