Real World Gardener Beautiful Climber shrubs on Design Elements

May 10th, 2018


Beautiful and Useful Scrambler Shrubs

When is a shrub not a shrub?


When it’s a climber shrub or is there such a thing?

You may have even heard of scrambling climbers such as Bougainvillea.

These are climbing plants that have much thicker stems and sort of support themselves partially, in fact I think of them as leaning against a support rather than twining, weaving or twisting into one.

Let’s find out about them.

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


Peter mentioned Solandra longiflora, which has thick stems but a manageable habit.

Jasminum multipartitum or Jasminum nitidum for a shadier spot. 


There are plenty of scrambling climbers or climber shrubs in the rose family also as well as Pandorea jasminoides, or Bower vine, Hibbertia scandens sometimes called guinea or snake vine. 


Pandorea Jasminoides

If you have a question either for me or Peter, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Growing Garlic in Vegetable Heroes

May 10th, 2018


Growing Your Own Garlic

Garlic-Allium sativum comes from the Onion family. Alliaceae


You might have guessed that in medieval times, hanging Garlic outside your door warded off vampires.

Not exactly in the same league as vampires but did you know that eating garlic helps keeps mosquitos away?


Growing Your Own Garlic

There’s even a fact sheet from the DPI about growing garlic

There’s also a website devoted entirely to garlic growing in Australia.

I'm talking with Dr Patrice Newell, Manager of Elmswood Farm in the Upper Hunter Valley.


 Dr Newell's farm has diversified into not only growing garlic commercially but also olives, and honey.

1-Garlic%2B3.JPGBest Tip: Plant out your garlic bulbs before they have sprouted so that the bulb can form roots before the vegetative growth.

However, if your little bulbs have already sprouted, don't throw them away, they will still grow for you. 


Types of Garlic to Grow


Like onions, there are early, mid season and late varieties available.


There are softneck and hardneck varieties.

  • Softnecks are the most common garlics grown, and are the ones found in supermarkets. 
  • Softneck garlic usually doesn’t have a flowerhead and have a longer shelf life (up to 9 months).There’s one called “Italian White” that’s available online. 
  • Monaro purple, and Rocambole- are Hardnecks variety and these do have flowerheads like onions, and usually bigger cloves. 
  • They don’t have as good a shelf life as the softnecks and prefer cooler winters. 
  • Rocamboles have excellent flavour, glamorous red-purple skins and easily peeled, with a single circle of 6-12 plump cloves. 

There’s also the extra large garlic called Elephant or Giant Russian garlic and has a milder flavour but is great for roasting.


This is actually a type of leek that you can get these from some markets that are around or from an online bulb company.

Remember most garlic in supermarkets comes from China and has been sprayed with Methyl Bromide in quarantine.

When to grow

Sow direct in garden where they are to grow.

Garlic grows best when the temperature is between 13º to 24ºC.

That’s why Garlic is traditionally planted in cold weather and harvested in summer ("plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest").

You can plant Garlic blubs now in all districts of Australia, including cool temperate.

For cool districts, you’re right on the edge of when you can plant, so don’t delay, plant today.

Real World Gardener Preserving Wild Picked Mushrooms on The Good Earth

May 10th, 2018


Preserving, Pickling, and Drying Wild Picked Mushrooms

If you want to pick wild mushrooms, then you only have one opportunity which is this Autumn.

Where do you go? Any State Pine Forest as they are open to the public.

Take a guide with you if your are new to wild picking mushrooms.


Saffron Milk Caps

 So what do you do with them if you pick 5 kg of mushrooms to take home? 

Let’s find out about this wonderful problem.


I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of

If you’re going wild picking, pick the ones with gills underneath, Saffron Milk Caps or ones with sponge underneath, which are the Slippery Jack. 


Slippery Jack Mushrooms

If you’re not sure, go with an experienced guide, like Margaret before you go foraging.

Slippery Jacks by the way taste similar to Porcini mushrooms.

Remember Margaret’s tip: microwave ovens don’t dry mushrooms.

Pickling mixture can be the same as for cucumbers. If you have any questions either for me or Margaret, you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener NEW Petunias in Plant of the Week

May 4th, 2018


 Petunias: New Varieties

Some gardener, myself included, have tended to think that these next flowers are mainly for Summer, and get replaced with the likes of Pansies, Sweet Peas and others for the cooler months.

These plants are often sold as potted flower colour, but you can start them off as seed, although be warned, the seed is as fine as dust.

Now there’s heaps of new varieties that are worth trying and will flower for longer.

Let’s find out about them.

I'm talking with Karen Smith, editor of and Jeremy Critchley owner of


Petunia Hot Lips, Potuna and Night Sky are all perennial petunias and ones to watch out for.

Perennial Petunias have the advantage of lasting a few years in the garden as opposed to their annual counterparts.

Interestingly Jeremy mentioned that even though these plants are propagated by tissue culture; in other words are clones, they sometimes change colour on the same bench.

Petunia Hot lips flowers sometimes changes to all white or all maroon, whereas Petunia Night sky sometimes loses its stars! But the stars do come back.



Petunia Night Sky

They have excellent cold tolerance, are renowned for being tough with weatherproof blooms.

If you have a question either for me or the plant panel, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Plant Viruses on Plant Doctor

May 4th, 2018


Plant Viruses Uncovered

If your plants look unhealthy but there’s no sign of pests or disease, then chances are the plant has a virus.
Rose Mosaic Virus
On the other hand if you have some unusual patterns on your rose and camellias leaves, these don’t harm the plant and are fine to leave alone. 
Viruses that effect edible plants are a different problem all together. 
Let’s find out about this problem. 
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni General Manager 


Steve mentioned the "tomato spotted wilt virus" which as the name suggests, affects tomatoes, but it also affects 500 other plants!

The Cucumber mosaic virus affects all members of the Cucurbit family, where the rose mosaic virus only affects members of Rosaceae.

How virus's in plants are spread?

`Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on Basil Leaves

Sap suckers are the usual vectors of viruses in the garden; these include aphids, leaf hoppers, thrips and whitefly are good examples.

Weeds can also harbor these sap suckers so it’s important to keep on top of the weeding.

The weeds can also have viruses in their tissue.

Also don’t forget to disinfect your garden tools after pruning particular plants and buy plants that are certified virus free.

If you have any questions either for me or Steve you can email us 

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