Real World Gardener Holly Leaved Fuchsia in Plant of the Week

October 18th, 2019


Holly Leaved Fuchsia:Graptophyllum ilicifolium

There are those gardeners who think that native plants look straggly or messy and won’t plant them in the garden. 

No mixing up of plants for them.

Perhaps the holly leaved fuchsia will have them changing their minds because it looks more like something from the northern hemisphere.

A medium shrub 3-5m high found in fairly dry rainforest areas or along creek bank.

Actually occurring only in a small pocket west of Mackay in Queensland.

Moderately fast grower in warm climates, but slower in cool temperate areas.

WatchLet’s find out more. I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.


PLAY: Holly Leaved Fuchsia_9th October_2019

Graptophyllum ilicifolium, or holly leaved fuchsia is quite unusual, and may just suit your garden.

Leaves look like those of a holly bush so very useful for Christmas decorations perhaps?

The flowers are fuchsia like, but obviously this plant is tougher than your regular fuchsia because of the tougher leaves.

The flowers appear in spring and summer along the stems.



Graptophyllum ilicifolium: holly leaved fuchsia

If you have any questions for me or for Adrian, please write in to

Real World Gardener NEW Citrus Watch on Plant Doctor

October 18th, 2019


NEW Citrus Watch

Citrus trees have their fair share of pests of diseases and control is better if it’s done proactively.

Certain times of the year are crucial in beginning your control program, but don’t worry, it’s not too daunting.



Let’s find out what needs doing

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni of


There are several types of pests

Sap Sucking Pests: control with botanical oils such as eco Oil

  • mites, 


    Fruit flies sting the fruit leaving a telltale black spot on the outside.

  • aphids,
  • scale, 
  • bronze orange bug- need to control at green nymph stage when the bugs measure only a few millimetres. Once they start to colour up, oils will not control them. 
  • neem oil is registered for control of bronze-orange bugs on ornamental citrus.

Chewing Pests; caterpillars: control with Dipel

Queensland fruitfly: control with pheremone lures, spinosad based pesticides and/or exclusion netting.

Mediterranean fruitfly (found in W.A.) control with spinosad based pesticide and/or exclusion netting.

Timing is the key for pests and diseases because they have a lifecycle which tells us when the pest is most vulnerable or when the diseases is most likely to strike.

This is a good indicator of when control is most effective.

After all, you don’t want to waste your time, energy and money using a product that won’t work as well as it should because it’s the wrong timing.

If you have any questions for me or for Steve, why not write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Ranunculus in Talking Flowers

October 12th, 2019



Family:Ranunculaceae also includes anemones, clematis, delphiniums, nigella and hellebores. 

Grow from claw-like tuber or corms but now referred to as thickened

Growing tips:

These plants are very hardy and will grow in a wide range of conditions.

If you missed planting them out in autumn for a spring show, treat yourself with a bunch of ranunculus from your favourite florist.

Mercedes Tips:

  • Cut the stems straight across before placing them in a vase.
  • Place them in water that has been filtered or standing for 4 hours so that all the chlorine has evaporated off.
  • Throw in a few ice cubes to perk up your ranunculus flowers
  • Flowers have a vase life of 8 - 10 days.


As they prefer to have their roots kept cool and moist, plant Ranunculus species in a sunny or partly shaded position with moist well-drained soil.

Don’t like clay soils.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini florist, and floral therapist.

Real World Gardener Lawn Alternative Considerations in Design Elements

October 12th, 2019


Lawn alternatives: considerations

Do you have places in the garden where your lawn just will not grow?

Perhaps it's in a shady part where moss seems to appear in winter instead of green lawn.

Or is it under or near trees where the tree root competition is too much and the lawn is patchy?

Then again, you may be just tired of the constant mowing during the warmer months of the year and want to swap mowing for low maintenance lawn alternatives.

So what are the considerations?

Let's find out.

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscaper and consulting arborist with 


Add caption

Lush lawns need lots of maintenance such as watering, fertilising and mowing.

If you live in a region that experiences periods of intense heat and drought, this type of lawn may not be possible to maintain. 

Looking at brown lawn is not that much fun so exploring other options that need less frequent irrigation is a good alternative.

Unless you make the right lawn alternative choice, you may be swapping the mowing for the weeding.

Over the coming weeks, Glenice will talk about what lawn alternatives suit high foot traffic and low foot traffic areas.

Real World Gardener Battery Operated Tools part 2 in Tool Time

October 12th, 2019


Battery Operated Garden Tools part 2

Last week, part 1 of the topic of battery operated garden tools was aired because there was so much to be said about them.

This week, it’s part 2 with a brief summary of what points that were touched on in part 1.

So, the new wave of garden tools are battery operated.

Let’s get into the topic

I'm talking with Tony Mattson, general manager of

Batteries for garden tools can be purchased as 3, 4, 5, and 6 Amp Hours.

How long the battery lasts depends on which garden equipment you are using and how much load you will be putting on that particular piece of equipment.

It's advisable to buy two batteries at the initial purchase so that one can be charging while you are using the other.

Typically, recharging batteries takes between 30 - 45 minutes.

TIP: batteries aren't interchangeable between brands.


Battery operated lawnmowers don't leave a tread.

Make your brand selection based on the range of equipment that meets your needs.

Battery powered tools are easier to start, lighter, have no petrol smell, and best of all are much quieter and cheaper to run.

If you're wondering whether or not a battery operated lawnmower will cut through buffalo or kikuyu lawns. Tony says, no problem at all, and no tread marks on the lawn because the lawnmower is so much lighter.

If you have any questions for me or for Tony, why not write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Eucalyptus Silver Princess in Plant of the Week

October 3rd, 2019


Eucalyptus caesia Silver Princess Eucalyptus%2Bcaesia%2BSilver%2BPrincess.

This week we have a native plant that is a medium sized tree with outstanding features.

Eucalyptus caesia Silver Princess or gungurru has interesting bark, leaves and flowers.)

It’s in the Myrtacaea family and it is a gum tree.

Let’s find out what’s good about this one.

I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

Silver Princess trunk and fruits are covered in the grey to whitish bloom, except for the leaves and flowers themselves.

If you rub the bark you’ll see the mahogany colour under that bloom.

Silver Princess grows to about 8m in height, but as Adrian says, it's a leaner.

That means unless you are keeping on eye on it as it grows, the tree will develop a 45 degree lean.

Formative pruning helps, but for some reason it aspires to lean.

Adrian will almost coppice his leaning Silver Princess in the hope that it will resprout from it's ligno tuber as it does in the wild.

If you have any questions for me or for Adrian, please write in to

Real World Gardener Battery Operated Garden Tools in Tool Time part 1

October 3rd, 2019


Battery Operated Tools part 1


Have you ever cut through the electric cord of your electric hedge trimmer?

I know I have. Thank goodness for the safety cut off.

They may be light than petrol powered hedge trimmers, but apart from the risk of cutting through the cord, there’s the meters and metres of cord that you may have to run.

Especially if you have a long back yard and need to get to a hedge.

So what’s the alternative? 


Battery powered edger

I'm talking with Tony Mattson, general manager of

Lithium ion batteries for battery operated garden tools now have now no memory so they don’t have to be fully discharged before charging again. The power tools themselves are so much lighter.

The big tip is how much gardening do you need to do with the tools?

Base it on amp hours.

4 amp hours will go for 25% longer than 3 amp hours and 5 amp hours will go 50% longer than e amp hours.



Battery lawnmower

But the cost increases on the batteries also. 

Important Tip: The batteries are not interchangeable between brands, so make your selection based on the range of tools that you need for your garden. If the brand you like doesn't have everything you need, as well as spare parts, choose another, but reputable brand.

If you have any questions for me or for Tony, why not write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Indoor Plant Pests in Design Elements

September 26th, 2019


Indoor Plant Pests Under Control

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about what plants you can grow indoors wherever you live in Australia.




Quite a few in fact can cope with all weather conditions for the far north of Australia to Tasmania.

Despite all your loving attention though, some plants can be susceptible to pest attack, or just like plain unhealthy, making you think you did something wrong.

Not necessarily true, so let’s find out about looking after indoor plants

That was Julia Levitt Director of

PLAY: Indoor plants-pests_2nd August 2017

Even the best plant owner will come across pests.

The trick is to keep an eye on your plants and act quickly as soon as you see something wrong with your indoor plant.

Why are we having plants indoors again?

Apart from plants reducing carbon dioxide levels in your home, did you know that people with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure?

If you have any questions about indoor plant pests why not email us


Real World Gardener Water Gum in Plant of the Week

September 26th, 2019


Tristaniopsis laurina: Water Gum


This week we have a native plant that has Tristaniopsis laurina or Water gum is like the native version of Crepe myrtles, with interesting bark, leaves and flowers.

It’s in the Myrtaceae family but it’s not a gum tree.


Water gum in flower: I'ts not a gum tree.

Let’s find out what’s good about this one.

I'm speaking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

But are the flowers perfumed? Adrian thought not but apparently they do have a perfume.

There’s an updated version called Tristaniopsis laurina ‘Luscious.”that grows up to 8m in height.

Leaves are dark green, shiny and large with a dense canopy.

New growth starts out a distinctive copper colour and further interest appears over time with the branches developing deep purple coloured bark which peels back to reveal a smooth, cream trunk.

Flowers are yellow and sweetly perfumed, appearing in clusters through summer.


If you have any questions for me or for Adrian or would like some seeds of this tree, please write in to

Real World Gardener Rufous Bristlebird on Wildlife in Focus

September 26th, 2019


Rufous BristleBird

Did you know that Australia has ground dwelling birds other than emus, brush turkeys, and Cassowary?

Out of all those birds I just mentioned, gardeners might prefer the Rufous Bristlebird digging around in their garden. 


Rufous Birstlebird

Do you know why it's called a bristlebird?

Let’s find out.


The Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyorni Broadbenti) is only found in Australia and mainly along coastal areas in south-western Victoria.

Bristlebirds are generally shy birds that skulk in dense vegetation during the day. They prefer to run away to avoid danger, but are capable of flying short distances. Bit like the brush turkey.

Usually they hang around in pairs 

The common name of the family is derived from the presence of prominent rictal bristles - three stiff, hair-like feathers curving downwards on either side of the gape.

As with fantails and flycatchers, their bristles assist in catching insects.

Bristlebirds have previously been seen in south-western Western Australia and south-eastern South Australia, but unfortunately frequent burning has led to their extinction in W.A.

Have you seen a Rufous Bristlebird?

If you have any questions for me or for Holly, why not write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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