Real World Gardener Greengage Plums are Plant of the Week

June 30th, 2017

 

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Greengage Plums

 

Today’s plant of the week is in the productive side of gardening.

 

If you like making preservers, jams and jellies, you might want to grow this heritage tree, whose fruit is unavailable in supermarkets or greengrocers.

Don’t know why, because it just has the most superior taste of all fruits of the same kind.

Let’s find out more…

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Greengage plums-small and delicious.

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au

Did you know that the first true greengage was bred in Moissac, France, from a green-fruited wild plum originally found in Asia Minor; that original greengage cultivar is known as the cultivar 'Reine Claude Verte'

Yalca fruit company write in their website that

“The Green Gage plum is an amazing eating experience – sweet and very richly flavoured but balanced with perfect amount of acidity.

Singled out by the author of the Australian Fruit Tree book, Louis Glowinski, as his favourite fruit overall (a big rave, given his book covers a fairly significant proportion of the fruit kingdom) but this is a great plum.”

Sounds delicious.

Anyone fancy an almond and greengage plum crumble?

 
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Real World Gardener Selim Pepper in Spice it Up

June 30th, 2017

 

SPICE IT UP

Xylopiaaethiopica-selim%2Bpepper.jpgSelim Pepper,  Xylopica ethiopica

Are you a bit of a kitchen whizz with a kitchen garden full of exotic herbs?

Or do you just rely on the same old staples of spices like, rosemary, oregano, parsley, sage, maybe some chilli pepper or paprika occasionally.

To be confident about using other spices you need to know a bit about them and sometimes, a bit of advice on how to use an unusual spice will give you the kick a long that you need to try something in that casserole or stew that you always make.

So let’s find out more about one such spice. 

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill, spice guru and owner of www.herbies.com.au who has also written the Herb and Spice bible.

 

PLAY: Selim Pepper_14th June 2017

 

Selim pepper is also known as African pepper, Ethiopian pepper, Grains of Selim, Uda Pods, Guinea pepper, kimba pepper and Senegal pepper.

 

Not only is this spice hand picked but it’s possibly one of the rarest spices that Ian’s company has sourced for some time, so that in itself is something to want to try at least.

To use this spice crush the pods in a mortar and pestle then separate the fibrous bits out and use the remaining powder.

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Xylopica ethiopica

You can just throw in the whole pods then remove them when cooking has finished.

Ian says the flavour won't be as strong if you do that.

Selim pepper is not as hot as Grains of Paradise and is good in long slow cooking as with the African Buka stew made with beef.

The plant is not grow in Australia and it's unlikely that your supermarket will have the spice, so you’ll have to order it online from Herbies Spices

If you have any questions about Selim Pepper, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener COLLECTABLE Desert Rose is Plant of the Week

June 23rd, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Desert Rose

Adenium obesum

 

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been featuring old fashioned shrubs that have outstanding features, namely the flowers and the fragrance.

Today’s feature plant is no less outstanding, and is in fact desired by collector’s worldwide because of its unique characteristics.

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A rose is a rose, except if it's a desert rose.

That doesn’t even include the flower, which is pretty special too.

Let’s find out more…

 

The plant panel were Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au

The NT (Darwin) News blog writes

“Keen gardeners who are serious about Adeniums have impressive collections of different colours, leaf form and variegation, and search online for the more rare and unusual types.

Most people find them a fascinating plant, mainly for their unusual shape, bulbous caudex (fat base) and stunning flowers.

Similar to frangipanis, they are a succulent that is drought tolerant and can survive long periods without water.”

Too much water will cause them to rot, as it would for any succulent, and growing them in well-drained soil is essential.”

If you have any questions about the Desert Rose, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener Make Your Own Beeswax Wraps on the Good Earth

June 23rd, 2017

 

THE GOOD EARTH

Make Your Own Beeswax Wraps

 

Plastic is back in the media as being bad for the environment, so much so, that some countries have banned the use of plastic bags.

Why? Because it never breaks down, instead it turns into smaller and smaller particles which our wildlife consume. 

 



Some sea creatures mistake soft plastic bags floating in the ocean for jelly fish with dire consequences.

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Soft plastics such as what you use for wrapping your sandwiches are just as much of a problem as the bags because, it doesn’t break down ever.

So what else can you wrap your sandwiches in other than putting it in a plastic container?

 

 

I talk with Margaret Mossakowska, Director of www.mosshouse.com.au and course coordinator for Permaculture North in Sydney.

 

You can spend the dollars and buy the ready-made beeswax wraps, or you can do it yourself quite cheaply.

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Margaret's tip for lunchwraps.

You can buy beeswax from markets and bee-keepers associations.

What you'll need:

Densely woven cotton cloth-about the thickness of a man's business shirt or cotton bedsheet.

Cut them into squares 40cm x 40 cm.

Place the cotton squares between several lavers of greaseproof paper and sprinkle grated beeswax over the cloth.

Spray a couple of times with Jojoba oil for ease of spreading.

Place some butchers paper over the greaseproof paper and iron to heat up the wax so it's absorbed into the cloth.  Then it's ready to use, just mould it into shape for wrapping sandwiches or other food except meat and cheese.

 

So go on, kick the plastic habit and make some beeswax wraps yourself If you have any questions about beeswax wraps, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 

 
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Real World Gardener Gorgeous Luculia is Plant of the Week

June 16th, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Luculia

 

Luculia gratissima

Without realizing, the shrubs featured this week and last week are old fashioned shrubs but with outstanding features. 

Luculia.jpg

Luculia gratissima

And just like undersized potatoes or oversized apples, they who make decision in the big stores that sell plants, have decided that they won’t be available to the home gardener.

So if you’re looking for a winter flower shrub or small tree with masses of pink fragrant flowers, this one’s for you?

Let’s find out more… I'm talking with the plant panel :Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au

 

If you get a whiff of gardenias one morning in late autumn, it probably means that someone nearby is growing Luculia (Luculia spp.). 

Although Luculia and gardenia are in the same family of plants and share the same delicate fragrance, the timing of their magnificent scented flowers is different.

Luculia is evergreen and grows to around 3 metres eventually.

While the flowers make an impressive display, the leaves not so much.

The foliage shall we say get’s a little untidy, but gardeners grow it for the flowers not the leaves.Pruning: Luculia flowers on new wood, so pruning is best done after flowering. 

You can prune mature Luculias quite hard to tidy them up, should you be lucky enough to have one growing in your garden.

 
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Real World Gardener Little Egret is Wildlife in Focus

June 16th, 2017

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Australia has plenty of water birds but do you think of our waterbirds as hanging around the seashore?

That’s probably true of a lot of water birds but others prefer inland areas where there’s plenty of water as in creeks, rivers and lakes.

 

 

Little_Egret_%2528Egretta_garzetta%2529-

Egretta garzetta

In fact some water birds like open areas with shallow fresh water while others go for coastal swamps, shallow seasonal meadows and marshes, stony rise lowlands and large saline lakes.

There's more than one Egret that lives in Australia, so how to tell which it is that you're looking at.

they look similar so it is quite confusing.

Which one is white with black legs?

 

Let’s find out more.. I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons, Manager of Birds in Backyards.

 

 

All Egrets tend to be white with long legs and a long beak.

The distinguishing features is that the Little Egret has a black bill with dark grey-black legs.

Both the Cattle Egret and the Little Egret get flumes on the back of their head when they're breeding.

The colour of the Cattle Egret's plumes are orangey-yellow, but the Little Egret's plumes are white.

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Breeding plume of Little Egret

It's so important to retain Australia's wetlands.

Wetlands support a rich diversity of plants and animals including a large number of waterbirds that depend on them for food, shelter and breeding.

The Little Egret hunts for fish and other small water creatures in shallow water and may be found in the company of other wading birds, but rarely with others of its own species.

If you have any questions about the little egret, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener SPECTACULAR Dombeya in Plant of the Week

June 8th, 2017

 

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Dombeya spectabilis 

 

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Dombeya "Pink Ball."

 

Dombeya "Pink Ball."

If you like the idea of a flowering shrub with hydrangea sized flowers, but much taller than a hydrangea, then consider this next plant.

 

Let’s find out more…

 

The plant panel were Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au

Did you know that the main specialty of this tree is that it has a long flowering time which starts from April to August in some districts.

During this time even a 3 year old single plant will have around 5000 -12,000 flowers every day and each of them consists of around 40 – 70 petals filled with honey and pollen.

Perfect if you’re into keeping bees. If you have any questions about the Dombeyas, why not write in to 

 

Flower Fact:

The interesting thing is that as the flower opens, the edges of the petals are dusted with pollen functioning perhaps as a pollen presenter, which is somewhat unusual especially for the perianth.

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Real World Gardener BETTER Garden Walkways in Design Elements

June 8th, 2017

 

DESIGN ELEMENTS

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Up the Garden Path, Softly

 

Today’s garden challenge is for those gardeners that don’t want hard surface garden paths.

 

Concrete, brick or 

other types of paving for paths 

can be a bit harsh in areas 

where the garden is quite natural.

What do you opt for then?

 

Perhaps mulch?

 

Mulch decomposes rather quickly and you end up raking some up when you're trying to get rid of those leaves from branches that hang over the path.

 

Leaves that don't look attractive are usually from trees in the Proteaceae family, such as Madacdamia or Ivory Curl tree, 

because they're quite hard and take a long time to break down.

 

But there are other alternatives, although not necessarily ones that you can do yourself unless you're really handy with the compactor.

 

 

 

In this segment, garden designer Peter Nixon explores some softer alternatives.

Let’s find out…I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and Peter’s not a fan of pebbles on paths.

 

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Scampston Garden in England. photo M Cannon

 

Instead why not try a combo of bark chips and shell grit, or decomposed granite, perhaps lillydale topping and bark or woody mulch.

You would need to run the plate compactor over these surfaces to compact the path.

If you have any questions about what to do for your garden paths in your garden, or have some information to share, write in realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener Why Seaweed Solutions are Great for the Garden

June 8th, 2017

 

FEATURE INTERVIEW: 

All About Seaweed Products

Is Seaweed Solution Good for Your Plants

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Gardeners want healthy plants

Market research shows us that even though we think we would buy Australian products, we tend to purchase on price.

Does that apply to gardening?

Hopefully you would choose an wholly owned Australian company with only 65 employees, whose name is synonymous with the word seaweed.

Just like we say hoovering instead of vacuuming.

Let’s find out more.. I'm talking with Lisa Boyd, one of the Directors of Seasol and Robyn Stewart the new PR Manager of Seasol.

Lisa said that Seasol is 100% organic. 

SEAWEED SOLUTIONS ARE NOT FERTILISERS. 

Why is that?

Traditional fertilisers have Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Seaweed solution has only a very small amount of Potassium.However, seaweed solution can provide benefits that traditional fertilisers can't.

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Brown Kelp washed up on the seashore

So what can seaweed solutions do:

  • They can be used all year round. 
  • They can be used to help plants recover from transplant shock.
  • Help plants get cope disease better.
  • Is taken up by the leaves and the roots of the plants.

Seasol is made from brown kelp that's washed up on the shores of King Island. The collection of kelp is strictly controlled because it provides habitat for the plovers.

Whether or not you use it just a few times or religiously every couple of weeks, the benefits of seaweed solution have been proven to benefit the plant and the soil it grows in If you have any questions about seaweed solutions, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Make Your Own Green Wall in Design Elements

June 1st, 2017

 

DESIGN ELEMENTS

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Floriade Venlo photo M Cannon

Green Walls

You may not have thought of the idea of having a green wall in your garden.

You might’ve thought that they were really expensive.

 

Some facts first about green walls.

Green walls can provide:

• aesthetic improvements

• protect the building they are attached to because they shield the the building or fence from the sun.

• reduce building heating and cooling costs due to increased insulation

• increased property value

• a place to grow food

• rain water run-off management and water filtering/pollution reduction

• habitat creation and increased biodiversity

• cooling effect

• cleaner air, with less pollutants

 

But did you also know that green walls suit any size garden, even if you have a large garden?

Why?

How do you achieve this?

 

Let’s find out? I'm talking with Peter Nixon from Paradisus garden design. www.peternixon.com.au

 You can make your own green wall using recycled material or you can buy ready made ones from the big box stores that have garden supplies.

They’re fine too.

If you have any questions about green walls, why not contact Peter or email us here at realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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