Real World Gardener Useful and Beautiful Bulbs in Design Elements

March 10th, 2018

Design Elements

Bulbs that are "Uuseful and Beautiful."

You could consider bulbs as ground covers, well some bulbs anyway because there is a pretty good range of different sizes when it comes to the actual resulting plant.

You may even think that most bulbs are useful and beautiful, but there’s some that perhaps stand out from the crowd.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon Director of Paradisus Garden Design 



Hippeastrum papilio




Peter mentioned several cultivars of Hippeastrum which incidentally means Knight’s Lily Star.

Strangely though , no-ones sure exactly why William Herbert called it that.

Peter mentioned Hippeastrum aulicum, Hippeastrum papilio, Hippeastrum psittiacinum which is very ornamental.

Most of these are for the semi-shaded garden. 

You may want to try "selfing" or hand pollination to get new varieties between two different cultivars, that is, grow them from the resultant seed.

Also Drimmyopsis maculata which puts up with dry shade and makes a nice clump with its spotted leaves.

For full sun try Jacobean lily or Sprekelia.

If you have any questions about groundcovers, either for me or for Peter or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Baby’s Breath or Gypsophila in Talking Flowers

March 1st, 2018


Gypsophila paniculata: Baby's Breath: Soapwort

Easy to grow perennial.

The name is derived from the fact that all the flowers in this family grow well on soil high in gypsum, a mineral that makes the soil too thick and heavy for many other types of plants.

Will grow in sandy dry soil.

Etymology:The genus name is from the Greek gypsos ("gypsum") and philios ("loving")

These bright white dots symbolize

 Floral meaning:


Gypsophila sets off other flowers


Everlasting and undying love, including family, platonic, and romantic bonds-used in wedding bouquets and centrepieces.

Pureness and freedom from outside influences or corruption


Easily grown from seed.

 Grow it in full sun or partial shade in alkaline soil.

  • Well suited to xeriscaping.
  • Makes a low-maintenance addition to the perennial garden.
  • Like lavender or catmint, baby’s breath creates a charming, soft look in the garden.
  • Because the plant blooms from early summer toAutumn it’s an excellent filler for hiding other perennials after they’re done flowering.
  • Pair it with delphinium, iris, columbine, poppies, yarrow and other cottage garden flowers.

I’m talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Groundcovers for a Cool Climate in Design Elements

March 1st, 2018


Useful and Beautiful:Plants that won't let you down.

We’re still doing ground covers but we’re now talking cold climates or cool temperate.

Sometimes these districts have rather harsh winters so you need a utility planting that withstand these conditions.


Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

I'm talking with Peter Nixon Director of  Paradisus Garden Design



Peter mentioned Ceratostigma plumbaginoides which commonly called Plumbago but it’s not the common plumbago.

Ruscus aeculiatus or Butcher’s Broom which can be cut with hedge shears into a shape.

If you have any questions about groundcovers, either for me or for Peter or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener File Powder and Gumbo in Spice It Up

March 1st, 2018


File' Powder

(Pronounced feelay)

Ever heard of a spice from the leaf of a tree?

The tree is Sassafras albidum and it originates in America.

File' powder is used a lot in Southern American cooking.


Sassafras albidum: Native to America


Ever heard of gumbo? 

It’s not something you chew but a dish from America’s south and in fact this spice s main attribute is to thicken the dish. I'ts a type of fish soup, very delicious I'm told.

Think New Orleans, Louisiana and Cajun cooking.

Let’s find out about it.



File powder is made from leaves of the sassafras tree. 

When ground, file powder smells like eucalyptus or juicy fruit gum.

File powder is a necessary ingredient for Cajun cuisine, especially Gumbo.

File' powder adds a sort of gummy consistency to the dish but it doesn't thicken in the way that cornflour thickens a dish.

File' powder has a similar effect to Okra, which in itself has no substitute.

Not only does it add an unusual flavor, the powder also acts as a thickener when added to liquid. 

You can use any ingredient you have to hand, not just fish. Chicken would be a good substitute.



Did you know that long before the use of file powder for Creole and Cajun cooking, Choctaw Indians pounded sassafras leaves into powder and added them to soups and stews.


If you have any questions about File' powder, either for me or for Ian, or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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