Real World Gardener Colourful Crotons are Plant of the Week

August 31st, 2017



Crotons: Colourful leaves

Codiaeum variegatum
Flowers are great, but not all plants flower for a long time so it’s good to have a plant that has plenty of colour in its leaves in your garden or even inside your house as an indoor plant.

Plant breeders are having fun with the colours and sizes too, so you can soon buy the same plant but in the miniature form as well as the standard sized shrub form of 1 metre.

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.

A well-grown croton keeps its leaves all the way to the soil level, but the trick to this is to provide steady warmth. 

Even outside, crotons drop leaves after a cold night. 

These plants do alright after a hard prunes so if a croton becomes leggy, prune it back hard at the beginning of the growing season and move it outside. 

The plant will regrow from the cut part.

A tough plant in the right environment; often seen in old and neglected gardens in Qld


Also a great plant to grow indoors even if you do have the right climate to grow it outside.

Just remember not to overwater it and give it some slow or controlled release fertiliser at the beginning of the warmer season.

If you have any questions about growing Crotons, why not write in to

Real World Gardener Mass Planting for Mediterranean Gardens part 1

August 31st, 2017


Mass Planting for a Mediterranean Climate part 1

Groundcovers and small shrubs.

This series is all about mass planting but so you're garden won't be boring.


photo Louise McDaid Cloudhill Gardens

That means not just a sea of the same green and the same leaf shape and texture but a variety of colour interesting features.

Mass%2Bplanting-Paul%2BUrquhart.jpgThere’s different levels, different leaf shape and textures and different colours of green to make your garden all that more interesting.


Warm temperate coast regions around Australia can look forward to these next plants.


Let’s find out about what they are.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design

Plants that are used to the sunny tropics may have a hard time in temperate winters s because often there’s rain, but weak sun, so plants can struggle.

Peter mentioned if you need weed suppression, something low but in semi-shade will suit Plectanthrus ciliatus, Carissa Desert Star with a dark green gloss leaf and starry perfumed flower or Acanthus mollis.

For sub-shrubs try Jasmin nitidum, which is a sub-shrub to about 1.2 metres and not invasive.

For difficult banks with a slope of 1:5, then go for Helichrysum petiolare Limelight, sometimes called Licorice plant.

Real World Gardener Bar Tailed Godwit is Wildlife in Focus

August 31st, 2017



Bar Tailed Godwit.


How well do you know Australian Shore birds?



Did you know that even though a bird is migratory, it’s considered an Australian bird because it spends quite a number of months on our shores? 

Even though it's a largish bird, weighing around 190g, flying thousands of kilometres from the breeding ground in Siberia and Norther Scandanavia to shores in Australia and New Zealand is no mean feat.

Did you know that when they’re in Australia they look quite different to what they do when they’re overseas.

So let’s find out more about the Bar Tailed Godwit .

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from

PLAY :Bar Tailed Godwit_23rd August_2017

You'll find these birds in Australia now, feeding up so that they can make that long journey back to their breeding ground in March-April. 

These birds will then head north, stopping off in Korea, China or Japan, ending up in Alaska which is their breeding ground.

Holly mentioned one bird that was tagged called E7

E7 was tracked as taking the longest non-stop flight of any bird, flying 11,500 kms from Alaska to New Zealand.


Sadly, thousands of Bar Tailed Godwits' don’t make it back because of the lack of places to stop to re-fuel.

So if you do see these birds along the shore, please don’t release you dog to chase them away.

If you have any questions about Bar Tailed Godwits why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Stately Claret Ash is Plant of the Week

August 24th, 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.


Fraxinus Raywoodii

Claret Ash


Would you like a tree that shades your house or garden in summer, but drops all its leaves in winter so you get winter sun?

Not only does it serve this practical purpose but it has fabulous Autumn colour especially in colder districts.



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.

PLAY: Claret Ash_16th August_2017 

Did you know that the original seedling was discovered near a group of assorted ash trees in Sewell's nursery in the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia about 1910, and later grown at the nearby property Raywood  near Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills.(former home of the Downer family). 

The tree was introduced to Britain in 1928 and to North America in 1956, although it did not become widely available there until 1979

Other Types of Ash Trees.There are a few different types of Ash trees such as Fraxinus ornus, the Flowering Ash Fraxinus oxycarpa the Desert Ash and Fraxinus excelsior ‘aurea’ the Golden Ash.

But none are quite as spectacular as Fraxinus Raywoodii, the Claret Ash.

The leaves are a deep dark green in the warmer months but turn this deep burgundy red in Autumn before they fall.


Real World Gardener Where Do Insects Go in Winter in Plant Doctor?

August 24th, 2017



Overwintering Insects-where do they all go?

Have you ever thought what happens to insects in winter?

In particular insect pests, we don’t see as many pests but come Spring, they seem to emerge in their hundreds from somewhere.

How are they managing to hang on, especially in those districts where temperatures fall below zero.

You’ll be surprised to find out the methods that insects use .

So let’s find out.

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from


PLAY: Overwintering insects_9th August 2017

Insects seem to manage to hang on in one form or and how they do this seems to vary quite a bit because they’re so adaptive


Codling moth larvae

Lay eggs that stay dormant until warmer weather and longer daylength occurs.Some of the methods we talked about that insects use to get by in the colder months were:

  1. Juvenile stages hide in cracks of branches, twists of leaves, under rocks and find crevices to stay warm.

3.Pupate over winter like the Codling Moth.

  1. Go deeper into the soil to stay warm, like the Curl Grub.

5.Hibernate over winter just as the ladybird does.


Did you know ladybirds go off a pheremone to signal other ladybirds to form a huddle when hibernating?


TIP: Removing weeds during winter also removes hiding spots for pests like mealybug and aphids.

Did you know that the shorter daylight lengths of Autumn trigger insects to enter something called diapause.


What’s that?

Well, diapause (and also the definition of an evening spent watching TV) is "an inactive state of arrested development."

Diapause insects sees their metabolic rate drop to one tenth of what it is normally so it can use stored body fat to survive winter.


If you have any questions about insects, why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Jasmine Tricolour is Plant of the Week

August 17th, 2017



Tricolour Jasmine

Last week I asked if you liked the colour pink in your garden?

This next plant doesn’t have significant flowers but does have pink in it’s leaves.

Better still, it grows in shade, under trees and in other difficult spots where you might find it hard to get something to grow.



Let’s find out about this plant.

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

PLAY: Star Jasmine tri-colour_9th August_2017

Tricolour Jasmine is nothing like the Chinese Star Jasmine because it doesn’t have those perfumed flowers and doesn’t need a whip and a chair to keep it under control.

Ahem, whip and chair borrowed from Peter Nixon Garden Designer that is.

As long as you don’t put it into full sun or afternoon sun, you won’t get burnt leaves.

Another one of those low maintenance plants that horticulturalists say doesn’t really exist. But here it is.

Real World Gardener NEW SERIES Mass Planting for Large and Small Gardens in Design Elements

August 17th, 2017



Mass Planting Series

Mass planting for large and small gardens part 1

Would you think that mass planting a garden would be something easy to do?

On the surface it sounds easy; just pick a couple of types of plants that you like and away you go, would that be right?


Mass planting for large gardens: Scampston, England photo M Cannon

The answer is no, because visually you might end up with such a boring garden as to be exasperating.

Have you heard the rule “ the greater amount of texture you use the louder your garden reads visually?”

Let’s find out about this wonderful rule.


PLAY: Mass Planting_large gardens_9th August 2017


That was Peter Nixon, Director of

Mass%2Bplanting-Paul%2BUrquhart.jpgIf you have a large expanse of garden with all the same colour green , the same leaf shape and the same texture, the garden will be homogenous and even boring.


You'll be asking "Where's my beautiful garden?"


Find plants that you like but try and like ones with different leaf shapes, colours and textures when you’re doing planting on a biggish scale.


Peter suggests as an example of texture and leaf contrast, Poa Eskdale with Opuntia Burbank Spineless.


If you want mass planting to hide the fence, try

Viburnum odoratissium "Dense Fence," or Quick Fence.


As Peter says, even if it’s a small garden, don’t put lots of little plants in, but less plants that are bigger works better.


Real World Gardener Amazing Sage in Spice it Up

August 17th, 2017




1-ADE_3354.JPGSalvia officinalis

What would you say to a herb that can remove grease from plates?

Not only that, drinking tea made from the leaves of this herb helps treat sore throats and coughs; often by gargling.

All these attributes are for the herb sage.

To get grease off your dinner plates without using harsh chemicals all you need to do is macerate some fresh sage leaves and rub them on the plates, and voila', clean plates.

But did you know that the world's best sage comes from the Dalmation coast growing amongst rocks on the island of Kornati?

Find out more by listening to the podcast.


I'm talking with Ian Hemphill

PLAY: Sage_9th August 2017


Scientifically known as Salvia officinalis, sage is closely related to rosemary, and they’re often considered “sister herbs.

Sage grows best in sandy, alkaline soil.

It grows up to 75 cm in height and has woody, branching stems.

Its pebble-like patterned, aromatic leaves are grey-green, with a soft surface and fine hair-like filaments growing on either side.

During summer, the violet-blue flowers attract bees.

If you have any questions about sage the herb, why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Astonishing Dianthus Jolt is Plant of the Week

August 10th, 2017



Dianthus "Jolt"

Do you like the colour pink in your garden?

Light pinks, dark pinks and every shade in between?

Then here’s a plant for you that’s been developed by plant breeders so that it flowers for six months and can take the heat better than ever before.

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


PLAY: Dianthus Jolt_2nd August_2017


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

Dianthus Jolt, is seed grown but unfortunately there has been a world shortage of seed this year due to a virus in the parent stock. 

However, if you do manage to secure a plant from this series, you'll be rewarded with flowers for 6 months of the year on 40 - 50 cm stems; great for cut flowers.


Dianthus Jolt 

Did you know that the history of Dianthus dates back to over 2000 years, making it one of the oldest cultivated flower varieties?

Greeks and Romans revered the plant, using its flowers for art, decor, and to build their iconic garlands.

Sweet William, Pinks or just Dianthus, the one that was mentioned, Dianthus Jolt is the most heat tolerant that you can grow.

Real World Gardener Indoor Plants Pests and General Care in Design Elements

August 10th, 2017


Indoor Plants: Care and Maintenance

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.



Bad case of scale photo M Cannon

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.

  • If your plant is showing signs of:

o   Wilting

o   Loosing it’s leaves prematurely

o   Leaves turning yellow and patchy

o   Leaves have a black dusty look or are sticky

  • Look for one of these pests as they could be causing the aggravation: Fungus Gnats, Whiteflies, Mealy Bug, Aphids, Spider Mites, Scale and Thrips. 

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? 

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