Real World Gardener Creating Habitat for Native Bees in The Good Earth

August 26th, 2020

THE GOOD EARTH

Building Habitat for Native Bees

This year, gardening has been taken up by many people who have never gardened before.
But that’s not all, worm farming, keeping chickens and bee-keeping have become more popular because people are spending more time at home. 
You probably know there are honey bees and Australian native bees. 
But which type of bees pollinate your crops better or is there no difference?
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of www.mosshouse.com.au 

Margaret suggests build habitat for the native bees because they are so much better at pollinating your flowers, in particular veggies in the tomato family, than honey bees. 

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  • Building native bee habitat can be bricks made from clay, or wood and other materials.

Margaret's Clay Bricks Recipe

Mix clay with water then 2 or 3 parts of sand.
Margaret then pours the mix into moulds. One litre milk containers say from rice milk.
When dry she drills various size holes into these 'clay' bricks and places them strategically around the garden.
  • For 'blue banded bees,'  or even 'teddy bear bees,' drill holes 6mm in size and 6cm deep. The bees will excavate the holes further.
  • Bees will also next in bricks where the mortar has worn out. 

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Most native bees are dormant or die during the Australian winters.

Flower are important from spring onwards.
Plant flowering trees with small flowers such as melaleucas or paperbarks.
  • Borage is also an excellent plant for bees because it has a high percentage of protein and sugar in the pollen and nectar.

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  • Perennial basil is also fantastic for not only attracting bees but hover flies and other beneficial insects to the garden.
  • Why not also let some parsley or coriander go to seed.
  • Provide some water for the bees-not deep, and include some pebbles so the bees don't drown. Plant saucers are ideal for this purpose.
  If you have questions for Margaret about keeping native bees, or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Tips on choosing Pruning Tools in Tool Time

August 26th, 2020

 TOOL TIME

Tips on Choosing Tools

You might think you have all the garden tools you need in your shed right now, but there’s always lighter, and more ergonomic garden tools that are being released on the market that might make your job a lot easier.

Here I am talking with Tony Mattson
 

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Or you may be thinking of upgrading some of your pruning tools. 
So how do you choose which one is best? 
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking with General Manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au
Checklist #1

Tony’s tip is “buy what you can afford, rather than going for just the cheapest.” 
Another tip: if you do a lot of gardening, then buy something is a bit more heavy duty. 

But more heavy duty does not mean the bigger the better.
sometimes, all you need is something that fits snugly into your hand,  
  • Also ‘Try before you buy” is the mantra

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Checklist point #2

Another point in the checklist is reach.
Two feet on the ground is better that going up a ladder when it comes to pruning.
Think about extendable poles for that extra reach.
Many pruning tool are now much lighter and holding those tools with extendable handles is much easier.
Checklist point #3
Are there spares available for the tools that you want to purchase?
Are the spares more expensive than the tool itself?
Checklist point #4
Warranty covers poor workmanship or poor assembly or poor parts that go into making the garden tool.
The warranty does not cover the chips or blunting you get from heavy pruning. Tony calls these consumables, like ordinary wear and tear on any piece of equipment.
If you have questions for Tony about pruning tools or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Sweet Boronia is Plant of the Week

August 19th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK Nr 3

Common Name: Boronia
Scientific Name: Boronia megastigma; Boronia spp.
Family: Rutaceae
Distribution: in most states
Flowering: winter to spring; flowers are 4-petalled either star shaped or bell-shaped; flower colour is mainly pink or brown, also yellow and green.
Foliage: many have highly aromatic leaves.
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Spring usually is bursts on the scene with flowers galore and abundance of heady scent from many different plants.

If you wanted the queen of scented plants though, you can’t go past this smell native shrub, the boronia, that offers a scent way above its class in size. 
Sounds lovely doesn’t it and it’s endemic to Australia. 
Let’s find out more… 
I'm talking withAdrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Boronias NEW_19th August 2020 
  • Butterfly and insect attracting, boronia always make a lovely addition to your garden. 
  • Plant it where you can enjoy the scent the most, somewhere near the back door, or your outside eating area would be idea.
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Most perfumed cultivars:
  • Brown Boronia:Boronia megastigma
  • Red Boronia (B. heterophylla),
  • Pale-pink Boronia (B. floribunda),
  • the green-flowered, Bremer Boronia (B. clavata),
  • Winter Boronia (B. purdiana),
  • Yellow Boronia (B. tetrandra) 
  • Native Rose (B. serrulata). 
Look out for these different cultivars of boroniasin your nursery, not just the brown boronia. 

If you have any questions about anything gardening, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Creeping Boobialla in Plant of the Week

August 19th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Nr. 2

Scientific name: Myoporum parvifolium
Common Name: Creeping Boobialla
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Distribution: south western New South Wales, central and western Victoria and eastern South Australia.
Description: mat forming shrub with tiny, linear leaves
Growth: spread is up to 3 metres
Flowering:late spring through to early autumn.
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Are you after a low growing plant that’s tough, has pretty little flowers, and doesn’t mind neglect? 
Sounds too perfect, but there is such a plant and it’s endemic to Australia. 
Let’s find out more about creeping boobialla
I'm talking with Adrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 

Also bird and insect attracting makes it a lovely addition to your garden. 

This is one tough little plant, coping with dry sandy soils for long periods, even saline soils.
Excellent as a bank stabiliser in sun or part shade.
  • Creeping boobialla is also excellent as a lawn alternative in low traffic areas.
  • Once the plant has established, you can virtually forget it about.

Real World Gardener Yellow Tea Tree is Plant of the Week

August 19th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name:Leptospermum flavescens 'Cardwell.'
Common Name: Yellow Tea tree
Family: Myrtaceae
Growth: 1.5- 2m in height
Distribution: south coast of New South Wales up to far north Queensland.
Native Habitat: sandstone derived soils.
Flowering: late winter to summer (August to January.) Flowers are cup shaped, creamy white.
Tea trees when they are in heavy flower, you can't see the leaf because they are so floriferous!
  • Leptospermum Cardwell is a tea tree with intensely fragrant leaves all year round, and is covered in typical tea tree flowers from late winter to summer.
Leptospermum 'Cardwell' is a small tidy bush with a weeping habit. Looking similar to a miniature willow tree.

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After flowering the little nut like fruits appear on the bush.
I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

PLAY: Leptospermum Cardwell_5th August 2020 
Tea trees are not necessarily long lived so getting 5 years out of this small shrub is probably good going.

Plant tea trees in fairly sandy or light soils rather than heavy clay soils.
Bird and insect attracting makes it a lovely addition to your garden. 
Look out for the “Cardwell’ cultivar because of it’s weeping habit and how it’s covered in tiny flowers that make it stand out like a beacon when planted in your garden.

Real World Gardener Creating You Own Madras Curry in Spice It Up

August 19th, 2020

 SPICE IT UP

Making your own Madras Curry

During winter our favourite foods are those slow cooked casseroles, but you may not have realised that curries, are in fact a form of slow cooked casserole. 
The main difference is that they’re usually got a lot more spices in them and they aren’t necessarily spicey hot. 

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Ian says " a lot of people forget that in effect, a curry is a casserole with a distinct number and type of spices."
If you think about it, that's perfectly true, because curries tend to have cheaper cuts of meat that need simmering for a couple of hours, just as you would a casserole.
But because curries hail from countries where the spice trade was high in importance, those countries cuisine, reflect  the spices that they produced.
I'm talking with herb and spice guru, Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au 
Let’s find out.. 

PLAY: Madras curries pt 1_5th August 2020 
Curries need not always be hot as in 
Ian’s tip is “You can actually start to make a curry by making a sweet spice blend.” 

  • Start with cinnamon, add, allspice, cloves, ground coriander seed.
  • Then add turmeric and cummin, paprika, some chilli (a little or a lot).
  • And this is basically a madras style curry.
  • When all these are blended together, you can't go wrong.
  • If you're wondering what proportions, first smell the individual spices. 
  • If they smell strong, such as ground cloves, then add only a small portion.
  • You can also add some dried curry leaves from your curry tree-fry some until they're crispy and save to use as a garnish after cooking.1-Curry%2BLeaf%2Btree.jpgMurraya koenigii
If they smell mild, add more, such as coriander, up to 1 tablespoon, and cummin, about 2 teaspoons.
The trick is balance of flavours. One thing is to not overdo the cloves, pepper and chilli.
  • Another tip is roasting spices is not always necessary, particularly if you’re making a vegetable curry.
  • If you'r curry blend is a little too hot for your liking, you can tone it down by stirring some greek yoghurt through it.

If you have any for Ian about spices or herbs or have information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write 

O 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Creating A Sense of Enclosure in Design Elements

August 6th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

How to Create a Sense of Enclosure.
In the middle of winter, the only sun you can see may be outside.
So it would be nice to venture outdoors into the winter sun but what if you're overlooked?
 May not feel so welcoming.
So what can you do? 

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Magnolia grandiflora 'Teddy Bear.' 4-5m height (pictured)
 
I talk with garden designer Peter Nixon of Paradisus Garden Design.
 
 
What you want is some sort of screening hedge or planting that not only hides that fence, but hides it well enough so you don't see any fence.
That would mean you need that the 'bole length' or the gap between ground level and the first branch, is at a minimum.
So what can you choose?
Here are Peter's best tips:
  • Choose things that stay dense and non transparent from the ground.
  • Choose useful heights, especially if it's the northern boundary because you don't want to cut the winter sun.
Recommended plants

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Magnolia hybrid "Fairy." ht 3m
Heliconia 'Hot Rio Nights.' for northern sub-tropical zones.(norther rivers and up). height 3m, lush paddle leaf.

Hibiscus boryanus- plant in areas where temperatures are above 5 Deg C
Drepanostachyus falcatum -Blue Bamboo is a clumping bamboo height 4m
 
You can underplant with smaller shrubs but you need to do this at the same time as you plant the larger shrubs otherwise the soil underneath will be compacted with the roots.

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