Log In

Reset Password

Delights of spring


Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) is the exotic sounding name for a tropical fruit that’s native to Brazil. It’s easy to see why it’s also called the Brazilian grapetree, as the fruit looks like large dark purple grapes. The curious and quite striking thing about the jaboticaba is that the fruit is carried on the trunk and inner limbs rather than on the ends of branches.

Jaboticaba flowers are white and fluffy and during the peak summer flowering season the flower-covered stems are stunning. The sweet grape-like fruit matures mainly during autumn, though there can be multiple fruiting times throughout the year on well fed and watered plants when grown in warm areas. The antioxidant-rich fruit can be eaten fresh or made into jams, jellies, juice and liqueur.

The trees themselves are multi-trunked and evergreen, slowly growing to around 8 m tall. They can be pruned if required. Although hailing from the tropics, they’re hardy plants that can grow in cooler areas and will tolerate light frosts. They perform best when planted into soil that’s been enriched first with a concentrated source of organic matter like Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food. Yates Dynamic Lifter will help improve the quality of the soil, encourage earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms and provide the tree with gentle nutrients as it establishes. Reapplying Yates Dynamic Lifter every 6 weeks from spring to autumn will help ensure the plants have enough nutrients to reach maturity as quickly as possible.

Mulching around the root zone with an organic mulch, such as bark chips, will help reduce moisture loss and add further organic matter to the soil as it breaks down. Keep the soil moist, particularly during periods of new leaf growth, flowering and fruiting, as drought stress can reduce the harvest.

Gardens and gardening can create happiness! Fill your spring garden with fabulous flowers.

Happy gardening!


Petunias are the essence of colourful warm season gardening and an improved selection of petunias called Happitunia® Bubblegum™ from Proven Winners (www.provenwinners.co.nz) are sure to bring a smile to your face.

They are easy to grow and provide a fabulous long-lasting flower show. Whether planted en masse in a sunny or partly shaded garden bed or in hanging baskets or pots, they will flower for months. Happitunias grow to around 30 cm tall and 100 cm wide so just a few plants can create a large, brilliantly coloured display.

The Happitunia Bubblegum varieties available include:

* Bubblegum Blush – pale pink / white flowers with darker pink veins and centres.

* Bubblegum Fuchsia – beautiful solid fuchsia pink flowers cover the entire plant.

* Bubblegum Pink – a dazzling display of vibrant pink flowers.

* Bubblegum White (right bottom) – crisp white flowers with a pale yellow centre.

Plant these gorgeous petunias into soil or potting mix that has been improved with some Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food and once the plants are established, feed each week with Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. It’s rich in potassium to promote lots of blooms.

Happitunias are easy to maintain. Prune them back every few months which removes the spent flowers and encourages fresh new growth and more flowers.

Magnificent magnolias

Early spring is when Fairy Magnolias® (Michelia hybrids) are smothered in masses of beautiful delicately fragrant flowers. They are truly gorgeous! Bred by renowned New Zealand plant breeder Mark Jury, Fairy Magnolias have rich dark evergreen foliage and russet coloured flower buds followed by white or pink 5 cm diametre flowers.

Their compact and bushy growth habit makes them a brilliant flowering hedging plant to create a wall of scented spring colour, they look wonderful as a specimen plant in a garden bed and can also be grown in a large decorative pot.

Fairy Magnolia varieties from Anthony Tesselaar (www.tesselaar.com) include:

* Fairy Magnolia Blush

* Fairy Magnolia White

* Fairy Magnolia Cream

Tolerating full sun to partial shade, Fairy Magnolias grow to approximately 4 m tall and 2 m wide after around 7 years. They do best in friable moist, well-drained soil but will tolerate drier conditions once established.

When planting a new magnolia enrich the soil first with some Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food, water in well and then apply a layer of organic mulch around the root zone, which will help keep the soil cool and moist. Reapply Yates Dynamic Lifter each spring and autumn to help keep the magnolia well nourished.

Dancing in the garden

Dianthus Dancing Queen is a stunning, easy to grow dianthus that produces masses of delicate pink blooms in spring and autumn. The fragrant flowers have a deeper pink centre and are held on long sturdy stems which make them ideal for picking for a vase.

Dancing Queen grows to around 40 cm tall and 60 cm wide. En masse they create a beautiful border planting and look equally gorgeous in a pot. Preferring full sun they do best in moderately moist soil.

To help keep Dancing Queen looking fantastic and to encourage further flowering, trim off spent flowers and feed regularly from spring to autumn with a high potassium fertiliser like Yates® Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

For more information on Dianthus Dancing Queen, visit the Living Fashion website at www.livingfashion.co.nz

Gardening blues

Cooling blue toned flowers are wonderful to have in a summer garden and bees adore blue flowers too. Yates® Salvia Blue Bedder is a beautiful compact salvia with multiple spikes of rich blue flowers and soft green foliage. It looks impressive when grown en masse or also makes a very pretty container plant.

Sow seed direct where they are to grow or raise in trays of Yates Black Magic® Seed Raising Mix and transplant seedlings when they’re around 5 cm high.

Yates Salvia Blue Bedder prefers a sunny position with well drained soil and will flower around 12 weeks after sowing, so sowing during September will give you gorgeous blue flowers in time for Christmas.

Feed salvias regularly with potassium enriched Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food and cut back spent flowers to encourage new growth.


Heucherellas are delightful woodland plants with colourful and fascinating foliage. Living Fashion (www.livingfashion.co.nz) is introducing three brand new fantastic heucherellas into New Zealand, perfect for brightening up shady spots in the garden.

Heucherella Plum Cascade — the first ever trailing heucherella — grows a mass of lobed, purple silver reflective leaves. Growing to 25 cm tall and 80 cm wide, it looks stunning as a massed border plant or spills wonderfully over the edge of a container. The flowers are a subtle soft pink.

Heucherella Happy Hour Lime — eye- catching lime green foliage on a mounded plant that reaches 40 cm tall and 50 cm in diameter.

Heucherella Stoplight — masses of striking bright yellow-lime leaves in spring which intensify to lime and red accented foliage in summer. Delicate white flowers are produced in spring.

Heucherellas can be grown in full sun to part shade and prefer moist rich free draining soil. They’re vigorous plants and are quick to establish but won’t become invasive. Before planting, enrich the soil with some Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food. Take care not to bury the heucherella crowns.

During periods of foliage growth and flowering, feed heucherellas regularly.

Courtesy of Yates

Jaboticaba in action. Jaboticaba (Myrciana cauliflora) is also known as the Brazilian grapetree and it’s easy to see why. The fruit looks like large dark purple grapes and is carried on the trunk and inner branches.
Happitunia Bubblegum petunias can provide a fabulous, long-lasting show.