Real World Gardener Gorgeous Geraniums in Talking Flowers

March 28th, 2019


Geraniums: Pelargonium hybrids


Common geraniums belong to the genus Pelargonium(280 spp), while true geraniums belong to the genus Geranium. (422 species).

Family Geraniaceae.

The name geranium comes from a Greek work geranos, which basically means crane.

True Geraniums are called Cranesbills because of the shape of the fruit capsule?

Most geraniums are native to southern Africa, but some species originated in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East


While both genera were originally classified as geraniums, in 1789 the two genus were separated.


Confused? The common name geranium is used to describe Pelargoniums and Geraniums.

Geranium flowers have five very similar petals, and are thus radially symmetrical (actinomorphic), whereas Pelargonium flowers have two upper petals which are different from the three lower petals, so the flowers have a single plane of symmetry.


These types of Geraniums are really Pelargoniums

When we think of Geraniums, window boxes, and potted gardens comes first to mind.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini from

Real World Gardener What Is A Modern Garden in Design Elements

March 28th, 2019


The Modern Garden Style

Modern garden style is not a new phenomena and is in fact nearly a hundred years old.

The word ‘modern’ gives us the wrong idea because modern is used to describe something that’s recent.

Perhaps the landscapers association or group should consider changing the style that it represents.

Any ideas?

Let’s find out what this style has to offer.

I'm talking with Danielle Collier from Artistic Horticulture.

Perhaps you’ve inherited a modern garden with wide concrete paths and river pebbles in the garden beds.

Most likely though the modern house of post world war II is becoming a thing of the past.

Still the principles of the modern garden are useful, sticking to primary colours and architectural plants. 


In the photo Cycads provide the architectural plants and kangaroo paws add the primary colours.

If you have any questions either for me Danielle why not write in to

Real World Gardener Blue Borage in Spice it Up

March 28th, 2019


Borage: Borago officinalis

Summer’s over but some plants keep going to mid-winter.

Regarded as a herb, this next plant is not available in the herb and spice section of your supermarket.

You can find it in the herb section of some garden centres possibly.


Borage leaves and flowers: photo M Cannon

Perhaps you’ve grown it for the bright blue flowers and not really taken much notice of how else you can use this herb.

Let’s find out.

I'm talking with Ian Hemphill


LIVE: Borage_21st March 2019

Borage leaves are rather hairy and don't look appetising at all.

Borage%2Bsoup.jpgYou may have never wondered about using the leaves in cooking before.

But now you know to eat the leaves of Borage. 

Just chop them finely into soups and sauces. 

Make a Borage and Potato soup

Ian recalls a soup his mother made that had potatoes, cauliflower and finely chopped Borage leaves.

  • Saute' a big handful of young finely chopped borage leaves in butter, add 500ml of light chicken stock and a peeled, chopped potato. Cook until potato is soft, then use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and serve with borage flowers.

Just delicious served cold on hot days.

  • Another tip is to freeze borage flowers in ice cubes. 

Then when served in drinks you have the beautiful and sweet borage flower any time you want.

Growing Borage:

The best time to sow though in many districts is Spring because it’s best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C. 

The seeds germinate easily and once in your garden, will happily self sow.

But it's nor really weedy because the seedlings that emerge are quite soft and easy to pull out.

Borage seeds are also loved by chickens.

If you’ve never grown Borage before, now’s the time to start.

Not suitable for indoors but possibly OK in large pots as it’s a tall plant.

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

Real World Gardener Lovely Hypericum in Talking Flowers

March 22nd, 2019


 Hypericum perforatum: St John's Wort

Hypericum, is derived from a Greek word meaning "over an apparition."

 Did you know that the Anglo-Saxon word "wort" means "medicinal herb." ?


Common St. John's Worts are a creeping rhizome that spread quickly.

Grow to 1 metre high with translucent leaves. Small oil glands are present in leaves, making them appear perforated.,


  • Hypericum berries are used as a filler in cut flower arrangements to add contrast. Be sure to ask for some if they take your fancy.
  • Ms Hypericum is a waterholic because of the woody stem, so make sure the water stays topped up in the vase.
  • Lasts for up to 8 days in the vase.
  • The entire plant, particularly its round black seeds gives off a slight turpentine-like odour.

This flower is often associated with cheerfulness and inspiration. 

Hypericum may also be given to those starting new paths in their life.


I'm talking with florist Mercedes Sarmini from flowers

Real World Gardener Federation Style Gardens in Design Elements

March 22nd, 2019


Federation Style Gardens.

Federation architecture is the architectural style in Australia that was mostly seen from around 1890 to 1915.

Most listeners would know that the name refers to the Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901, when the Australian colonies collectively became the Commonwealth of Australia.


Gardens used to be much bigger than they are today and during the evolution of the Federation garden, there were probably more plants available to buy than there are today.

Let’s find out what this style has to offer.

I'm talking with Danielle Collier from Artistic Horticulture.


PLAY: Federation Style Gardens_13th February 2019


Federation architecture embraced Australiana themes and of course the verandah.

Features might include stylised images of the waratah, flannel flower or Queensland Firewheel tree.

Popular Federation Garden plants were:

  • Aspidistra Agapanthus, Buxus hedges, Fruit trees, Hellebores, Hydrangeas, Ivy,
  • Palms, Pelargoniums, Quince, Roses, Succulents and cactiWisteria.
  • Gardens also included themes such as succulent, cacti or orchid gardens.

In the garden also there was a change from evergreen to deciduous trees such as jacaranda, flowering plum and peppercorn.

If you have any questions either for me Danielle why not write in to

Real World Gardener Powdery Mildew on Cucurbits in Plant Doctor

March 22nd, 2019


Fungal Problems of Cucurbits: Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, Pumpkin, Watermelons and Rockmelons.

You might think that it’s only hot and humid weather that brings out this particular fungus to the fore. 

But no, not only is this fungal problem not host specific, but it can blight your plants, both edible and ornamental during a wide temperature range.

Why is that? You might ask.


Powdery Mildew on Cucumber Leaves

Let’s find out

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from


LIVE:Powdery Mildew on Cucurbits_13th March 2019

Powdery mildew is the main fungal disease affecting cucurbits. It looks like a white coating over the leaves and stems of the plants.

Powdery mildew has an effective temperature range of 10 – 30 C and can attack just about everything in the vegetable garden as well as your annual flowers or perennials such as Dahlias. 

eco-fungicide-group-LR.jpgPreventative spraying is best if you have it year after year especially as spores can germinate in some districts all year round.

There’s plenty of preventative treatments, some homemade, others commercial. 

  • Full cream milk works best in sunny weather. Bi-carbonate of soda works reasonably well.
  • Sulphur can be used but it will burn the plants on hot days and also kill off any beneficial insects.

The best solution is Potassium bi-carbonate which is sold as eco-fungicide.

 Under a microscope, potassium bi-carbonate affectively kills off the fungus in 5 minutes.

  • You may find that rotating your choice of treatment gives you the best results with this fungal problem.

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

Real World Gardener Introduction to Garden Styles in Design Elements

March 12th, 2019


Garden Styles: Introduction to Federation, Modern, Formal and French ProvincialStyles of Gardens.


How well do you know your garden history in Australia?

For example when did the Federation garden style begin and end and when did the Modern garden style begin and end?

What were the components of the Federation style?

Let’s find out a little bit about each style.

I'm talking with Danielle Collier from Artistic Horticulture


Garden styles have a long history, much longer that we might think.

Formal gardens for example have their origins in Persia all those centuries ago.

What does it mean for us gardeners?

Well we can embrace a style for our gardens which will in the end give us immense satisfaction.


For Federation gardens, built features such as fountains and gazebos were important. (Pictured)


If you have any questions either for me Danielle why not write in to

Real World Gardener How To Make Natural Soap on The Good Earth

March 12th, 2019


Making Your Own Natural Soap

Soap making is an ancient art, but did you know that you can make your own soap at home? 
Soap making is an art form where the potential ingredient combinations are practically endless. 
Homemade soaps use natural skin-nourishing components such as Almond Oil, Grape-Seed Oil, Macadamia Oil or Margaret's favourite is Coconut Oil.

 These handcrafted soaps are enriched with vitamins, minerals, and beneficial oils that won’t’ dry out your skin like store-bought soaps have a tendency to do. 
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at making soap, listen to this. 
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from 
There are so many dried herbs that you can use to infuse your own soap with. 
Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, Thyme are just a few that you can start with. 
Steep the herbs in your favourite oil for several weeks and then strain off.
There are a few critical steps you need to watch for such as watching the temperature of the caustic soda and only putting the soda into the oil and not the other way around. 

The recipe is important so go to Margaret’s blog to check it here:Making Natural Soap

This is an extract from Margaret's web page on making soap

Recipe ingredients for a soap made from olive oil (this is the “cold” soapmaking process):

  • 1000 grams olive oil (plain or scented with garden plants – see the link above)
  • 135 grams caustic soda crystals. If you want more moisturising soap, add 5% less
  • 380 grams water (= 38% of oil weight)

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 Beautiful Banksia in Talking Flowers

March 12th, 2019


Banksia species

Australia isn't overwhelmed with different types of Banksias.

Banksia is a genus of only around 173 species in the plant family Proteaceae.

All but one occur naturally only in Australia.

Breeders have hybridised many more, think Banksia 'Birthday Candles.'



The flower heads are made up of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of tiny individual flowers grouped together in pairs. 

The colour of the flower heads appear very similar across many species. 

Think a honey coloured brown with some red.

Banksias are great for nectar feeding birds because they flower over autumn and winter when food is scarce for them.

The fruits of banksias (called follicles) are hard and woody and are often grouped together to resemble cones. they're not cones of course because Bankias aren't conifers.

In many species the fruits won't open until they have been burnt or completely dried out.

  • An easy way to release seed is to place the 'cone' in an oven at 120°­140° C for about an hour. 
  • The follicles then open and the seeds can be removed with tweezers. Two black winged seeds are usually found in each follicle.

Real World Gardener Cooling Birds Nest Ferns in Plant of the Week

March 12th, 2019


 NEW  Birds Nest Ferns

  • Asplenium nidus is an epiphytic species of fern in the family Aspleniaceae, native to tropical southeastern Asia, eastern Australia, Hawaii, Polynesia, Christmas Island, India, and eastern Africa.

Ferns are great for shady places in the garden where not many flowering plants will go.

But do you think of ferns as a tad boring?

They’re just green right?

Wrong. Ferns come in all shapes and sizes, with so many different frond shapes and a little variation in colour as well.

But here’s a fern that’s traditionally too big to consider for indoors unless you have a conservatory, now available in a dwarf form too.

Let’s find out why we should grow it.


I'm talking with Jeremy Critchley owner of the

Asplenium nidus 'Crispy Wave'

Jeremy grows a lot of birds nest ferns in different frond shapes and sizes.

Some of these are dwarfish and can be used as indoor plants.

Why not look out for these in your local nursery or garden centre.

Asplenium 'Crispy Wave' or Asplenium' Chrissie' and Asplenium 'Victoria.'

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