Real World Gardener Powder Puff Tree is Plant of the Week

March 16th, 2018


 Calliandra heamatocephala 

If someone told you that the flowers on a particular tree were like a powder puff, you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that it was from a lily pilly.

Lily Pillies don’t hold the whole ball of wax on staminous flowers.

In fact if you think about it, gum trees have staminous flowers: that is, flowers that are made up of stamens but no petals.


Calliandra tweedii, Pom Pom bush

Today though, it’s another family that has this trait and it’s one to look out for.

Let’s find more.

I'm talking with Karen Smith of



Calliandra tweedii is also known as the Mexican Flame bush because of its fiery red flowers. 


Calliandra tweedii: Mixican Flame Bush photo: Magnus Manske


Real World Gardener 10th February Stunning Hong KOng Orchid Tree is Plant of the Week

February 23rd, 2018


Bauhina x blakeana: Hong Kong Orchid Tree


We love our orchids because of the spectacular showy flowers, which can seem tricky to grow.

What if they were easy to grow and you didn’t have to fuss about the growing medium or the fertiliser?


Bauhina x blakeana: Hong Kong Orchid Tree

Would you want that? Of course.

Let’s find out .how.

I'm talking with Karen Smith editor of


Bauhinia_blakeana%2Bsingle%2Bflower.jpgThe Hong Kong orchid tree was discovered by a monk in the 1800’s then propagated and grown in the Hong Kong Botanic gardens. 

The residents there thought it was such a lovely tree that it was planted out all along the coastline.

If you live in the tropical parts of Australia, say Darwin, then expect to see this tree in flower from February right through to November.

If you are planting from seed you can expect your Bauhinia to flower from a year to two from when it was a seedling.

If you have any questions about HK Orchid tree either for me or for Karen, why not write in to


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 An Introduction to Backyard Biodynamics

November 2nd, 2017


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 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).


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


Real World Gardener Spectacular Chinese Redbud is Plant of the Week

October 19th, 2017


Cercis chinensis " Avondale" 

Chinese Redbud.

Why this tree is so spectacular is that it has flowers not just at the end of the branches but all along the stems and trunk right down to the ground.

Masses of deep purple or deep rose-pink pea like flowers appear along the bare stems in late winter to early spring. 

The flowers are held close up and down the stem and right down to the bottom of the trunk.

A spectacular show of flowers that appear in large clusters.Cercis_chinensis_Avondale.jpg

Fruits are attractive bean like pot that's purple make a decorative feature in late Summer.

Flowers on the straight species are pink or milky white, and the leaves are a bit more rounded but still heart shaped.

Flowers last about 3 weeks.

I'm talking with the  plant panel were Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

  • Cercis chinensis Avondale is very small for a tree being 3 x 2 metres, with spectacular flower and heart shaped leaves.
  • Does love a good water during dry spells but otherwise reasonably hardy.
  • All Cercis have a tap root so that's a no for transplanting and possibly for growing in pots too

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

September 21st, 2017


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.


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 



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




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





Real World Gardener Pool Fence Aesthetics in Design Elements

May 25th, 2017


Pool Fence Aesethics


It may seem odd to talk about pools right now as we head into winter, but it’s probably a good time to think about the aesthetics of the pool.

If you don’t have a pool you may be wondering what this is all about?




Surely the pool is just that, a pool that sticks out like a sore thumb in the garden.

If that’s the case though, then you’re missing something, and there are ways to make the backyard pool look aesthetically pleasing.

How do you achieve this?


Let’s find out? i'm talking with Matt Leacy Principal Director from Landart Landscapes.



Making the pool fence disappear seems to be the thing to do so that you focus more on the garden and the pool.


Rather than a piecemeal approach, consider hiring a designer to make your pool look like part of the landscape.

If you have any questions about pool aesthetics, contact Matt or email us here at


Real World Gardener Pecan Trees in Plant of the Week

April 17th, 2017


Pecan Tree 

Carya illinoinensis

Ever thought of having a productive tree in your garden besides that lemon tree that a lot of people seem to have?

You can have nice shade trees that also provide you with some food, whether it’s a cherry tree, peach or apple tree.

But do people ever think of planting this next tree?

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

The pecan tree is a deciduous tree of the Hickory genus  and at full maturity, it will grow to around 30 metres with a spread of 12 m.

The gray trunk is shallowly furrowed and flat-ridged with upward branches forming an irregular, rounded crown. 

The tree has a narrow silhouette.


Pecan tree with nuts photo M Cannon


Pecan  varieties available are -Shoshonii, Desirable;Kiowa, Mohawk,Cape Fear, Pawnee.

Be warned: Pecans start fruiting after about 8 years so be prepared to wait although Pecans can live for up to 300 years.

On the plus side, unlike other nut varieties, Pecans only require 200 hours of chilling, that means hours less than 7 °C

Pecan trees can be purchased as bare rooted plants, that means plants without any soil, during the winter months when the tree is without leaf.


Possibly your local nursery may have one or you can mail order them from quite a few places on the internet.


Real World Gardener The Mystery of Summer Branch Drop in Design Elements

March 9th, 2017


Summer Limb Drop


Most people would be wary of various species of Eucalypt trees, which can drop limbs without any warning.

But what about other trees that drop limbs?


Muogumarra Nature Reserve photo M Cannon

When the Summer’s are long and hot without much rainfall, trees are stressed.

How can you tell then if a tree is so stressed that a big branch is about to fall off?

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, Consulting Arborist and Landscape Designer of


Glenice noticed plenty of fallen branches in paddocks near where she lives in Young.

Unfortunately the answer to the question how can you tell when a tree is going to drop a healthy limb, and that is, you can’t tell at all if a tree limb is going to fall.

Perfectly good branches just seem to break off.

The trees are perfectly fine [on the outside] and the inside, they seem to be structurally sound - a lot of the trees that have dropped limbs, you could not pick that they were going to fall.

You would expect that trees that are structurally unsound, are more likely to drop limbs, but as a rule, the normal eucalypts that drop limbs like the red gums and a lot of our box trees, have been dropping limbs with no sign of structural damage at all.


If you have any questions about trees for Glenice, why not write in or ask for a fact sheet.


Real World Gardener How to Optimise Facebook for Gardeners 2017

March 2nd, 2017

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.


The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

Facebook for Gardeners_Feature Interview

Facebook can definitely be for gardeners in this feature interview,

There are a lot of gardening groups around Australia but a lot of them exist in the virtual world.

Yes, they exist online and are waiting for you to join them.

Here’s a few reasons why….

I'm speaking with Chantelle Leenstra, garden designer and principal at Garden Atelier

PLAY: Facebook for Gardeners_22nd February 2017

One of the first groups Chantelle joined was called Plant Idents.  

Simple concept. 

You take a photo of a plant you don’t know the name of, and people respond with the name of the plant. 

It’s full of professional horticulturists as well as just people who love gardens but don’t do it professionally.

You can start joining other groups as well, like cactus and succulent groups, rare and unusual plant groups, and lots more. 

And then through these little discussions in these groups, you can form friendships with more and more garden lovers, and it will transform facebook for you, because won't see random rubbish any more on facebook, 


 You will be personalising facebook so it is all about things that you love.


Here are some groups for you to join.

Australian Garden Enthusiasts – because I love having a sticky beak into people’s gardens! Lots of people sharing pictures of their beautiful gardens.

All Horts – for professional horts + garden lovers. Members are focused in Britain so I get an insight into what’s going on over there.

Succulents and Cacti Collectors Australia 

Planet Begonia-all about Begonias of course.

Planet Tillandsia – all about air plants, you know that don’t need soil to grow like Spanish Moss, but there are heaps of really cool interesting Tillandsias too.


If you have a garden club that could do with some social media advice on how to get started, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 



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