Be in to win a Daltons prize pack!


Send us your gardening question and be in the draw to win!

This month, we’re giving away: 1 x Daltons Mulch and Grow Pack, valued at over $100. The pack contains: 3 x Daltons Mulch and Grow (40L), 2 x Besgrow Coir Mulch (60L) and 2 x Daltons Nugget Bark (40L). PLUS a pair of comfortable, versatile Red Back gardening gloves from Omni Products.

Even if you are the most hands-off gardener, the most important task to do during the summer months is apply mulch around plants, including those in pots. It’s vital in maintaining a healthy garden and hinders water evaporation, keeping the moisture in the soil. This is particularly important on exceptionally hot or windy days and prevents plants from wilting. Create a clean slate and remove all weeds before applying mulch.

DON’T post your comment below. Head over to my sister site, Sweet Living, to enter the draw. Click through here.

Win a Daltons Premium Tomato Pack


Send in your gardening question and be in the draw to win! 

Each month Daltons will answer one of your questions – and if yours is pick, you win! Up for grabs this month? 2 x Daltons Premium Tomato packs. 

Each pack is valued at over $80 and contains 2 x Daltons incredible edibles® Tomato Mix, 1 x incredible edibles® grow bag, and 1 x Daltons incredible edibles® Tomato FertiliserPLUS a pair of comfortable, versatile Red Back gardening gloves from Omni Products.

Don’t post your question here. HEAD OVER TO my other site SWEET LIVING for your chance to win.

Flight of the Butterflies in 3D


I’m going to this film next week. Are you?

The Moths & Butterflies of New Zealand Trust has brought the 3D film Flight of the Butterflies to New Zealand for you, your family and your friends to see. It is a natural history epic, and a detective story. Join hundreds of millions of real butterflies on an amazing journey to a remote and secret hideaway, and one scientist’s year search to unravel the mystery: where do they go each autumn?

Flight of the Butterflies is being played in five theatres across Auckland, Christchurch and Kerikeri on Tuesday 18th October. The film is a fundraiser for a MBNZT and a Givelittle project that’s underway to help save the endangered and endemic forest ringlet butterfly. The funds will go towards research carried out by a senior conservation officer from David Attenborough’s Butterfly Conservation in the UK.

Want to go? Learn more about it here.

And check out the Givealittle page here.

Gardening Q&A + your chance to win!

Daltons-Premium-Strawberry-Pack-460Send in your gardening question and be in the draw to win! 

Each month Daltons will answer one of your questions, which we’ll feature here. Up for grabs this month? 2 x Daltons Premium Strawberry packs. Each pack is valued at over $80 and contains 1 x Daltons Incredible Edibles Strawberry Mix, 1 x Daltons Incredible Edibles Strawberry Fertiliser, 1 x Daltons Organic Bio-Fungicide Powder, 1 x Besgrow Coir Briquette – PLUS you’ll receive a pair of comfortable, versatile Red Back garden gloves from Omni Products.

Don’t post your question here. HEAD OVER TO my other site SWEET LIVING for your chance to win.

Ask a gardening question and win!! – July

Daltons-rose-pack-giveawayHead over to Sweet Living (my other website), ask a gardening question and be in the chance to win!

Each month Daltons will answer a question or two, which I’ll feature on the site. Plus, you have the chance to win a gardening pack.

This month we have one Daltons Premium Rose Pack to give away (to Kiwis) that contains everything you need to grow gorgeous roses.

This pack is valued at RRP $95 and includes 2 x Daltons Nutrient Enriched Compost, 1 x Daltons Premium Rose Fertiliser, 1 x Daltons Premium Flower Bed Mix and 1 x Daltons Premium Goldcote Rose and Flower Fertiliser PLUS a pair of comfortable, versatile Red Back gardening gloves from Omni Products.

For this month, you must get your question in by 29 July.


Good luck!

Name that rudbeckia

Rudbeckia Toto Rustic

A reader recently asked about a lovely looking rudbeckia she came across. “I have a neighbour who has a most striking rudbeckia – which seems to fit the Readers Digest description of Rudbeckia bicolor – flower petals tipped yellow, shading to dark crimson with a brown centre. It also has lovely gold-tipped stamens surrounding the central cone.” Where can she find one of these plants? [Read more…]

Substitute for peonies

Roses and peonies
A reader (Amy Wenden) recently asked me what flower might be a good substitute for peonies. Her sister is getting married in March next year and has had her heart set on these sumptuous blooms. But given that peonies flower in spring, it’s unlikely she’ll find any around at that time. So the plea was for a flower that looked similar and one that would be ripe for the picking in March.

Well, I reckon roses are their best bet. But it’s the double flowered roses they need to look out for, and one that has what’s referred to as a ‘deep cut’ shape (basically, lots and lots and lots of petals). Many of the David Austin roses have this shape, as do the centifolia roses (which are nicknamed cabbage roses). But my pick would be Rosa ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ (sometimes called the Eden rose), a climbing rose that has huge, cup-shaped flowers. It’s exquisite, and it repeat flowers, so with a bit of luck it will bloom on cue. It’s available from Tasman Bay Roses, although realistically, a first-year rose bush is unlikely to provide enough blooms for a full bouquet.

There are many other cabbage roses available, but first, compare the photos above. The top photo (from Vintage Rose Collection) features the dreamy ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ rose (top) and the peony ‘Sara Bernhart’. See how similar they look?
The middle photo showcases yellow cabbage roses (found here), and the bottom one (from Martha Stewart) features pink cabbage roses. All pretty similar in form to the peony don’t you think?

Q&A: How do I prune my blueberry plants?


Q. I have a 3-year-old blueberry and a 1-year-old in pots. Now they have finished fruiting how do I prune them and can I grow more from the cuttings?

A. Blueberries don’t actually need a lot of pruning. It’s generally recommended that you remove the fruit buds on your plants in the first two years to maximise plant growth. Thereafter, remove only diseased wood or weak growth. Fruit is borne on second year wood, so if you prune regularly you won’t get any fruit. After four or five years, the oldest branches may need cutting back to encourage fresh, vigorous growth. Take softwood cuttings in early spring, about 15cm long. Strip the bottom leaves, leaving 2 or 3 at the top. Place cuttings in a pot filled with sand and peat moss and place your pot in a warm, bright spot out of direct sun. Keep moist and roots should form in about 8 weeks. Grow on in pots until plants are big enough to plant out in the garden or in a bigger container. Jane

Q&A: Why is my rosemary looking so scraggly?

Rosemary in flower

Q. My rosemary plant is looking a little sad. Should I be pruning or feeding it?

A. Take a look first where it is planted. Rosemary likes a free-draining soil. If planted in waterlogged soils, plants may succumb to root rot. Check to see if water pools around your plant after watering or after a rainy spell. If it does, it might be best to shift it to a more free-draining spot. Incorporate grit or pumice into your soil to ensure better drainage. Rosemary also likes a slightly limy soil. If your soil is particularly acidic, add lime to make it more alkaline. An occasional liquid feed can benefit plants, but it’s not essential. However, I would recommend giving your rosemary a light prune, even just a tip prune, each year to maintain its shape and prevent legginess. Wait until after flowering to prune, and avoid cutting back into leafless wood as it won’t resprout. Jane

This gorgeous photo comes from here.

Q&A: How can I keep cats out of my garden?

kittycat-graphicsfairy Q. Every day before getting involved with enjoying our garden we have the odious task of removing cats’ litter. We have tried just about every commercial remedy to keep these pests from digging our newly planted bedding plants and have now resorted to sections of plastic mesh, strategically placed over plants. You can imagine how spectacular that looks! How can we combat this problem? Elaine & Phil

A. Unfortunately, bare soil is an open invitation for cats to dig. As soon as you start digging over a new garden or clear your beds, cats will sniff it out. I have yet to find a commercial product (or old wives’ trick) that works better than plastic mesh – it’s what I use after planting new vegetable seedlings; the seedlings grow up between the squares, and the mesh is removed once the plants are a decent size. It’s not particularly attractive, but it’s only for a short while and you can buy brown mesh to blend in with your soil. The other thing I do is dump some soil or old potting mix in a corner of my garden that’s not on view. My cat always makes a beeline for this instead of my vegetable patch. Shannon Lush, in her excellent book Spotless, recommends slathering Vicks VapoRub over several stones and dotting these around your garden. Lay them with the Vicks side down as rain will eventually rub it off. Jane