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?

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

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If you have any questions about Anne’s garden either for me or Anne why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener King Protea in Talking Flowers

December 15th, 2017

TALKING FLOWERS

King Protea  Protea cynaroides

Protea flowers are native to the southern hemisphere, primarily Australia and South Africa, but can also be found in Central Africa, Central and South America, and southeast Asia.

Protea is a genus of flowers from the Proteaceae family. One of the oldest families on earth dating back 300 million years.

 

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Why the cynaroides? Because the centre of the flower looks like an artichoke. Artichokes belong to the genus Cynara.

Protea whas named after Proteus, son of the Greek God Poseidon, was known for his wisdom, but he was not always eager to share his thoughts and knowledge. It seems Proteus preferred to while away the day sleeping in the summer sun. To avoid detection, he changed his appearance and shape frequently. The Protea flower was named after Proteus due its many shapes and colours.

Some Growing Tips

Tip: Prune only the flowered stems of proteas – un-flowered stems are next season’s blooms.

Mulch: Proteas dislike root disturbance, so don’t dig around them. Apply a leaf or bark mulch around the drip line (away from the trunk) and pull out any weeds by hand.

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

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Real World Gardener Best Scented Roses in Design Elements

December 15th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

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.

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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 www.peternixon.com.au

 

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

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

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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 realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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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 All About Biodynamic Composting

December 8th, 2017

Backyard Biodyanamics

Biodynamic Composting

Have you ever asked the question, “why don’t my plants grow?” or why is my neighbour/friend/relative’s garden so much more healthy than mine?

Usually the answer lies in the health of the soil.

How do we know if soil is healthy?

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It’s back to that question of why won’t my plants grow.

Healthy soil will have healthy growing plants and we need compost to make healthy soil.

Most gardeners will either have a compost heap or at least know the basics of making a compost heap.

Building a compost heap the Biodynamic way is something else.

 

Let’s find out how it's different to making regular compost.

I'm talking with  Dianne Watkin, Principal of Biodynamics Sydney and an avid gardener.

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about Biodynamic preparations either for me or Dianne, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 
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Real World Gardener Building Raingardens in Design Elements

December 8th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

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?

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Let’s find out how

I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus Design www.peternixon.com.au

 

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.

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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 realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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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.

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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 Hawthorn Tree is Plant of the Week

December 1st, 2017

PLANT OF THE WEEK

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.

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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 

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I'm talking with Jeremy Critchley www.thegreengallery.com.au and Karen Smith of www.hortjournal.com.au

 

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 realworldgardener@gmail.com

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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. 

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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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