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Pomegranates, pears and poppies

Courtesy of Yates.

After the heat of summer, we start to welcome some cooler temperatures during the first month of autumn and the opportunity to grow and enjoy a wonderful new season of plants . . .

Pomegranates

The popularity of pomegranates is increasing as more people are learning how to use the crunchy pomegranate seeds (called arils) in salads and desserts.

Pomegranates are very hardy deciduous shrubs that grow 1-4m tall (depending on the variety) and produce attractive orange flowers followed by tennis ball-sized red fruit during autumn.

The plants prefer growing in a full sun position (they love hot, dry summers) in well-drained soil and make a fantastic edible hedge. They can also be grown in pots and thrive in all but the coldest regions.

Pomegranates can be pruned during winter to remove any dead stems and keep the plant tidy. Feed from spring to autumn with Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone to promote healthy growth and lots of colourful fruit.

Pears

Crisp slices of pear on a cheese platter, delicious pear tarts and cakes and refreshing savoury salads are just some of the ways pears can be enjoyed. Pears are high in dietary fibre and a good source of potassium and the peak pear harvest season runs from late summer into autumn.

Pear trees are very attractive deciduous trees which have pretty bee-attracting blossoms in spring. You don't need to have a large garden to be able to grow a pear tree. Dwarf varieties, such as Waimea Nurseries Garden Belle, only grow to around 2m tall, so are perfect for both small gardens and growing in pots. A medium to large sized pot (at least 50cm diameter) filled with good quality potting mix, like Yates Premium Potting Mix is ideal for pot suitable dwarf varieties. Pears are also great for espaliering, where the trees are trained to grow flat against a wall or trellis, so take up very little room.

Pears do best in cool to temperate zones, with different varieties requiring different levels of “chilling hours” to maximise the fruit yield. Choose a pear variety that is suited to your climate. Check the pollinator requirements for your chosen variety, as some need to be planted near a suitable mate to be able to set fruit. Sometimes double grafted pears are available, which have two compatible varieties grafted onto the one tree. Plant pear trees in a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day and well-drained soil.

Pears are most commonly planted during winter as bare-rooted trees, however, can also be available as potted trees which are great for planting during autumn.

It takes a lot of energy to produce all that delectable fruit. Apply some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone around the root zone during periods of flowering, fruiting and new foliage growth to provide the tree with a natural source of organic slow-release nutrients and help to improve the quality of the soil, attract earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms. Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone also contains the goodness of New Zealand seaweed to support root growth and plant health and is certified by BioGro NZ for use in organic gardening.

Poppies

Artist's Glory Iceland poppies are beautiful annuals that produce a glorious late winter to early spring display of gold, lemon, apricot and salmon coloured blooms with crinkled petals. They can be mass planted in eye catching drifts in a sunny garden bed or grown in pots to brighten outdoor entertaining areas. Flowers can also be cut for a vase.

Seed can be sown during March into trays of Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. Seedlings will start to emerge in 10 to 14 days and can be transplanted when large enough to handle.

— Courtesy of Yates

The popularity of pomegranates is increasing as more people are learning how to use the crunchy pomegranate seeds (called arils) in salads and desserts.