Real World Gardener Sex of Flowers in Talking Flowers

September 27th, 2018


Sex of Flowers

Complete Flowers: Incomplete Flowers

Bisexual: Unisexual

Plants can have complete flowers or they can have flowers with only male or only female parts.

Complete flowers, also known as hermaphrodite, or bisexual flowers have all the reproductive parts: the Stamens and Pistil ( stigma, style and ovary) inside the flower.



Examples of complete flowers, are tomato flowers ( self-pollinating) Hibiscus ( pictured), roses, tulips, passion flowers. 

  • The pollinator visits the flower and brushes past the stamens. 
  • When the pollinator visits the next flower, the pollen is rubbed onto the sticky stigma. 
  • If it's the right type of pollen ( fits the opening) then the flower will be pollinated resulting in some sort of fruit.

Flowers which only have male or female or called Unisexual .

Some examples are watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin,white mulberry,coconut flowers,and birch.

For fruits to occur, pollinators must visit the male flower first then transfer pollen onto the female flower. 

Can be problematic sometimes when only male flowers appear on some cucurbits for the first few weeks.

I'm talking  with Floral Therapist, Mercedes Sarmini.from

Real World Gardener Sense of Smell in 5 Senses Gardening

September 27th, 2018


Five Senses Gardening: Smell or is it Perfume?

As gardeners you’ll already now that some plants have flowers that have smell or perfume, and some plants have leaves that have smell or perfume.

But if you want a really perfumed garden, you might want to think about including plants in the garden that you don’t necessarily need to crush, rub or touch to inhale their sweet perfume.

What does that mean you should do?

Let’s find out.

I'm talking with Chris Poulton, Sydney Convenor for the Australian Institute of Horticulture and an experienced horticultural lecturer and consultant.


Magnolia Champaca


Some suggestions for introducing more perfume into the garden that will pervade the whole garden.

  • Sweet Olive, (Osmanthus fragrans), 
  • Honeysuckle, 
  • Jasmines, 
  • Angel Trumpets, 
  • Michelia varieties, (now included in the Magnolia family) like Port Wine Magnolia; Magnolia Chamopaca, and many others.

All of these plants just throw their scent out into the garden without you having to lift a finger.

If you have any questions about five senses gardening or have a suggestion either for me or for Chris why not write in or email me at  

Real World Gardener How To Control Whitefly in Plant Doctor

September 27th, 2018


White Fly Control

Are you experiencing a cloud of insects fly up when you disturb some of your plants?

Maybe you’ve had that in the past and haven’t been successful in removing them from a particular plant.


Whitefly infestation

If that’s the case, there’s things you can do about it before that cloudburst of insects descends onto your garden.

Let’s find out .


Sweet Potato Whitefly

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, Marketing Manager of


PLAY: whitefly_19th September_ 2018

Are you surprised that there’s several species of whiteflies?

Shooing them away every time you go out into the garden isn’t successful. 

The numbers will soon build up into the hundreds even thousands.

Symptoms:What To Look For:

  • Don't confuse them with scale, because the whitefly juvenile stage can look like scale.
  • If your not 100% sure that it's whitefly larvae that you're looking at,there are other symptomes to look for.
  • Whitefly are sap suckers and will ssuck the chorophyll ( green part) out of the leaves.
  • Whitefly also produce mass of honey dew to which, sooty mould will settle.


  1. You must take action because whiteflies suck the sap out of your plants’ leaves. 
  2. Botanical oils work the best but you need to be able to spray under the leaves. 
  3. Using a pump action sprayer with help with the underneath the leaves. 
  4. Do a follow up spray 3-5 days apart to get the juvenilies. 
  5. Neem is approved overseas for this problem on edibles but only on ornamentals in Australia. 
  6. Encourage lacewings into your garden because the love whitefly as much as they love aphids. 

If you have any questions about controlling whitefly either for me or for Steve, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Gorgeous Crab Apple is Plant of the Week

September 23rd, 2018


 Malus floribunda, Crabapple

Flowers on this tree are so spectacular that you’ll be wondering why you’ve never planted it in your garden.

Not only that, it’s easy to grow, is a small tree and is quite hardy.

But maybe you have one in your garden, and you’ve had it for years.

So instead you’re the envy of neighbours all around you but they’ve been either too afraid to ask you what it is or have been trying to sneak cuttings.



Crabapple Tree. Photo M Cannon

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

Let’s find out about this plant.


PLAY: Malus floribunda Wychwood Ruby"_22nd August (30th August_2017)


There’s quite a few other varieties of crabapples to choose from with enticing names like Sugar Tyme  Showtime, Royal Raindrops and Golden Raindrops.


The bonus is even though it’s a small ornamental tree, you get these crab apples and if you’re into masterchef or other cooking shows, you’ll be wanting to make crab apple jelly to use on your cooking creations.


If you have any questions about growing crab apple trees, why not write in to


Real World Gardener Budgerigar in Wildlife in Focus

September 23rd, 2018


Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus

If you’ve ever travelled overseas and visited Botanic gardens, often you’ll find that they have a section of what they call exotic plants and or wildlife.

Recently I saw such a place in Ukraine and was rather bemused see that they had quite a few Australian birds and reptiles.



Some of these birds are so colourful that no wonder the local population think that they’re amazing and so exotic.

Let’s find out about one of them.

Budgies are closely related to Lorikeets and Figbirds and occur naturally throughout much of mainland Australia.

The places that you won't find them are from the far south-west, the north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the majority of the east coast.

Did you know that Budgies come in more than 100 colours, including blue, grey, white, yellow and multicolour. The majority, however, are green, which appears to be their ‘it’ colour, in the wild?



Did you also know that Budgerigars are a boom or bust type of bird and with this current dry season, one can imagine that there would be quite a number of fatalities?

However, recent research from Curtin University have discovered the fact that, much like mammals, budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) have the ability to regulate the water they lose through their skin.

Their suggestion is that they can cope well in hot dry conditions.

The question is “but for how long.”


If you have any questions about Budgies of the bird kind either for me or for Holly, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Edible Flowers in Talking Flowers

September 19th, 2018


Edible Flowers

Why Eat Flowers: Did you know that Romans used edible flowers such as mallows, roses and violets in a lot of their dishes?

You’ve probably heard of and even eaten capers, but did you know capers (Capparis spinosa) are the flower buds of a Mediterranean evergreen shrub and have been used to flavour foods and sauces for over 2,000 years?

Edible flowers such as daylilies and chrysanthemums have been used by the Chinese and Greeks for centuries.

Which Flowers? edible%2Bflowers.jpg

  • Nobody says you should tuck into a plate of flowers, because that would be too much. 
  • If you suffer from hayfever, then give eating flowers a big miss as well. 
  • Never eat flowers bought at a flower shop or nursery as these may have been treated with harmful chemical 
  • Another warning, not all flowers are edible, and some are poisonous if you can’t identify the flower, then don’t eat it.

Which Flowers Are Safe?

Ms Calendula

Ms Carnation

Ms Clover  

Ms Cornflower

Ms Dandelions

Ms English Daisy

Mr Gladioli

Ms Hibiscus

Ms Honeysuckle

Ms Lilac

Ms Marigold

Ms Nasturtiums

Ms Pansy

Mr & Mrs. Peony

Ms Queen’s Ann Lace

Ms Rose

Ms Geraniums

Ms Snapdragon

Mr Tulip (petals)

Ms Sunflower

Ms Violets

Ms Poppy (seeds)

Ms Chrysanthemum

Ms Borage


I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini.from

Real World Gardener Sight and 5 Senses Gardening in Design Elements

September 19th, 2018


Five Senses Gardening: Sight in Garden Design.


Gardeners tend to busy themselves with tasks that need doing in the garden, often forgetting to revel in the sight that their garden is providing.

Taking stock of what’s in flower is important not only for the feel good moment it brings, but helps us to relax and really enjoy our environment.


The Seeability Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2008: How Macular Degeneration Affects Vision:

What can we do when designing a garden for the sense of sight.

Let’s find out about what, why and how.

I'm talking with Chris Poulton, Sydney Convenor for the Australian Institute of Horticulture and an experienced horticultural lecturer and consultant.

PLAY: Garden for the senses part 3 sight_12th Sept 2018


Take Chris’s suggestion and carry around with you the colour chart or colour wheel, so that when you’re buying a new plant, it fits in with what you want your garden to really feel and look like.


If you have any questions about five senses gardening or have a suggestion either for me or for Chris why not write in or email me at


Real World Gardener Where Have All the House Sparrows Gone?

September 19th, 2018


Common House Sparrow


Did you know that the House Sparrow is actually a finch?

But when was the last time you saw a house sparrow?

Can’t remember or do you have plenty in your district?



Funny how there were plenty of house sparrows around and then suddenly you realise, yeah, I haven’t seen one or even heard one for years.”

Maybe that’s a good thing?

Let’s find out .

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from

PLAY: House Sparrow_12th September_ 2018

The male House Sparrow has a black face, and black throat that extends down the chest during the mating season. Otherwise, Sparrows are a combination of black, grey and brown; easily missed.

Sparrows eat seeds, insects, fruit, berries and food scraps, which is quite a flexible diet.

Yet, Sparrows have seen a worldwide decline in the last decade.

In fact House sparrow numbers have declined so dramatically in recent years that the species is now included on the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List.


House Sparrow in the former nest of a House Martin

A recent study in open-access journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution found that compared to sparrows living in the country, urban-dwelling sparrows showed clear signs of stress linked to the toxic effects of air pollution and an unhealthy diet.

Maybe one factor. Another is competition for habitat and nesting sites; changes in the amount of insects when they're feeding their young.

If you have any questions about house sparrows either for me or for Holly why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Flowers and Allergies in Talking Flowers

September 13th, 2018


Flowers and Allergies

The reasons behind the allergies reports one of the main reasons certain plants and flowers effect people with allergies stems from the plant's gender.

Monoecious plants are ones that have separate male and female flowers living on the same plant, such as a corn plant.


Because the male and female flowers are separated, the males, which contain the pollen, must send the pollen through the air to fertilize the female flowers.


Pollen grains travel through the air in their thousands and even millions, which is why people who are sensitive to this pollen get hay fever.


Plants that are dioecious ( different house), that have either all male flowers only or all female flowers only also rely on wind travel to pollinate these flowers.


Allergy sufferers may want to instead look for what is referred to as "perfect flowers," or ones that contain both female and male parts, like the rose.

This is the best option as these flowers don't need to use air travel to pollinate.


However, some people are sensitive to the perfume of flowers, in which case, the roses is a no-no unless it has little perfume.


What to Avoid

  • Most plants in Asteraceae family and that includes Daisies, Gerberas, Sunflowers and Dahlias.
  • Hybrid Dahlias classed as “formal doubles” have virtually no pollen.
  • You can also buy Pollenless Sunflowers
  • Baby’s Breath-although double flower varieties have much less pollen
  • Love-Lies_bleeding: _Amaranthus caudatus. 
  • Alternative is Chenille plant ( Acalypha hispidia)
  • Jasmine species, try sweet peas instead although it’s an annual.
  • Wisteria species-try Clematis instead.


I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini

Real World Gardener Sound and 5 Senses Gardening in Design Elements

September 13th, 2018


Sound in Five Senses Gardeneing

Ever wondered how to add drama to your garden with plants?

It’s easier than you think and won’t necessarily hurt the pocket.

You don’t need fancy whirling mobiles or wind sculptures at all.

Certain plants make sound when the wind whistles through them

Let’s find out about what, why and how.


Phormium tenax; NZ Flax makes a rustling sound.

I'm talking with Chris Poulton, Sydney Convenor for the Australian Institute of Horticulture and an experienced horticultural lecturer and consultant.

PLAY: Five Senses in Garden Design Sound_5th September 2018 


Chris says even the leaves of Gingko tree can make a sound when they fall onto a concrete path if it's been raining.


Gingko leaves photo M. Cannon

Yes, you can just pick out plants that will make a sound.

If you have got room for an oak tree or a swathe of Casuarinas.

Tall grasses are definitely ones to choose like Kangaroo grass, fountain grass, or carex .

Then there’s NZ flax and Nandina.

If you have any questions about five senses gardening or have a suggestion either for me or for Chris why not write in or email me at 


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