Real World Gardenr Gloxinia is Plant of the Week

December 30th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

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The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Gloxinia speciosa or Gloxinia

This next plant is the type you buy after seeing it in a florists display because it looks so exotic with it’s rich velvety petals.

You think to yourself, “ I’ll get that” as a reward for something you’ve done like finishing a horticulture, gardening or floristry course or a difficult task. Perhaps even after losing some weight.

If you find the right location, they last for years and years.

The plants commonly known as Gloxinias, or perhaps florist Gloxinias, are mostly varieties of one species, Sinningia speciosa, which come from Brazil.

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Gloxinia photo M Cannon

The name Gloxinia was given in honour of Benjamin Peter Gloxin, a French botanical writer working at the end of the eighteenth century.

Wilhelm Sinning, head gardener at the University of Bonn in the mid-nineteenth century was associated with the hybridization and selection work which has given us the flower we know today.

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These modern hybrids have brilliantly coloured trumpet-shaped velvety flowers and very beautiful, large, flat, velvety mid-green leaves. 

The flowers vary in colour from rich crimson, deep red, violet and white to various combinations of  colours.

The biggest difference between growing Gloxinia and growing African violets or Streptocarpus is that Gloxinia require a period of dormancy or “winter rest” in order to flower again.

Your plant will start to wind down, usually around April or May with flowers fading more quickly and fewer or no new buds being formed.

When that happens, your plant is telling you it’s time to rest.

Reduce watering to about half the usual amount and remove dead flower stems.

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The really great news is that once you have a mature gloxinia plant, it can live for years. There’s the belief that if you can successfully grow African violets, you can probably grow gloxinias. They both are members of the Gesneriaceae family. The care of the two species is similar, other than the gloxinia's required periods of dormancy.

Funnily enough I can grow my Gloxinia outdoors under a peach tree in a pot, but can’t do that with my African violets.

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Real World Gardener Potager Gardens in Design Elements

December 30th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

DESIGN ELEMENTS

 with garden designer Lesley Simpson

Create a Potager Garden

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photo M Cannon

The French term potager refers to a home kitchen garden that grows a mixture of annual and perennial fruit, vegetables and culinary herbs.

Potager gardens are meant to supply a household with food.

 

Organic gardeners tend to replace ordered rows (still seen in many European kitchen gardens) with more informal plantings.

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English potager garden photo M. Cannon

By underplanting, interplanting and companion planting not only adds interest to the garden but that this mix improves growing conditions by offering plants shade and protection from hot sun or strong wind.

It also may just discourage or confuse attacking insects while encouraging beneficial insects into the garden.

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Real World Gardener Beat the Grasshopper in Plant Doctor

December 30th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

PLANT DOCTOR

with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

Has anyone experienced grasshoppers eating the lot in their garden?

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Long Horned Grasshopper in Bromeliad photo M Cannon

proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2F1.bp.blogspot.comThey are tiny little eating machines!!

Some gardeners have discovered that the best chemical-free method for getting rid of grasshoppers is to simply take off their thongs and smack the little blighters.

If you were to follow this plan of attack you’d be at it 24/7 and would end up demolishing every plant in your garden and you’d have to be fast!

Is there a way to get rid of them without nasty chemicals?

The eggs pupate in bare patches of soil, sometime for years, then hatch out when the rain and warm weather arrives.

So many grasshoppers eating tomato leaves and flowers and indeed most plants' every morning-even your orchids!

You can let your chickens into the veggie patch to try and curb the infestation, but grasshoppers can jump very high, either into or out of that same patch.

There’s no need to go out on a killing spree because the grasshoppers will beat you every time.Go for that neem oil.

If you have any questions about your grasshoppers or a photo, send it in to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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Real World Gardener Concept Gardens in Garden Design

December 28th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

DESIGN ELEMENTS

 with landscape designer Christopher Owen

Ever wondered what a concept garden is?

What it isn’t, is a garden theme or style because they’re clearly defined.



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Chinese Garden-pavilion, lake and willow, Sydney. photo Louise Brooks



A garden theme is best explained by using examples like, blue and white garden, conifer garden, fern garden or Japanese garden.

Garden style is formal, informal, contemporary, modernist, gardenesque and so on.



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Chelsea Flower Show display garden 2013, photo M Cannon



Next time to see garden makeovers or show gardens you’ll know not to copy them judiciously because it does involve a bit of smoke and mirrors to make it look spectacular.

The number one aspect is that plants are planted closely to make them look lush, but don’t do that in your garden, because they’ll crowd each other out and the whole design will start looking a mess.

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Real World Gardener Blechnum Ferns are Plant of the Week

December 28th, 2014

 REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

PLANT OF THE WEEK

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Blechnum "Silver Lady." photo M Cannon

with Karen Smith editor of hort  journal magazine www.hortjournal.com.au

After mosses and algae, the first land plants on earth were ferns.

Did you know that fern fossils of a group of now extinct ferns called Glossopteris can be found in various parts of Australia still today and these will be in the order of 200 million years old?

What’s that got to do with plant of the week?

Nothing really other than it’s a fern and the foliage looks like a cross between a tree fern and a cycad

Blechnum ferns grow in conditions that if you already grow ferns you would go ah yes- humid, cool but not cold, and filtered light as you would find under evergreen trees.

Given the right conditions indoors or out, blechnum ferns can be lovely ferns that will round out your fern collection.

Blechnum ferns...”Silver lady”

Silver Lady is a form of Blechnum gibbum, and is a dwarf tree fern.

Silver Lady’s is a fast grower and great for those shady parts of the garden.

Silver Lady has a spread of around a metre, you need a size of pot diameter of around 40cm, planting up from a 15cm-20cm pot size.

Silver Lady is probably at its best when multi-planted and it adds a cooling ,yet tropical, feel to the garden.

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Blechnum ferns do best in moist, free-draining, compost-enriched and slightly acidic soil in a shady location.

Will grow in a wide range of climates from temperate to sub-tropical locations however Silver Lady needs reasonable ventilation and won’t tolerate frost. Mulching is recommended.

Keep the soil moist throughout the year. In winter, this may mean a weekly watering; in the warmer months, increase the frequency.

Containerised plants should generally be watered more frequently than in-ground plants. Water when the top layer of potting mix appears dry.

Try not to over-water Silver Lady as this may cause root rot.

It’s also best to use drippers, rather than overhead watering, so the foliage avoids staying wet for long periods.

 

 

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Real World Gardener Pied Currawong is Wildlife in Focus

December 28th, 2014

 

 

 

 

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REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

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with ecologist Sue Stevens

Do you know the difference between a Magpie, Crow, Raven and Currawong?

Good or bad, this bird will probably visit your garden.

If you like the smaller birds in your garden, it may be timely for you to get to recognise the difference because one of them is considered a nest predator, and is partly responsible for the decline of smaller species in some areas where it lives.

Currawongs  now remain in cities all year round, mainly because there’s plenty of food around-cat food, dog food, bird feeders, you name it.

They’re a pretty smart bird so don’t let them train you into thinking that you need to feed them.

As Sue mentions quite regularly, what we feed birds is largely lacking in nutrients that they really need and in this case, the Currawong includes smaller birds in their diet.

Plus you don’t want a nest of Currawongs in your backyard, because during breeding season, pairs defend the nest-site and surrounding territory where they find food for their young.

But if you don’t have small birds in your garden you might just think the birds were great to have around as they eat carrion, rodents, and insects - keeping the local area clean and tidy.

If you have any questions about your Pied Currawongs or a photo, send it in to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

 

 

 

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Real World Gardener Salvias are Plant of the Week

December 21st, 2014

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REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

PLANT OF THE WEEK

with Hort Journal Magazine editor Karen Smith www.hortjournal.com.au

Sometimes there’s a species or group of plants that have something going for them all year round.

Not necessarily the same plant, but if you pick the right ones from this group, you’ll have something in flower in every season.

The cultivars have names like Black Knight and Purple Majesty, ripe Raspberry and Mulberry Jam, and even Romantic Rose

Is your mouth watering?

 

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A mix of salvias, roses, and perennials in the cottage garden of Coriole. photo M Cannon

There’s books written about them, societies, clubs and study groups dedicated to Salvias.

They come in a variety of colours and are generally pretty hardy to all climates around Australia.

Salvias are a large group of garden plants that includes annuals, biennials, perennials, and shrubs.

The perennial salvias brighten up a midsummer garden border. Another common name is sage.

 A relative of the familiar kitchen sage, flowering salvias produce spikes of small, densely packed flowers on sometimes but not always aromatic foliage.

These plants are drought and heat tolerant that can flower from early to late summer in shades of blue, violet, red, pink, salmon and white. The colour variations are endless-the only colour you can't get is yellow.

Plants grow from 30cm to 2 metres tall, depending on the variety.

Use care when choosing salvias, because not all plants are hardy in all regions.

Why not pick a season when you’re garden’s looking a bit bare of colour and pick out from these plants, the colour that you want.

 

There’s even Salvias that will grow in pots like the orange flowered salvia that Karen mentioned but couldn’t remember. The name is Heatwave Glow, a compact small shrub.

 

 

 

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Real World Gardener Show Gardens part 2 in Design Elements

December 21st, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

DESIGN ELEMENTS

with landscape designer Christopher Owen

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Show gardens look perfect in every way, but do they last the test of time?

This includes those garden makeovers that you might see on TV.

What are the tricks that garden designers use to make that show garden more immediate?

Can a show garden be directly transposed to your garden or does it need expert advise from the designer.

 

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Real World Gardener Spice It Up with Nigella

December 21st, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" />

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

SPICE IT UP

with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com

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Have you ever grown a blue flowering annual called Love in the Mist?

In fact this cottage garden plant (Nigella damascenea flowers in blue pink or white.

 

It’s very pretty and makes just as pretty seed heads after the flowers finish. It’s one of these plants that you don’t have to keep cutting of the flowers because it looks great through all stages of growth.

 

But there's something else,   a very closely related cousin, has seeds that you can use in cooking.

So can you use the seeds of the cottage garden plant in your cooking as well?

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If you bit into Nigella seed you'll find it's extremely hard with a metallic taste and a back note of mint.

Ian says seed spices have an affiliation with carbohydrates.

They can be used in a wide range of dishes, and are most popular in Indian cuisine.

Nigella seeds are dry roasted in India and used on flatbreads like naan and are particularly good with potatoes and root vegetables.

why not try a light sprinkling of Nigella seeds over steamed rice for an instant flavour enhancer.

 

They are also one of the five spices that make up panch pora, a spice mixture from Bengal.

Some people use oil from nigella seeds as an antioxidant and for upset stomach.

If you’re wanting to use the seeds from the annual Nigella for cooking, the seeds can be harvested by placing the pods in a paper bag; allow them to dry out completely, then rub the paper bag in your hands to release the black Nigella seeds.

Next cut the corner of the bag and retrieve the seeds with use of a sieve. Make sure that the black nigella seeds are completely dry then store in an airtight container.

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Real World Gardener Johanna’s Christmas is Plant of the Week

December 12th, 2014

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com

REALWORLD GARDENER NOW ON FACEBOOK

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com

PLANT OF THE WEEK

with Karen Smith Hort Journal magazine editor www.hortjournal.com.au

The NSW Christmas bush is popular with florists at this time of year because of the bright bracts that cover the bush-just right for this time of the year.

The dwarf species of Christmas bush was discovered some forty years ago growing on a bluff along the NSW coastline.

Apparently the story goes, this stand of Christmas bush looked like they had been there since before European settlement.

Luckily the chance discovery by a horticulturalist meant that several cuttings were collected.

Fast forward many years to a Central Coast nursery where they were being sold or just grown for the owner's pleasure-I'm not sure which.

However, a member of the Australian Plant Society chanced on these plants when the nursery was closing down and got those specimens.

Still more years passed before the idea of propagating and selling them came to fruition.

As it happens Ramm Botanicals now propagate Johannas Christmas which is sold to retail nurseries throughout Australia.

The species NSW Christmas bush can grow quite big and isn’t everyone’s favourite plant when it’s not showing the red bracts.

Having a small compact version  like Ceratopetalum gummiferum Johannas Christmas, is ideal and more versatile in many gardens than the bigger parent plant.

From the Ramm Botanicals website:

 

Johannas Christmas only grows to a metre and likes most soil types but prefers free draining soil.

If planting in a tub,most general purpose potting mixes will suit.

Feed with a controlled-release fertiliser in early spring and perhaps supplement with a liquid feed after flowering.

 

Johanna’s Christmas likes a full sun position and is not a particularly thirsty plant. In fact, avoid water-logging as the plant can be susceptible to root rot.

If you want to shape the plant, prune in autumn before flower initiation.

 Keep plants mulched and protect from heavy frost and harsh afternoon sun

 

 

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