2 months ago

The Star: September 06, 2018

36 Thursday

36 Thursday September 6 2018 Latest Christchurch news at Gardening • By Henri Ham Local News Now The Star Fire rages, homes at risk Grow great gazanias Dive into salad season • By Henri Ham SPRING IS officially here. And, while I do enjoy winter and I love hearty winter soups and casseroles, I’m really looking forward to some lighter meals now that salad season is right around the corner. If you also want to enjoy a tasty salad or two during spring and summer, it’s now time to plant some leafy vegetables. I like to stagger my planting of different varieties from now right through summer to ensure I always have some fresh greens to graze on. Endive is always in my first line-up of salad plantings because it’s so tasty and versatile. But also because its super quick and easy to grow. Endive is a curly leafed lettuce with slightly bitter leaves. Not to be confused with Belgian endive, which has white broader thicker leaves (also called whitloof). And also frisee, a similar milder variety with fine lacy leaves. Unlike other lettuces endive doesn’t grow with a heart, which means you can pick as it grows. The leaves in the centre of endive are sweeter and more delicate than the outer leaves, which have a slightly bitter taste. Plant your seedlings in a welldrained spot 5cm apart from each other. I’ve just planted some in pots to have close to the kitchen as my soil was still a bit wet from winter. Now all there is to do is watch out for snails and slugs, and keep it watered. If you let your endive dry out it will taste bitter and also go to seed faster. On a side note, when endive goes to seed it grows a fabulous purple flower. If you don’t need the space straight away in your garden let it go to seed and enjoy this. In four to six weeks you’ll be cutting leaves for your salads. Harvest the leaves from several plants at once. That way you encourage new growth from your plants. Got children? This is a great job for them to be in charge of. Let them go out at dinner time TASTY: Endive seedlings grow well in pots. Watch for slugs and snails. and select which leaves they want for the salad. And now for some serious salad talk. I use an old salad hack with endive. First I roughly chop the inner leaves and then finely slice the outer leaves. This gives the illusion your salad has two types of leaves in it. At the same time adds great texture to your salad. Endive is heartier than other lettuce greens, which makes it delicious to use as a bed of greens to place your grilled chicken or fish on top of. I find it works well with creamy dressings, eggs and toasted nuts. I sometimes like to use it as an alternative for cos in my homemade caesar salads. It’s also very popular as a base for a classic French bistro salad that has bacon and egg on it. If you’re already feeling ‘saladed out’ before you begin, you might be pleased to know it also tastes great in a cheese toasted sandwich. Add ham, cheese and endive then toast. LOOKING FOR some easy-care, bright and beautiful flowers to lift your garden spirits? How about growing gazanias to bring some fiery orange blooms to your garden? With names like kiss orange flame, sunshine and kiss rose, these guys are bold, bright and best of all blooming easy to grow. Sometimes called the African daisy, gazanias have the same shape as the English (common) daisy. But their flowers are much larger (up to 10cm across) and come in vibrant colours like orange, red and pink. They can grow to 30cm high and are best used for mass planting in garden beds, as ornamental ground cover and to edge lawns. They also look great in pots, tubs and window boxes. The best thing about gazanias is they survive with almost no care. They’re very tolerant of poor, dry and sandy soil. Making them ideal for a house at the beach or areas that you don’t get around to watering much. Gazania are super easy to plant. Simply dig a small hole and space each seedling 20cm apart. Although they are drought resistant you will get bigger and more flowers if you do water them. I always try to pinch off fading flowers with my fingers to encourage more to bloom. In late winter or early spring, give your gazania plants a prune by cutting the foliage back to five to 10cm above the ground. You can do this with pruning shears (another reason why they are super easy to look after) and it will revive the plant and bring on new growth. And now for a fun flower fact. Gazania flowers close up at night. Why? To reduce their risk of freezing. And if it’s cloudy the next day they won’t open fully. COLOURFUL: If you water your gazanias you’ll get bigger flowers.. Spring Eco Extravaganza Wholesale Discounts to encourage you to Plant A Tree – Save The Planet Allwood Trees, 366 Halswell Junction Road, Halswell, Christchurch 8025 Phone: (03) 349 9240 allwoodtrees

The Star Latest Christchurch news at Thursday September 6 2018 37 Local News Now Fire rages, homes at risk Madagascan beauty with attitude • By Shannon Hunt WHILE THE indoor plant Euphorbia milii, better known as crown of thorns, can be described as ‘prickly’ it is without doubt beautiful and intriguing. It is one of those plants likely to prompt a lot of conversation with friends and family from its sunny vantage point in your lounge or sunroom. With its seriously spiky stem and poisonous sap, place your crown of thorns out of reach of children and pets, and wear gloves when attending to its branches and soil. Other than that it is an easy indoor plant to care for and, in the right location, it will reward you with gorgeous, waxy, red, yellow or pink flowers almost all year round. If you miss an occasional watering, this hardy plant is unlikely to turn up its toes. It originates from a droughtresistant country so is best watered when dry as it is used to surviving through difficult times and challenging environments. Whatever you do, though, do not overwater it. It will not thank you for it. Native to Madagascar, the history books suggest the crown of thorns was introduced to the Middle East in ancient times oN sAle Now! and its name is believed to have originated from the stems being used to adorn the head of Christ at his crucifixion. If you compare the spikes of your plant with those in famous paintings of this event, you will immediately see the similarity. Growing a crown of thorns plant outdoors in a garden in Thailand is regarded as good luck and they claim to have grown the largest specimen there. The more flowers your plant produces every year determines how much good luck you will have in that year – so growing lots of potted specimens in your home could be a very positive and rewarding move. In New Zealand it is best grown indoors in pots and needs at least three hours of direct sunshine each day. It performs best when grown in free-draining cacti and succulent mix. It requires only an occasional liquid feed throughout the year. As the days get warmer and the soil gets drier your plant will need to be watered a little more often; when it starts to get cold again less watering will be required, unless you have a heat pump or an effective fireplace that will dry your plant out quickly. In this type of atmosphere you need to water the plant accordingly. To test if your crown of thorns needs to be watered, push your finger into the potting mix and if it comes out totally dry, take the pot outside and give the soil a soaking, making sure you do not leave water in the saucer. After two years’ growth, repot your plant into a larger container so it can continue to grow and produce even more flowers and make more ‘good luck’ for you and your family. PROPAGATION If your friends and family are making noises about wanting a crown of thorns plant, it is very easy to propagate this succulent once it’s of a good size. Grab your sharp secateurs and your gardening gloves, cut off a branch from the main stem with an angular cut, remove two thirds of the foliage and the thorns (do not attempt this without good protective gloves), pop the cut end into cloning gel and plant it into fine pumice or clean river sand. Place a small plastic bag over the foliage and put the plant in your bathroom or near your shower (not in it) where it is humid, and wait until the roots have developed. Then, pot. POT PLANT: The crown of thorns likes a dry environment and three hours of sun in a day. Now only $35.80 Plus $5 P&H per copy AvAilAble from stAr mediA: Level One, 359 Lincoln Road Addington, Christchurch Phone 379 7100 LANDSCAPING CANTERBURY FOR OVER 30 YEARS RECEIVE $500 OFF! Is your section in serious need of landscaping? Evergreen is here to help with some spring promotions to Design, Build and Plant your landscape so you can enjoy it come summer! LandsCapE dEsIgn: Choose Evergreen’s Landscape Architect to design a concept and planting plan, and we’ll give you $500 off! LandsCapE COnstRuCtIOn: Choose Evergreen to landscape your section and we will give $500 off the total quote (contact us for more information on the promotions). pLants: We are having a one-off spring sale day at our nursery on the 22nd Sept. Come in and get up to 75% off trees and shrubs. EVERGREEN LANDSCAPES LTD 60 Ivey Road, Templeton, Christchurch Nursery Enquiries Ph 027 312 4406 Ph: 03 349 2929, Mob: 027 559 2929, E: Open: Mon to Fri, 8:30am - 4:30pm w w w . e g n . c o . n z