Real World Gardener Australian Kauri Pine in Plant of the Week

March 28th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Kauri Pine: Agathis robusta-an Australian native

Over the last few weeks in this segment, we’ve been talking about big, big trees, and today’s offering is no exception. 

Kauri pine, like it's name states, is a conifer in the Araucariaceae family.
Also considered a dinosaur tree because it evolved millions of years ago when Australia was largely subtropical all over and not just in Queensland.

Kauri%2BPine.jpg
Kauri pine: Agathis robusta

So let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Agathis Robusta_11th March 2020 

Big trees in pots: 
  • The Kauri pine is quite happy in pots if you have limited space.
  • Just need to be root pruned every couple of years, but no more than 10% all round.
Being an ancient conifer it comes from an era when the world was much wetter and rainforest covered all of Australia.
The tree has  big wide, leathery leaves with parallel veins. Leaves are in opposite pairs and 5-12cm long. The bark is smoothish, grey or a sort of grey brown.

beautiful-foliage-branch-Kaurie%2Bpine.j
Leaves of kauri pine, no mid-rib.
The lower part of the trunk is free of branches, having dropped off as it grows.
The pine cones come in to shapes. Male cones are long and narrow, but female cones are rounded, 8-13cm in diameter.

Agathis%2Brobusta%2Bfemale%2Bcone.jpg
Agathis robuasta female cones

  • The Queensland Kauri is a little known but magnificent specimen, that dates back to the mid-Jurassic period.

Agathis or Qld Kauri can live for centuries, but did you know that they were logged for their straight timber too much so by 1922, the Forestry Branch reported: ‘Of kauri pine the southern resource is utterly gone.’ 

The wood was used to cabinetry, floorboards, kitchen sinks, and boat building during the 1920's and 30's. 
  • Geelong Botanic Gardens have an avenue of Kauri pine trees planted around the 1860's.
  • Sydney Botanic gardens have one large specimen not far from the kiosk and close to the giant Dragon's Blood tree.

If you want to hug these large mature trees, you'll find that the girth is massive and it's more likely that 4-5 people with arms outstretched might make it being 150cm or so in circumference.

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Prepare for Spring Now in Design Elements

March 28th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Spring Bulb Preparation: No Time Like Now
Have you ordered your spring bulbs yet?
Spring might seem far away, but for the prepared gardener there’s planning and preparation to be done right now.
Especially if you like spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, freesias and many more. 

1-1-DSC_0471.JPG
photo M Cannon

Some of the planning involves looking at bulb catalogues, either ones you received in the post or online.
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Landscape Designer,  Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au
PLAY: Spring bulb prep_11th March 2020

Fun decisions need to be made as to which bulbs to buy and plant.
Spring bulbs include,tulips (cooler climates) snowflakes, jonquils, daffodils, freesias, spring stars, alliums (cooler climates), anemones, ranunculus, sparaxis, 

  • Glenice mentioned. Allium giganteum, the giant alliums, and Allium atropurpureum from Southern Europe that carry golf ball sized heads of dark, almost black, maroon-purple flowers from late October well into November. 
  • If you want to grow these in temperate climates you need to place a 2 litre bucket of ice-cubes on where the bulbs are planted every morning.

TIP:Remember, bulbs are a living thing, and need to be planted out mostly in Autumn. If you wait too long, they will dry out and be totally worthless.

  • Soil preparation: The big tip from Glenice, is dig in plenty of organic matter into the soil before adding your bulbs. Before planting, cultivate the soil and ensure that it is well drained  with plenty of compost and decomposed manures. 

TIP: When sowing ranunculus, soak in a weak solution of seaweed liquid for 1 hour before planting, claws pointing downward.

  • Bulbs in pots: don't place a saucer under the pot so that when it rains, the pot is sitting water.

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about spring bulbs, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Silky Oak is Plant of the Week

March 27th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Silky Oak: Grevillea robusta

Here’s a semi-deciduous grevillea, that can grow into a big tree. Flowering at the same time as Jacarandas and just as spectacular. 
When you see one, you don't think the Silky Oak as being a large tree. But here it is.

A bit messy, semi-deciduous, losing a lot of leaves from time to time. 
Grevilleas like this one are nectar rich, loved by the lorikeets. 

Grevillea_robusta_leaves_and_flowers_1.j

Apart from that drawback, the leaves are attractive with the added bonus is that the flowers are attractive to birds that come from all around the district to have a feast on the nectar of the flowers. 
So let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY:Silky Oak_4th March 2020 2020 

Silky%2BOak%2Btree.jpgThe silky oak flowers at the same time as Brachychiton querquifolia and Jacaranda mimosifolia, and there are some large gardens that have those big three. 
  • Brachychiton has the striking red flowers, contrasting with the purple of the Jacaranda and the golden yellow of the silky oak. 
So much nectar that on hot days, the nectar ferments, so the birds become intoxicated when sipping on the nectar, and become quite territorial.
When growing in pots, they take on the classical conifer type shape.
Remember Adrian's maxim, "spend a penny on the pot and a pound on the soil."
Very impressive to look at. 
The timber has a marbling dotty effect and is quite rot resistant should you come across this scarce resource.
The timber used to be used for frames around windows.
If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Creating Rain Gardens in The Good Earth

March 27th, 2020

THE GOOD EARTH

Rain Gardens or Flood Mitigation.

Rain isn’t always reliable so rather than letting it flow into the stormwater especially when there’s a deluge, there are ways to let slow the water. Bog%2Bgarden%2Bon%2Bnature%2Bstrip.jpg

Of course there’s rainwater tanks, but you may need more than what they can hold. 
You need to change your thinking and work out a way to keep water in your garden longer.
Let’s find out more. 

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska, director of www.mosshouse.com.au 
Slowing the rush of water when there’s a deluge, will prevent your drains from backing up and possibly flooding your house. 

  • You can create rain gardens, wetlands or bog gardens.
If you have a spot in your garden where water likes to gather after rain, that's a good spot to create a bog garden.  It doesn't have to be any deeper than 10cm.
There are many Australian natives that would suit to grow in a bog garden.
Plants that suit for this situation are 
Marsh Flower (Villarsia exaltata), 
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), 
Tassel Sedge (Carex fascicularis), 
Jointed Twig-rush (Baumea articulata) and Water Ribbons (Triglochin procerum).

Rain_garden_%25282014%2529.jpg

 
Rain gardens are a filtering garden and aim to slow water from leaving your property.
Think of all that water gushing out of your downpipe going to the storm water, when instead, it could be passing through a rain garden.
Choose any container, such as half a rainwater tank, or any sort of large plastic container.
Have an overlow at least half way up rather than letting the soil at the top float away.
Put in lots of sand at the bottom with soil/compost on top. The rain should just percolate through this soil rather than rushing down the drain.
Reed and native grasses suit to be planted in this type of garden.
There’s a choice of rain gardens or bog gardens, it’s up to you. 
If you want to know more or if you have any questions about reed beds, rain gardens or flood gardens, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.
 

Real World Gardener Plum Pines in Plant of the Week

March 5th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Podocarpus elatus: Plum Pine

 

Are you of the opinion that all pine trees have pine cones and needle like leaves?

Most gardeners associate pine trees with Christmas because after all, that’s a conifer. Right?

Wrong? 

Before the continents separated, there was a lot of rainforest over the earth and there was no need for trees or any plants to adapt to dry periods.

Needle like leaves are for conserving moisture after all.

So what did conifers look like millions of years ago? 

podocarpus%2Belatus.jpg

Podocarpus elatus:plum pine

 

So let’s find out.

I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

PLAY: :Plum pine_19th February 2020

The plum pine has been around for 250 million years back when the world was a big rainforest with plenty of rainfall.

No need for needle leaves to conserve water back then, but instead large leaves, and they do not have cones like the other conifers but instead have a single seed attached by a fleshy stem to the branch.

The purple fruit have a sort of plum like flavour and can be used for making sauces, jams and relishes.

  • Botanical Bite: Trees are dioecious, (different house), meaning the male and female flowers parts are on separate trees.

You would need to consider planting two or three of these trees together to ensure you get any fruit at all.

  • Be aware, when the pines do bear fruit, birds and flying foxes will come a calling and spit out the pips, leaving a purple stain on your nice paving. Best to not grow it near your driveway or paving.

Adrian had a plant in a pot, which does quite well with root pruning every few years. In the ground the tree will grow to 12 metres in its natural habitat, but a lot less in your backyard garden.

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Say it With Red Flowers in Talking Flowers

March 5th, 2020

TALKING FLOWERS

All Flowers that are red

In the studio, we held the flowers of Tiger Bay dahlia, Red Pierre rose, red geraniums, red gladioli, buds of flowering gum and a leucodendron.

For all flowers that arise from tubers, cut the stems flush across the bottom. Mercedes calls these :male' flowers. Not to be confused with the male parts of flowers or male flowers on cucurbits.

This is simply a term to distinguish how to treat the stems of cut flowers.

Tip: Gladioli needs the top few cms removed so that the blooms sit up straight.

  • List of red flowers available as cut flowers in February.

China aster, bouvardia, dahlia, gerbera, nerine, roses, water lily.

The colour red increases your heart rate and appetite, but is also a symbol of passion.

  • Trees that have red flowers in February: Stenocarpus sinuatus: Firewheel tree. (pictured.)

Firewheel%2Btree%2Bflowers.jpg

Real World Gardener Featuring Frangipanis part 2

March 5th, 2020

Frangipanis and...

 

Some plants develop a following or have societies created around them, where fellow collectors swap cuttings, ideas and seeds of that particular genus. 

JJs%2BDesert%2BSunrise%2Bphoto%2BSusan%2
JJ's Desert Sunrise photo Susan Newie

Frangipanis are tropical trees are loved by many collectors, and funnily enough, these collectors are going for the darker coloured flowers, like the dark reds, or almost black flowers.

  • But it’s not only the colour of the flowers that drives collectors crazy, it’s the size of the flowers and how they lookEvery so often that present a show, usually annually or biannually to sell some of their plants to the public.

This is the time to pick up something rare and exciting that you will never find in a nursery, garden centre let alone a big box store, and it’s not to be missed. 
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi, President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. 

Anthony, mentioned the Moragne hybrids. 
Bill Moragne is the father of Plumeria breeding.

Plumeria%2Bclassic.jpg
#27 

A professional horticulturist in Hawaii during the 1950’s he pioneered and perfected the cross breeding/hybridizing technique for frangipanis. 
His best hybrids set the standard years ago and they still do today.

  • Why Doesn't My frangipani flower?
Answer: 
  • It may be too young. 
When you first buy your frangipani plant, whether just a cutting or in a pot, it will most likely flower in the first year. The second year, it will put all its energy into growing strong roots and lengthening branches.
While it's still young, the stems will need a minimum of 2 years before the wood is ready again to produce buds and flower. The same applies, if you prune it.
 
  • After that, you may need to think about your fertilising regime.
Anthony recommends Sudden Impact for Roses, but following it up with a couple of applications of potash granules applied in spring and summer.
  • The third factor is, sunlight. 
Is your frangipani growing in full all day sun?
If it's not getting enough sun,  a minimum of 6 hours, it will resolutely fail to flower.
Not all the colour variations have strong perfume, but quite a few have flowers that are 10cm across, and imagine that amplified with a bunch of flowers,.
You end up with a cluster of flowers the size of a basketball.
Now that’s something to see.

Pink%2BOrange%2BPlumeria.jpg

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about where to get these amazing cultivars, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Featuring Frangipanis part 1

March 5th, 2020

Frangipanis and...

 

Some plants develop a following or have societies created around them, where fellow collectors swap cuttings, ideas and seeds of that particular genus. 

JJs%2BDesert%2BSunrise%2Bphoto%2BSusan%2
JJ's Desert Sunrise photo Susan Newie

Frangipanis are tropical trees are loved by many collectors, and funnily enough, these collectors are going for the darker coloured flowers, like the dark reds, or almost black flowers.

  • But it’s not only the colour of the flowers that drives collectors crazy, it’s the size of the flowers and how they lookEvery so often that present a show, usually annually or biannually to sell some of their plants to the public.

This is the time to pick up something rare and exciting that you will never find in a nursery, garden centre let alone a big box store, and it’s not to be missed. 
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi, President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. 

Anthony, mentioned the Moragne hybrids. 
Bill Moragne is the father of Plumeria breeding.

Plumeria%2Bclassic.jpg
#27 

A professional horticulturist in Hawaii during the 1950’s he pioneered and perfected the cross breeding/hybridizing technique for frangipanis. 
His best hybrids set the standard years ago and they still do today.

Why Doesn't My frangipani flower?

Answer: 
  • It may be too young. 
When you first buy your frangipani plant, whether just a cutting or in a pot, it will most likely flower in the first year. The second year, it will put all its energy into growing strong roots and lengthening branches.
While it's still young, the stems will need a minimum of 2 years before the wood is ready again to produce buds and flower. The same applies, if you prune it.
 
  • After that, you may need to think about your fertilising regime.
Anthony recommends Sudden Impact for Roses, but following it up with a couple of applications of potash granules applied in spring and summer.
  • The third factor is, sunlight. 
Is your frangipani growing in full all day sun?
If it's not getting enough sun,  a minimum of 6 hours, it will resolutely fail to flower.
Not all the colour variations have strong perfume, but quite a few have flowers that are 10cm across, and imagine that amplified with a bunch of flowers,.
You end up with a cluster of flowers the size of a basketball.
Now that’s something to see.

Pink%2BOrange%2BPlumeria.jpg

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about where to get these amazing cultivars, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener What Next After Fire Design Elements

March 3rd, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

What Next After Fire?

 

This series is about the task of assessing and rebuilding a garden after a fire event.

There may be burnt trees and shrubs on your property, but can you just get out the chainsaw, axe or other pruning tools and chop them down?

Regeneration%2Bafter%2Bbushfire.jpg

Yep, burnt ground and trees after fire

Should you seek advice first?

 

Let’s find out.

 

That was Wayne van Balen, immediate past president of the Institute of Horticulture and Manager of the registered horticulturist program.

A fire event is not open slather to remove trees and shrubs from your property unless there’s a risk of person or property damage.

Assessment has to be done first.

Real World Gardener Firewheel Tree is Plant of the Week

March 3rd, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Stenocarpus sinuatus: Firewheel tree

At this time of year (late summer in Australia), there’s a spectacular tree in some parks and gardens that is full of the native birdlife because they’re after the nectar laden bright red flowers.

One of my favourite trees. The flowers are just magnificent and so unusual.
Like the spokes of a wheel, they inspired the logo for my radio show. 
 

Firewheel%2Btree%2Bflowers.jpg
Stenocarpus sinuatus : firewheel tree

A beautiful tree that is often overlooked for gardens but maybe you should grow it. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 

The tree is laden with nectar and as usual, the crazy parrots, such as lorikeets, go for the flowers, screeching their delightful tune as they take a sip.

Firewheel%2Btree%2B3.jpgSometimes, the nectar ferments in the hot sun making the birds a little more jolly.
Ring tail possums like to chew on the new leaves during the warm months.
The leaves are quite large, up to 20cm in length and they are quite leathery.

The green, lobed leaves are similar to those of maple trees, featuring five main veins which are yellowish-green and prominent on the underside of the leaf. One of this tree’s most outstanding features is its distinct autumn foliage – a highlight of the autumn season, so people reckon, but not so much in my garden.

My tree has profuse bright red and orange flowers creating a spectacular display from summer to autumn. Shaped like the spokes of a wheel before they open, these symmetrical blossoms may be up to 10 cm in diameter and are highly attractive, especially to birds.

The leaves are not great for composting, in fact it would take years, so best to put them in the green bin.
Adrian says that you can grow this tree in a pot for some years, but make it a large pot.
When the leaves start dropping you might need to think about putting in the garden or shifting it to an even larger pot. 
You can also root prune the tree and keep it in the same pot. 
Worth having. 
If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com
 

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