Micro Garden Guide

Do you have a small amount of space in your garden that you don’t know what to do with? It could be a courtyard, a narrow strip of garden down the side of the house or a bit of a boring, unused corner. With a dose of creativity your small space can be transformed into a beautiful green oasis - especially if you start thinking vertically.

Shopping list: Tui Pot Power, Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic, Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser, pots, trellis, garden wire, eye hooks, plants - Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) and a selection of potted colour to plant around the climbers.

Add some fabulous vertical visual interest with a couple of evergreen climbers which will grow prettier over time. Evergreen climbers are particularly good for the north island – but if you live in the south, deciduous climbers are going to be the best options for you like Boston ivy or wisteria.

We've chosen Star Jasmine and Gelsemium sempervirens. Star Jasmine is an evergreen twining plant that produces delicious white fragrant flowers in early spring to mid-summer. It is a well behaved climber – it’s not going to go crazy and take over the whole wall and will grow happily in a pot. It can take a while to get going but once its roots are well established, it’s away.

Gelsemium sempervirens (which means always green in Latin) is a vigorous climber which will grow into a nice dense solid green wall – but like the Jasmine, it’s not going to get thick and take over. It will get beautiful bright yellow flowers in winter and spring.

You’ll need to create a simple wire structure or use some good old trellis for the climbing plants. You can do this on wooden surfaces or concrete and brick surfaces you just need different fixtures. See our prepare section for more details.

Prepare

1. Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. When planting in pots or containers, choose a potting mix that is free draining and is suited to what you are planting. Tui Pot Power is a premium potting mix formulated for indoor and outdoor potted plants.

2. Clear the area of any existing plants or weeds and tidy it up, we gave the fence in our space a coat of paint.

3. You can use your creativity to plan out the wire frame, see our pinterest page for ideas. Each climber needs about an 80cm section of wall to grow on, so divide your space into sections accordingly.

4. You'll need heavy garden wire and fixtures for the wire frame - we used eye hooks as these easily screw into the wooden fence with some pliers and allow the plants some room to grow freely against the wall.

5. After you have measured out your 80cm wide fence area, divide this space from top to bottom evenly into three sections (the bottom wire should be about 30cm from the soil level). Screw in eye hooks at each end of these three horizontal sections (six eye hooks in total per section).

6. Then feed the garden wire through the eye hooks to create the three horizontal wires and outer vertical wires. For the middle wires we have gone diagonally bottom left to middle right, then middle right to top left. Ensure the garden wire is pulled tight and anchored well so that there is enough tension on the wires.

7. If you choose to use trellis, attach the pre-cut 60x80cm lattice trellis to the fence using wooden blocks behind the trellis. Screw to the fence at all four corners. The blocks means the trellis is not flush against the wall, allowing the creeper space to grow.

8. Place the pots centrally under each section i.e. a concrete trough for each end and a round one for the centre section.

Plant

9. Check plant labels for individual planting instructions. When planting or re-potting ensure plants aren't exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after potting.

Directions for planting in containers:

10. Partly fill your container with Tui Pot Power.

11. Before potting, soak plants in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock.

12. Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the container. If planting multiple plants, space accordingly in the container.

13. Fill your container with Tui Pot Power up to 3cm from the top.

14. Press soil gently around the base of the plant.

15. Water plants well after planting.

Training the climbers:

16. Tie the stems to the wire supports and tie new growth in regularly. Use soft string which isn't expensive and only lasts a season i.e. it rots off which is good because as the plant grows and the stems thicken, the plant isn’t constricted by the ties.

17. As an alternative you can use plant clips, like you often see on orchids and move these as you need.

Nourish

18. Feed your plants and they will reward you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow. A controlled release fertiliser within your potting mix will provide nutrients and some mixes such as Tui Pot Power keep feeding for up to six months. Continuing to replenish nutrients will ensure your plants remain healthy. Apply all purpose Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser after six months, it is suitable to use in pots and containers as it’s a slow release, easy-to-absorb fertiliser.

19. Plants growing in containers require regular watering. It is best to water deeply twice a week rather than a little each day to encourage deep roots. Water in the morning or evening to avoid water evaporation.

The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your container plants. Keep your containers weed free. Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants.

Click here for our Container Gardening Guide >

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