Real World Gardener How to Choose a New Fence in Garden Design

December 29th, 2018


Which Fence Style For Your Home?

What type of fence have you got and does it need replacing?

Paling fences seem to be de rigour, but there’s no need to settle for that because you’ll be looking at it for a long time.

What are the things you should consider though before deciding on a fence?

Let’s find out.



Just goes to show that you don’t have to be limited with the type of fence that you can have for your garden?

If you’re stuck with a grey looking paling fence, you can always zhoosh it up with some bamboo screening.

Real World Gardener Princettias and Poinsettias in Plant of the Week

December 29th, 2018


Poinsettia: Euphorbia pulcherrima

Poinsettia plant’s leaves were used by the Aztecs to make red dye and the plants’ milky white sap was also used to treat fevers.

Great for festive decorations and considered a must have at certain times of the year.

The bloke that this plant was named after also founded the Smithsonian Institute in America.

Let’s find out..



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

Unless you've purchased a "Princettia" Poinsettia which is a genuine dwarf cultivar, the others will grow much taller if planted out.

The species Poinsettia, will grow to over 3 metres tall in the garden.

Those that are sold at Christmas time have been sprayed with a dwarfing compound.


Princettia Poinsettia

Did you know that also that the American Congress honoured Joel Poinsett by declaring December 12th as National Poinsettia Day which commemorates the date of his death in 1851.

Poinsettias can be grown south of Brisbane right down to Coff's Harbour, and north of Brisbane they will grow as far as the land extends, although they can be difficult to grow in frost prone areas west of the coast.

They can also be grown in warm parts of South Australia and in Western Australia's coastal regions, particularly in the north.

If you have any questions about growing Poinsettias, why not write in to

Real World Gardener NEW Basil tips for cooking in Spice It Up

December 29th, 2018


Basil: Ocimum basilicum

At one stage the Greeks and Romans believed the most potent basil could only be grown if you sowed the seed while ranting and swearing.




Maybe that’s why the French say semer le baslic (sowing basil) means to rant.

Well I hope you don’t have to swear and rant to get your Basil seeds to germinate, just have your pencils at the ready if you want to know how to grow, use and store

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from

Herbs take on a different flavour when they're dried, because they lose their top notes.

Dried herbs are best added at the beginning of cooking so that they have time to infuse the dish with their flavour.

Fresh herbs on the other hand, need to be added at the very last minute so that their flavour doesn't disappear in cooking.



If you live in arid or sub-tropical regions you can sow Basil in late august in a mini greenhouse or indoors, but otherwise you can sow right through to December which is the best time to sow Basil seeds.

The seeds are best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C

For something different when not try sowing cinnamon Basil or Lemon Basil or even Holy Basil, that is the true sacred basil that is grown in houses, home gardens and near temples all over India.…

If you have any questions about Basil either for me or Ian, why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 

Real World Gardener Arranging Those Succulents in Plant of the Week

December 20th, 2018


Visiting Ivy Alley: How to Make Succulent Arrangements

Floral arrangements are something that ‘s widely known and practised but what about other types arrangements?

Could you have a living arrangement of plants that were brought inside for a little while then left outside to keep growing?

Would they outgrow their pot or could you find plants that don’t need to be moved?

Today, we’ve got the answer and this is like a living display but how and what plants should you use?

Let’s find out. I'm talking with Rachel Gleeson, horticulturist and owner of succulent and bonsai nursery, Ivy Alley.


Pick a couple or sculptural or architectural succulents and then fill in the spaces with spreading succulents such as sedums.

Rachel suggests Sedum “Green Mould” as a filler succulent and whatever takes you fancy, maybe Echeveria Topsy Turvy and another 1 or 2 architectural succulents to make your display.


Real World Gardener Ways with Violet Flowers in The Good Earth

December 20th, 2018


Sweet Violets and How to Preserve Them

Some flowers lend themselves easily to uses in the kitchen.

Some decorative but others quite edible.

You might not know that this species in particular , sweet violet (Viola odorata, Violaceae) is the principal medicinal and culinary species used in Europe.

But apart from the fragrant, albeit very small flowers, there’s quite a few other things you can do with them.


Viola odorata

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from

Let’s find out.

You can use the petals fresh in salads, just remove the other parts of the flower to avoid that bitter after taste. 

Making Frosted Petals


Frosted violets

Preserve the petals with gum Arabic or egg white.

Paint the flower petals with an artists brush and then dip it into something like caster sugar.

Dry them face up on paper and either use them straight away or store in a jar for up to 2-3 months.

You can also preserve the petals in honey. Preserving them this way will help with dry coughs and even asthma possibly.

Margaret's Recipe for Violet Petal Vinegar ( or any other petal) taken from 

3 parts petals (300g)

1 part sugar (100g)

10 parts water ( 1 litre)

Leave to ferment for a couple of months.

The sugar converts to acetic acid so it's not bad for you.

  • Put the petals in the bucket and cover with the prepared sweetened water
  • Close the lid tightly.
  • In the first month open and stir every day. The pressure will build up in the bucket (particularly in warm weather) and needs to be released. This is also why flexible vessel needs to be used – a glass jar can shatter under pressure.
  • For the next two months stir occasionally. You will see a film of yeast and bacterial blooms showing on the surface. This is normal and as the mixture becomes more acidic, these cultures will die.
  • After three months in the bucket, strain/filter the liquid into plastic bottles for storage and compost the solids.

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 Forest Bathing with Louise Kiddell

December 20th, 2018

Feature Interview:

Forest Bathing with Louise Kiddell

Sounds like a skinny dip in the lake, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's all about immersing yourself with nature and reconnecting. Not a bushwalk or a walk in the park, but an opportunity to slow down and allow nature to enter your body through all the senses.

Sound a bit far fetched?


Forest bathing

Just listen to this.

I'm talking with Louise Kiddell, a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, one of the few in Australia.

It all started in the 1980's in Japan called "Shinrin Yoku" which translates as "forest bathing."

This is what they say, 

"A nature connection walk is not a strenuous hike, or informative naturalist walk. Rather, it is an opportunity to slow down and allow nature to enter your body through all your senses.”

Think of it as another form of yoga.

Just as with yoga, you can practise it alone but it helps immensely if you start with a guided walk to get you onto the right path, so to speak.

Find out more on Louise's website

Real World Gardener Scented Stock flowers in Talking Flowers

December 13th, 2018


All about Scented Stock Flowers: Matthiola incana

Stock flowers are members of the Brassicaceae family, so that's the same as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and cauliflowers.

  • Did you know that you can eat the flower?

Sow seeds of stocks into your garden beds or borders near where you will be able to enjoy the scent.

They prefer sandy, well drained soil that's has a neutral pH to slightly alkaline.

Plenty of added organic matter will help a lot to keep up the moisture in the soil.Pink%2Bstock%2Bflowers.jpg

What they also need is for you to mulch well to maintain that moisture and feed with a balanced fertiliser before flowering.

Stocks are a romantic looking flower suited for cottage gardens and definitely suit for the vase.

Stocks come in an array of colours: burgundy, lilac, pink, cream and now salmon.

  • Mercedes says Ms Stock (because it's grown from seed) needs to have the stems cut at an angle.
  • Re-cut the stems every second day and place in shallow water.
  • Ms Stock is highly ethylene sensitive and sensitive to heat.
  • Buy your flowers 3/4 budded.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Ivy Alley Rare Nursery part 1 in Plant of the Week

December 13th, 2018


A visit to Ivy Alley Nursery

What kind of pots do you have in your garden?

Are they just plastic, or perhaps some concrete, terracotta, or even hanging baskets with coir peat liners?

Did you know, that before plastic pots, nursery people sold plants in either bare rooted, in terracotta pots, or "balled and burlapped" and intins?

Any old tin would do presumable as long as it had a drainage hole and was cleaned.


Pot plants at Ivy Alley

Today I’m about to take you on a fantastic journey with a nursery owner who goes beyond the plastic pot in her nursery.

I'm talking with Rachel Gleeson, horticulturist and owner of succulent and bonsai nursery, Ivy Alley.

Let’s find out.

Hopefully you’re inspired to use some unusual containers to pot up your plants.

Definitely take a leaf out of Rachel’s book.

Burlapping Plants:

Just a note about what I mention regarding burlapping a plant. 
This involved digging a plant from a nursery bed, taking as much of the rootball as possible and wrapping it in hessian to keep the soil intact and help prevent moisture loss. 

If you have any questions about potting up plants in different types of containers, why not write in to

Real World Gardener Satin Bower Bird in Wildlife in Focus

December 13th, 2018


Satin Bower Bird

Listeners would probably have heard about the Satin Bowerbird with its glossy blue-back with a distinctly coloured eye.

You may not know though that it takes up to five years before the satin bower bird male develops that full glossy colour.


Satin Bowerbird

Before that it's an olive green.

 Satin bower bird is a medium sized bird, similar in weight to a magpie and has good colour vision especially into the blue and ultra-violet spectrum. So why does it prefer the colour blue to adorn the bower? Is the bower also a nest?

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from

Let’s find out .

PLAY : Satin Bower Bird 5th December 2018

Sorry for Tasmania and South Australia, because you guys are missing out on this rather unusual bird. 

The male builds that bower, a parallel row of sticks in a north south axis but that’s not where the eggs get laid, it just all about attracting the female with collected blue objects and a bit of dancing. 

The female bowerbird gives the bower a good look through several times before making up her mind up whether or not she wants to pair up with the male.


The bower of the satin bowerbird.

The female bowerbird does the nest building which is made up of loose twigs some 30 metres above the ground.

Just remember to snip the blue bottle tops before you throw them into the bin. If you have any questions, either for me or for Holly, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Agapanthus in Talking Flowers

December 7th, 2018


Agapanthus spp:

Agapanthus praecox

You can see straightaway why Agapanthus has the nickname ‘flower of love’.

The Greek word ‘agape’ means love, and ‘anthos’ means flower.

How to pick your Agapanthus flowers for the vase.

 Agapanthus flowers are normally picked when the bud bract has fallen off and no more than three florets are open.

Stalks are cut near their base with a sharp knife.

Remember what Mercedes says: If it's from a bulb, rhizome or cor, then it's Mr Agapanthus.

Mr Agapanthus wears sneakers, so we cut the stems straight across the bottom of the stalk.

If you don't want the pollen to drop onto your tablecloth, cut off the stames before they "fluff."

If you're buying Mr Agapanthus, make sure that flowers are of proper maturity. 

If the neck of flowers is bent upward, they have been transported at warm temperatures and have responded to gravity.


In the Garden:How to care for aggies

Cut off the old flower spikes after the flowers fade and before they begin to dry and set seeds. Snip through the stem with shears near its base, where it emerges from the plant.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

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