Real World Gardener Singapore Orchids in Talking Flowers

October 27th, 2017


Dendrobium or Singapore Orchid

Don't be confused because we're not talking about Australia's Dendrobium, but the ones that florists prefer.

These florists' orchids are also called Dendrobiums.

These orchids grow from a pseudobulb and are largely epiphytic or lithophytic, preferring high humidity to grow outdoors.

Keep in mind, these orchids don't like temperatures below 15 C


Native to Southeast Asia, the genus dendrobium is one of the largest of all orchid groups from the Orchidaceae family.

There are about 1,200 individual species, and they grow in a variety of climates, from hot, wet lowlands to high-altitude, colder mountains. 

Growers usually divide dendrobiums into groups based on their growing conditions.

I'm talking with flower therapist and florist Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Pincushion Flower is Plant of the Week

October 27th, 2017


Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa columbaria hybrids

Have you ever wanted more butterflies to come into your garden?


Pincushion Flower

Well here’s a plant with plenty of nectar to get you started.

Nectar rich flowers isn’t all what butterflies need.

They need a flower that’s like a landing pad so they can have a bit of a rest while the sipping on the nectar. 

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: PLAY: Scabiosa_18th October 2017

Scabiosa or Pincushion flowers belong to the Honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae.

Easy to grow and spread.

bliss%2Bbomb%2Bscabiosa.jpgAs young plants they are a bit sensitive to over watering, but as mature plants, they can cope with frost and take some heat.

Pincushion flowers do best in full sun but well-drained soil is a must!

Those with heavy soils should grow these flowers in a raised bed. 

The flowers are on long stems of around 30 cm.

The foliage which is a pale green, makes a small mound around 20 cm


Jeremy recommends the Bliss Bomb series which have intense lavender blue flowers.


 You can also buy deep maroon pincushion flowers but they are harder to get.


Remember: if you try to grow them in clay soils, they won't last until the next season, preferring to grow in more free draining soils.


burgundy%2Bscabiosa.jpgThese plants can last for a few years in the garden before you need to replace them, much like Shasta daisies.



You can try cutting them back to increase their longevity.

The best thing is that these flowers are drought-tolerant, once they are established and will bloom from spring until the first frost.

Best of all they also make great cut flowers lasting for up to 10 days in the vase.

If you have any questions about growing Scabiosa or Pincushion flowers, why not write in to


Real World Gardener Which Floristry Tools in Tool Time

October 27th, 2017


Floristry Tools for the Home Gardener.

Do you love cutting flowers from your garden to bring inside?

Sure, why not especially if you have a flower garden.




But wait, are secateurs what we’re supposed to use to cut these flowers or is there something better?

Let’s find out all about which tools you could be using for your cut flowers….

I'm talking with Tony Mattson, general manager of

PLAY : Floristry tools_18th October_2017


When it comes to florist cutting tools, there are a number of different tools for different jobs. 

Scissors are good for occasionally cutting flowers, but if you've got a few then you'll be better off with Snips.


Silver series 90mm snips from Cut Above Tools

Snips are good because you're only using your hand to close the snips onto the flower stem.

The spring in the snips returns them to the open position so you're not straining your hand as much.

Usually the blades of good quality snips are stronger than scissors too so your'e less likely to put them out of alignment if the stem is a little bit tougher than you expected.

Don't forget the role of secateurs in cutting those harder stems of Proteas, Waratahs, Camellias and Viburnums.

Using the right tool for the job is crucial to getting high quality arrangements.

The quality of these tools determines how much of the stem is left on your flower, how many thorns are left on a rose, and how neat your final packaging is cut.

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


Real World Gardener Poppies for Remembrance in Talking Flowers

October 19th, 2017


Poppies for Remembrance

Poppies were given the official title of Remembrance due them growing en masse in the fields where thousands of soldiers perished in WWI

Mercedes has an interesting anecdote about how you can make your dreams come true.

All you need to do is to whisper your dreams into your hand with the poppy seeds before sowing.

When the poppies grow and flower, your dreams shall come true. Let's hope.


Some of the most widely used grown types of Poppies include the Papaver somniferum ( only by licence because that's the Opium poppy), Papaver orientale, and Eschscholzia californica or Californian poppy.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini from

Real World Gardener Introduction to Acquaponics

October 19th, 2017


Introduction to Acquaponics.

What is it?

Put simply, Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. 

The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.

Start off with a fish tank, and buy your fingerlings ( baby fish) either Silver Perch or Barraminudi are a couple of excellent suggestions.

Attach plumbing to growing beds which contain a soilless medium such as Scoria, expanded clay balls ( Hydroton) even Perlite.

Each one has pros and cons for using it, for example, although Perlite is very light, it tends to wash away easily.


Water is reticulated ( circulated ) around the system so that the beds fill up with water constantly, then the water level drops as it's fed back into the fish tank.

The fish provide fish waste that feeds the plants.

The plants use this fish waste and filter out the water which is recycled back into the fish tank.

Robyn, says in here system of 5-6 growing beds, she never needs to flush out or replace the water other than to top it up due to evaporation.

There's more to it than that of course.

 Find out by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Robyn Rosenfeldt, editor of Pip Magazine.

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 Beat the Lily Caterpillar in Plant Doctor

October 19th, 2017


Lily Caterpillar

Lily%2Bcaterpillar%2Band%2Bdamage.jpgThe secret to controlling pests in the garden is to understand their life cycle, and watch for early signs of infestation so they can be stopped in their tracks before they become a problem.

The first sign of infestation this next plant pest is the skeletonising of leaves. 

In the adult stage the parent (lily moth) lays up to 100 eggs at a time on the tip of a leaf, and the growing (pest) caterpillars then work their way down to the base of the plant.

These voracious pests ( caterpillars) can destroy a clump of clivias or other lilies in record time.

Lily caterpillars are a native pest common along the east coast of Australia but can be seen in other regions. Generally a dark grey to black colour with yellow and white markings down the side.; about 5 cm long.


The adult moth is like your average brown moth with a wing span of around 5 cm and can lay up to 100 eggs at a time.

Let’s find out all about this pest.

I'm talking withSteve Falcioni, general manager of

PLAY : Lily Caterpillar_11th October_2017

The Lily caterpillar attacks clivea, crinums, hippeastrums, the spider lily (hymenocallis) and other plants in the lily family.

Young caterpillars skeletonise leaves while older ones can strip leaves or attack the crown of the plant. Clivia_miniata2.jpg

Very quickly plants are an ugly mess of caterpillars, droppings and collapsing plant foliage. Attacked foliage dies and leaves the plants looking very unsightly.

Lily Caterpillar, calagramma picta, pupate under mulch and then travel up the stems of many types of lilies, munching as they go - eating leaves, stems and flower buds.

Caterpillars pupate in leaf litter or the soil before emerging as adult moths to start the cycle again. There are several generations a year with the most damage noticed during the warmer months.

Look for the caterpillars on the underside as well as the tops of the leaves.

Damage caused by the lily caterpillar is severe and can result in plant death.

Plants which survive usually take a long time to recover.

If you have any questions about growing your own turmeric, then why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Daffodils for the Vase in Talking Flowers

October 12th, 2017


Daffodils of all kinds for the vase.

What is a Daffodil?Daffodils.jpg

All Daffodils belong to the genus narcissus, which includes jonquils and paperwhites. 

Some gardeners call yellow narcissus, daffodils and the smaller, paler versions as jonquils, but they all belong to the genus narcissus and technically all carry the common name of daffodil. 

The genus name comes from the Greek god narcissus. 

According to legend, Narcissus was so enamored with his own reflection in the river that he drowned trying to capture his reflection.

The daffodils growing along stream banks in their native Mediterranean origin and all soon became associated with Narcissus and took on the Greek god's name.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of



Real World Gardener Australian Native Citrus is Plant of the Week

October 12th, 2017


Australian Native Citrus: Citrus australasica

Citrus Gems

The lemon tree is ubiquitous to most home gardens but are you aware that Australia has its own native citrus?

The fruit from Australia’s citrus is so unique though that top chefs are using it as a garnish in their cuisine.


Still citrusy but not as we know it.

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.


The leaves are similar to Murraya Min a Min being much smaller and finer that the leaves of a regular citrus tree.

The inner fruit consist of vesicles that aren’t joined as in the segments of say a Mandarin, making them pop out like the finest of Beluga caviars.

The trees are thorny, as Karen says, they're not called nature's barbed wire for nothing.

Australian native citrus produce finger shaped fruit up to 12 cm long with a typically green-yellow skin and pulp. 

These citrus trees tolerate light frost; grows best in light shade or sunny spot.

Suits sub-tropical. Warm temperate, cool temperate and Mediterranean climates.

Prune: Lightly, in spring. Don't prune too hard when fruit is forming as you can accidentally cut off your upcoming crop.

Real World Gardener How to Grow Turmeric in The Good Earth 2017

October 12th, 2017


Growing Turmeric

Cucuma longa

Gardeners like to grow unusual herbs that are also useful.

But you won’t be planting out seeds to start this next plant because you need rhizomes.

Not only that, for this herb you won’t be using the leaves in cooking but the roots or rhizomes instead.


Turmeric plants

What am I talking about?

Let’s find out all about Turmeric in the podcast. I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from

PLAY : Growing Turmeric_4th October_2017


How To Grow


Turmeric Flowers

There are a couple of different types of Turmeric available in Australia.

One has bright orange flesh and the other is more yetlllow.

Sourcing it all depends on if you have " Crop Swap" or Farmers' Markets in your district.

Once you have a fresh rhizome or root, all you need to do is plant it. 

A large root will have several branches or fingers to it.

You can cut these apart and start more than one plant if you like.

The easiest way to get it to sprout is to just bury the root under 5cms of potting mix. If there are any knobs or buds on the root, turn it so they are facing upwards. 

Turmeric grows downwards and spreads sideways, so don't plant it in a narrow pot.

You can harvest the whole clump when the leaves have died , usually at the beginning of Winter of late Autumn depending on your district's climate.


If you have any questions about growing your own turmeric, then why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

- Older Posts »

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App