Real World Gardener Useful and Beautiful Groundcovers for Sun in Design Elements

February 16th, 2018

reconnect with lost loves in Talking Flowers.


Kalanchoe fedchenoi or Lavender Scallops


Useful and Beautiful: Groundcovers for full sun.

A new series in Design Elements starts and it’s all about plants.

Useful and Beautiful: Plants that don't fail for every situation, but plants that are not as common to make your garden outstanding.


This series will go through the different levels of planting in your garden starting in with ground covers for sun and shade, bulbs, sub-shrubs, hedges, bigger shrubs, small trees and climbers.

There’s quite a lot there but we will only cover one of those categories at a time.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon Director of



Ruellia elegans

Peter mentioned mini mondo grass, Foxtail fern, Ruellia elegans or Kalanchoe fedchenkoi or Lavender Scallops as good ground covers for sun.

Next week the series continues with groundcovers for shade.

There’s always somewhere in the garden where you need that.

If you have any questions about groundcovers, either for me or for Peter 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 What Makes A Prizewinning Garden

December 15th, 2017

Feature Interview

Prize Winning Garden in the Large Garden category of Ryde Spring Garden Competition.

Have you ever wonder what makes a prize winning garden?




Recently I was master of ceremonies for the gala awards night for a spring garden competition and boy, there were plenty of prize winning gardens.

However, I was invited to one to take a stroll.

Let’s listen in to the conversation.


PLAY: Anne Johnson's garden winner of Best Large Garden in Ryde Spring Garden competition.


That was Anne Johnsons’ garden which won best large garden in the Ryde Spring Garden competition. Anne is of course an avid gardener.




As you can see from the photos, the garden is really stuffed with plants that are lovingly tended.


Begonia metallica is a standout feature in Anne's garden.

 Begonias are easy care and Anne religiously gives them a hard prune every Autumn to achieve such a magnificent shape of Begonia metallica.

Anne has added personal touches everywhere with whimsical pot features and ornaments.



If you have any questions about Anne’s garden either for me or Anne why not write in to


Real World Gardener Best Scented Roses in Design Elements

December 15th, 2017


Scented Roses That Don't Fail

Have you hankered after roses for your garden but think they’re too much work?

All that spraying, pruning and fertilising.



But gee, whizz, it still would be nice to have one or two?

You may have even discounted have a rose because of the climate you live in.

The modern hyrbid teas are martyrs to high humidity which brings with it all manner of diseases such as the dreaded powdery mildew.

we're moving away from the long stemmed roses that you might see on Valentine's Day.


Instead, we're suggesting some more old fashioned types that have parentage from China and Vietnam.

Here’s a selection to suit different climates.

Let’s find out.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus Design


Peter mentioned R. (sanguinea) chinensis ‘Miss Lowe’s Variety’ or Bengal Crimson

R. chinensis mutabilis 
R. chinensis ‘One Thousand Lights’


Rosa General Schablikine

Lady Hillingdon, Monsieur Tillier, General Schablikine, General Gallieni, Mrs Dudley Cross, Duchesse de Brabant, Mrs. BR Cant, Niphetos, Jean Ducher, Lady Roberts, Papa Gontier, Safrano Alister Clark Rosa ‘Lorraine Lee’, Squatters Dream


If you have any questions about which rose to plant either for me or Peter, why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Building Raingardens in Design Elements

December 8th, 2017


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?



Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus Design


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.


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 or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Hawthorn Tree is Plant of the Week

December 1st, 2017


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.


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 


I'm talking with Jeremy Critchley and Karen Smith of


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


Real World Gardener Great Garden Seating in Design Elements

November 24th, 2017


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


PLAY: Best garden seating-15th November 2017





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 


Real World Gardener Great Garden Paths in Design Elements

November 17th, 2017


Creating a Great Garden Path




You probably do have a garden path, in but does that path work for you?

Is your path so dominant that you end up having a path with a garden rather than a garden with a path?

Perhaps your garden path doesn’t dominate but it just doesn’t work for one reason or another.

So what do you do?

Let’s find out. 

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, principle of Paradisus Garden Design


Peter mentioned a few variations on the garden path. 

Salt textured concrete is the favourite.

You can press large leaves into the concrete before it's completely dry and weigh the leaf down with a brick overnight.


The next day, peel off the leaf and you'll be left with an impression; not one that jumps out at you, but a subtle impression that you need to be almost on top of before you realise how marvellous the path really looks.

  If you want to know more or if you have any questions about garden paths, why not write in to


Real World Gardener What Makes a Therapeutic Garden in Design Elements.

November 2nd, 2017


What Makes An Therapeutic Garden?


Are you a relaxed gardener?

By that I mean, do you go out in the garden to take a break or are you always out there thinking of what needs to be done, what needs to be raked, mulched, weeded or pruned, even planted.

But what else are gardens for?


Therapeutic Garden Chelsea Flower Show 2013

Some gardens like this one in the photograph are designed to specifically show what it's like to have decreasing vision as experienced with macular degeneration.


Let’s find out what we could be doing instead in our gardens.




PLAY: Therapeutic gardens_25th October 2017


That was Peter Nixon, principle of Paradisus Garden Design.

Most gardeners would prefer to be busy in the garden, rather than think about how doing the weeding and growing plants affects the mind.

Have you ever noticed though that when you’re doing these tasks, you often forget about any worries that you’ve had? 



The background noise falls away and you can escape from other people's thoughts and judgments, so that within a garden there is, perhaps, more freedom to feel good about yourself.

It helps if you have a nice relaxing space in which you can sit, relax, contemplate or meditate.

Seating is so important in a therapeutic garden because it also lower you sight level and how you perceive your garden.


Real World Gardener Introduction to Acquaponics

October 19th, 2017


Introduction to Acquaponics.

What is it?

Put simply, Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. 

The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.

Start off with a fish tank, and buy your fingerlings ( baby fish) either Silver Perch or Barraminudi are a couple of excellent suggestions.

Attach plumbing to growing beds which contain a soilless medium such as Scoria, expanded clay balls ( Hydroton) even Perlite.

Each one has pros and cons for using it, for example, although Perlite is very light, it tends to wash away easily.


Water is reticulated ( circulated ) around the system so that the beds fill up with water constantly, then the water level drops as it's fed back into the fish tank.

The fish provide fish waste that feeds the plants.

The plants use this fish waste and filter out the water which is recycled back into the fish tank.

Robyn, says in here system of 5-6 growing beds, she never needs to flush out or replace the water other than to top it up due to evaporation.

There's more to it than that of course.

 Find out by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Robyn Rosenfeldt, editor of Pip Magazine.


Real World Gardener Tropical gardens and mass planting part 2

September 29th, 2017


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?


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


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