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Pops of colour

New Year garden blitz

Holidays are the perfect time for whipping your garden into shape. Here are a few simple ways to spruce up outdoor areas:

' Trimming hedges — give hedges a light trim to create a lovely crisp look. For less formal hedges and shrubs, just trim back any untidy, wayward or dead stems as well as any spent flowers.

' Weed control — weeds can ruin the look of your garden. Spot spray weeds with fast acting Yates Nature's Way Organic Weed Gun. It contains natural ingredients and is certified for use in organic gardening.

' Mulching — applying mulch around flower and shrub beds helps unify the garden, fills in bare spots and also is a great water-saving strategy during the hottest months. An additional bonus is when organic mulches are used (such as bark chips) — as they break down they add valuable organic matter to the soil.

' Quick lawn green-up — Yates Lawn Fertiliser is a convenient hose-on lawn fertiliser that's high in nitrogen for rapid greening, plus added potassium to encourage strong healthy grass. It's fast acting and will give the lawn a quick green-up.

' Watering — give your garden some thorough, deep waterings over summer. This moistens the soil down into the root zone, encourages plant roots to grow deeper and helps freshen up the garden.

' Mowing — don't be tempted to give your lawn a harsh low mowing in summer. This can scalp the lawn and create bare patches, which are unattractive and will invite in weeds. It's better to mow little and often, removing no more than a third of the grass foliage each time.

' Add pops of colour — red and white flowering petunias and geraniums add vibrant splashes of flowers and hanging baskets of pretty cascading calibrachoas add a lovely vertical dimension to a patio, veranda or deck.

Miniature agapanthus

Agapanthus are summer-flowering beauties that bring beautiful cooling floral colours into the garden during the warmest months.

Living Fashion have introduced a brand new agapanthus to New Zealand called “Mini Me”. It's a true dwarf agapanthus that has abundant fine textural cascading leaves and develops into a neat and compact clump around 30cm high and 50cm wide.

It's drought, wind and frost-tolerant once established and importantly is non-invasive, with low to no seed set. It will also tolerate a wide range of soil types.

Mini Me has masses of sky blue flowers on short stems in summer. It is ideal as a flowering foliage plant at the front of garden borders or dotted in amongst other small plants in a mixed garden bed. It also looks fantastic in a decorative pot, where it can brighten up a sunny deck, veranda or patio.

Maintenance is as simple as removing the spent flower stems and feeding the plants every fortnight from spring to early autumn with Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser. It's a complete plant food that contains nitrogen for healthy green leaf growth and extra potassium to promote lots of lovely agapanthus flowers.

— Courtesy of Yates