Real World Gardener Perfect Peony in Talking Flowers

December 8th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Peony

There are a couple of types of Peony.

There are many species and cultivated varieties of peonies but they are broadly divided into two groups in the garden:

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  • tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa Hybrids), which are shrubby plants not trees that do not die down below ground in winter
  • herbaceous peonies (Paeonia lactiflora), smaller growing plants that do die down to below ground in winter and reshoot in spring.

Mercedes is talking about the herbaceous peonies in this segment.
All peonies need cool climates and are best grown only in the colder parts of Australia including mountain districts, parts of Victoria and Tasmania.

  • Peony roses are strong growing perennials that flower late spring to early summer. They make beautiful cut flowers and last well in a vase. Prefers a well drained position in full sunlight. Plants will die down over Winter and re-grow each year forming a leafy clump. Spread lime towards the end of flowering to improve root development and improve flowers for the following year.

The best time to buy Peonies is when they're supplied as bare rooted plants.

Meaning of Peony.
One legend has it that the peony is named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. And another tells the story of that same physician who was "saved" from the fate of dying as other mortals by being turned into the flower we know today as the peony.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

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Real World Gardener All About Biodynamic Composting

December 8th, 2017

Backyard Biodyanamics

Biodynamic Composting

Have you ever asked the question, “why don’t my plants grow?” or why is my neighbour/friend/relative’s garden so much more healthy than mine?

Usually the answer lies in the health of the soil.

How do we know if soil is healthy?

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It’s back to that question of why won’t my plants grow.

Healthy soil will have healthy growing plants and we need compost to make healthy soil.

Most gardeners will either have a compost heap or at least know the basics of making a compost heap.

Building a compost heap the Biodynamic way is something else.

 

Let’s find out how it's different to making regular compost.

I'm talking with  Dianne Watkin, Principal of Biodynamics Sydney and an avid gardener.

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about Biodynamic preparations either for me or Dianne, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener Building Raingardens in Design Elements

December 8th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Creating Rain Gardens

Getting a lot of rain lately or not?

Maybe you need a rain garden but it’s not what you think.

We’re not creating rain, but using the rain to help us grow plants without that bit of the garden turning into a quagmire or just being washed away.

So how do we do that?

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Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus Design www.peternixon.com.au

 

PLAY Raingardens_29th November 2017

So you know now that raingardens are designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns.

If you have a water pooling problem you have got to create a course for the water to go.

Of course you cannot divert the water onto neighbouring properties so the best solution is to create that rain garden.

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When the garden fills up with water, gravity the pulls the water into a dispersion pit at the terminal end of the garden.

What you need to do, ( Peter explains in the podcast) but briefly, is to excavate a trench to 850cm - 1.2 metres at the low point.

The trench needs to have sloping sides.

Put in your slotted PVC ag pipe then cover with two layers of GEO fabric.

On top of that add riverstones.

What ever you do, DON'T cut the geo fabric.

You can plant up with plants that can cope with dryness and temporary inundation such as Eleiga, Restios, Alocasias and Dwarf Papyrus.

Did you know though that rain gardens are efficient in removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the rainwater runoff.?

 

If you have any questions about raingardens either for me or Peter, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Hydrangeas in Talking Flowers

December 1st, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Hydrangea

Hydrangea is in the Hydrangeaceae family

The name comes from the Greek words for water, hydros and jar, angos.

Native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia)

The most popular types or the "mophead" hydrangea and the 'lacecap" hydrangea.

Mopheads are sometimes called "grandma's showercap."

Hydrangea shrubs can grow 1-3 metres.

Flowers-early Spring to late Autumn. 

The colour of pink or blue hydrangeas depends on your soil pH. Blue hydrangeas grow in more acidic soils and pink hydrangeas grow in more alkaline soils.

The time to change the colour of your hydrangeas is in winter when the plant is dormant.

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White hydrangeas should not change colour.

Some are repeat flowerers, eg Endless Summer.

Did you know that in Japan, they are said to be a sign of apology or gratitude because an emperor gave them as apologies to his maidens.

 

I'm talking with floral therapist Mercedes Sarmini for www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

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Real World Gardener Hawthorn Tree is Plant of the Week

December 1st, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Hawthorn tree

 

From a story on ABC’s landline "Growing hedges actually was the latest agricultural innovation in England and it naturally came to Australia, they tried looking at local things like the prickly mimosa which grows on some of the hills around Victoria.

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Hawthorn Tree in Young. photo Glenice Buck

"They found they weren't suitable and instead chose(the hawthorn tree)what was the ideal thorn shrub to grow, they found it did particularly well in Australia and particularly well in Tasmania."

This large shrub also has pretty flowers.

Let’s find out 

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I'm talking with Jeremy Critchley www.thegreengallery.com.au and Karen Smith of www.hortjournal.com.au

 

There were tens of thousands of kilometres of hedges around Tasmania in the early days of white settlement, records indicate there are 3,000 kilometres of historic hawthorn hedges left.

When wire fencing developed, new highways were built and small five acre lots were developed, many were pulled out, others died or went into ruin

 

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about the Hawthorn tree, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

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Real World Gardener Growing Water Chestnuts in The Good Earth

December 1st, 2017

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water chestnuts photo Margaret Mossakowska

THE GOOD EARTH

Growing water chestnuts in the home garden

 

Do you remember biting into something crunchy when you tried some Chinese food for the very first time, probably when you were very young.

Did you ever wonder what that crunchy sensation actually was?

If you were clever enough to find out that they were water chestnuts you might have also discovered that you could only get the canned variety.

But now we can grow them ourselves.

Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska, Director of Moss house www.mosshouse.com.au/

 

Water chestnut plants look very similar to reed rush.

You can grow water chestnuts in a waterproof pot, old laundry sink or bathtub in the home garden.

Allow for a depth of at least 20cm.

Like rice, water chestnuts need to be grown in a watery medium.

Margaret recommends flushing the pot with water every couple of weeks to get rid of mosquito wrigglers.

You can buy the corms from Diggers Seeds or Greenharvest

Harvest your chestnuts  by digging them up in June/;July Water chestnuts are just like the chestnuts that grow on trees in that they have shells which need to be peeled.

 

The good news is that you can grow them in cold climates if you have a nice warm or sheltered verandah.

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Water chestnuts and turmeric plant. photo M. Moxxakowska

If you have any questions about water chestnuts either for me or Margaret, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Sweet Williams in Talking Flowers

November 24th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Sweet William

Sweet William

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)  is a species of Dianthus native to southern Europe and parts of Asia which has become a popular ornamental garden plant.

Sweet Williams flowers are in the Caryophyllaceae family.

Sweet Williams are herbaceous biennials or short-lived perennial plants growing to 13–90 cm tall, with flowers in a dense cluster of up to 30 at the top of the stems.

Each flower is 2–3 cm diameter with five petals displaying serrated edges. 

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Mercedes recommends that you strip the leaves off the stalk before putting in a vase with water only midway up the stems.

Flowers should last 6 - 10 days in the vase.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

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Real World Gardener Great Garden Seating in Design Elements

November 24th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Great Garden Seating.

What’s the last word in garden seating for you?

Perhaps you can’t be bothered with garden benches, tables and chairs and an old milk crate or just perching on a step will do.

However big or small your outside space and whatever your taste and budget, there is an alfresco seating option perfect for you. 

But with so much choice, and we've certainly moved on from the good ole’ cast iron table and  two chair setting which is terribly cold on the bottom, not to mention hard. 

Perhaps you’re looking for a spot for an evening drink, a place to lounge or an area that will accommodate the whole family for lunch?

Things have moved on considerably in the last thirty of forty years though with new fabrics and materials that look like "rattan."

Let’s find out what’s Peter’s last word in garden seating.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, principle of Paradisus Garden Design www.peternixon.com.au

 

PLAY: Best garden seating-15th November 2017

 

 

 

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Anne Johnsons' Garden photo M Cannon

Anne Johnsons' Garden photo M Cannon

You can make a complete living room if you have the space with a couch, easy chairs, ottomans and attending side tables. 

Make sure all the materials are long lasting and weather proof. 

Peter's favourite on a hot summer day is loll about on a lazy hammock strung between two shady trees. 

A garden with lots of places to sit is a user friendly garden. "Sitting places" don't have to just be just seats.

You can sit on top of a wall, a grassy slope, the edge of a pond, on garden steps, or even a large rock

 

Seating and lighting go together so rather than the awful floodlight stuck on the side of the garage, why not think about 12V lighting to compliment night time seating with your friends and family?

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about garden seating, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com 

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Real World Gardener Citrus Pest Watch in Plant Doctor

November 24th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

Citrus Pest Watch

Hopefully you’ve finished your spring cleaning but now it’s time to check out that citrus tree you’ve got in your backyard.

Our plants put on lots of fast growth in the garden but so do the bugs good and bad.

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Being pro-active is the best way to beat the pests that seem to plague citrus more than any other plant in the garden.  

Some gardeners do this by spraying their citrus over the winter months with horticultural oil.

For a lot of insect pests, sprays are effective if you’ve timed it correctly, because as the pests mature or evolve into the next stage, sprays may become ineffective.

 

Let’s find out what to look out for. I'm talking with was Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY Citrus Pest Watch_15th November 2017

 

Two types of pests to watch out for and for some states, the extra pest of fruit fly.

Group 1 is the sap suckers which include aphids, mites, mealybugs and the citrus stink bug.

The best time to hit these pests in Spring, particularly the citrus stink bug. The reason being that coming out of winter, the juveniles are small, pale green and susceptible to the oil sprays such as Eco Oil.

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Citrus pests photo M Cannon

Group 2 are the chewing pests. such as citrus leaf miner and caterpillars. The leaf miner pest is actually a very small moth that lays its eggs on new leaf growth.

The hatching larvae then tunnel into the tissue causing the leaf disfigurement or curling and the silver trails.

Leaf miner can be organically controlled with pheremone traps that are hung in the trees.

As for the caterpillars, a lot of the will turn into beautiful butterflies, so decide what you would rather; a few chewed leaves or some orchard swallowtail butterflies?

If you have any questions about citrus pests either for me or

 

Steve, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Australian Waratah in Talking Flowers

November 17th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Waratah

Telopea speciosissima


What does the botanical name mean?

Speciosissima is the superlative of the Latin adjective 'speciosus', meaning 'beautiful' or 'handsome'. Telopea means seen from afar.

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Waratah (Telopea) is an Australian-endemic genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees, native to the southeastern parts of Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania). 

The one we see walking in the bush is the red flowering version and is also the NSW state emblem.

Grows to 3m tall. 

Can be tricky to keep alive in the garden.

If you've tried to grow a Waratah, make sure it has great drainage.

 

Dreamings about the Waratah focus upon the tragic consequences of lost love. 

Two Wonga pigeons live together in a rich, lush forest. One day the female bird notices her mate is no longer by her side, so she searches for him, calling out for him. She cannot find him, so in a panic she flies above the canopy of the forest where a hungry and ever-vigilant hawk sees her and, swooping down, grabs her and clutches her in his sharp talons. She manages to wriggle free and plummets down, finally falling onto a white Waratah blossom, her blood staining its petals to red. From then on, Waratahs are generally red; it is very rare to find one that is white.

 

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

 
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