Great Planting Options for Screening and Sheltering - May 2011

Today I want to talk about some good performing plants, for screening and sheltering your garden. I have been visiting quite a few properties lately that are very exposed to the westerly winds that hit the Waikato region at certain times of the year and causes havoc to the garden, especially if its relatively new with not much shelter around to protect it.

MICHELIA FAIRY BLUSH - this is a real beauty, for Waikato gardens. Bred by the famous Jury family of New Plymouth, this plant has so many good characteristics, that I thoroughly recommend it for the smaller city section, and deserved in the larger rural garden. It can be kept trimmed as a hedge at 1-2 meters tall, or take off its lower branches and keep the central leader nice and straight while young, and the tree will turn into a beautiful lawn specimen at 3.5-4 meters tall. Its evergreen, and the masses of light pink flowers have the most beautiful fragrance, in late winter-early spring.

PSIDIUM RED AND YELLOW GUAVAS these are an interesting option to use as a hedge or screening plant. They are certainly tough enough for the Waikato, and I think they will become more popular, because they provide such a great crop of tasty fruit, over the autumn/winter months. You can get them in either red or yellow fruit, both very yummy. A fantastic option for children, because they are so healthy in vitamins. We have a guava hedge at home that surrounds a part of our vegetable garden, and we continually have fruit coming on, ready to eat. They are virtually pest and disease resistant which is certainly another bonus, (we have never had to spray any chemical on our plants). The plants can be kept at anywhere between 1-2 meters tall. If you want a hedge that's looks great all year plus the bonus of giving you something to eat, then certainly look to this plant as a good option. Note: don't be confused with some of the tropical varieties of guava available because they will struggle in the Waikato, if we have some heavy winter frosts. One of these tropical varieties is called "Tropical Nectar"-this would be better at your beach property or even amongst some other trees that can protect it from severe cold winds.

CAMELLIA EARLY PEARLY - what a fantastic plant this is!!!! It has the darkest green foliage and the clearest white flowers. In fact glistening white. There are a number of super Early Pearly hedges around the Waikato at the moment in flower, and they certainly catch your eye, with the white contrasting so strongly with the dark foliage. This variety of camellia is deservedly one of the favorites amongst gardeners, because it has a reputation for being so easy to grow, looks great 12 months of the year, trims easily and doesn't get too big or woody. And fits in well with a lot of garden styles. I use it a lot on my landscaping jobs, because I know it will perform with excellence. You can, like the previous subjects in this article, easily keep it between 1-2 meters tall.

GRISILINIA LITTORALIS - Like the other subjects above, the grisilinia has a fine reputation for being a great performer for screening/sheltering a property. If you don't know this hedge, it has an extremely shiny lime green leaf and you see them everywhere around the Waikato, especially in the lifestyle block areas. No flower of any significance, but a great looking leaf. Extremely tough to the elements, but doesn't like waterlogged or heavy soils, not surprising as it originates from near the coast. Prune at whatever height you like, and a good option for something needed between the 1-2 meters tall.

  • As with all plants, you can your hedge or screening plants to grow faster by keeping the grass away from around the base. If you do this you will help your hedge to grow up to 50% faster.
  • Also feed your hedge with slow release fertiliser 2 x per year-spring and autumn.
  • When the hedge is young, trim every few months when its actively growing, this will help encourage sideways growth, which in turn will help your hedge fill up the gaps more quickly.

The month of May is highly regarded as one of the very best to get any planting done, so if you contemplating doing some this winter then I thoroughly recommend that you get into it while its still warm as this encourages good new root growth, and this will help your plants to come away strongly next season.

Happy Gardening from Graeme
Rukuhia Homestead Landscaping


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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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