Real World Gardener Classic Cut Flowers in Talking Flowers

November 30th, 2018


Classic cut Flowers.

Hypericum%2Bberries.jpgMercede's definition of a bouquet of classic cut flowers is 'high end' cut flowers.

Think Ms Hydrangea, Ms Stephanotis,Mr Tuber Rose.

It's not just flowers though, there are berries that are incorporated into a bunch of classic flowers.

Try Ms Hypericumred or green berries. Hypericum androsaemum, also referred to as Tutsan, Shrubby St. John’s Wort , or sweet-amber, is a flowering plant in the family Hypericaceae. It is a perennial shrub reaching up to 70 cm in height, native to open woods and hillsides.

Also suitable are Ms Crab -Apple. Some florists say the perfect bouquet consists of crabapple, pepperberries and red/orange roses. 

How to treat Ms Hypericum:


  • Slit the woody ends and then soak them in a bucket of warm water for 3 to 4 hours so they can absorb as much moisture as possible. Strip off any leaves that will be under the water level in their container, fill it up with more water and place them in a cool, dimly lit room until the buds swell and begin to show color. 


Ms Stephanotis is a high end cut flower.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Best Eucalypt Flowers in Plant of the Week

November 30th, 2018


Grafted Eucalypt Trees: Corymbia ficifolia


Would you like a tree that provides you stunning colour that you could also cut for your vase?

A tree whose flowers cover the leaves like a coloured blanket?

Better still, these trees don't grow much over 3 - 5 metres in height.



Of course you do, and if you have thought of it before, you’ll definitely want to grow this after you hear why it’s so good.

I'm talking with the plant panel : Jeremy Critchley of and Karen Smith, editor of

Let’s find out.

The Plant Panel recommends that if your tree is suckering like Karen’s one, keep removing the suckers with secateurs, otherwise they will take over and possibly result in the death of the upper part, which is the scion.

  • TIP: When you plan to purchase a grafted eucalypt, make sure you check the graft union so that the top and bottom is equally matched.

Real World Gardener New Zealand plants in Australia

November 30th, 2018


New Zealand Plants in Australia

You may not know that Australia was once joined to New Zealand.

Does this explain some plants that are similar because they were left when the continents drifted apart ever so slowly?

Or was it the fashion of the day to bring over plants from other countries when the colonials started setting up their ornamental gardens?

Let’s find out why NZ plants have made their mark.

I'm talking with Stuart Read who’s a member of the National Management Committee of the Australian Garden History Society.PLAY : NZ Plants History_21stNovember 2018

 New Zealand plants it turns out, mostly came across to Australia in the 1800's.

nz-christmas%2Bbush.jpgPhormium tenax, or New Zealand flax plant is one example; this plant remains fashionable today because of its sculptural qualities that fit into modernist homes.

Apart from failing to learn the techniques of rope making using flax, gardeners even today, use this plant far and wide, not just in Australia.

 Cordyline australis or palm lily is another example, called Torquay palm in England because they think it's theirs.

The australis part of the scientific name reflects that it is from Australia, but in this case means "of the south" in a general sense.

Cabbage tree or palm lily has an exotic look and the buds of which were cut off and used as boiled cabbage.

Having more than one growth bud, it didn't kill off the plant.

Stuart remembers how the streets were lined with NZ Christmas bush where he grew up.

Plants in the myrtle family have many similarities, for example, Pohutakawa or NZ Christmas bush has the same type of flowers as our lilly pillies and bottle brush.


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

Real World Gardener Flowers That Make A Country Theme in Talking Flowers

November 26th, 2018


Flowers that make a country theme

Mercedes says that most customers opt for having a country theme for their bouquets when she used to run a florist shop.

So what does make up a country theme when you're thinking cut flowers?




If you went for something  in the cottage garden line, you would be very close to the mark.

Also choosing flowers from the Asteraceae or Daisy family will make your floral bouquet look like a bunch of flowers you picked yourself, albeit, expertly arranged and presented.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini, florist of

Real World Gardener Brazilian Plume Flower in Plant of the Week

November 26th, 2018


Brazilian Plume Flower: Justice carnea & Justicea carnea "alba"

This plant should be grown more in gardens with it’s tropical looking dark green large leaves and the plume of petals either in white or a sort of cerise pink.

But as always, some plants fall out of favour or are just forgotten, and shunned by big box stores that sell a limited range of plants.

You’ll definitely want to grow this after you hear why it’s so good.

Let’s find out.

I'm talking with the plant panel, Jeremy Critchley of and Karen Smith, editor of


  • Justicea can be best described as an erect, evergreen fast growing shrub with an open, rounded habit up to 1.5m
  • It has large deep green leaves that have deep crinkly veins and are sometimes hairy.
  • Lance-shaped dark green leaves, long up to 20 cm and 5 cm broad, with prominent veins.
  • If you’re plants drops their lower leaves, get a big feed and prune back hard after flowering.

Real World Gardener 3 Types of Secateurs You Need In Tool Time

November 26th, 2018


Secateurs times three

Are you a one type of secateurs gardener?

Did you know that you could be doing yourself a disservice by only having one pair of secateurs?

Especially if you’re a keen gardener who’s out there most days doing something in the garden even if it’s only thirty minutes.

Let’s find out what other types you could use?

I'm talking with Tony Mattson from

 Anvil vs By-pass vs snips are the three main types of secateurs.


Anvil secateurs: Cut above tools

  • The anvil type of secateurs can best be described as having an upper blade that cuts down onto a lower flat area. Much like a knife onto a cutting board. 
  • The upper blade can be sharp on one or both sides. 
  • Did you know that the majority of ratchet secateurs are anvil based because they need to be able to cut up to 28 - 30 mm thick branches.
  • These are best for thicker, harder stems such as chopping up branches to go into the compost bin. Good for either either a right hand or a left hander. 
  • For bypass secateurs the blade is going past the anvil at the bottom. More suitable for softer plant tissue and using on live wood or plant tissue. 


    By-pass secateurs: Cut above tools

  • Note: only sharpen the outside edge of the cutting blade.
  • Good for sharp, precise cuts.

Snips are good for florists and those gardeners that like to propagate plants, as well as for cutting flowers. 


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

Real World Gardener Ethylene and Cut Flowers in Talking Flowers

November 7th, 2018


Ethylene and Cut Flowers

How many times have you placed some unripe fruit in a brown paper bag with say a banana or ripe apple?

Why are you doing this exactly?

Because the ethylene gas releases from the ripe fruit, speeds up the ripening process of the unripe fruit.

You don’t even have to place them in a paper bag because in the same fruit bowl, the process will happen, just a bit slower.

Guess what, flowers go off faster next to the fruit bowl.


We’ve mentioned it before in Talking Flowers, but some flowers are more sensitive than others don’t you know?


  • By the way, Ethylene molecules are small enough to migrate through plastic and cardboard, so just closing up the box of fruit in the fridge doesn’t contain the gas.
  • Did you know that Ethylene is a stress hormone and it is released in response to rough handling, dehydration, chill damage and disease ?
  • But where does it come from?
  • There's two ways: internally — in fruits, flowers and veggies as a stress response; and externally — from rotting green trash, car exhaust, air pollution, cigarette smoke, inefficient space heaters, propane forklifts and/or floor polishers.
  • Why I mention the forklifts, because maybe they’ve got them at flower markets?

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini from

Real World Gardener Mirrors in Gardens n Design Elements

November 7th, 2018


Gardening in Tight Spaces part 4: Mirror, Mirror

The thing with small spaces is that you can take it all in with one glance and for some gardeners, it’s just a tad boring.

What are the tricks then that you can use to make your garden look bigger and so more interesting?

Let’s find out what it’s all about.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and director of Paradisus garden design.

Mirror mirror on the wall, but wait it’s on the fence or behind some plants.

Yes, outdoor mirrors can make your small space look bigger but if you place it flat on the fence you may be just looking at a reflection of roof tiles.

Peter suggests you need to angle it somehow depending on whether or not your "step out' from the back door steps down, steps up or is completely flat.


Even though Peter says you need to use toughened glass, I’m an advocate for the found mirror.

Why not hang it up and if it wears out in 3 months, so be it, you’ll find another one.

If you have any questions about gardening in tight spaces or have a sug

Real World Gardener Plastic Free Living in The Good Earth

November 7th, 2018


Plastic Free Living

You may be aware that plastic is bad for the environment but do you know exactly how?

Perhaps you’re already using drink bottles that are BPA free, but did you know that BPA is in all soft plastics?



  • The ocean may look calming and inviting, but did you know that any plastics that make it to the ocean breakdown into plastic microbeads?
  • These microbeads are ingested by plankton and in turn are eaten by fish.
  • It's even very likely that the fish you are about to eat contains plastic microbeads.
  • Let’s find out what we can use instead? 

I'm speaking with Margaret Mossakowska of 


PLAY: Plastic Free Living 24th October 2018

Check out repair cafes, recycle stuff, don’t add to landfill. 

Margaret says, rethink what you are buying


Plastic pollution

Replace you worn out plastic containers with glass ones because cheeses, meats and any food that has more than 4% fats should be stored in glass. 

Why? because those plastic containers do contain BPA

One thirds of plastics are used for packaging such as food but you can avoid buying veggies that are wrapped in plastic, they don’t need it.

Bring your own container to get meat, fish, cheese etc.

Don’t take no for an answer, it’s not illegal.


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

Real World Gardener Gardening in Pots in Design Elements

November 1st, 2018


Gardening in Tight Spaces part 3: pots

Have you run out of room in your garden or is your garden just too small to do much with?

Never fear, gardening in pots as a great alternative and it doesn’t have to be that hard or look ugly if you choose the right combinations.

There is that initial outlay, but if you choose carefully, your pots will last for years, and not end up cracked and broken.



Let’s find out what it’s all about.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and director of Paradisus garden design.

PLAY: Gardening in tight spaces part 3_24th October 2018


Peter suggests if you want decorative or ornamental plants, why not go for something in the Bromeliad family, especially the large Alcantareas.



Alcantarea heloisae


  •   Alcantareas are sun hardy, such as A. heloisae, A. patriae, A exentensa, A. Glaziouana. 
  • All of these have plasticky hard leaves that put up with harsh exposure. 
  • Then there’s Kalanchoe orgyalis, known as Copper Spoons, or K. hildebrandii, known as silver spoons. 
  • Also, Kalanchoe millottii, and K. blossfeldiana. 
  • You could also choose Aloes but be mindful of the summer heat for these guys. 
  • Finally, the cardboard plant, or Zamia furfuracea. 

If you have any questions about gardening in tight spaces or have a suggestion either for me or for Peter why not write in or email me :

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