Real World Gardener Winter Roses in Talking Flowers

July 4th, 2019


Winter Roses: Helleborus orientalis, Helleborus niger, Helleborus x hybridus

Family: Ranunculaceae along with buttercups and ranunculus.

Hellebore_purple.jpegThe common name is winter rose or Lenten rose because if flowers in winter. Looks rose-like don't you think?

Floral meaning: Floral Meaning: said to provide protection and a vase of hellebore, brought into 

a room will drive away an unpleasant atmosphere and replace it with tranquility.

  • ·         Hellebores grow best in part shade, with moist but well-drained soils. They will, however, tolerate most soils as long as not waterlogged.
  • ·         Slow to get established, and can be left alone for years.
  • ·         Don’t like being disturbed as this sets them back.
  • ·         If you do want to divide, or need to transplant, autumn is best. 
  • ·         Dig the whole plant, wash off soil, then divide with a sharp knife between growth buds.  Leave at least 3 buds on each division.  
  • Mercedes' Tip: · Make excellent cut flowers, that last up to 5 days. To extend their shelf life, plunging the stems, up to their necks in boiling water, before placing them in a vase.

I'm speaking with Mercedes Sarmini, floral therapist of

Real World Gardener Harvesting Root Perennials in The Good Earth

July 4th, 2019


Harvesting Root Crops

There are plenty of shall we say, perennial root crops that go dormant in winter in temperate and cool climates, but need to be in a spot where they remain for several years.

These plants are economical to grow because they’re pretty easy and give you a bumper crop from just one plant.

 Although these vegetables hail from tropical countries, because they die down in winter, you can grow them anywhere.

Pictured is an easy to grow tumeric plant, tumeric tubers and the cut tubers before drying


I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of


Turmeric tubers photo Margaret Mossakowska

Margaret suggested, turmeric, ginger, yacon, sweet potato, horseradish and comfrey as some of her best root crops.

These can be grown in the coolest parts of Australia because they become dormant during the winter months.

The general rule of thumb is to harvest them when the leaves turn yellow.

If you have any questions for Margaret or for me, you know what to do.

Real World Gardener How To Create Segmented Stone Paths in Design Elements

July 4th, 2019


Segmented Stone Paths: Garden Paths part 3

It would seem that our garden path is taking forever to finish, or maybe that it’s just so long we’re still walking on it.

So far, this series has covered gravel and paths made out of local stone, but this week it’s just a bit different.



What is segmented stone? Is that paving? 

I'm talking with Landscape Designer, and, Director of Urban Meadows Jason Cornish.


Segmented paving is pavers laid in a pattern. Councils use them in footpaths because if they need digging up to get to various services, they're easier to dig up than concrete footpaths.

If you’re thinking about doing it yourself, Jason’s tip is keeping the pavers level is the way to get a professional finish. 

Plus, it’s reasonably hard to do all the work yourself, the excavation, laying the sand bed, compacting the sand, then connecting all the pavers. 

For do it yourselfers:

  • First you need to excavate to the depth of the paver, plus sand and road base, say 100-120mm.
  • Second, use a compactor on the sand to level it off and make it a hard base.
  • For the cheats way of no cutting, choose pavers that fit the width of the path exactly. Otherwise you'll need to cut the pavers.
  • Fill in the joints with either sand or sand and mortar together.
  • The latter stops the weeds making for a happy gardener.

If you have any questions either for me or for Jason, drop us a line to or write in 


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