Real World Gardener Hyacinth in Talking Flowers

April 19th, 2018


Meet Hyacinth Bucket! A bucket full of sweetly scented Hyacinth is this week's star in Talking Flowers with Mercedes Sarmini of Flowers By Mercedes. Mr Hyacinth will grace your home with scent and colour for at least a couple of weeks, especially if you grow it from a bulb yourself. Hyacinths can be grown in a special water vase. Colours include red, white, blue, pink, orange, violet and yellow. 

Asparagaceae family.hyacinth.jpg

Hyacinthus orientalis; Dutch or garden hyacinth.

Not to be confused with Muscari which are also called “grape hyacinths.”

You can buy bulbs right now and plant before autumn is over for divine spring fragrance.

TIP: Don't forget to pre-chill them in a brown paper bag in the fridge crisper for 6 weeks. but away from fruits and veg.

This will allow the stems to grow nice and long

I'm talking with florist, floral therapist, and floraholic, Mercedes Sarmini of


Real World Gardener New plant for Dry Shade in Plant of the Week

April 19th, 2018



Lamium Mega

Are you after a groundcover for dry shade?

Would you like something with more colour where nothing colourful grows?

Something different perhaps than native violets, dichondra or ferns.

Dry shade tends to be dark, and the main way of enhancing a dark spot is planting something with either pale or white flowers or pale or silver foliage.



Cheer up the gloomiest of corners in your garden with this suggestion.

Let’s find out how to grow it.

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of and Jeremy Critchley owner of


PLAY: Lamium_mega_11th April 2018

Its common name, deadnettle, is unglamorous, but this lamium makes the best ground cover for tricky, shady spots.



Its silver, heart-shaped leaves with a green rim lighten up dreary corners, and the mauve (OK, "Mega Purple", if you must) flowers appear reliably throughout Summer.

This is a ground hugger, though, reaching a height and spread of just 30cm x 45cm

If you have any questions about Lamium mega , either for me or for the plant panel or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener things You Can Do With Beeswax in the Home

April 19th, 2018

What’s On The Show Today?

Join permaculture guru Margaret Mossakowska talking about beeswax in the Good Earth segment; how best to look after those saved seeds in Vegetable Heroes; brighten up dark corners in the garden with this new groundcover in Plant of the Week.

Lastly, a flower that’s strongly linked with perfume in Talking Flowers.


Beeswax And How To Use It At Home

Honey isn’t just the only thing that beekeepers produce.

Beeswax is a by product of honey making.


So how can we use around the home other than for making beeswax candles?


Let’s find out I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from


PLAY:Household use of beeswax_11th April_2018


Margaret mentioned that you can make Florentine Wax tablets with pieces of melted wax in a muffin tray.

Making Florentine Wax Tablets:

Mix in a little coconut oil so you can spread the beeswax better, then add a few drops of essential oils for perfume.

You can even press dried flowers into the top to make them decorative.

Leave them around the house to let off their fragrance into the rooms.


rose-wax-tablets_copy_1024x1024.jpgTIP: Did you know that you can also coat things with beeswax, like hand tools, cast iron pieces and shovels to prevent them from rusting out.

You can even rub beeswax on the wooden handle of your shovel to help protect against wear and tear.

NSW amateur beekeepers associations

The ABA currently has 20 clubs/branches around NSW.

There are also a number of areas where new clubs are being started.

If you need any help finding a club near you, please contact the ABA Secretary.

For listeners outside NSW there’s also a national body,

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


Real World Gardener Calla Lily in Talking Flowers

April 13th, 2018


CALLA LILY Zantedeschia aethiopica  

Family: Araceaea

Known as arum lily but not a lily at all, instead an aroid.

Aroid because it’s a member of the 3,300 strong arum family and most have flowers that consist of a spathe (floral bract) surrounding the central pale yellow spadix (floral spike) bearing tiny flowers.

Image result for calla lily

Think Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum,  Anthurium and Philodendron.

Zantedeschia aethiopica is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant, evergreen where there's plenty of  rainfall and moderate temperatures but deciduous where there is a dry season. Its preferred habitat is in streams and ponds or on the banks.

The plant actually contains calcium oxalate making it poisonous to animals or people that may attempt to eat the plant raw.

This is basically a protection mechanism for the plant so that it can survive in the wild.

Apart from that, these flowers look fabulous in the vase ,just don't let kitty nibble on the leaves.

I'm talking with  florist, floral therapist, and floraholic, Mercedes Sarmini of


Real World Gardener Red Paw Paw is Plant of the Week

April 13th, 2018


Red Paw Paw Bisexual

Paw Paw and Papaya, are they the same fruit?

Papaya (Carica papaya), also called pawpaw in Australia, is an exotic, tropical fruit with a juicy, sweet flavour.



Papaya and pawpaw are the same species, however they look and taste different.

In Australia, the red-fleshed sweeter fruit is called papaya, while the yellow-fleshed fruit is called pawpaw.

Just to confuse everyone, from an Australian industry perspective however, the term papaya covers both fruit.

Let’s find out how to grow it.

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of and Jeremy Critchley owner of

PLAY: Paw Paw Red_7th April 2018

The papaya is a small, sparsely branched tree, usually with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 m tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk.

Something to note:


  • Papaya plants grow in three sexes: male, female, bisexual (hermaphrodite meaning they produce flowers which have both male and female functioning parts).
  • The male produces only pollen, never fruit.
  • The female will produce small, inedible fruits unless pollinated.
  • The hermaphrodite can self-pollinate since its flowers contain both male stamens and female ovaries 


If you have any questions about red paw paw , either for me or for the plant panel or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Blubonnet Parrot in Wildlife in Focus

April 13th, 2018


Blubonnet: Northiella haematogaster


If I say this next segment is about parrots, do you go through a very short checklist?

This checklist might include, the Sulphur Crested, several Galahs, King Parrot, and Gang Gang Cockatoos.


Northiella haematogaster

You may even realise that Rosellasand Lorikeets are in the parrot category.

But what about this next parrot with a very different name?

Let’s find out about it

I'm talking wiht Dr Holly Parsons, Manager of


The parrots species have short, powerful bills that they use for cracking seeds, but some of them also feed on fruit, nectar, underground plant stems, and wood-boring insect larvae.

Blue bonnets have not only similar calls to other parrots but fly in a similar way as well.

From Graeme Chapman’s website comes this information “They have a particular liking for areas where sheoaks such as belah or bulloak (genus Allocasuarina) grow, mainly because these trees provide them with their preferred nesting sites.

Where available, they prefer a narrow split in the main trunk of a tree which opens out into a hollow that often continues down to (or even below!) ground level.

It is amazing just how narrow a split they can fit into and such sites are not uncommon in quite small trees such as Myall (an Acacia) out in desert regions.

These narrow nest entrances would provide good protection from the larger of the predatory goannas.”

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


Real World Gardener Blueberry Ash is Plant of the Week

April 6th, 2018


Blueberry Ash: Elaeocarpus retiuculatus

Here’s a small tree with lily of the valley type flowers and olive like fruit.

The flowers are either pale pink or white, often referred to as “fairy pettioats.”

A very tough small tree that’s native to the east coast of Australia that is also bird attracting especially to all types of parrots.


Blueberry Ash: Pink form

Let’s find out more about it. 

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of


PLAY: :Blueberry Ash_28th March 2018

Karen’s neighbour keeps her blueberry ash trimmed down to 4 metres or you could leave it a bit bigger and “limb up” as Peter Nixon would say so you have a lovely shade tree to sit under.

The only place it doesn’t suit is those areas with heavy frost. If you have any questions about blueberry ash , either for me or for Karen or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to


Real World Gardener Small Trees that are Beautiful in Design Elements

April 6th, 2018


Small Trees that are "useful and beautiful."

Have you got a small or large garden?

Chances are a lot of you are thinking, mmm, it’s pretty small but I used to have a large garden.

Either way, there’s always room for a small something, to fit into the design scheme that won't take up too much room, is out of the ordinary, and is "useful and beautiful."


Bauhinia hookerii or White Bauhinia

Today, we’re talking about something that’s either a very large shrub or a very small tree. 

Let’s find out what they are.

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

PLAY: Useful & beautiful small trees_28th March 2018


Peter mentioned Hibiscus schizopetalus also known as Japanese Lantern which has the daintiest red flower.


Hibiscus schizopetalus: Japanese Lanter photo credit: M Cannon


The flower almost looks like a ballerina suspended by a fine thread and are terminal, meaning that they're at the ends of the branches.



White Bauhinia or Bauhina hookerii with white butterfly like flowers.

Brachychiton bidwillii which may be grafted but can be summer deciduous in areas such as Adelaide.

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


Real World Gardener Useful and Beautiful Shrubs in Design Elements

March 30th, 2018


Useful and Beautiful Shrubs

We’re into the shrubbery but we’re not the Knights of Nee, for all those Monty Python fans listening out there.

So last week we outlined the sub-shrubs, in other words those plants that don’t grow too much over a metre, and most likely much less.

This week it’s shrubs that grow much bigger so won’t be at the front of the border.

These shrubs are larger but not more than 4 metres if that.


Rabbit Ears: Ruttya fruiticose photoM Van Der Schiff

Let’s find out what they are.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, Garden Designer and  Director of

PLAY: Useful & Beautiful Bigger shrubs_21st March 2018


Peter mentioned these shrubs:

Rhinacanthus beesianthus –very luxurious looking, grows quite tall - around 2m or higher - and has large attractive quilted leaves which form a glossy background to other plants in a border.

Its clear white flowers, shaped like scalloped shells, begin to appear in March or April and continue for several months

Ruttya fruiticosa or Rabbit Ears, because the flower is dark red and looks just like a rabbit or from a distance a bit like Sturt Desert Peas.


Dichroa versicolour: photo M. Cannon

Iochroma fuschoides has an upright vase shape, with red trumpet flowers.

Dichroa versicolor - Evergreen Hydrangea is a nice alternative to the regular hydrangea with more like

If you have any questions about sub-shrubs , either for me or for Peter or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to


Real World Gardener Fixing Indoor Plant Problems in Plant Doctor

March 30th, 2018


Looking After Indoor Plants.

You may have heard that having indoor plants make for a healthy home.

The reason is that the plants and in fact mostly the soil that plants sit in, absorb the VOC’s or volatile organic compounds that all your furniture, flooring, household cleaners give off.

But those plants are made of plastic so will need attention. 


You may not have noticed that your indoor plant/s were in decline even though you've been walking past them everyday for most of the year.

Here are some pointers to get you started.

Let’s find out . 

Indoor%2BPlants.JPGI'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of


PLAY: Indoor Plant Problems_21st March 2018

The first tip: Top up that potting mix.

After 2-3 years, potting mix becomes compacted and shrinks down several cms.

Plus old potting mix needs replacing after a while anyway because of this "slumping" and becoming acidic over the years.

The second tip: Check if the soil has become hydrophobic.

Scratch the surface after you've initially water to see if it has actually penetrated.

If not, apply a soil wetting agent.

The third tip: Now your pest or disease.

If you have any indoor plant problems is important to first diagnose what is exactly happening with the plant.

Is it just the soil, or is it something that needs spraying. 

Because your plants are indoors I would recommend using organic sprays


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


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