Real World Gardener Sweet Peas in Talking Flowers

May 24th, 2018


Lathyrus odorota: Sweet Pea: 

Queen of annuals: Sweet pea's history can be traced back to 17th century Italy, when a Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, sent its seeds to England. 


Sweet peas come in over 250 varieties. Annual varieties prefer full sun, regular watering and soil with plenty of humus.

Perennial sweet peas survive in average soils with moderate watering.

Sweet peas are wonderfully fragrant and were originally grown in the fields of Sicily.

Most types grow from 1-5' tall, though some may reach 2m+

Sweet peas are climbing plants that do well on supporting structures.



Growing Sweet PeasT

here are few pests or problems associated with sweet peas, but they are sensitive to too much heat. According to superstition, seeds sown before sunrise on Saint Patrick's day will have larger and more fragrant blossoms. Unlike their edible relatives, sweet peas can be toxic in large quantities.


I'm talking with florist Mercedes Sarmini of 


Real World Gardener Plants That Suppress Weeds in Design Elements

May 24th, 2018


Plants That Suppress Weeds


We all lead busy lives and want a garden that not so much low maintenance, after all I’m not sure that exists, but want a garden that doesn’t need so much work.


Cyanotis somaliensis


Garden designer Peter Nixon suggests it’s all in the choice of our plants, but our heart often rules over our head and we end up buying plants that need plenty of maintenance.

So what can we do to make gardening tasks easier?

I'm talking withPeter Nixon Garden Designer and Director of Paradisus Garden Design.

Let’s find out.



Peter mentioned Diclipetera suberecta

Dicliptera sub-erecta syn. sericea – with sage green leaves and orange trumpet flowers;this plant takes sun or shade so it can grow in the hot west or the southern side of the house.

Cyanotis somaliensis-you may have heard it called furry kittens or pussy ears.

Polia cristata - Commelina relative


If you have a question either for me or Peter, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Gardening in Tight Spaces Part 1

May 24th, 2018


Gardening in Tight Spaces.

More and more gardeners across Australia have downsized and only have only a very small patch of dirt, or just a balcony.


You might only have a window ledge or a couple of steps but you still want some sort of garden.

Pity that apartments weren’t designed to follow the sun, can you imagine if they did?

You might have a beautiful sunny balcony in warm weather but it's dark, and cold in the cooler months. The reverse is true of course.

So what can the hungry gardener do to grow a few plants on their balcony?

Let’s find out. I'm talking with Diane Watkin, Principle founder and member of Bioydnamics Sydney.



Balcony%2Bgarden.jpgDiane shifts her pots from one side of the garden to the other every 6 months so she can catch 4-5 hours of sunlight to grow her herbs and veggies in pots.


It’s up to you really as to whether or not you choose plastic pots, some garden centres do accept plastic pots, but I’m not sure what they do with them. 

To keep the heat off your terracotta pots, before planting them up, soak them in water for about twenty minutes.

After potting, wrap an old tea towel or piece of hessian that you have wetted.

Spray the outer material every day when it has dried to keep up the moisture.


Diane has a particular recipe for filling garden pots, however, this may not be feasible, and too heavy for your particular situation. 


Remember, find out the weight bearing load of your balcony before you start filling tip with terracotta pots and garden soil. 


If you have any questions either for me or Diane you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Chrysanthemum is in Talking Flowers

May 17th, 2018



Greek prefix "chrys-" meaning golden (its original colour) and "-anthemion," meaning flower,

Chrysanthemum flower is one of the most popular flower in the world, next only to Rose.

 There are 10 different flower types which are defined by the way in which the ray and disk florets are arranged.

Pom pom, Anemone (a-nem-mon-ee), spider, single. Semi-doubles,


Chrysanthemum flowers photo M Cannon

intermediate curve, irregular incurve-giant flowers, reflex-florets curve downwards, decorative, spoon, quill, Bush, exotic. 

Botanical Bite

Chrysanthemum flowers are composed of many individual flowers (florets), each one capable of producing a seed.

The disk florets are in the centre of the bloom head, and the ray florets are on the perimeter. 

The ray florets are considered imperfect flowers, as they only possess the female productive organs, while the disk florets are considered perfect flowers, as they possess both male and female reproductive organs.


I'm speaking with florist Mercedes Sarmini of


Real World Gardener Useful and Beautiful Climbers in Design Elements

May 17th, 2018


Useful and Beautiful Climbers to Hide That Fence.


Anything you can do to hide that fence in your garden has an expansive effect on your garden and who wouldn’t want their garden not to look bigger.

I can’t hear people saying “ My garden looks too big.”


Stephanotis Floribund photo M Cannon

They say instead, “ I’ve only got a small garden” then give out a sigh of lost hope.

Let’s find out about them.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon Garden Designer and Director of Paradisus Garden Design.


Peter mentioned 

  • Dalechampia dioscoreifolia or the Costa Rican Bow Tie vine. 
  • Hibiscus geraniodes, with mauve flowers. 
  • Manettia bicolour or cigar vine and Manettia cordifolia John Ellerslee. 
  • Also for the perfume garden Stephanotis floribunda.


The one pictured is growing happily in a tall pot.


Both of these will suit the smaller garden, but don’t let that stop you planting it in a larger garden.

If you have a question either for me or Peter, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Little Corella is \Wildlife in Focus

May 17th, 2018


Little Corella

Some people love them some people hate these mostly white birds that arrive in huge numbers.

They're one of those birds that like to skid to rooves of silos, or swing around telegraph wires or the blades of a windmill.



When you see them in flight they do look like a few other similar birds.

Can you tell the difference between a Little Corella, and a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo?

Let’s find out about these naughty birds. 

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons Manager of

The Corellas are still a biggish bird, measuring around 42cm long and weighing just under 500 grams.

The distinction is the long beak and the pale pink section between the eye and the beak called the "laws."

The also have a bluey coloured eye ring.

The West Australian newspaper writes

“White corellas will soon outnumber seagulls and will be one of the State's most serious animal pests, causing damage to homes and many businesses, according to wildlife experts.

Department of Environment and Conservation chief zoologist Peter Mawson said the rapidly expanding numbers of the Eastern States native, introduced in WA after pets were released into the wild, more than doubled in the Perth area each year and would continue to do so.”

Rather dramatic and perhaps overstated.

The beak is the dead giveaway if you’re looking up at a flock.

If you have any questions either for me or Holly, you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Gardenias in Talking Flowers

May 10th, 2018



Gardenia is named in honour of Scottish born Alexander Garden (1730-1791) who moved to Charleston, South Carolina in the 1750’s and was a botanist, zoologist, and physician,

The Gardenia is a group that is made up of 142 species.

The most popular cultivated Gardenia species is Gardenia Jasminoides (also called Gardenia Augusta, Gardenia Grandiflora, Gardenia Schlechteri or Gardenia Florida), commonly known as Common Gardenia .



These are great flowering plants and they are actually going to be found mainly in tropical and subtropical climates.

The gardenia is actually an evergreen shrub, and is one of the most aromatic of garden flowers. The flowers are a waxy creamy white that contrasts with the dark green glossy leaves.

They love heat and are native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania.


BUT, they’re not the easiest shrubs to grow with “ my gardenia has yellow leaves” being one of the most asked questions on gardening talkback radio.

They grow best in frost free areas north of Sydney and Perth but will grow in Adelaide and Melbourne in a warm spot. 

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of


Real World Gardener Beautiful Climber shrubs on Design Elements

May 10th, 2018


Beautiful and Useful Scrambler Shrubs

When is a shrub not a shrub?


When it’s a climber shrub or is there such a thing?

You may have even heard of scrambling climbers such as Bougainvillea.

These are climbing plants that have much thicker stems and sort of support themselves partially, in fact I think of them as leaning against a support rather than twining, weaving or twisting into one.

Let’s find out about them.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon Garden Designer and Director of Paradisus Garden Design.


Peter mentioned Solandra longiflora, which has thick stems but a manageable habit.

Jasminum multipartitum or Jasminum nitidum for a shadier spot. 


There are plenty of scrambling climbers or climber shrubs in the rose family also as well as Pandorea jasminoides, or Bower vine, Hibbertia scandens sometimes called guinea or snake vine. 


Pandorea Jasminoides

If you have a question either for me or Peter, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Growing Garlic in Vegetable Heroes

May 10th, 2018


Growing Your Own Garlic

Garlic-Allium sativum comes from the Onion family. Alliaceae


You might have guessed that in medieval times, hanging Garlic outside your door warded off vampires.

Not exactly in the same league as vampires but did you know that eating garlic helps keeps mosquitos away?


Growing Your Own Garlic

There’s even a fact sheet from the DPI about growing garlic

There’s also a website devoted entirely to garlic growing in Australia.

I'm talking with Dr Patrice Newell, Manager of Elmswood Farm in the Upper Hunter Valley.


 Dr Newell's farm has diversified into not only growing garlic commercially but also olives, and honey.

1-Garlic%2B3.JPGBest Tip: Plant out your garlic bulbs before they have sprouted so that the bulb can form roots before the vegetative growth.

However, if your little bulbs have already sprouted, don't throw them away, they will still grow for you. 


Types of Garlic to Grow


Like onions, there are early, mid season and late varieties available.


There are softneck and hardneck varieties.

  • Softnecks are the most common garlics grown, and are the ones found in supermarkets. 
  • Softneck garlic usually doesn’t have a flowerhead and have a longer shelf life (up to 9 months).There’s one called “Italian White” that’s available online. 
  • Monaro purple, and Rocambole- are Hardnecks variety and these do have flowerheads like onions, and usually bigger cloves. 
  • They don’t have as good a shelf life as the softnecks and prefer cooler winters. 
  • Rocamboles have excellent flavour, glamorous red-purple skins and easily peeled, with a single circle of 6-12 plump cloves. 

There’s also the extra large garlic called Elephant or Giant Russian garlic and has a milder flavour but is great for roasting.


This is actually a type of leek that you can get these from some markets that are around or from an online bulb company.

Remember most garlic in supermarkets comes from China and has been sprayed with Methyl Bromide in quarantine.

When to grow

Sow direct in garden where they are to grow.

Garlic grows best when the temperature is between 13º to 24ºC.

That’s why Garlic is traditionally planted in cold weather and harvested in summer ("plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest").

You can plant Garlic blubs now in all districts of Australia, including cool temperate.

For cool districts, you’re right on the edge of when you can plant, so don’t delay, plant today.


Real World Gardener Preserving Wild Picked Mushrooms on The Good Earth

May 10th, 2018


Preserving, Pickling, and Drying Wild Picked Mushrooms

If you want to pick wild mushrooms, then you only have one opportunity which is this Autumn.

Where do you go? Any State Pine Forest as they are open to the public.

Take a guide with you if your are new to wild picking mushrooms.


Saffron Milk Caps

 So what do you do with them if you pick 5 kg of mushrooms to take home? 

Let’s find out about this wonderful problem.


I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of

If you’re going wild picking, pick the ones with gills underneath, Saffron Milk Caps or ones with sponge underneath, which are the Slippery Jack. 


Slippery Jack Mushrooms

If you’re not sure, go with an experienced guide, like Margaret before you go foraging.

Slippery Jacks by the way taste similar to Porcini mushrooms.

Remember Margaret’s tip: microwave ovens don’t dry mushrooms.

Pickling mixture can be the same as for cucumbers. If you have any questions either for me or Margaret, you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


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