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Ground Rules

Saturdays 7.30am | TV ONE

Fact Sheet 2005 - Ep 6

Garden project with Richard Greenwood

This weeks project - Borrowed Views

Throughout the show Richard demonstrated how to make the most of 'borrowed views', capturing the view beyond the garden by using a unique portal screen and adding a bit of fun to the garden.


  • Alcantarea imperialis rubra
  • Asplenium bulbiferum
    Hen and chicken fern
  • Heliconia schiedeana 
  • Vireya rhododendron 'Tropic glow'
  • Ophiopogon japonicus
    Mondo grass

Milne's Plant Link LTD
0508 MILNES (0508 645 637)

Bamboo Screen
Contact: Mark Mortimer
Ph: 09 483 4655
Mb: 021 256 4935

Skip Bin
Payless Bins Ltd
Ph: 09 576 3190

Building Supplies
PlaceMakers - Mt Wellington
80 Lunn Ave
Ph: 09 527 6054

River Boulders
Stone and Waterworld
Ph: 09 525 3142

Contractors: Landsmiths
Ph: 09 358 2717

The Basics with Lynda Hallinan

This week's topic - Edible Garden


Deciding where to put your vegetable garden is the first task. Try and find a spot that gets plenty of sun (the north or west side of your property will be best). It will also need to be reasonably protected from prevailing winds. In the past vegetable gardens were often tucked away at the back of the garden. These days the edible garden can be decorative too - making it an attractive feature in your overall garden design.

TIP: Companion planting can add colour to the edible garden

TIP: If you don't want to look out at the vegetable garden, place your garden under a window. That way you can look out over it

TIP: Plant crops that you want quick access to (herbs, salad vegetables) close to the house. Plant slower growing crops such as potatoes and carrots further away


Raised: The benefit of making a raised bed is that it is easier to build up a good deep layer of free draining soil.

TIP: Raised beds with free draining soil avoid the problem of compacted soil in winter

TIP: In raised beds you are working with a finite space. This means you are able to create the very best soil conditions and therefore plant more intensively

TIP: Geometric shapes are easier to edge for raised beds. They can be decorative as well as functional

TIP: If you don't want raised beds but like the formality an edge creates, you can use box hedging to border your edible garden

Shape and size: Ideally you want to have easy access to all your plants in the edible garden for thinning or harvesting. You can do this by designing the right sized beds at the start, making sure you can easily reach the centre of your garden from all sides.

TIP: When you are designing your new garden, take a trowel and check how far you can reach - that should be the width of your vegetable garden


Your vegetable garden will always need plenty of watering so ready access to water - either with a hose or an irrigation system is important.


Because you are growing what you eat in the edible garden you want to create the healthiest possible environment in which to plant your fruit and vegetables. Do this by adding lots of compost before you plant - it can be bought - or even better make your own. Good compost and worms will help to aerate the soil and keep it light and pliable. Add mulch too to help with water retention.

TIP: If you don't plan a winter crop, the autumn is a good time for preparing the ground for spring planting

TIP: Add lime every second year as most vegetables love it. It also deters clubroot disease especially from brassicas.


Vegetables can basically be divided into warm or cold weather crops. At this time of year we can plant those crops that enjoy the cooler weather of autumn and winter such as carrots, broad beans, cabbage, cauli, broccoli, leaks, silver beet, and spinach.

TIP: Plant your rows north to south if possible. This allows each row to get equal amounts of sunshine

TIP: If you plant on a slope you can run your plants across the slope. This will help to conserve water when it rains


Plant radish and carrot seeds together - this helps with the thinning process as radishes mature earlier and as you pluck them out you thin the carrots as you go - unwittingly.

  • Prepare your soil
  • Create a shallow trench.
  • Sprinkle seeds into trench
  • Cover and press
  • Label and mark with stick
  • Water lightly
  • Keep watered
  • The seeds might come up as early as seven days later. Thin as required - allowing enough room for individual plants to develop.
  • As early as three weeks later you could be eating them.
  • Another alternative is to use seed tapes. These have the seeds already spaced out for you

TIP: Seed germination depends on conditions of the ground, how much water the soil is getting and your local weather conditions.

TIP: If using seeds you can sow directly into the prepared soil. Once they are established you will need to thin the rows so each individual plant has room to grow.

TIP: In colder climates you might have to start your seeds off indoors



If your garden is full with no room to develop a dedicated vegetable patch you could try planting silver beet, rhubarb or spinach amongst your established flower garden


Espaliered fruit trees are a clever way of saving space in your smaller garden


If you only have only a small space to work you could try planting some miniature caulis or cabbages

TIP: Vegetables with an upright growth habit like spinach and silver beet don't take up too much room

TIP: If your space is limited, choose varieties that take less space such as a cylindrical beetroot rather that the more round shaped variety


Pots are the ultimate space savers if you are truly challenged for room  - and they have the added benefit of being able to be moved in or out of the sun as required.

Plant some mesclun salad leaves that will be ready for you to start picking and eating in a couple of weeks.

  • Fill your pots with potting mix - plastic pots are easier to keep moist than terracotta
  • Water the pots well
  • Sprinkle either a pre-prepared mix of mesclun salad leaves or you can make your own up
  • Cover the seeds lightly
  • Keep the pot in a warm spot making sure to keep it watered
  • In a couple of weeks you should have salad leaves ready to eat.


Generally it is not a good idea to plant the same crop in the same place year after year. Each crop requires different or various amounts of nutrients from the soil so crop rotation reduces the stress on the soil and helps to keep it healthy.

TIP: Soil borne diseases and pests are more likely to develop in ground where the same or similar crops have been grown repeatedly.

TIP: Crop rotation should be approximately every four years


If you want to grow berries and grapes in your edible garden, be aware that the birds love these fruit as soon as they ripen. It is a good idea to protect your ripening fruit with muslin cloth - or you can build a bird free zone with wire netting.

Products purchased from:
Kings Plant Barn, St Lukes
118 Asquith Ave
St Lukes
(09) 846-2141
or your local Garden Centre.

Beautiful Backyard with Ruud Kleinpaste

This looks like a classical Japanese garden - and you'd be right about the design, but look closer at the plants here - you won't find a single one that isn't kiwi born and bred!

Tucked into the dry brown foothills near Blenheim this little tranquil oasis has been a joint creation between two keen gardeners from very different backgrounds - Andrea Forrest is a kiwi who had a new house on dry brown clay hills outside of Blenheim, and Hirokatsu Yoshida (Hiro) is a garden designer from Tokyo, Japan who was visiting NZ when Andrea asked him to draw a design for her new garden.

The classical design features of a Japanese garden which we can see in the Forrest's garden are:
-The garden should act as a 3-D painting seen from every room in house
-The design is very much about showing an idealised nature - with careful rock selection and placement from rough boulders to flat edges around the path.  Even the paving stones are perfectly shaped to emulate nature.

  • And the other key design feature is the symbolising of nature 
  • in The Forrest garden this is the journey of the water
  • from the top of a symbolic mountain top down along the valley to the still pond or lake symbolising the sea.

Planting is very important The key to choosing plants for a Japanese garden is to use evergreens as the main plant theme and accent it with deciduous plants that provide seasonal blooms or foliage colour. 

- Choosing natives that fit the bill in terms of size and movement - shape, flowers, colours of groundcovers and foliage (dwarf toe toe for bamboo, leptonella and prostrate coprosmas for mosses, kowhai for maples)

There are some great sculptures and ornament, they're key to Japanese design and can be anything you like.  As long as they are carefully placed to show their character and to fit with their surroundings for example, the traditional lantern, rocks with great character, the goat which is perfectly to scale and even the leptocarpus at the junction of the bridge in a pot

The use of borrowed scenery is important in Japanese design as can be seen in the little mound covered in brown leptonella and topped with Marlborough Rock Daisies, which perfectly mirrors the shape of the Wither hills behind the property.

Andrea's main advice for people wanting a Japanese style garden would be to keep it very simple and follow nature.  As for dealing with natives, they do like a bit of love and attention. Andrea regularly feeds the soil with sheep pellets, pine needles and compost, and well as watering every so often.

Plant Right with Lynda Hallinan

This week's topic - Wind

Improving site
A great way of deflecting wind is by building mounds (a technique used by Wellington landscaper Jacob de Ruiter). The winds are lifted over the mound, leaving the lee side sheltered. Planting on the mound reduces wind impact further.

Shelter belts can be planted with the likes of Griselinia lucida, or any form of Escallonia, Cupressus arizonica "Blue Ice", Metrosideros kermadecensis variegatus, for example.

Tip: You can use wind cloth - battened onto fence posts - to provide shelter till plants have become established.


Tip: Plant slow-growing plants among faster-growing ones - such as grasses - so the slow ones have some protection while getting established and eventually take over.

Tip: When planting new plants, make sure plants are staked securely to prevent the wind from tearing the young roots.

Tip: Prune back the foliage on new plants if top heavy to balance the roots and foliage, thus reducing wind drag and moisture loss while getting established.

Tip: Water new plants in well and mulch heavily with pine bark or compost (not wood chips or sawdust, which leach nutrients).

Tip: Use cluster planting - trees and shrubs are grouped together closely so they grow into each other, filling in gaps..

Plant selection

Corokia x virgata  "Geenty's Green" - like other varieties of corokia, this one will grow in sun or semi-shade and is tolerant of dry conditions, but this one is hardier still and withstands cooler temperatures, and has more showy displays.

Hebes - all are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions.

Carex testacea - Densely tufted grass with fine, narrow arching leaves varying in colour from green to goldy-brown. Very easy care.

Carex comans "Frosted Curls" - This variety of sprawling grass has a swirling mound of palest green foliage with curling blond tips.

Chionochloa rubra (red tussock grass) - Clumping grass found throughout New Zealand from the middle of the North Island down. It has narrow weeping leaves up to 1.8m long in red shades, with flower panicles that start red-tinted but eventually bleach.

Arthropodium cirratum (rengarenga) - Evergreen plant with fleshy strappy leaves that can have a bluish-green tint. Panicles of starry white flowers appear in early to mid-summer.

Griselinia littoralis - A bold shrub with attractive shiny foliage that's good to mix with other natives such as spiky lancewoods, cordylines, Meryta sinclairii, flaxes, Chionochloa flavicans, etc.

Muehlenbeckia astonii - Well known for its ground-hugging habit and resistance to wind. It has densely interlaced branches and tiny leaves - well adapted to harsh windswept conditions with its foliage hidden within the mass of stems.

Grevillea "Robin Hood" - A red-flowered cultivar  with vigorous, dense growth to 2.5m x 2.5m. Great for fast screening, colourful background or specimen if pruned to encourage compact habit. Spectacular, bright red 'toothbrush' flowers most of year, especially over winter/spring. Tolerant of poor soils and wind. Frost hardy in most districts. Nectar-rich flowers attract native birds such as wax eyes, tui and bellbirds.

Magnolia grandiflora "Little Gem" - This is a dwarf variety of the glossy-leaved, evergreen grandiflora, growing to around 4m by 2.5m. It still has large white fragrant flowers but is a more compact shrub. The undersides of the leaves are reddish-brown.

Argyranthemum hybrid cultivars (Marguerite daisy) - Fast-growing plant up to 1m so can provide good shelter in windy areas while waiting for small slow plants to get going. Usually flowers from August to January (though can flower continuously in warmer climates). Prune hard after flowering.

Agapanthus "Silver Baby" - A compact agapanthus that produces a lengthy display from early summer of silvery-white flowers (extremely floriferous!) with subtle ice blue edging. A particularly hardy and easy to grow perennial for all kinds of general garden use. Very dry tolerant making it ideal for difficult sites or low maintenance gardens. This variety is particularly hardy to frost. This sort of variety should not be confused with that considered to be a nuisance in some parts of New Zealand, Agapanthus orientalis. But if you are concerned about them setting seed, just chop their heads off when the blooms fade.

Leucadendron "Safari Sunset" - A handsome evergreen that grows to 2.5m. Makes a good hedge but needs to be pruned hard in spring. Flowers (with creamy centres and vivid red bracts) from autumn to spring. Can take strong wind and is frost hardy up to (or down to) about -3 degrees.

Recommended reading:
Wind Gardens by Jacob De Ruiter

Plant supplied by:
California Home and Garden
316 Waiwhetu Rd
Lower Hutt
(04) 567 4588

Plant Doctor with Ruud Kleinpaste

This week's topic - Compost


To make compost you need to have the correct nitrogen and carbon ratio - 50/50 each by volume. I remember a C : N ratio of 25 : 1 You achieve this by making sure you have an even balance of:

  • Wet and green nitrogen rich material -grass clippings, kitchen scraps, weeds, manure
  • Brown and dry carbon rich materials - dried leaves, twigs, branches,  shredded paper and envelopes, untreated sawdust and wood shavings or egg cartons

When the balance is right the compost becomes "aerobic" (meaning with oxygen), allowing micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi to break down matter efficiently. Turning the compost at regular intervals also helps to keep the compost aerobic.

In simple terms the brown dry matter provides bulk and aeration and absorbs excess moisture from green wet matter.


The compost heap is a perfect environment for a number of invertebrates who are attracted to the rotting material and enjoy the warmth created by fermentation. Look out for some of the following:

Worms: These are key critters in your compost. The best composting worms 'tiger worms' are fast growing and eat nutritious food. They are attracted to the fresh material in the compost heap. Once their work is done, the earth worm gets to work on the finer organic compost. Earthworms are the intestines of the planet and there is evidence they create plant-growth hormones!

Molluscs: slugs and snails love very fresh and very ripe vegetables and fruits. They like their food on the verge of fermenting. The excrement these slugs leave behind becomes food for the next army of composters.

Cockroaches: our native cockroaches (often beautifully patterned) may be attracted to the compost bin if it is in a shady location. They prefer damp rubbishy places so don't worry about them coming indoors. Indoors equates to too dry and they hate that!

Slaters or woodlice: these are both commonly found in the compost bin. Too many might suggest your pile is on the dry side. Adding some wet greens will solve the problem They tend to feed on wood fibres and lime (concrete)

Millipedes are graceful omnivores who rarely go for fresh material. They will mix the rotten woody bits with the fungused barky bits and the decayed leafy bits. When it gets too cold (below 5C) millipedes will retreat to the warmer interior parts of the heap

Blowfly maggots aim for the poos and meat in the compost.
Housefly maggots prefer fresh lawn clippings and leaves.
Lesser housefly maggots like bird dung
Vinegar fly maggots like rotten, fermenting fruit

Collembola (also known as white springtails) These are part of the most numerous group of invertebrates on earth with about 6000 species world wide. They come in a bewildering range of shape, colour and size although even the biggest ones are still tiny. The scientific name for Collembola is derived from colla meaning 'glue' and embolon meaning 'bar'. A glue bar or peg is situated on the springtail's abdomen and enables it to regulate humidity in its direct environment. Pretty handy when you rely on moist, decaying organic matter, fungi, pollen, algae, moss and lichen residues for a regular diet.

For the record when you do distribute compost or organic material on your garden bed, the resulting layer is often too thin and too well decomposed for springtails to be comfortable in. They will either move on to find another source of food..or die.