We are closing

To all our wonderful customers.


We are sad to announce that the Shotover Garden Centre will be closing on the 13th of January 2019. As many of you know, recently an application for land use consent for our site was submitted by Bunnings Warehouse. While this submission goes through the court process, the land has been sold and we are required to vacate the premises. We will not be relocating for economic reasons. A closing sale begin on the 15th of December. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and it has been our absolute pleasure to assist you with your gardening needs.

Easter Sale!!

Easter is early this year making it an especially good time to be planting in the garden. To add to the excitement we’re having a big sale over the Easter weekend from the 30th – 2nd. There’ll be many discounts including 30% off all Perennials, 30% off all Deciduous Shrubs and much more.

We’ll be opening every day over the Easter weekend, so drop in and see us, it’ll make our Easter.

Easter Hours:

Good Friday: 10am – 4pm

The Saturday inbetween: – 9am – 5pm

Easter Sunday: 10am – 4pm

Easter Monday: 10am – 4pm

Phalaenopsis orchids

Many people think that keeping and caring for orchids is some mystical process that requires specialist knowledge, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Phalaenopsis (fa-len-opsis) orchids are among the easiest orchids to grow.  However, as with all plants, these bright and beautiful tropical gems have a few basic requirements:

  1. Orchids prefer a fairly bright position, out of direct sunlight. Near a north or west-facing window is best.
  2. Don’t put your orchid in a cold draught, it will never thrive there. Orchids are happiest in a reasonably warm spot.
  3. To keep your orchid truly happy, put it somewhere with about 40-60% humidity. If this is not possible, try regularly misting the plant with water.

Orchids need ample water but should be allowed to dry out a little between waterings. One way to check to see if your orchid needs water is by poking your finger about an inch into the growing media.  If it’s dry, you can give it some water; otherwise, let it be.  In fact, every time you think you want to water, wait three days… or even a week; your plant won’t suffer.

Like many epiphytes, (that is, plants which grow on other plants) Phalaenopsis are typically grown in a chunky mixture of pine bark, charcoal, and sphagnum moss.  This mixture is designed to drain very rapidly and allow the orchid’s roots to get plenty of air.  Because of this, you’ll probably need to water your orchids one to three times a week, depending on the humidity and temperature.  When you water your orchid, it’s a good idea to totally drench the roots but don’t let water sit between the leaves.   The best way to accomplish this is to submerge the whole pot in a bowl of water for a few minutes, then remove it, allow the excess water to drain, then replace the pot on its saucer and let the plant dry-out again before you water it again.  Contrary to what many people think, orchids do not like continuously wet environments.

As with all container plants, orchids require a little food from time-to-time.  However, they are not big feeders, so periodic application of a liquid fertiliser at a quarter strength is usually enough to keep them happy.

Here at Shotover Garden Centre we stock a lovely range of both single- and double-stem orchids in a variety of colours.  Pop-in and take a look, you might just discover your new plant passion.


The best plants to help birds through winter

Winter is here…

like the new season of Game of Thrones . If you’re like me you’ll spend winter by the fire, over-eating, watching tv and maybe considering going outside. Getting through winter in Queenstown for humans is hard enough, how do the region’s birds survive without inadequate heaters and arctic fleece blankets?

Bird feathers may look thin and light but they do a great job at trapping heat, that birds maximize by plumping up their feathers, making them look fat and cute. They will also find shelter and some birds that are normally solitary will snuggle up with other birds to keep warm. Birds must also eat a lot of food to make enough energy to generate heat. However, in the depths of winter food is usually difficult to find, with most of autumn’s bounty being depleted.

Many New Zealanders give their feathered friends a helping hand by providing food, but there is no clear evidence that shows this is beneficial in the long run. Feeding birds does however make us appreciate birds more, can encourage conservation efforts, and creates a warm fuzzy feeling inside. If you do wish to feed the birds hang nectar feeders filled with sugar water, which will feed native birds such as tuis and bellbirds. Fruit will also help many of our native birds. Non native birds such as sparrows and finches eat nuts and seeds. Feeding non native birds can be detrimental in the long term for our native birds as the non natives may compete for food, nest sites and territory, capiche?


Naturally birds should be able to get everything they need without human intervention, but human activity, like farming, has caused destruction of bird habitat. The Queenstown Lakes District is especially barren of native beneficial trees and shrubs that are essential for a healthy population of birds. Rather than hanging out feeders it is much more beneficial to support revegetation projects and choose bird friendly plants for your green space.

Here is a list of our top 10 plants to help native birds survive the colder weather in the Queenstown Lakes District.

  1. Kowhai

South Island Kowhai Trees / Sophora microphylla or North Island Kowhai Trees / Sophora tetraptera flower in spring and are favourites for bellbirds and tuis. NZ pigeons love the foliage of the North Island Kowhai. Most smaller gardens can house a Dragon’s gold Kowhai or Dwarf kowhai. Click here to learn more about Kowhai.

2. Olearia

Olearia do not provide food directly to birds but they do encourage lots of insects, which in turn feed birds like fantails, silvereyes and bellbirds. There are many varieties for any location, from the endangered Olearia hectorii to the small ball shaped Olearia nummarifolia.

3. Winter flowering camellia and flowering cherry trees

These two species of exotic plants can really help nectar feeders such as tuis and bellbirds. They will also help any early emerging bees and insects.

4. Miro – Prumnopitys ferruginea

A large slow growing tree provides canopy and cover for many bird and plant species. Hangs onto berries well into winter which are eaten by NZ pigeons.

5. Native broom

Provides food for bees and insects. NZ pigeons will also feed on foliage in winter.

6. Mountain beech and large evergreen trees.

Large evergreen trees such as the mountain beech provide sought after leaf cover and shelter against the cold weather. Leaf litter also provides a habitat for insects which are eaten by tomtits, robins and fantails.

7. Coprosma

There are many species of Coprosma and they all bear fruit in autumn. While they technically don’t always feed in winter they help massively in getting birds ready for the coming season. With 53 different types of coprosma there’s one for every garden or patio.

8. Tree lucerne

The tree lucerne is fantastic for tuis and bellbirds that love the white pea flowers while the NZ pigeon dines on the leaves.

9. Mapou aka. Myrsine australis

Flowering in spring or late winter in warmer climes. Bellbirds and tuis feed on the flowers and the berries feed many birds in summer.

10. Corokia cotoneaster

Tiny yellow flowers in spring are are well needed food source for nectar feeders and the berries are formed in autumn.

For more bird friendly plants follow this link (please keep in mind, some plants won’t grow in Queenstown).


The bad news is that most of these plants shouldn’t be planted in winter but planting some bird friendly plants gives you another reason to look to spring. The best thing to do now is to get some nectar feeders and leave leaf litter on the soil as this provides shelter for insects – lazy gardeners rejoice!


Photos taken in Queenstown by David Reese.



Is grass grub damaging your lawn?

A Grass grub infestation can be devastating to lawns leaving an aftermath of brown and yellow patches across the lawn. The best way to tell if you have grass grub damaging your lawn is to dig up a patch of turf and flip it over. When the grass grubs are doing the most damage they should be visible among the roots of your lawn. They will look like a 25mm white/creamy C shape with a brown head above six legs. A sign you have pests in the lawn is lots of bird activity.

To control the infestation a chemical control is advised. Females lay eggs shortly after they emerge from hibernation in spring. Therefore if you leave an infestation untreated you or your neighbour are more likely to have a problem next season. We recommend using Kiwicares Lawnguard Granules applied February – May. Applications outside of this time frame will be less effective as the grass grub will be too deep in the soil for the product to reach.

We always say that chemical controls should be a last resort, however there are no reliable organic controls. So if you want to avoid applying strong chemicals and damaging your soil life then prevention is what you need. Keep the lawn healthy by aerating and topdressing once a year and fertilize with organic options like blood and bone. Grass grub thrive in moist conditions so water less frequently but for longer, this will  encourage a stronger root system that can manage a little nibbling. Raising the height on your mower for spring will also discourage females trying to lay eggs and will also encourage deeper roots.

Encourage predators, which are mainly birds like starlings and blackbirds. These floor feeding birds appreciate fruit and mealworms on a floor feeder. However blackbirds are most attracted by leaf litter that they can turn over searching for insects and gardens with low shrubs and trees. Starlings are attracted to places with large trees that have enough space to hold a colony, although this can get a little noisy. Another predator of grass grub are said to be wasps which are usually attracted to woody plants and leaf litter.

Once you have controlled your infestation of grass grub you will need to resow any patches in either autumn or spring when the temperature is around 10 degrees celsius. Make sure to give the lawn a good rake first removing all the dead grass, this will also ‘fluff up’ the soil a little making germination easier. To save time it’s a good idea to also spray lawn weeds a few weeks before reseeding patches.

Easter Sale

Happy Easter! To celebrate the long weekend we are having an Easter sale. Grab some savings with 20% off exotic shrubs, 25% off roses, 25% off perennials and more. Ends Monday 4pm.

Easter opening times are:
Good Friday: 10 – 4pm
Saturday 15th: 9 – 5pm
Easter Sunday: 10 – 4pm
Easter Monday: 10 – 4pm

Rose Catalogue

All of our roses for the season will be with us by the end of August so have a look at our 2016 rose catalogue so you can plan your planting. Get in quick to avoid disappointment as once a variety is sold we may not be able to restock.

Click here for the catalogue >>>>>>> Rose catalogue 2016 <<<<<<<<<

Corokia / Korokio

Corokia, otherly known as the wire netting bush, are understated steadfast little shrubs. They can quite often be looked over for their large glossy leaved neighbours. From Autumn however Corokia really start to sparkle. Look out now for Corokia saturated with shiny red or yellow berries that will be luring native birds for a feast. The hardiest of the Corokia, Corokia cotoneaster, can be seen growing wild throughout the hillsides of Central Otago where they enjoy the sun and well draining alkaline soil. This evergreen shrub weathers the grueling winds, bitter frosts and lack of rain like a champion but will curl its toes up if sitting in too much moisture.


Corokia are a beautiful feature in the winter garden, their twiggy frosted appearance reflect the icy landscape they inhabit. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a naturalised hillside at home, Corokia will be happy anywhere with sun and good drainage. They also make fantastic smaller clipped hedges that you could use to line a driveway or use at the back of a smaller border. The bronze coloured Corokia ‘Frosted Chocolate’ makes a bold contrast against other garden plants and flowers. For those bold enough you can even effectively Bonsai them. Spare a thought for the Corokia, helping our fellow birds through the winter to come.

Closed on Anzac Day

For all the gardeners wishing to make the most of the public holiday in the garden. Unfortunately we will be closed on Anzac day, Monday the 25th. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. You can bet the team be in our gardens catching up from the busy summer.