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Wellington Gardens Blog


Spring in the garden

Sep 23

Written by:
Friday, September 23, 2016  RssIcon

Spring in the garden:

After a brief winter, days are getting longer, and birds are making their dawn chorus earlier. We are supposed to have a spring with temperatures like summer so lets see!

It is good time to plan your garden for spring and summer. You can plant vegetables, and trees and shrubs.



Prepare your garden now by adding compost and gypsum to gardens to improve soil structure and fertility. You can now plant early season potatoes, rhubarb roots, strawberry runners and garlic. I always like to use raised gardens for your vegetables, as you get better drainage and the soil is warmer. This way you get to grow your crops and harvest them earlier. It also means you can add what you want to your garden rather than depend on the existing soil, which at this time of year can be mud!

We use non treated hardwood like macrocarpa to build raised gardens as it doesn’t leach heavy metals into your garden like tantalised pine.

To make a head start you can sow your vegetables into trays: broad beans, cabbages, leeks, caulis, lettuce, peas, radishes, silver beet, tomatoes, peppers and spinach. Plant them out when they have grown and conditions are better.

Trees & shrubs

Dig in compost and gypsum into your garden to improve the soil condition. After planting, add mulch to a depth of 7-10cm. Mulch is ideal in the wet conditions, as it provides a protective barrier for the soil from the rain, reducing soil structure damage. It also keeps moisture in the soil over the dry periods.


Don’t prune deciduous trees now as the sap is rising, and if you prune now you can get lots of sap bleed, which can debilitate the plant. Better to wait until the plants are in full leaf. The worse offenders for sap bleeding are grapes, kiwifruit and deciduous trees like silver birch or maples.

Pests & diseases: check rust on broad beans, celery, and potatoes, and if you see the rusty brown or yellow spots, use a suitable fungicide. 

Slugs and snails are about in this damp weather, so keep and eye out on vulnerable plants such as rengarenga lilies, and the new growth on hostas. Apply a product like Quash if needed.

Fruiting trees and roses can now have a spray of copper oxychloride and conqueror oil to control pests and diseases. If your trees have lichen (that scaly growth on the trunks) you can apply lime sulphur. Apply this separately from copper oxychloride.

Frosts: use frost cloth on frost tender plants the night before a frost is imminent. Planting under trees, or under house eaves will give frost tender plants some protection.

Lawns: add gypsum to lawns to improve structure. Use a fork to improve drainage, and try to keep off lawns if too wet. Don't try to mow them if they are sodden. Only remove approx. 1/3 of new growth when mowing, as it stresses out the lawn otherwise ( remember lawns grasses are plants!).


A real feature plant at the moment is the magnolia. They are coming out in flower now with the deciduous ones showing the flowers against the bare stem eg Magnolia soulangeana. They handle the cold, but need full sun, cool roots and shelter from strong winds. Plant in a soil that has plenty of organic matter - compost and mulch. Be careful around the roots to avoid root damage. Apply an acid fertiliser each year.  

Scented plants out in flower now include Daphne odora. Keep Daphne moist over summer and add acid fertiliser in spring and autumn, and water in well. 

and Viburnum burkwoodii, a scented shrub growing to 1.5m  

Last but not least, our native Clematis paniculata is in bloom now. Keep a cool, moist root run and allow to grow up a tree or structure.

Have fun in the garden




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How to have a great lawn
How to grow edible plants in your garden
Winter in the garden
What to do with steep banks
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What to do in the garden now its winter
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