Real World Gardener Emu Bush is Plant of the Week

May 29th, 2020


Scientific name: Eremophila sp. 

Common name: emu bush


EtymologyTheir name is from the Greek 'eremos' meaning desert and 'philio' - love. 

Distribution: Australia especially Wetern Australia

Native Habitat:Grow where rainfall is sparse, adapted to dry habitats

Climate: Warm temperate, Mediterranean, Semi-arid, Arid



Here we go with one of those little heard of native plants that’s probably hard to track down.

But it’s the distinctive, but diverse flowers of these plants (eremophila) that are the real show-stoppers. 


Let’s find out more.

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

Adrian says don't expect them to last more than several years if growing them on the eastern, because of the high humidity.

The general species have grey leaves with purple flowers.

Grafted plants, although more expensive, last longer. Eremophila nivea is one example that's available as a grafted plant.

  • Tip: check out the Olive Pink garden in Alice Spring.

Eremophilas come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from ground covers to shrubs, to small trees and they can be found growing in the toughest of conditions.

They are drought resistant and tolerant of frost once established.

  • Some of the flowers are insect pollinated and others are pollinated by birds. It's apparent by the colour and shape of the flower. "The flat, purple or violet ones tend to be insect pollinated. Some flowers have little tracks on the inside which are like landing strips for the insects."
  • "The tubular flowers are more often bird-pollinated - their beaks delve into the long tubes for the nectar at the bottom. The pollen ends up on their heads and they move on to the next flower. Tubular flowers have a curious twist: they flare at the ends and split in such a way that they look like they are growing backwards on their stems.


  1. bignoniflora grows well in Adelaide Botanic Gardens.


Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 2 in Design Elements

May 27th, 2020


Edible Gardens part 2

Soil preparation

Vegetable gardens can be any size or shape.

You can plant them out in purpose built raised beds, in pots, old fruit crates or even old corrugated iron tanks. 


Most veggie gardens need a good friable soil with good water holding capacity.

This is the time to invest in a compost bin and worm farm.

But what else you need to do?

Let’s find out more…

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist.

In any garden for vegetables you need to be able to work the soil to a 200mm depth.

Soil-Organic-Fertilizer-Compost-Garden-HMany root vegetables, such as parsnips and carrots, need this amount of friable soil so their roots can grow straight.

Local councils usually run composting and worm farm workshops, where not only do you learn how to do it, but you can purchase the worm farm and compost bin and greatly reduced prices.

This is a great idea because you're recycling your vegetable scraps into something that you can use for the garden, instead of them going to landfill and contributing to greenhouse emissions.

The worm wee or worm "woo," as Glenice calls it is also very beneficial to your plants.

Simply dilute until it looks like weak tea before applying to your veggies.

If you don't have enough compost to fill that vegetable bed, you can buy in one of the many different brands available, either by the truckload or by the bag.

Don't be in a rush to start planting.

Spend the time to prepare the soil properly, even taking 6 months.

Glenice recommends a bucket of organic fertiliser per square metre. You can use anything from spent mushroom compost, cow manure, to pelletised chook poo.

Vegetables themselves are quite beautiful in their own right, so they would be a lovely addition to other ornamental plants.


If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer in Talking Flowers

May 21st, 2020


How to Make Your Flowers Last Longer.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini



Basics: Mercedes' definition of cut flowers to help you with how to treat them. 

Mercedes, classifies them not by their sexual reproduction organs by into two categories, seed grown or grown from a bulb, corm, rhizome or tuber.

  • Male Cut flowers: grow from a bulb, corm, rhizome or tuber.
  • Female cut flowers: grow from seed.
  • Male cut flowers: stems are cut straight across.
  • Female cut flowers: stems are cut on an angle.

How Much Water Do I Put into the Vase?

Mr Tulip: Mr Hyacinth: Orchids: shallow water only.

Miss Sunflower: Miss Gerbera: shallow water only.


  • Change the water daily-use only filtered water or water that has been standing for 4 hours.

Flower food:change the water on the third day. 

Not all cut flowers like flower food-anything native, woody stem cut flowers.

  • Mist your flowers daily for orchids with only filtered water.
  • Cut your flowers when early morning or evening when starch is at it's highest within the stem.


Real World Gardener Native Fuschias in Plant of the Week

May 21st, 2020


Correa species

Plants with bell shaped flowers are pretty much sought after by gardeners because the flowers are unusual and add an extra dimension to the floral palette. 
The good old fashioned fuchsia is however not easy for gardeners to grow in some districts so what can you do?

Correa alba

Turn to the native equivalent, which is much more hardy and suited to a variety of climates. 
Let’s find out more. 
That was Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 

Distribution: mainly eastern Australia
Flower: C. reflexa has the tips of the joined petals, turned back with eight stamens that stick out. May to November is the main flowering time with spot flowering in between.
Location: Light shade with moisture: suitable for under trees.
  • Notes: They may not last forever in your garden, but will brighten up the cooler months.
  • They like dry shade but do better with a bit of a drink, especially as they have fine shallow roots. Mulching with help retain moisture.
  • If they grow leggy, give them a light prune.
Adrian and I focussed on four species of correa:

  • Correa, reflexa,
  • Correa pulchella, wide colour range from pale red, pink and orange that flower in autumn and winter.
    Correa bauerlenii: Chef's cap Correa
  • Correa alba with whitish flowers and tomentose leaves
  • Correa bauerlenii.tends to be limey green scented flowers.


Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 1 in Design Elements

May 21st, 2020


Edible Garden series part 1

During the last month or more, seeds, and seedlings have been flying off the shelves.

Seed companies and nurseries, normally would expect that at the start of spring, but in these current times, people are turning to good old fashioned growing your own veggies.

That’s a good thing, but what should beginner and advanced gardeners really need to know to be successful.

Over the coming weeks, Glenice will be bringing to you a comprehensive guide to growing your own edible garden. Whether you have a large vegetable garden, a group of planters on a verandah or a few spaces within existing garden beds, you can at least grow some of your own food.

Lynn Woods garden Ulverstone Tasmania.

So how do you start? 

Glenice says "Pick the spot that provides the most ideal conditions."

I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist.

So if you haven’t started a veggie garden yet think on this.

According to “sustainability Victoria” they reckon that if you grow your own food you

  • save money and supplement your household food supply
  • save water – home grown food uses less water relative to the amount of food harvested
  • reduce your shopping miles
  • reduce packaging
  • reduce food waste
  • enjoy fresher, more nutritious and more delicious food
  • know exactly what you're eating (e.g. no pesticides)
  • get some exercise and reduce your stress levels.

 Top Tips

Finding the right spot for your edible plants can sometimes be a bit of trial and error, however in general most vegetables will require about six hours of good direct sunlight for them to crop well. There are a few exceptions to this rule but in general six hours is the key. You can modify nearly everything else in gardening but you can’t modify or increase the amount of sunshine an area will receive unless you get into grow lights etc which is a whole other topic.

Ideally if you are going to grow vegetables in the ground, in pots or planters, you will need to also have a fairly flat area with no great slopes. If you are going to construct your own above ground beds, you will have a little bit more flexibility as you can build the beds to adapt to a slope. The other issue to think about is that you will be spending a fair amount of time in this space, so you need to ask yourself:

Things to consider:

  •  Is it easy to bend over the beds and weed?
  • Is the ground surface cover easy to walk and stand on?
  • Can you access the areas easily with a wheel barrow?
  • You also need to ask yourself:
  • Can you get water in the area?
  • Is there a tap close by?
  • Do I need to get a longer hose?
  • Do I need another water tank?

If you have any questions of course, why not email or

or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener How to Treat Dry Soils in Plant Doctor

May 9th, 2020


Saving Water and Soil Wetters

The weather has started to cool especially in some districts, however, there are still others that are experiencing warm conditions. 
Not far from many gardeners thoughts, are saving water. 
For those on town water, the water bill may seem pretty high but if you’re relying on tank water, then water may need to be conserved ever so carefully.

In this next segment, Steve and I go through some water saving tactics, some old some new. 
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from 
Let’s find out . 

There are plenty of water saving tips that you could try if you're not doing that alrady.

  1. Wash your vegetables in a tub of water
  2. Run-off the cold water for your shower into a bucket or watering can
  3. Direct the water from your washing machine onto the garden.
  • Grey water is not regarded as sterile. You should not be storing grey water.
  • Not safe for edible plants.

How Wetting Agents Work?

Soils that have been dry for a long period or are low in organic matter may become water repellant.

When you water, it tends to run off or pool on the surface.

Why? soil particles develop waxy coating.

Wetting agents contain molecules that adhere to waxy particles and water at the same time.

When applied to the soil, the molecule grabs onto the soil particle that's coated in wax, so that when you water,  the water gets grabbed by the wetting agent so the water penetrates the soil.


If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Hoyas in Plant of the Week

May 5th, 2020


Scientific name:Hoya species. 

Common name:Wax flower

Family: Apocynaceae


There are some plants that quietly go about their business without too much fuss making them a little unnoticed in your garden.

I have these two hoyas in the garden, which flower without fail, fuss or drama. 
Then they flower, and you wonder at how marvelous the flower is and most likely think about how little you did anything for that plant to make it flower so well. 
  • So why is it that they're not stars in the garden?
Hoya carnosa

 Let’s find out more. 

I'm talking with Karen Smith editor of Hort Journal, and President of the Interior Plantscape Association. 
You could best describe hoyas as evergreen perennial twining creepers or vines. 

1-DSC_0261-001.JPGThey mostly possess adventitious roots, which simply means roots that grow aerially from their twining stems.
  • They have simple entire fleshy leaves in opposite pairs.
  • The leaf shape varies considerably, with one species having heart shaped leaves: Hoya kerrii.
  • being in the Apocynaceae family, their stems often exude a sticky substance.
In their natural habitat, they often grow epiphytically on trees; some grow terrestrially, or occasionally in rocky areas.
  • Most hoya don’t mind being a little rootbound, as they are used to growing epiphytically, so I don’t often repot my hoya.
Hoyas are marvellous plants, and believe it or not, there are hoya societies with avid collectors 
around Australia. 

Bring them indoors or grow them outside, either under cover, under the shade of a tree, or if you’re in cold climate, in a green house.

Hoya pubicalyx

Real World Gardener Huacatay in Spice It Up

May 5th, 2020


Huacatay: Stinking Roger

Unless you’re a herb and spice expert, there’s bound to be a few spices that you’ve never heard of. 
Perhaps Mace isn’t so well known, or asafetida, ajowan, nigella and salem or cubeb peppers. 
But then a herb comes along that even stumps the guru that comes on the program, and it even turns out to be a weed.


So what can it be? 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from 

Huacatay leaves are a little bit like cilantro or coriander.

The flavour profile is supposed to have notes of basil, spearmint, citrus with notes of tarragon, 
Also used a lot in South American food going with pork and duck very well. A traditional dish made with potato and goat, called "Ocapa."
Good companion plant for other plants as its reputed to control nematodes.
Huacatay is not available for sale as a herb, but is one you would need to find as 'wild harvest.'
  • If you have stinking roger growing in your garden, then perhaps the dried leaf could be used in cooking, but I wouldn’t recommend harvesting anything along the roadside because it may have been sprayed with an insecticide.
  • Not only that, all the fallout from hundreds of cars passing the weed, shall we say, won’t be a good thing to want to eat no matter how many times you washed it. 

Ian says that he imagines that from 1 kilogram of fresh leaf you would get about 100grams of dried leaf.
If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Privacy With Container Plants in Plant Doctor

May 1st, 2020


Plants for Privacy in a Container

What do you do if you want a plant for privacy but there’s either not enough soil in that location or you’re in an apartment? 
I’ve talked about big trees in pots with horticulturist, Adrian O’Malley from Plant of the Week, before, but it doesn’t have to be just about trees for privacy. 
So what can it be? 
Let’s find out . 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from 
PLAY: Plants for Privacy in pots_15th April 2020 
Choose as large a pot/container as you can accommodate in the spot where you want to achieve some privacy.
For my Magnolia 'Little Gem,' I have a 60cm terracotta round pot.
The disadvantage with round terracotta or ceramic pots, is that they can be bowled over in strong winds.
Mine has a large crack down one side having been blown to the ground numerous times during strong winds.

Magnolia Little Gem surround by orchids. 
Cracked terracotta pot after being knocked over in strong winds.
There is of course the problem of replacing the soil which over a few years, will slump.

Rejuvenating Your Large Potted Plant

  • TIP: employ help to push the container gently to the side then ease out the tree or large shrub.
  • Use this opportunity to give the plant a root prune, about 10% all over.
  • Replace any loose soil with good quality potting mix and only a couple of handfuls of compost, whether homemade or store bought.
If you really want a sure fire winner, then choose Murraya paniculata or commonly called Murraya, for your screening option. 
Yes, I know it’s pretty common, but that’s a good choice if you’re prone to forgetting to prune it. 
A lesser known and somewhat handsome plant that Steve mentioned is Radermachera “Summer Scent.” 
Originating from Southern China, Summerscent has lush, glossy, compact foliage. 
Best of all this plant has clusters of white to pale pink scented flowers that flower profusely throughout the warmer months. 
A perfect plant for hedging or screens as it responds well to pruning and adds a tropical feel to the garden. 
Summerscent grows well in full sun and shade as well as indoors if kept in a well lit position. 
If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Tree Assessment How To’s in Design Elements

May 1st, 2020


Assessing Trees for Failure ( following on from blog on "Why Trees Fail"

Trees are so beneficial in a garden that I can’t imagine having a garden without them. 
For me they provide, an element of height, but often the ones I choose have flowers with sumptuous scent, and in summer, they provide much needed shade.

Arbutus unedo: Strawberry Tree photo: M Cannon

But how to prevent them from failing is the question in this week’s segment. 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer 
PLAY: Assessing Why Trees Fall_1st April 2020 

Trees fall from time to time and believe it or not, sometimes it’s not predictable, and sometimes it is. 
Glenice says "it's totally impossible to predict if and when a tree will fail"

 BUT you can seek professional advice from a consulting arborist to relieve any worry that you have about that particular tree. 
Champion tree in Stowe, England.
  • The consulting arborist can make recommendation as to how to mitigate and potential problems.

Remember, a tree expert will cut out limbs correctly if they need cutting so the tree will be less likely to get insect attack or decay forming. 
Consideration is given to remaining trees, if one needs to be taken out because it exposes them to more natural elements such as wind and changes in hydrology of the soil.

  • Trees will overtime adapt if they lose a surrounding buffer.
A qualified arborist will use methods as outlined by QTRA and TRAQ are methods of tree risk assessment.
QTRA-Quantitive Tree Risk Assessment
TRAQ-Tree Risk Assessment Qualification.
From the site

"The terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk are not interchangeable.... A tree-failure hazard is present when a tree has potential to cause harm to people or property.  ‘Risk’ is the probability of something adverse happening; the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm.

Assessment of tree-failure hazards requires consideration of the mechanical integrity of the tree and the likelihood that the tree or part of it will fail within a given period."

If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.



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