Real World Gardener Perfect Peony in Talking Flowers

December 8th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Peony

There are a couple of types of Peony.

There are many species and cultivated varieties of peonies but they are broadly divided into two groups in the garden:

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  • tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa Hybrids), which are shrubby plants not trees that do not die down below ground in winter
  • herbaceous peonies (Paeonia lactiflora), smaller growing plants that do die down to below ground in winter and reshoot in spring.

Mercedes is talking about the herbaceous peonies in this segment.
All peonies need cool climates and are best grown only in the colder parts of Australia including mountain districts, parts of Victoria and Tasmania.

  • Peony roses are strong growing perennials that flower late spring to early summer. They make beautiful cut flowers and last well in a vase. Prefers a well drained position in full sunlight. Plants will die down over Winter and re-grow each year forming a leafy clump. Spread lime towards the end of flowering to improve root development and improve flowers for the following year.

The best time to buy Peonies is when they're supplied as bare rooted plants.

Meaning of Peony.
One legend has it that the peony is named after Paeon, a physician to the gods, who received the flower on Mount Olympus from the mother of Apollo. And another tells the story of that same physician who was "saved" from the fate of dying as other mortals by being turned into the flower we know today as the peony.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

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Real World Gardener Hydrangeas in Talking Flowers

December 1st, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Hydrangea

Hydrangea is in the Hydrangeaceae family

The name comes from the Greek words for water, hydros and jar, angos.

Native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia)

The most popular types or the "mophead" hydrangea and the 'lacecap" hydrangea.

Mopheads are sometimes called "grandma's showercap."

Hydrangea shrubs can grow 1-3 metres.

Flowers-early Spring to late Autumn. 

The colour of pink or blue hydrangeas depends on your soil pH. Blue hydrangeas grow in more acidic soils and pink hydrangeas grow in more alkaline soils.

The time to change the colour of your hydrangeas is in winter when the plant is dormant.

 hydrangea-lacecap.jpg

White hydrangeas should not change colour.

Some are repeat flowerers, eg Endless Summer.

Did you know that in Japan, they are said to be a sign of apology or gratitude because an emperor gave them as apologies to his maidens.

 

I'm talking with floral therapist Mercedes Sarmini for www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

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Real World Gardener Growing Water Chestnuts in The Good Earth

December 1st, 2017

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water chestnuts photo Margaret Mossakowska

THE GOOD EARTH

Growing water chestnuts in the home garden

 

Do you remember biting into something crunchy when you tried some Chinese food for the very first time, probably when you were very young.

Did you ever wonder what that crunchy sensation actually was?

If you were clever enough to find out that they were water chestnuts you might have also discovered that you could only get the canned variety.

But now we can grow them ourselves.

Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska, Director of Moss house www.mosshouse.com.au/

 

Water chestnut plants look very similar to reed rush.

You can grow water chestnuts in a waterproof pot, old laundry sink or bathtub in the home garden.

Allow for a depth of at least 20cm.

Like rice, water chestnuts need to be grown in a watery medium.

Margaret recommends flushing the pot with water every couple of weeks to get rid of mosquito wrigglers.

You can buy the corms from Diggers Seeds or Greenharvest

Harvest your chestnuts  by digging them up in June/;July Water chestnuts are just like the chestnuts that grow on trees in that they have shells which need to be peeled.

 

The good news is that you can grow them in cold climates if you have a nice warm or sheltered verandah.

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Water chestnuts and turmeric plant. photo M. Moxxakowska

If you have any questions about water chestnuts either for me or Margaret, 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 Sweet Williams in Talking Flowers

November 24th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Sweet William

Sweet William

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)  is a species of Dianthus native to southern Europe and parts of Asia which has become a popular ornamental garden plant.

Sweet Williams flowers are in the Caryophyllaceae family.

Sweet Williams are herbaceous biennials or short-lived perennial plants growing to 13–90 cm tall, with flowers in a dense cluster of up to 30 at the top of the stems.

Each flower is 2–3 cm diameter with five petals displaying serrated edges. 

sweet-william-carnations.jpg

Mercedes recommends that you strip the leaves off the stalk before putting in a vase with water only midway up the stems.

Flowers should last 6 - 10 days in the vase.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of www.flowersbymercedes.com.au

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Real World Gardener Carnations for Love in Talking Flowers

November 9th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Carnations

There are a lot of meanings for the carnation flower and each one varies with the different colours.

The scientific name of the carnation is Dianthus caryophyllus.

This translated means the "flower of love" or "flower of the gods" and one of the oldest cultivated flowers in the world.

The carnation dates back to the Roman era.pink-carnations.jpg

Carnations take up food dye very well so that the green carnations you see people wearing on St Patrick's Day is dyed that colour.

Carnations are easily grown in the home garden preferring limey  or alkaline soil.

Home grown carnations have a stronger scent than those grown in greenhouses.

 

All the more reason to grow your own.

I'm talking with floral therapist Mercedes Sarmini of Flowers by Mercedes

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Real World Gardener Create a Tactile and Sensory Garden in Design Elements

November 9th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Creating Tactile and Sensory Gardens

 

For those gardens with just green leaves you need to zhoosh up the place with some touchy feely leaves.

So that when you walk along the garden path, you can brush your hand along the leaves of the plants for a nice intoxicating scent of just for the feel of the leaf;peculiar, sensational or otherwise.

But what else are gardens for?

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Chelsea Flower Show photo M Cannon

Let’s find out. I'm talking with Peter Nixon, principle of Paradisus Garden Design

 

PLAY: Tactile and Sensory gardens_25th October 2017

Kalanchoe_beharensis_%2528Crassulaceae%2

 

Peter mentioned these two mostly

Sinningia bullata is like a fibrous bowling ball.

Kalanchoe beharensis-(pictured right) Madagascar felt plant has contorted silver grey leaves that looks wicked.

 

The best place to get these succulents is at African Violet societies for the sinningia and Succulent societies for the Kalanchoe beharensis.

 

Let’s not forget the textured aromatic leaves of Pelargoniums.

 

 

 
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Real World Gardener Lavender to Cook With in Spice it Up

November 9th, 2017

SPICE IT UP

Lavender in Cooking

Lavendula angustifolia

Lavender was first used in Herbs du Provence which is dried herbs used in slow cooked dishes. 

But the correct lavender to use in any cooking is important if you want the flavour to be pleasant and not reminiscent of camphor.

Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula spica or the ones to use.

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English Lavender

Commonly called English Lavender.

But did you know that so much of this plant is grown in France that they called it French Lavender rather than English Lavender.

The true French lavender is Lavandula dentata, which has serrated leaf margins and much larger almost woollier flowers. French lavender seems to flower for most of the year.

This one has a high camphor content which is unpleasant to taste. 

Lavandula angustifolia or English lavender has smooth sided leaves and a very slender flower and a long stalk.

Confusing if you want to use the correct plant’s flowers in cooking.

Let’s find out  more about Lavender in cooking.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

PLAY : Lavender_1st November_2017

For the lemon and Lavender cakes recipe go to this link Lavender and Lemon Cakes

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Remember:The  Lavender we should use in cooking is English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia, has a smooth leaf and the flower head is on a skinny long stem.

Ian mentioned how Lavender bottles, a lost art. Just search the web on making instructions...there are plenty.

If you have any questions about which Lavender to use in cooking 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 Bird of Paradise in Talking Flowers

November 2nd, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

Bird of Paradise

Strelizia reginae

Native to South Africa but naturalised in other parts of the world such as Madagascar and Mexico.bird-of-paradise%2Bflower%2B2.jpg

The scientific name comes from Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Fun Fact

They are pollinated by sunbirds, which use the spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers. 

The weight of the bird when standing on the spathe opens it to release the pollen onto the bird's feet, which is then deposited on the next flower it visits.

Strelitzia lack natural insect pollinators in areas without sunbirds.

You can try to hand pollinate in order to try and get the plant to set seed.

This has proved largely unsuccessful and better methods of propagation is to try and prize a section of the leaf and rhizome for transplanting.

The plant as a whole does not successfully transplant either.

I'm talking with flower therapist Mercedes Sarmini.

Recorded live during Real World Gardener show, in the studios of 2rrr Sydney

Fun Fact

They are pollinated by sunbirds, which use the spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers. 

The weight of the bird when standing on the spathe opens it to release the pollen onto the bird's feet, which is then deposited on the next flower it visits.

Strelitzia lack natural insect pollinators in areas without sunbirds.

You can try to hand pollinate in order to try and get the plant to set seed.

This has proved largely unsuccessful and better methods of propagation is to try and prize a section of the leaf and rhizome for transplanting.

The plant as a whole does not successfully transplant either.

I'm talking with flower therapist Mercedes Sarmini.

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

November 2nd, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

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?

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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? 

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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.

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Real World Gardener An Introduction to Backyard Biodynamics

November 2nd, 2017

BACKYARD BIODYNAMICS

Introduction to Biodynamic Gardening.

Most of us have seen products like cheeses, wines, bread, flour, and many grains like lentils that are labelled biodynamic.

Jurlique_farm_in_Adelaide_Southern-Austr

Jurlique Farm in Adelaide is a Biodynamic Farm

Biodynamic farms are all over Australia and have been here for nearly 100 years.

Like many people, you probably thought that it was just another way of saying organic, but even though it has organic principles it’s a different method of gardening or farming.

So, what does that mean exactly?

Let’s find out all about biodyamics for your garden.

I'm talking with Dianne Watkins, Principle of Biodynamics Sydney and she tells me, a keen gardener too.

PLAY : Biodynamics intro_27 th October_2017

 

According to Wikipedia the definition for Biodynamic agriculture is a that it’s a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925).

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Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements.

It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.

Dianne mention a couple of preparations; BD500 uses a meatball sized preparation which is mixed in 100 litres of water. Too much for the small garden but good for parks, community gardens and a neighbourhood gardens if you can get people to share.




For home gardeners the best solution is the Soil Activator, which is also mixed with water and flicked all over the garden.

 

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

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