Garden party

Entertaining outdoors is fun, easy and a quintessential part of Kiwi life. A little effort now will mean that when your friends and family arrive to enjoy the Christmas spirit in your garden this summer, all the hard work has been done.

Go potty:

Pot up instant colour and flowering plants now.

For vivid festive blasts of colour, aim to get all your pots and baskets planted soon, super charge the potting mix with a fast acting fertiliser or drench plants with liquid fertiliser. The list of what to plant is long - perennial petunias, salvias, nemesia, lobelia, geraniums and cosmos will all work a treat and look fabulous through the entire summer. For that little something extra plant something fragrant like gardenia, stocks or star jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides. There isn't enough time for seeds to germinate and flower before the holidays now, so go for gold in the garden centre and choose plants that are already grown. Don't be stingy, one can never have too many blooms.


Try this easy and simple idea of using roses and flax from the garden to decorate the table.


Keep the fluids up to your flowers this summer. Watering cans are ideal for applying liquid fertiliser.


Marigolds and red salvias pack a punch an ideal combination for pots and window boxes.


The red foliage of this Japanese maple provides a wonderful contrast against the creamy-white frilly poppy.


Geraniums are forgiving plants, that freely flower for months on end even through long dry periods.


For a little sweet treat, plant strawberries in hanging baskets around the patio, for those moments when your bubbly needs something a little fruity.

Short back and sides:

Hedges, edges and lawns. Trim hedges back now, don't wait until the weekend before Santa arrives. By getting it done now, the hedge will have a chance to freshen up and bounce back from any mishaps or leaf bruising.


Trim hedges now and straighten up garden edges ready for this summer's garden party.

Support systems: gardeners insurance - irrigation, staking and fertiliser.

Soil is the backbone of any garden and water is the lifeline. To maximise water usage and to save yourself time, install an irrigation system. No frills options can easily be put together at home and are readily available in the shops. Simple timers are widely available too. Stake and support climbers, sweet peas and vegetable crops. Wind causes mayhem and seriously inhibits plant growth. Secure the stems to stakes or trellis with plant ties or soft fabric. Stockings, plastic bags and cabbage tree leaves are all good and can all be used as ties.

Feed them and reap:

Give garden beds and pots a boost by liquid feeding plants. It's easy to do and some fertilisers come in a ready-to-use bottle that snaps onto the hose, others can be added to the watering can. Soluble fertilisers are quicker acting than dry fertiliser hence give a quicker result.

BBQ bug busters:

Plant a few bug deterrent herbs around cooking and eating areas. One of the best is pennyroyal - Mentha pulegium. This hardy ground-covering herb, forms a dense mat, and when walked on or when the foliage is bruised it releases an aromatic oil that deters ants and mosquitoes. The same goes for tansy, when the leaves are bruised it repels flies, but be careful, neither of these herbs are good to eat.

Share the love:

If you have a little time up your sleeve why not help someone else in the garden, a voucher for a few hours of 'green fingered' help may be just the gift for someone that has everything. outdoor christmas tree: decorate an outdoor tree or shrub with solar fairy lights and decorations this party season. Not only does it create a focal point, but it also doubles as a deterrent to moths coming inside. Enjoy the journey and the time you spend outdoors over the holiday period by doing a few chores now.