Columnists - Ruby Ward

4 top trees to plant in Winter
Winter is the season of hibernation for some plants. It might be the same for some people but for the real gardener, hibernation provides the opportunity to do great things in the garden.
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Beyond the shortest day
Winter - chilly mornings, long shadows, wet lawns, and little time to work in the garden except the weekends - if the weather is kind. But there is so much that needs doing. Every weekend I have a list as long as my arm.
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Camellia time
Spring is hard to ignore now that it's September. After what was in my area, a fairly wet and cold August the sun now shines higher and the lighter mornings make it easier to rise (just wait until daylight saving kicks in!).
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Out with the old
All gardens eventually need rejuvenating and gardening with a clean slate is much more fun. For the native border of 9 years it was time for a change.
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What is lurking in your garden?
It may seem during winter that we need not be concerned about pests and diseases - there is nothing happening to catch our attention. But winter can be a great ally in the battle against summer pests and you can improve your chances of winning the battle by -
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Winter's touch
A southerly weather system, fresh snow on the hills, an incoming high, and a cessation in wind flow, are all the perfect ingredients for frost
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Chemistry in the garden
Roses may be red - but my hydrangea is blue! What was washed out insipid lilac pink flowers last year are now brilliant blue.
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Sprinter, a new season!
The seasons have come full circle and spring is here again; well that's what the calendar says. Not so sure about the weather. The cool temperatures sure do challenge any gardener but there are always some plants that are hardy enough to cope.
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A stitch in time
December 21 is the longest day of the year, and the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to put on an exuberant burst of growth which needs maintenance to sustain it through the (hopefully) hot months ahead. If your Christmas plans are busy, here are three tasks to do now.
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Battling against bugs
Summer's warm humid conditions are great for plants but also for their foes, both diseases and pests in all their forms.
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December ramble
In the lead up to Christmas, big gardening projects get put on hold but it's always rewarding to wander the garden and check the results of the previous months' work.
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Growing for the summer harvest
I envy gardeners living in warmer climes with ideal growing conditions who have broad beans to pick in October and tomatoes in November. My vege gardening is very much a battle with the wind and cooler temperatures. But I am winning the battle with the soil.
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Off with their heads!
February can be such a busy month, just when it would be nice to relax and enjoy some summer weather - there is so much picking, plucking and pruning required to keep the garden looking and producing at its best.
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Summer munchers
The holiday weather in the south of the North Island wasn't very nice for beach going or really anything much outside, so apart from a few days with family my days were largely spent at home and hence in the garden.
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The importance of water
Since Christmas there has been precious little rain, just a few showers here and there but hardly enough to dampen the dust and certainly not enough to replenish the lawn or garden
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Autumn clean-up
Winter is approaching and there is still so much to do and enjoy in the garden. I love winter because it is the time when you have the best opportunity to change the 'architecture' of your garden, with sought after trees and shrubs that are often only available during these winter months.
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Autumn makeover
Autumn is a great time for doing a garden makeover. The soil is still warm after the summer sun but also moist from the morning dew and more regular rain. The lingering sun and mild temperatures provide perfect growing conditions
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Berries for colour
My garden is small yet in most spots functional. It copes with poor soil, wind and occasional salt spray. NZ natives are my plants of choice but you couldn't exactly call them "floral" so when I need a flower fix, I have to look elsewhere.
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Busy days in the garden
How quickly the garden can change with just a few days of sunshine, no wind and dry skies. In the past few days my garden has shed its winter floral displays and taken on a summer look.
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A new garden from old
Sometimes you have to take a hard look at the older plants in your garden.
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24-May-2017