Spring has arrived and with it comes a myriad of gorgeous flowers. For those with allergies, it can mean a lot of sniffling and sneezing when around certain flowers and pollen, but not all flowers are created equal when it comes to their sneeze-inducing properties. Some flowers are more hypoallergenic than others, making them a generally better alternative for people who have allergies.
In this article we take a look at three hypoallergenic flowers that bloom during the spring. Some of these plants need to be planted in other seasons, meaning it may be preparing for next spring before you’re enjoying their beautiful blooms.
These bright yellow, distinct flowers are a hypoallergenic option for those looking to add a colourful pop to their garden during the late winter and early spring months. While daffodils still contain pollen, they tend to create less pollen than most flowers found blooming in spring gardens. But while they may be alright for those looking for a hypoallergenic flower option, they are toxic to cats and dogs, so are best grown in areas away from pets. Daffodils grow from bulbs, and should be planted in the autumn either in patio pot or window box. These flowers like to grow in areas of the garden that experience full-sun or partial shade.
Hydrangeas are a pollen-free, hypoallergenic flower that come in a variety of colours including whites, blues, pinks and purples. They grow as a shrub and flower during the spring and summer months. Hydrangeas are hardy plants, making them a good option for beginner gardeners. Plant hydrangeas during autumn or spring, and make sure they are watered well during the warmer months. Some more-experienced gardeners may wish to attempt to change the colour of their hydrangea flowers, which can be tried by changing the PH of the soil for some varieties of the established plant. Hydrangeas are another plant that can be toxic to pets, so be sure to keep them in an area where curious paws and mouths can’t access them.
Roses are a flower that has become intrinsically linked with love and affection, but they can also be a good option for those looking for a hypoallergenic flower to grow in the garden. These flowers offer a wide range of colours and varieties to choose from, and their low-pollen amounts mean they can be kinder on the noses of those with a pollen sensitivity. You can also choose whether you wish to grow a variety of the flower with a mild, medium or strong scent. Roses love direct sunlight, so it’s best to plant them in a spot that receives plenty of full sun each day. The best time to plant roses is during winter, and while some varieties of rose only flower in the spring, other types will flower year-round. Rose bushes are also non-toxic to pets, making them a good option for yard with curious furry friends (just be careful of the thorns!).
There are many varieties of flowers available for those looking for a hypoallergenic alternative for their spring blooms. The three flowers on this list are just the tip of the iceberg of options, so if you’re someone with sensitive sinuses, never fear! There are plenty of gorgeous hypoallergenic flowers out there that can be enjoyed by everyone!
Cats can make fantastic pets! They’re generally pretty low maintenance, yet still provide a soft, sweet little soul to come home to. However, they do have a bit of a tendency to be curious! Whether it’s jumping onto places they shouldn’t, chewing on things they shouldn’t, or climbing up the flyscreens, cats can be mischievous things. If that’s not a good enough reason to create a haven for your pet.
Due to this tendency to explore, if you have cats in your household, it can be good to ensure the plants you keep are cat safe plants. In this article, we take a look at a range of different cat-friendly plants, so you can relax, knowing even the most exploratory taste-testing kitty will be safe. Keep reading to learn a little bit about some non-toxic plants for cats!
This popular houseplant is great for those looking for an indoor palm that is safe for kitties. These trees like to be placed bright, indirect light and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Areca Palms need a little bit of care and maintenance in order to be their best and as such, are more-suited to gardeners with a bit of experience.
These cute little plants have a real lush, rainforest vibe about them. Sword Ferns are non-toxic to cats and can make great little additions to a room or outdoor garden. These ferns are adaptable and can be grown in a variety of conditions, although they prefer semi-shady spots. They don’t require a lot of water once established, making them great for those who can be a bit forgetful from time to time!
Spider Plants have long, thin, green leaves that grow in a bunch and have white features on them. These cat-friendly plants – also sometimes referred to as Hens and Chickens – are hardy, making them a great choice for beginner gardeners looking for cat safe indoor plants. Spider Plants like to be placed in a spot that receives bright, indirect light. They can handle a little bit of neglect, making them a good houseplant choice for busy people!
The Staghorn Fern is a cat-friendly plant for those looking for something a little different. These plants are air plants, meaning they grow without the need for soil. They can often be found mounted onto trees or the sides of houses, and offer an interesting way to break up the monotony of an outside wall. These plants like filtered light, and should be placed in a spot where they are away from strong winds. Staghorn Ferns don’t require a lot of water, making them an interesting hardy choice.
Important Tips on Pruning Plants
To keep your plants in shape, regular pruning is required whether your plants are grown inside or outside. Be careful though, over-pruning can be hazardous so it’s extremely important to know which plants to prune, when to prune and how. It is best to prune fruiting and flowering plants whilst they are not in bloom, however other plants such as shrubs and trees which blossom in the spring time, require the old buds to be pruned in order to blossom new ones. Some plants need pruning all year round, so it can be a little perplexing at first, just keep in mind that the worst case scenario is that your plant or plants may generate a reduced amount of fruits and flowers.
Pruning can feel like a daunting task if you are a beginner gardener. To make the process easier, make sure that you possess the correct equipment. Here is a list of basic tools that will aid any gardener in making their garden look its best.
- Loppers – long handles with short sturdy blades – used for pruning thick branches that are hard to reach
- Saw – needed for thick branches (6 inches+)
- Shears – appear to be heavy duty scissors – useful for trimming branches and leaves that are not so thick
- Hand Pruners – short thick blades – helpful for cutting thinner branches and stems (up to 1 inch)
It is more practical to have all these basic tools on hand prior to commencing pruning and the better the quality the better the job they will do and the longer they will last. It is imperative to ensure all tools are cleaned properly after each use as some soil can be full of plant diseases and you really don’t want to transfer them onto other plants.
Flowering Trees, Shrubs and Vines
These three very different plant categories need pruning at all different times throughout the year.
Flowering Trees and Shrubs
Flowering trees and shrubs normally blossom should be pruned mid-autumn as they bloom in spring. They can be pruned earlier if they have grown predominantly large but beware, you do not want to lose too many blooms in the process.
Clematis blooms on its own timetable, but generally it is best to prune them back after they have completed blossoming. This will ensure that they have room to continue growing for the next bloom. To guarantee a long life, vines need appropriate pruning, so it’s vital to pay close attention to the state of the Clematis.
Proper treatment begins with the correct diagnosis.
To the untrained eye, lawn diseases like dollar spots, brown patches, and Pythium may look the same. Indeed, these and other diseases may share a few features which makes it doubly difficult to ascertain the specific disease which plagues your lawn.
The failure to correctly identify your lawn’s disease can aggravate the problem when you end up using the wrong treatment. So how do you distinguish one condition from the other?
Anthracnose is caused by the pathogen known as Colletotrichum graminocola. A lawn that has been infected by this disease will have yellowish grass with red lesions. Upon close visual inspection, you may notice black fruiting bodies on the leaves.
Turf species like Festuca, Lollum, Poa and Cynodon sp. are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
The disease typically attacks lawns when the temperature goes beyond 25°C, usually between spring and autumn. The combination of high humidity and hot summer temperature in temperate climate zones as well as ample moisture can also lead to the disease.
The combination of high temperature and high humidity, especially during late spring and summer, can lead to brown patches which typically affect bent grasses and fine fescues. However, warm season grasses can also be affected by this fungal disease.
If the lawn is mown closely, you may notice a greyish or purplish smoke ring around the perimeter of the affected areas on the lawn, especially in the morning when there are still dew drops. As the day advances, the colour of the smoke ring becomes tan.
If the lawn is mowed higher, it may appear thinner and in great need of moisture. In some cases, the centre of the ring may seem unaffected by the disease while the area encircling it may exhibit signs of damage and discolouration.
Dollar spot is another fungal disease that is characterised by the small spots, usually around 25 to 65mm in diameter, found close to one another. These spots appear to be sunken on the lawn and will have a brown colour.
Upon close inspection, these spots look paler and the infection usually covers the width of each leaf blade. In coarser turf species, the spots are diffused and affect just a part of the leaf blades. Affected leaf blades may also feel greasy or slimy to the touch.
The fungal disease, caused by Sclerotinia homeocarpa, can attack a diverse array of turf species. However, the most vulnerable species are the Zoysia, Cynodon, Kikuyu, and Agrostis.
The turf can become vulnerable to the disease when the soil’s pH level is less than seven, if there is poor drainage, humidity exceeds 90 percent for over nine hours, the daily minimum temperature is above the 17 to 20°C range, and the daily maximum temperature range is over 28°C.
Fusarium is a fungal disease that is caused by Microdochium nivale and typically attacks lawns when the temperature is around 16°C and when there is low humidity.
A lawn infected by the disease will have circular patches in areas that have been water-soaked. Each patch is usually no bigger than 5cm but can go as large as 20cm. Initially, the patches will have a brownish hue which will later become light grey.
Helmo, also known as Helminthosporium, is a lawn disease that may be caused by different species of fungi, including Bipolaris, Curvulari, Dreschslera, and Exserohilum.
The disease requires a temperature range of 3°C and 30°C, high humidity, and ample moisture in order to thrive and survive.
Among the symptoms exhibited by the affected lawn include small dark patches, patches of dead grass about 10cm in diameter. Usually, the affected grass blades will turn yellow first before dying.
This disease is caused by Sclerotinia homeocarpa and can affect both warm and cool grasses. However, Lolium and Agrostis are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
Pythium affects different parts of the grass. When the leaf blades are affected, the condition is called grease spot or cottony blight. On the other hand, if the affected parts of the plant are the root and crown, the disease is called Pythium crown or root rot.
The disease is characterised by small greasy spots on the affected parts. When these spots dry out, their colour will become yellowish to reddish.
Lawns can become vulnerable to the disease when the minimum daily temperature is above 17 to 20°C, the daily maximum temperature is above 28°C, and when the humidity is above 90 percent.
Succulents are not only beautiful plants that give your lawn and garden a touch of colour and diversity, they are also nearly indestructible. They are the perfect plant life to have for those especially who may not have the proverbial ‘green thumb’ or those who don’t have the time needed for upkeep.
So what are succulents? These plants have fleshy thick leaves and organs which store water within their leaves, stems and/or roots. They are hardy plants that have adapted in order to survive in arid environments all over the world.
This adaptive structure within these amazing plants is what has resulted in a vast array of plant shapes and leaf forms, including tight rosettes, paddle leaves as well as trailing columns of bushy and teardrop leaves.
Cacti, aloe and agave are amongst the best known succulent plants. Cacti especially are excellent as display plants in many gardens. Succulents are among the easiest plants to grow and maintain, which makes them one of those perfect garden plants for New Zealand residents.
The rules for caring for succulents are pretty uniform when it comes to growing and caring for the various types of succulent plant species.
Succulents fancy bright light and most will let you know when the light level they need is correct by showing changes in their leaves. Certain species of succulents can scorch if they are abruptly exposed to direct sunlight.
If their leaves turn brown or white that is an indication the plant is bleaching out and the soft tissue of the plant is being destroyed. When deciding which succulents to have in a garden it’s important first determine whether or not they need to be gradually placed in full sun or if they need partial shade.
On the other end of the spectrum, if the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, the plant will start to ‘stretch’ and have an extended stem with broadly shaped leaves. In order to save the plant it will be necessary to prune the plant back to the primary shape and place it in an area with more sunlight.
Succulents are not nicknamed the ‘camels of the plant world’ without good cause. Because they store water in their leaves they require minimal watering. The best rule of thumb is to water succulents just enough to keep them from withering.
A plant that is not getting sufficient water will stop growing and start to shed its leaves, as well as develop brown spots on the leaves. Overwatered succulents will appear soft and discoloured with their leavings turning yellow or white, causing them to also lose their colour.
Water them well at least once or twice a week, unlike other plant life they don’t need to be watered on a daily basis due to their ability to retain water within their leaves, stems and organs. The best advice for caring for succulents is to learn which plants are best suited for the environment and the area in which you will be showcasing your plants.
Many homeowners don’t get their gutters cleaned until there is a noticeable issue. Sadly, that is kind of like waiting to reduce your cholesterol until after you have had a heart attack.
Gutters often go overlooked – with so many other things to address, and who likes to climb up ladders unless you have to anyway? However, ensuring gutters are properly maintained is an integral part of home maintenance.
By the time a problem is apparent, there can be so much rubbish and debris clogging the gutters that it can literally start hanging off the roof, further sabotaging efforts to ensure water drainage flows away from your home. Clogged gutters can result in damage to fascia, drainpipes, roofing, or even create water leaks inside your home. And this is before the impact of water damage on the foundations of your home – which should be avoided at all costs.
There are many benefits to regular gutter cleaning:
- Prevents water and storm damage to your home
- Avoids the creation of nesting areas for termites, birds, mosquitoes, and other insects
- Prevents destruction of landscaping
- Avoids build-up of combustible material – critical in high fire danger areas.
- Helps maintain value and beauty of your home
Try to schedule regular gutter cleaning services at least twice per year -ideally in spring before the storm season hits; and again during autumn to remove leaves from seasonal trees.
Schedule a regular gutter cleaning service so that you don’t have to think about it again, and your home will be well protected in all weather conditions.
If you would like help cleaning your gutters, please call Jim’s Mowing on 0800 454654 or book a gutter cleaning service online.
Get your yard back and clear out all that rubbish – you will be amazed at just what an impact this will have on the space you gain back to enjoy with friends and family again
Without realizing it, many people allow things to start piling up in their yards quite innocently. And yet before long, the things that were “temporarily” stored have accumulated. And more added besides. And before they know it, they have junk piled up so high in their backyards that it can be seen on Google Earth!
Many people stop socializing at home as much because they are embarrassed by the growing mess. They would not feel comfortable inviting people over for a backyard BBQ given the mess out there. This can even have a flow on effect to friends and family, who can often feel a little rejected if they are never invited over, or if they are always left to play host instead.
Piles of rubbish are unhygienic – not just in the mould that can accumulate, but also in the vermin, pests, and other bugs it might play host to.
Cleaning up the rubbish might enable much of the goods to be donated to people in need – you only have to think of the many natural disasters that have occurred either via floods, bush fires or drought to realize how many people might benefit from that chest of drawers that you are not using.
Many materials can be recycled via scrap metal yards, clippings can be mulched and more importantly for you, and your friends and family, you will have a much bigger space to get out and enjoy some backyard cricket, a BBQ or two or may be even indulge that green thumb and start a veggie patch.
And of course there is the financial benefit as well. A thorough clean-up of any property can dramatically boost valuations, and increase curb appeal to potential buyers and renters alike.
Planting a garden is one thing, but garden maintenance is ongoing. The planting is merely the beginning of the work – now you have to start staking, watering, mulching and the ongoing schedule of plant and garden care.
There is a lot involved in maintaining your garden – which is why more than a few things are usually neglected in most gardens. Here are few tips to ensure a successful garden even if you never own a garden before.
Watering: is a simple and basic fact that plants need water to grow. However it can be tiring sometimes and this might affect our plants. Consistent watering usually yields the best result in your garden. You might look into soaker hose or a drip irrigation if you have a large garden. This could save you a lot of money, actually up to 65% of water used by the sprinkler system and will ensure your plants get watered without having their leaves wet and eliminate disease problems.
Mulching: 3-4 layers of mulch should be spread over vegetable beds. This will help reduce loss of water from the soil and fully reduce the growth of weed. Look for organic mulch sources like shredded dry leaves, dry grass clippings, compost, straw and many more; they add a great value of nutrient to your garden soil and build its soil structure. They also reduce the growth of weeds and water loss.
Fertilizing: fertilizer and soil additives like garden limestone should be added to soil, based on your soil structure and a soil test result. Don’t waste time and money treating the soil without testing the soil pH first, to ensure the best result for the garden soil. Organic fertilizers such as blood meal and alfalfa meal, and mineral fertilizers like crushed stone are excellent for soil and so plant health. If you do use any chemical fertilizers, ensure they are strictly in recommended proportion as overuse can be detrimental to the garden, and “burn” plants.
Weed control: weeds usually are major problem for not only as direct threats to existing plants but because they also house diseases and insect which may do significant damage to your garden if not taken care of early. It is advisable to weed regularly, especially at the early stage of the growing season. This will make it much easy to keep weeds at bay.
Cool plants: when the weather becomes very hot, it is advisable to provide shade for plants to avoid wilting. Basic cheesecloth is a very good shade cover you can look out for, that is still cost effective. Or you might look at erecting a shade cloth, garden umbrella or even a shade sail to protect some areas of the garden in high summer.
Keep clean: it is advisable to always remove and destroy any part of the plant that has any form of disease so as to protect the healthy one. If quickly controlled, it might not spread to other plants but in case it already has, removing or taking off just the damaged part will be enough in many cases. It depends on the infection, by the way, you might have to remove the entire plant in some cases.
If Jim’s can help, whether you’re taking a break and going on holiday or want regular garden maintenance, no job is too big or too small. Just call 0800 454654 for a free quote or book a Jim’s online.
Gardening can be exciting for the whole family and it’s great to be able to enjoy some hobbies with your children. There are plenty of great child friendly garden ideas that will keep them interested.
Grown Edibles in Your Garden
By planting tasty treats that you can later pick and enjoy together, everyone can get excited about planning, planting and picking the fruits (and vegetables and herbs) of their labour. Plant things like strawberries, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and peas. Let your kids know what it is they are planting (if they help) to get them interested. You can even plant things like gourds and sunflowers, they may enjoy trying some new and interesting, fresh things out of the garden! Then, when harvest time comes around, get the family together for a picking session to show the kids the final product.
Plant Beautiful, Colourful Flowers
Planting flowers is not just a way to add beauty to the garden, but also a way to attract bees and other insects that can benefit your yard. Kids love to pick flowers and use them in arts and crafts. Plant some flowering plants and allow your kids to pick them to peak their interest in flowers and the garden. Letting your kids help pick the flowers and colours, and take them to the store and let them help pick the seeds!
And Speaking of Seeds…
It may seem like an unnecessary and time consuming process to start from seed, but starting the process inside and growing the seeds in a window can really help get the family involved in gardening. There is just something beautiful and magical about watching a plant sprout from seed in a window sill. Try this at least a few times with the children, you may even enjoy it more than you think! Letting your kids take part in the gardening experience can be fun for all of you and educational for them as well. It doesn’t matter if your plants aren’t in a perfect line because your kids helped plant the seeds, the plants don’t care and neither should you. Creating a family-friendly garden is all about creating it as a family!
Cat enjoying catnip
Grow Catnip for your Cats
Growing fresh catnip will not only excite your cats, but it will also give your kids something to look forward to when gardening. Before planting, start with some store-bought catnip to show them the effects the plant has on your cat and then tell them that it’s possible to grow their own. Let your kid’s help you plant the catnip and then let them help you harvest it. Give them some to give to the cat and let the fun begin!
Designing Your Family Garden
Particularly important in smaller gardens, the layout needs to be more create to accommodate everyone else’s differing needs. Before you start designing, bear in mind elements such as:
- Planting – Are plant selections and placements appropriate to withstand games of chasey, footy, pets and swordfights?
- Play equipment– Can you fit in a cubby house, slide, sandpit and/or swing? Otherwise, find play equipment that can be packed away when not in use.
- Colour–Introduce some colour by painting walls, fences, lattice work and even furniture & cushions. Imaginative planting though will ensure seasonal colour-changes that will engage the whole family.
- Easy-care seating– Can furniture be left uncovered and exposed to the elements? Built in seating of natural stone or wood material might work well, with cushions that can provide additional comfort. Consider also other weather friendly materials such as plastic, synthetic rattan, wood and lightweight metal – all good outdoor options.
- Wildlife & Creatures– Consider adding a pond with fish or frogs – children especially will find it fascinating. Birdfeeders will also be a big success – though perhaps not if you have a cat.
All over New Zealand, Citrus trees can be commonly found in the backyards of many homes. However, these trees are not without challenges as they often suffer from pest attacks and diseases. For a healthy citrus tree and great fruit crops, it is important to know how to treat them, what signs to look for and how best to feed them.
A citrus tree is said to be deficient in iron if it has yellow leaves with darker, green veins. This disease is commonly known as chlorosis. It is a common disease that is particular to trees where the nature of the soil is alkaline.
The best time to check a citrus tree for magnesium deficiency is in Autumn. Citrus plants require magnesium in large quantity. This is because magnesium is an essential nutrient for the formation of green leaves (chlorophyll) in leaves. Citrus plants will not be able to produce sugars and starches without possessing enough magnesium which can lead to poor growth.
Magnesium deficiency is usually more prominent during the autumn season because it is highly required for the development of fruits while many citrus species are known to produce fruit over the cooler months. Due to the high mobility of magnesium in citrus plants, magnesium can be easily withdrawn from older leaves to tender ones that are just springing up when there is a shortage of this essential element.
Chlorosis is majorly treated with iron chelates. Ensure to follow the packet instructions to mix it. After the solution has been properly mixed, pour it into a sprayer and spray the foliage. Changes should be observed within 3 – 4 days in a warmer climate. Preferably a watering can should be used to apply treatment for a large tree by watering around the tree’s root zone. Before applying the iron chelates, ensure to remove any ground cover that can be found around the roots of the tree.
Sometimes lack of fertilizer or overwatering can cause yellowing foliage. If the problem is not corrected, total defoliation can occur. Since citrus plants are heavy feeders, they require a continuous steady source of nitrogen so they can be productive and healthy. Perform regular fertilizing of the plant according to the stipulated directions. A higher amount of fertilizer is essential in any fertilizer ratio that should be applied.
Alternaria Brown Spot
Another cause of leaf yellowing in a citrus plant is Alternaria brown spot. It’s a fungal disease that affects shoots and young leaves of various citrus trees. Leaves tend to develop yellowish halos around brown spots. For treatment, apply copper fungicides when the leaves are expanded by half in spring while a second treatment would be required when the foliage is fully expanded. This treatment process may be regularly required from September through to December for effective results.
Call Jim’s Mowing on 0800 454654 or book online for a free, no-obligation quote!