What To Do In The Garden This Month; Juicy mangoes. Creamy avocados. Sweet peaches. Summer heralds a banquet of luscious fruits, many of them easy to grow

What To Do In The Garden This Month; Juicy mangoes. Creamy avocados. Sweet peaches. Summer heralds a banquet of luscious fruits, many of them easy to grow

SUMMER IS ONE of the best times for fruit, with display tables in fruit and veg shops often groaning under the weight of trays of stonefruits (mangoes, peaches, nectarines, anyone?) and mountains of passionfruit, pawpaws and tamarillos, to name a few.

Have you ever wished you could grow your own? Well, you most likely can. Growing tropical fruit at home is simple, when you know what varieties to choose

AVOCADO

Although a tropical fruit, avocados are eaten as a salad vegetable. The tree can grow pretty much anywhere – even in containers although it will need protection from frost and require good drainage. Generally, avocado trees grow to about 8m and take years to bear fruit. However, the dwarf variety Wurtz grows to 2.5m and fruits much sooner.

Harvest Avocado from your own home garden

Harvest Avocado from your own home garden

Mango

Mangoes do especially well in the tropical north of Australia and on the subtropical east coast. Although the average mango tree may fill the backyard, there are dwarf varieties now available that only grow up to 4m. Early Gold is one of the fastest to bear its reddish-gold fruits, followed by Irwin then Palmer, which has late developing, more elongated fruit, which is less fibrous.

Mango is rich of vitamin

Mango is rich of vitamin. How great if you sit on a reclining chair to eat sweet mangos harvested from your home garden?

PASSIONFRUIT

This divine fruit, borne on a vine, can grow almost anywhere. It is one of the simplest fruits to grow, providing there is a fence, trellis or balcony rail that the vine can be trained along. Passionfruit vines need full sun to thrive, so a northerly aspect is usually best. A variety of passionfruits are available, from the large Panama Red and Panama Gold to the more traditional small black passionfruit and elongated yellow banana passionfruit, which can become a weedy menace (planting is prohibited by some councils). Grafted passionfruit are normally your safest bet, as these are more resilient to disease.

Passion fruit is easy to grow in your garden's corners

Passion fruit is easy to grow in your home garden’s corners

Tamarillo

Tamarillos thrive across southern Australia to the subtropics. Also known as tree tomatoes, they are less commonly grown than other fruits, but are so delicious, they should be planted more! The fruit looks similar to a passionfruit, only more egg-shaped and with red skin. The flesh is juicy and sweet, with a touch of sharpness.

Pawpaw

Pawpaws are easy to grow, particularly in tropical and warmtemperate climates. They are classified into three sex types: male, female and hermaphrodite (aka bisexual). The last are self-pollinating so you will harvest the most fruit per plant. Pawpaws like a sunny position while keeping their roots cool – next to the house is often a perfect spot. They usually bear fruit twice a year. For a refreshing coleslaw, pluck them from the tree while they’re green and grate them, then mix with grated carrot and a squeeze of lime juice. Or pick them when they’re ripe for a quick and easy dessert.

GUAVA

These are found from Tasmania to the tropics. There are two different types of guava plants the strawberry, cherry or apple guavas (Psidium) and the pineapple guava (Feijoa). Both plants are hardy, have delicious fruits and cope with almost any soil type. Also, the pineapple guava not only produces delicious fruit, it looks beautiful, boasting striking red flowers, glorious silvery leaves and attractive mottled bark.

Stonefruit

Traditional stonefruits grow in cooler areas, but there are subtropical varieties available for those of us who live in warmer climes. Look for peach varieties such as Floraprince and Floragold and the nectarine Sundowner.

Not only beautiful it is also very sweet

Not only beautiful it is also very sweet

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A dream to build their own house came true when Glenn & Mel Paterson found the perfect plot of land. The result is a contemporary & colourful family home

A dream to build their own house came true when Glenn & Mel Paterson found the perfect plot of land. The result is a contemporary & colourful family home

Family Favourite

GROWING UP as the son of a builder, and having a brother in the trade, it’s no surprise Glenn Paterson has always had an interest in architecture. He started his career as a quantity surveyor and, after many years apartment-living in Japan with his wife Mel – and then tackling a renovation together in Auckland – the desire to design and build a home from scratch was strong. So the couple bought a large subdividable section in Onehunga, a suburb 8km south of Auckland city centre, with a 1920s weather-board bungalow sitting on the plot.

House design for a family

House design for a family

While the couple lived in and renovated the old bungalow with a view to sell, they came up with a design concept to build a modern four-bedroom house on the back section of the land to become their family home. “The benefit of living in the bungalow with a big garden during this time was that we developed a good feeling for what suited the land, and the best position for sun and natural light,” Glenn says.

Glenn and Mel both took on different roles throughout the build. Glenn’s area was the structural design, and he helped out his brother Rickie with the actual build where he could. Mel was in charge of the interior. While the couple worked together on the overall design, they had items they individually deemed as non-negotiable. “For me it was storage,” Mel says. “Having lived with minimal storage I realised how important it is when you have three young children.” It added a large chunk to the couple’s budget but Mel insists it was worth it.

For Glenn it was all about creating a feeling of space. “I made sure the hallways and stairwell were wide and evoked a feeling of openness,” he says. “I also designed the four bedrooms so they were large. I love the way the kids have their own special space and can shut themselves away with their friends for hours.”

Large rooms with appropriate furniture make you feel comfortable

Large rooms with appropriate furniture make you feel comfortable

With blonde timber flooring, sleek white cabinetry and white walls, the kitchen is Mel’s favourite room, even though she readily admits Glenn is the head chef in the family. “It’s a large space and there’s plenty of room to move, even with large family gatherings,” she says. “And if you’re working in the kitchen you still feel part of the action.”

White walls throughout the home provide a gallery-like backdrop to a decorating style Mel describes as ever-evolving. Bursts of her favourite bold colours, including green, yellow and orange, and her ever-growing collection of art stamp the new build with personality. “My mother grew up loving art and our family is quite artistic so I guess that is where my passion comes from,” Mel says.

Having now completed their dream to build, the only thing Mel would do differently would be to have a laundry room. “We have a fantastic laundry in the garage, reclining chairs and tables in the backyard, but having a dedicated room would be great,” she says. “Something I do have planned very soon is a wall of bold and colourful wallpaper for the dining room.” Looks like the Paterson family have a bright future in their new home!

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