Real World Gardener Australian Native Citrus is Plant of the Week

October 12th, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Australian Native Citrus: Citrus australasica

Citrus Gems

The lemon tree is ubiquitous to most home gardens but are you aware that Australia has its own native citrus?

The fruit from Australia’s citrus is so unique though that top chefs are using it as a garnish in their cuisine.

 

Still citrusy but not as we know it.

Let’s find out about this plant.

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

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The leaves are similar to Murraya Min a Min being much smaller and finer that the leaves of a regular citrus tree.

The inner fruit consist of vesicles that aren’t joined as in the segments of say a Mandarin, making them pop out like the finest of Beluga caviars.

The trees are thorny, as Karen says, they're not called nature's barbed wire for nothing.

Australian native citrus produce finger shaped fruit up to 12 cm long with a typically green-yellow skin and pulp. 

These citrus trees tolerate light frost; grows best in light shade or sunny spot.

Suits sub-tropical. Warm temperate, cool temperate and Mediterranean climates.

Prune: Lightly, in spring. Don't prune too hard when fruit is forming as you can accidentally cut off your upcoming crop.

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Real World Gardener How to Grow Turmeric in The Good Earth 2017

October 12th, 2017

THE GOOD EARTH

Growing Turmeric

Cucuma longa

Gardeners like to grow unusual herbs that are also useful.

But you won’t be planting out seeds to start this next plant because you need rhizomes.

Not only that, for this herb you won’t be using the leaves in cooking but the roots or rhizomes instead.

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Turmeric plants

What am I talking about?

Let’s find out all about Turmeric in the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from www.mosshouse.com.au

PLAY : Growing Turmeric_4th October_2017

 

How To Grow

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Turmeric Flowers

There are a couple of different types of Turmeric available in Australia.

One has bright orange flesh and the other is more yetlllow.

Sourcing it all depends on if you have " Crop Swap" or Farmers' Markets in your district.

Once you have a fresh rhizome or root, all you need to do is plant it. 

A large root will have several branches or fingers to it.

You can cut these apart and start more than one plant if you like.

The easiest way to get it to sprout is to just bury the root under 5cms of potting mix. If there are any knobs or buds on the root, turn it so they are facing upwards. 

Turmeric grows downwards and spreads sideways, so don't plant it in a narrow pot.

You can harvest the whole clump when the leaves have died , usually at the beginning of Winter of late Autumn depending on your district's climate.

 

If you have any questions about growing your own turmeric, then 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 Tropical gardens and mass planting part 2

September 29th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Mass Planting for Tropical Gardens part 2

 

Tropical gardens have a different regime of wet and dry compared to other climate zones in Australia. 

The advantage is plants grow outside as if they’re in some huge greenhouse with perfect temperatures and irrigation or rainfall to make them grow like blazes.

But is the planting really all that different in tropical climates, and can we gardeners further south still grow these plants?

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Let’s find out about in part 2 of mass planting in the tropics.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design.

PLAY: Mass Planting_Tropical_20th September 2017

Peter mentioned the following plants.

Flowering shrubs to 3m 

Heliconia pendula - Waxy Red

Crinum augustum

Hakea bucculenta - large blood red flowers

Small trees to 5m

Malus ioensis plena - Double Crabapple

Plumaria obtusa  - Frangi pani

Xanthostemon chrysanthus - Golden Penda 

 

If you have any questions about mass planting for tropical climates, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com

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Real World Gardener NEW Tomato Pest in Plant Doctor

September 29th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

New Pest: Tomato-potato psyllid

A new pest that could be coming to your garden soon is not something we gardeners would be glad to hear about.

But it has been detected in Australia and New Zealand so it’s something we need to be on the lookout for because it seems to combine the damage of a couple of pests.

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Worse than that, it attacks plants from the Solanaceae family, like tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes, and even some plants in the Lamiaceae like Catmint.

 

Let’s find out all about it….

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, general manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY : Tomato_potato psyllid_20th September_2017

This new pest is something to watch out for and possibly a good time to take a hand lens with you out into the garden to have a closer look at the pests. 

The distinctive dame is when you see leaves that have curled up from the edge.

There is other damage as well that is similar to aphid and mite damage combined.

What does it look like?

The adults are 2-3mm in length or aphid size.

The main body is grey with some white markings. Click on the link below to see a photo.

Tomato-potato psyllid

The important distinction is the clear wings which sit at 45 degrees, almost like a mini cicadas wings or the peak of a house.

If you have any questions about this new pest; the tomato-potato psyllid, then 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 Dutch Iris in Talking Flowers

September 21st, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris-not an iris at all.

One of the world’s most popular florist flowers.

Dramatic flowers with long straight stems that are easy to arrange and last a long time in bouquets.

In the garden it flowers for 2-3 weeks.

Not specifically for Dutch Iris but Iris is the February birth flower, and the 25th wedding anniversary flower.

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Dutch iris, also known as Iris hollandica, which has orchid-like flowers with silky petals. 

Flower colors range from pale blue and lemon through deep purple, bronze, rose and gold.

Did you know that the Dutch Iris never grew wild in the Netherlands?

Instead, it’s been refined over many years through hybridisation by Dutch growers.

 

Dutch iris are popular cut flowers because they are dramatic, easy to arrange and long-lasting. Unlike other types of iris that grow from thickened roots called rhizomes, Dutch iris grow from teardrop-shaped bulbs that are planted in the Autumn.

 

The iris's mythology dates back to Ancient Greece, when the goddess Iris, who personified the rainbow (the Greek word for iris), acted as the link between heaven and earth.

 

It's said that purple irises were planted over the graves of women to summon the goddess Iris to guide them in their journey to heaven.

Irises became linked to the French monarchy during the Middle Ages, eventually being recognized as their national symbol, the fleur-de-lis.

 

Dutch Iris like rich, well-drained soil is important and, while it is quite acceptable to leave the bulbs in the ground, there is a risk of disease.

Mine have never come up the following year.

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Real World Gardener Mass Planting for the Tropics in Design Elements

September 21st, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Mass Planting for a Tropical Garden part 1

Tropical gardens have a different regime of wet and dry compared to other climate zones in Australia. 

The advantage is plants grow outside as if they’re in some huge greenhouse with perfect temperatures and irrigation or rainfall to make them grow like blazes.

But is the planting really all that different in tropical climates, and can we gardeners further south still grow these plants?

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Let’s find out about in part 1 of mass planting in the tropics-listen to the podcast

 

I'm talking with was Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design.

PLAY: Mass Planting_Tropical_13th September 2017

Peter mentioned plants for FNQ - wet tropics monsoon affected, Cairns  

Ground cover -  Canavalia rosea 

Tall Groundcovers 

Peperomia argyreia - Watermelon Peperomia 

Stroemanthe sanguinea tricolor

Sub-shrubs

Hedichium arundelliana - Wavy Leaf Native Ginger

Costus woodsonii ‘French Kiss’

Next week, we continue with part 2 of planting in the tropics.

If you have any questions about mass planting for tropical climates, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com

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Real World Gardener High Reach Pruning part 2 in Tool Time 2017

September 21st, 2017

TOOL TIME

High Reach Pruning part 2

Now’s a good time of the year to do a bit of pruning, wherever you live in Australia.

Last week we talked to Tony Mattson, general Manager of Cut Above Tools on how to prune up high.

There was so much to say that we created a part two of high reach pruning.

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Kifsgate, England photo M Cannon

So how do we prune this safely, and if possible, without getting up on a ladder?

Let’s find out….

I'm talking with Tony Mattson General Manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au 

 

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Heavy Duty Gear Action Pruner can be attached to a 5m or 6m pole

 

 

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Tony says using a straight ladder isn't too bad in that you can wedge the top two rungs into tree branches.

A better solution is to use platform ladders because it gives you space to walk along the platform and trim say a hedge before needing it to be moved.
Pol pruners are good for stems up to 35-40 mm in diameter.

For bigger stems thant 40 mm in diameter, you should be using a pruner with mechnical assistance.

Ratchet pruners and pole pruners with gears are the way to go.

 

Here are some things that you don't want when you’re selecting high reach pruning tools or pole pruners.

 

•Blades on pruners that separate when you try to cut a tough branch.

•Poles that bend too much.

•Telescopic poles that start to twist around each other as the friction lock wears out.

•Also, ropes on the outside of the pole are more likely to get tangled in small branches than chains.

Chains inside the pole are better; they will never get tangled up.I

If you have any questions about high reach pruning why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 

 

VEGETABLE HEROES

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Real World Gardener Mass Planting for a Mediterranean Climate part2 2017

September 14th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Mass Planting For a Mediterranean Climate

You may have heard that some parts of Australia experience what’s called a Mediterranean climate.

That’s where you can have moist mild to very cold winters and warm to hot and mostly dry summers. 

Sometimes the winters are a bit harsh and cold so how do you plant out a garden that has harsh freezing cold frosts but warm to blazing hot summers with little rain?

Do you stick to just having a desert style garden or one with succulents, but that has limited appeal really.

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Perhaps you would like a garden with lots of mass planting instead and plants of different heights and flowers?

So what can you really plant in this climate.

Let’s find out about. I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design.

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Peter mentioned plants like Chinese plumbago, Grevillea rhyolitica and Cistus species which do well in mass plantings and definitely work in a Mediterranean style climate.

If you have any questions about mass planting for Mediterranean climates, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener Mass Planting for Mediterranean Gardens part 1

August 31st, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Mass Planting for a Mediterranean Climate part 1

Groundcovers and small shrubs.

This series is all about mass planting but so you're garden won't be boring.

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photo Louise McDaid Cloudhill Gardens

That means not just a sea of the same green and the same leaf shape and texture but a variety of colour interesting features.

Mass%2Bplanting-Paul%2BUrquhart.jpgThere’s different levels, different leaf shape and textures and different colours of green to make your garden all that more interesting.

 

Warm temperate coast regions around Australia can look forward to these next plants.

 

Let’s find out about what they are.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design

Plants that are used to the sunny tropics may have a hard time in temperate winters s because often there’s rain, but weak sun, so plants can struggle.

Peter mentioned if you need weed suppression, something low but in semi-shade will suit Plectanthrus ciliatus, Carissa Desert Star with a dark green gloss leaf and starry perfumed flower or Acanthus mollis.

For sub-shrubs try Jasmin nitidum, which is a sub-shrub to about 1.2 metres and not invasive.

For difficult banks with a slope of 1:5, then go for Helichrysum petiolare Limelight, sometimes called Licorice plant.

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Real World Gardener Bar Tailed Godwit is Wildlife in Focus

August 31st, 2017

 

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Bar Tailed Godwit.

 

How well do you know Australian Shore birds?

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Did you know that even though a bird is migratory, it’s considered an Australian bird because it spends quite a number of months on our shores? 

Even though it's a largish bird, weighing around 190g, flying thousands of kilometres from the breeding ground in Siberia and Norther Scandanavia to shores in Australia and New Zealand is no mean feat.

Did you know that when they’re in Australia they look quite different to what they do when they’re overseas.

So let’s find out more about the Bar Tailed Godwit .

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.org.au

PLAY :Bar Tailed Godwit_23rd August_2017

You'll find these birds in Australia now, feeding up so that they can make that long journey back to their breeding ground in March-April. 

These birds will then head north, stopping off in Korea, China or Japan, ending up in Alaska which is their breeding ground.

Holly mentioned one bird that was tagged called E7

E7 was tracked as taking the longest non-stop flight of any bird, flying 11,500 kms from Alaska to New Zealand.

 

Sadly, thousands of Bar Tailed Godwits' don’t make it back because of the lack of places to stop to re-fuel.

So if you do see these birds along the shore, please don’t release you dog to chase them away.

If you have any questions about Bar Tailed Godwits why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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