Real World Gardener No Shade for Outside Dining in Design Elements

February 21st, 2019


No Shade For Outside Dining

Summer has been hot, really hot, and we want to cool off.

In the evening, things cool down a bit, but the sun stays up late.

So what do you do if just outside the back door where the outdoor dining setting is, it’s still really stinking hot?


Peter's Sea Changer Garden


You sit outside for a little while and then you can’t stand it anymore and retreat inside.

So what can you do to fix that? Let’s find out.

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer

You could make yourself a shade hut or a dining canopy.

Or if you want a pergola, grow a deciduous climber on it that will drop it’s leaves in winter so that you can enjoy some winter sun.


Designer Peter Nixon ‘Clifton’ Masterclass on Sydney Cool Subtropics Gardens

7 Woolwich Road, Hunters Hill, 10am – 11.30am

Wednesday 1st May, 2019

for L’Arche 4 Australia


Peter Nixon’s home work garden ’Sea-Changer’ will open free on Saturday 4th May, 10am till 2pm at 21 Lavinia Street, Forresters Beach on the Central Coast an hour’s drive from the Wahroonga on ramp. See Garden Lovers & or Instagram at Designers midday ‘Walk & Talk’ & 1 page hand out for exciting names of plants in flower and or foliage on the day.

Real World Gardener Lemon Balm as Herbal in Plant of the Week

February 21st, 2019


Lemon Balm as Herbal

Herbs are a great addition to any garden even if you’re just growing them in a pot or trough.

They’re useful plants to have because they tend to be used almost daily throughout the year in our cooking.

This is one herb that’s not talked about too much when Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme are mentioned.

I'm talking with Simone Jeffries, Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist .

Let’s find out …


Lemon balm is also used for insomnia, cold sores, indigestion, and heartburn

In essential oil form, the scent of lemon balm is said to reduce stress.

Lemon balm makes a great calmative tea. 


Put 5-6 leaves in boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes.

Sip before bed-time for a restful night's sleep.

Grow it from seed if you don’t know someone who can give you a piece.

Remember Simone’s tip, grow it in a pot if you don’t want it taking over your garden.

Real World Gardener Simple Self Watering System on The Good Earth

February 21st, 2019


Simple Self Watering System

Today we’re going upward to grow our produce or herbs but we’re doing it with a simple self-watering system. 

photo Margaret Mossakowska
If you have large trees in your garden or your neighbour has trees that overshadow yours, this is a great way to utilise the sunny parts of your garden without taking up too much space.
This is a DIY wicking system that you can either build yourself or that you can get help with from either a friend or the ‘men’s shed.’ 
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from 
Let’s find out how to build it. 

PLAY: Simple Self-Watering_23rd January 2019 

photo Margaret Mossakowska

Things you need are polypipes/pvc pipes that are 10 - 15cm in diameter.

Hole cutter to cut holes in the top of the pipes so that the pots are suspended.
You don't want the pots sitting in water because this leads to anaerobic fermentation in the soil.
Make up some wicks out of textiles such as old t-shirts, poly fleece, or geo-tex off-cuts. As long as it's synthetic fabric otherwise it will rot.
You need 2-3 wicks per pot measuring a total of 35cm length.
Push the wicks through the pot so that they are about half way into the potting mix.

It’s achievable and once set up, you’ve got an ongoing self watering system to last you for years. 

This system could even be erected on a balcony and is a much better system that the vertical plastic grow bags. 
In Summer this watering system doesn’t have to be topped up for around two weeks. 

For more detailed information visit
If you have any questions either for me or for Margaret, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Garden Walkways in Design Elements

February 17th, 2019


Garden Walkways


Today’s garden challenge is for those gardeners that don’t want hard surface garden paths.

Concrete, brick or other types of paving for paths can be a bit harsh in areas where the garden is quite natural.


In this segment, garden designer Peter Nixon explores some softer alternatives.

Let’s find out…

I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer.

Peter’s not a fan of pebbles on paths.

Instead why not try a combo of bark chips and shell grit, or decomposed granite, perhaps lillydale topping and bark or woody mulch.

You would need to run the plate compactor over these surfaces to compact the path.


If you have any questions about what to do for your garden paths in your garden, or have some information to share, write in


Real World Gardener Pineapple Lily on Talking Flowers

February 17th, 2019


Pineapple LilyEucomis comosa

Pineapple%2Blily.jpgGrows in the wettest parts of South Africa where it orginates.


Member of the Asparagaceae family.

Pineapple lily is a bulbous perennial with a basal rosette of lime-green leaves.

Mercedes will say, Mr Pineapple Lily, because it starts from a bulb.

The thick stem  carries hundreds of small star-shaped flowers with a tuft of green bracts at the top. 


This sort of looks like a pineapple top, hence it's common name.

The Pineapple Lily as a cut flower will last for several weeks in the vase.

Cut the stem straight across, because the flower arises from a plant with a bulb, therefore Mr Pineapple Lily.

Remember to always use filtered water.



I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Real World Gardener Sage as Herbal in Plant of the Week

February 17th, 2019


Sage as Herbal

Herbs are great plants to grow in the garden because they’re so useful in cooking. 
But perhaps you’re not using your herbs to fullest? 



Even if you just made a tea, you’re expanding the usefulness of that herb. 

But what kind of benefits would you get from just drinking a freshly made herbal tea? 
Let’s find out … I'm talking to new contributor Simone Jeffries, a naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist. 

Sage is Salvia officinalis which you may already know, means it’s the one for medicinal use. 
There’s no point buying a Pineapple sage plant and using it’s leaves, it just has to be the medicinal sage which is also the culinary sage. plant-flower%2Bsage.jpg
There are heaps of benefits of drinking Sage tea but Sage tea is an acquired taste. 

Put 6 fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water and let steep for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Somone says "Sip throughout the day for control of night sweats for post-menopausal ladies."
So, if you really want the benefits, then you’ve just got to drink it as Simone says, maybe add a dash of honey. 
If you have any questions either for me or Simone why not write in to

Real World Gardener Alluring Anthuriums in Plant of the Week

February 17th, 2019


Anthurium "Allure."

Listeners in southern states will have to keep this plant outdoors, however if you live in Townsville or around the Top End, outdoors will be no problem all year round but not in full sun.

But what is this alluring plant with dark green luscious, tropical leaves.

Let’s find out …


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

Anthuriums are evergreen, subtropical small plants with dark green glossy heart shaped flowers and leaves.

They’re great for indoors as houseplants but if you live in the tropics, they also make beautiful underplanting for shady and part-shady spots.


If you have any questions either for me or Jeremy or Karen why not write in to

Real World Gardener Beautiful Firetail Finch in Wildlife in Focus

February 17th, 2019


Beautiful Firetail Finch: Stagonopleura bella

Over the years, Australian birds have featured on this program, but how good are we at identifying the calls?

It’s not that easy is it?


Beautiful Firetail finch

What about placing a particular bird in the correct family of birds?

That should be easier so where do finches sit? Parrot family or Passerine?

Let’s find out . 

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from


Amazing to see in the wild, males and female Firetail Finches are similar, being small and chunky, with striking barring and a pale blue eye ring.

Let’s hope listeners that people don’t mistake them for mice scuttling about the long grass looking for grass seeds.

They also like the seeds of Casuarinas and Tea-Trees.

Can you imagine this little bird building an exact bottle shaped nest tipped on its side? 

The nest is built from grass and carefully woven by both of the birds.

Not found in urban settings that much, but in shrubby settings.


If you have any questions either for me or for Holly, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675



Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App