Real World Gardener New Lewisia is Plant of the Week

May 25th, 2017



Lewisia "Elise"

Did you know that the plants we call succulents include sempervivums, sedums, aloes, kalanchoes, echeverias and other fleshy-leaved species?

You mightn’t know what all these genera look like, but generally, you would thing that succulents are those plants with thick, juicy leaves, like Aloe Vera, or Hen and Chicken plant or maybe even Donkeys Tails and Jellybeans.


Jeremy holding a Lewisia "Elise"

This next succulent though you may not have heard of.

Not only is it tough but it has lots of pretty flowers.

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


Succulents are plants that have evolved in some of the toughest growing conditions on earth, and a lot are actually at their best when grown in hot sun and poor soil. 

Lewsia is a succulent plant that is low growing with cupped leaves.

The pretty starry flowers occur on multi-branched stems and are about the size of a 10 cent piece (Australian). The flower colours are various shades of oranges, yellows and pink and some with a striped effect.

Lewsia resents too much water, and watering from overhead will lead to fungal rots and eventual death.

Watering from the bottom, if plants are in pots is the best method for this succulent and possibly a lot of other succulents.

The original Lewisa species required some cold weather before flowering, but this variety is bred to flower in warmer conditions.


Succulents are plants that have evolved in some of the toughest growing conditions on earth, and a lot are actually at their best when grown in hot sun and poor soil.Not all though, so don’t be fooled into thinking that they need to grow in desert like conditions.

They’re not cacti so don’t walk away and never water them.

If you have any questions about the Lewisia Elise, why not write in to

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 Australian Garden Idea in Garden History

May 25th, 2017



The Australian Garden Idea

Australians love to travel, more so now than ever before.

Often in our travels we love to see other gardens, whether in passing or on purpose.

We might fall in love with a particular plant of group of plants or we might want to copy a particular style.

In the early days of Australia, a lot of gardens were influenced by gardens overseas, particularly England and Europe, but more recently the influence has shifted to Asian gardens like Bali or Polynesia.


Australian Garden entry Chelsea Flower

Show photo M Cannon

So then you have to ask the question, what makes an Australian garden?

Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Stuart Read, Landscape Historian and on the National Management Committee of the Australian Garden History Society.


PLAY: Australia Garden Idea_17th May 2017

Australia’s amount of sunlight, type of soil and drier climate has meant that we’ve had to adapt garden design so that it can survive.

Stuart says Australians want to produce the look, but what that is, we're not quite sure of.

Does a garden have to have Australian plants to be an Australian garden? Possibly.


Australian Garden entry Chelsea Flower

Show photo M Cannon

However many European plants blend in quite well, and these days, Plant Breeders in Europe are growing new or different forms of Australian plants and shipping them back to Australia.

Minimalism has been in vogue for the last twenty years in Australia, however, Stuart points out that it was actually started in the mid 17th Century by Georgian gardens.

Of course gardens in Tasmania and Victoria can emulate the English garden reasonably easily, to the envy of northern gardeners.


If you have any questions what makes an Australian garden or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.


Real World Gardener Get Planting with Hibiscus Tradewinds in Plant of the Week

May 19th, 2017



 Hibiscus Trade Winds

The flower on this week’s plant of the week is often associated with Hawaii and other tropical places but did you know that it originates in China?

We tend not to think of China as being a tropical place but I would imagine, some districts would have a tropical feel to them, perhaps up north near the coast.

And not all tropical plants are frost tender, so.


Hibiscus Tradewinds-Jeremy holding the flower.

 Let’s find out about this plant. Listen to the podcast.


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


Consider the Hibiscus Tradewinds if you want large decorative flowers and a tropical feel to your garden even if you live in a frosty climate.


As Jeremy said, they Tradewinds can be grown in a pot so you can move it under cover when winter or frosty weather arrives.


Real World Gardener Create an Outdoor Room in Design Elements

May 19th, 2017



Outdoor Rooms-Including the Kitchen Sink


Whatever you think an outdoor room is, it’s probably not going to have all the bells and whistles of the kitchen you have in your house.

But, say your outdoor eating space is best at the back of the yard or down a flight of stairs, what do you do then?





Australia is too sunny to always be eating indoors so you might think about doing a bit more than the good ole’ BBQ.

Let’s find out?


PLAY: Outdoor rooms_10th May 2017


That was Matt Leacy Principal Landscape Designer and Director of Landart Landscapes.


You may not want to go the whole hogg of fridge, dishwasher and fancy BBQ in your outdoor room, but I think the Pizza oven sounds like a great idea. 


Soon you’ll be making your own pizza dough, and buying a pizza peel, that’s one of those wooden or metal spatula type implements that puts your pizza into the pizza oven.

Whatever you do in your outdoor room, don’t forget the garden.


An outdoor room without a garden is just to droll to contemplate.

If you have any questions about outdoor rooms write in to


Real World Gardener Winter Gardening in The Good Earth

May 19th, 2017



Preparing for Winter Vegetables


Growing winter vegetables is different from the warmer months of the year because you have different amounts of sunlight, cold winds, and in some districts, frost to contend with.

Then there's controlling plant diseases in your veggie patch?

How well do you know your plant families?

Did you know that you shouldn’t plant veggies from the same plant family in the same spot year after year?

That’s all part of crop rotation which means of course you need to know your plant families.

There’s good reasons for practising crop rotation, but what if you only have enough room for a couple of veggie garden beds, what does a gardener do?

Let’s find out..


PLAY: Preparing for winter veggies_10th May 2017


That was Margaret Mossakowska, director of and Permaculture North Course coordinator.

Soon you’ll be saying things like Brassicas, Solanacea, and Fabaceae with ease and know what veggies belong to these families.

Brassicas are all the cabbages, broccoli, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts and cauliflowers.

Solonaceae are the tomates, capsicums, peppers, chillies and potatoes.

Alliums, the garlic, leeks and onions,

Fabaceae or legumes, peas,and  beans,



Created by Margaret Mossakowska


Margaret’s tip to fertilise your garden is to use your homemade compost or if you don't have any than add fertilisers like pelletised chicken manure or chook poo. This is important for members of the Brassica family because the grow a lot of greenery.


Margaret's garden

I’ll be posting an image of the crop rotation diagram that Margaret mentioned at the beginning of the segment on my website blog post page.


If you have any questions about winter veggie gardening or have some information to share, drop us .


Real World Gardener Stinky Starfish Cactus is Plant of the Week

May 10th, 2017



Starfish Plant

Orbea variegata 


Are you a plant collector of something?

Perhaps you collect Bromeliads, Frangipanis, or maybe succulents?

Not all succulents are garden friendly and this one today, you need to be wary of for more than one reason.



But first, let’s find out about this plant.

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


Originally from South Africa this succulent is often collected by enthusiasts,

Orbeas are leafless, succulent perennials that form compact clumps. 

They branch from the base and grow out from rhizomatous rootstocks. 

The four-angled stems are usually sharp-toothed, with a soft tip. 

If you're growing this plant in a pot, place it in a sandy well drained mix.  

Plants can survive long periods without water, but water them before they shrink too much and will not be able to recover. 
The flower of Starfish plant, really does look like a starfish, but it’s also called giant toad plants’, ‘carrion plants’, ‘carrion flowers’, ‘giant zulus, and ‘starfish cacti’. 


From SA’s Biosecurity website, the following information about this plant.
The outer sheath of the fruit peels back to expose a mass of seeds, each with a tuft of hair that will be dispersed by the wind.
Carrion flower can also spread vegetatively via stem fragments moved by people,
machinery, animals or water.

So there it’s a threat to arid landscape in South Australia.

Real World Gardener Pool Trends in Design Elements

May 10th, 2017



Pool Trends


From pools that seem to abound around urban gardens, they all look pretty much the same.

These days, people are going for the glass fencing, concrete surround and blue tiles for the pool floor.



Black tiles in KifsgateGarden, England photo M Cannon

So what else can pool lovers do?


Let’s find out? I'm talking wiht Matt Leacy Principal Director and Landscape Designer from Landart Landscapes.


PLAY: Pool Trends_3rd May 2017


Pool tiling trends really go from one extreme to the other – either dark, close to black tiles or completely white.

“With a complete white tiled pool you get a really natural water colour,” Matt Leacy says.

“A black pool will give you a certain amount of elegance and can sort of act as a reflector.

If you want a point of difference to your pool that’s a great option.” 


Not enough space for a pool this big?

Patterned tiles running along the water’s edge have also seen a resurgence.

And if you don’t have a big backyard, don’t be like some urban households with small backyards who still put in large pools instead of opting for a small plunge pool or custom made spa.


Real World Gardener Which Fertiliser to Use in Plant Doctor

May 10th, 2017


Fertilisers explained-granular or liquid, seaweed or organic, which is it to be?
How well do you know your fertilisers

There are two basic groups of fertilisers, solids or granular which are generally more slow acting, and liquids which are fast acting.

Whether you add organic matter or fertiliser to your soil, you provide your plants with three basic building blocks.



Controlled release fertiliser and Blood 'n Bone 


These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, often referred to by their chemical symbols of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium or potash).

Packaged fertilisers list the amounts of NPK each product contains, often showing it in a ratio format, called the NPK ratio.

But which ones should you use?


Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Steve Falcioni General Manager from


What to Watch Out For?

For gardeners in cooler climates, the winter period will see plant growth and microbial activity in the soil slow down.

What are the implications?

Nutrient uptake by plants is minimal if you're still using granular or solid type of fertilisers at this time.

The reason?

1-HOM_5247.JPGBulky fertilisers need to be converted into a useable form before plant roots can take them up. So, if microbial activity, which does this conversion has slowed down to a crawl, so will this conversion and that leads to slow nutrient uptake.

Rock dust is the slowest of all to break down taking up to 6 months or more, depending on when you apply it.

The way plants use nutrients is quite complex and varies from plant to plant. 

Some need lots of one nutrient but little of another, while others need a balanced amount of each. Understanding which nutrient does what gives you a rough guide to selecting the right fertiliser for your plants and garden.

That's why some fertilisers are labeled Citrus and Fruit, or Flower and Fruit, or Azaleas and Camellias. They are specific to those plants.

Seaweed extracts don't have enough nutrients in them to be classed as fertilisers, but they are plant tonics because they increase root growth and stimulate plant cell walls to strengthen.

If you have any questions about fertilisers or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.


Real World Gardener Fabulous Coastal Pincushion Plant is Plant of the Week

May 5th, 2017



Coastal Silver Edged Pincushion -Leucospermum patersonii


Have you ever been stunned by the flowers of a plant that you felt the need to buy one immediately?

Sure you have, it’s one of those things that gardeners get and it’s so very hard to resist.

This next plant falls into that category and I hope you’ll be inspired to rush out and purchase one.

But first, let’s find out about this plant.


Coastal Pincushion bush photo M Cannon

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

The silver edged pincushion plant is such an appropriate name for this beauty.

The leaves are a feature with their silvery edges but the flowers, are more so coming in clusters of three.

The added benefit of the closely clasping leaves is that the bush is densely covered.


Leucospermum patersonii photo M Cannon

The flowers are bright orange to crimson and very showy and appear on the bush in groups of three.

Flowering is from July to December.

the coastal Pincushion bush does well in limestone derived soils, therefore alkaline.

However it should do well in most well drained soils around Australia.


What to watch for:

Root rot or phytophthera can cause sudden death for plants in the Proteaceae family.

This can happen after long spells of dry weather followed by a period of heavy rain.

As a preventative measure drench or spray with Phosacid sometimes marketed as Anti-Rot.


If you have any questions about the Silver Edged Pincushion Plant, why not write in to


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