Woolly Tea Tree in Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

Scientific name: Leptospermum lanigerum

Common Name: Woolly tea tree
Family: Myrtaceae
Etymologyleptos, meaning slender, and sperma, meaning seed.

lanigerum, is named using the Latin word for wool-bearing, describing the silky hairy leaves and hairy buds, shoots and young capsules.

Height: 3m by 3m wide
 
Location: any soil in sun and will tolerate heavy shade. Frost hardy to -7C
 Description: Dense shrub to small erect tree with persistent fibrous bark on larger stems, smaller stems shedding in stringy strips.
Leptospermum%2Blanigerum.jpg
  • Not all tea trees have green leaves, and this one has pewter grey or silver tiny leaves with typical 5 petalled tea tree flowers.
  • May be limbed into a small tree. Light summer water though very drought adapted. Excellent background shrub or screen or large informal hedge. 
Takes well to pruning as the leaves are tiny and the more you prune the bush will become more dense. 
 
Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado

Aussie Blue Devil in Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

pt 4 
Scientific name Eryngium ovinum
Common Name: Blue Devil not the Sea Holly from norther Europe

Eryngium_ovinum2.jpg

Etymology: Eryngium refers to Sea Holly and ovinum refers to sheep-apparently sheep graze on these plants.

Family: Apiaceae-carrot family
Height/width: 60cm-1m by 60cm-1m
Description: Semi-evergreen perennial with green thistle-like foliage and unique feather-like blue cylindrical flowers during Summer. Dormant from Autumn through to late Winter. Long-lasting cut flower. Grows approx. 70cm tall x 40cm wide.
  • When heavily if flower, the plant, not just the flowers turn blue. "By mid summer the flowering stems extend to 60 cm and a mass of crowded bright blue flowers is produced with long, spiky bracts to 2.5 cm in globular, thistle-like heads on rigid branched stems. " (from anbg.gov.au)
In Adrian's temperate garden, the Blue Devil has not died down as it reputedly does in cooler climates. Grows in most soil conditions in full sun.
 
Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado

Aussie Coastal Rosemary is Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

pt3 
Scientific Name: Westringia fruiticosa
Common Name: Coastal Rosemary
Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)
Leaves: green, with a covering of short hairs giving the plant a silvery tint . Leaves are up to 2 centimetres long, narrow and pointed and set closely in whorls around the stem.
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Westringia 'Grey Box'

Flowers: Appear in my garden from September onwards with November seeing a main flush. Typical of flowers in the mint family either in white or pale mauve with a couple of reddish spots near the throat of the flowers. This is a bee guide for Aussie native bees.

 
Looks like rosemary but it isn't and Adrian regards it as the 'murraya' of the Aussie native plant world.
Tough as 'old boots' seen hugging the cliffs and down to beach level, either prostrate or several feet high depending on situation.
A useful garden plant that has been hybrised extensively.
Westringia "Aussie Box' and 'Grey Box' is a great alternative to box hedging.
 
TIP:Adrian recommends use mechanical shears instead of electric or battery operated shears for better results when pruning
 
Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado
 

Aussie Salt Bush is Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

pt 2 Silver leafed plants

Scientific name:Rhagodia spinescens

Common Name: Aussie flat bush; spiny saltbush

Family: Chenopodiaceae
Height: 0.5-1.5m  tall by 1.5-4metres wide.
Flowers:January -April, tiny cream panicles, fairly insignificant.
 
Conditions: frost and mildly drought tolerant, best suited for temperate and semi-arid regions.
Location: tolerant of soil types and will grow in full sun or dry shade.
0262066_rhagodia-spinescens.jpg

Uses: prune to shape as a hedge or leave to make a groundcover. 

 
Quite a vigorous grower and hugs the ground so makes great habitat for native reptiles and small birds.
 

Ozbreed has a compact form makes a great ground cover and performs better if it is pruned annually or more often if a manicured look is desired.  30-50cm x 1m wide

Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado
 

Two Silver leafed Eucalypts in Plant of the Week

August 30th, 2021

 PLANT OF THE WEEK

All About Australian Native Plants with Silver Leaves.

Plants with grey or silver leaves are adapted to a drier environment because the colour of the leaf better reflects the sun than green leaves regardless of the size of the leaf
This in turn means the plant uses less water for its functions. 
There's usually more to the story as is the case with eucalypt trees having a thick waxy coating that makes the leaves look silver or grey in the first place. This waxy coating is added protection from the sun's rays.

Eucalyptus_perriniana.jpg
Eucalyptus perriniana
Mature leaves are often different from juvenile leaves not only in shape and size but orientation.
Mature eucalypt leaves hang vertically to reduce exposure to high levels of radiation and water loss. 
Silver leaves don’t just have to be about small shrubs and ground covers, there’s some beaut examples of silver leafed gums.

pt1 A Couple of Eucalypts with Silver Leaves.

  • Two great silver leafed  gums were our picks:Eucalyptus perriniana and Eucalyptus cinerea

Silver leaves can be so attractive in the garden, in the vase or just in the landscape.
The add texture and structure to a garden. But they also can brighten a dark spot in a garden where dark green would just disappear in the gloom.

Eucalyptus%2Bcinerea.jpg
Eucalyptus cinerea

Other fabulous silver leafed eucalypts

  • You could also try Eucalyptus pulverulenta, known as the Silver-leaved Mountain Gum.
  • There’s a dwarf form of this one called Baby Blue which only grows to 3m.
  • The Silver-leaved Mountain Gum is an unusual Eucalypt (especially for eastern Australia) because it hangs onto juvenile foliage into maturity. Plants rarely produce adult leaves.
Listen to the podcast to find out more
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and officianado

Edna Walling’s Garden Design and Bickleigh Vale part 2

August 24th, 2021

Edna Walling and Bickleigh Vale part 2

Last week, I introduced you to Edna Walling was one of Australia’s most influential garden designers of the 20th century.

Bickleigh%2BVale%2BVillage%2BBadgers%2Bwood.jpg

The people that live in the village of about 20 homes, are all in love with Edna's design principles.

In spring, the gardens are like fairlyland, with flowering wisterias, crabapples, flowering cherries, birches, hornbeams. hawthorns, plums, apricots, oaks and elms . 
"Edna Walling had a free and easy attitude to garden maintenance and she believed that every window of a house should have a view of the garden, to create the effect of bringing the garden into the house."

Edna Walling came to appreciate Australian flora more and more and started to incorporate many native species in her designs even early on.
I talk again with Trisha Dixon, garden author and photographer.

Let’s find out more

Edna Walling, Garden Designer and Bickleigh Vale Village part 1

August 24th, 2021

 EDNA WALLING & BICKLEIGH VALE

Part 1 

Edna Walling was one of Australia’s most influential garden designers of the 20th century but I daresay, not too many people have heard of her.

Edna was Walling was born in 1896, in Yorkshire and grew up in the village of Bickleigh  Devon, England but came to Australia at 17 years of age.
 
Edna was influenced by her father and studied landscape design at Burnley Horticultural College in Melbourne. 
Walling was awarded her government certificate in horticulture in December 1917, and after some years jobbing as a gardener she commenced her own landscape design practice in the 1920s.
Her plans from the 1920s and 1930s show a strong architectural framework with 'low stone walls, wide pergolas and paths – always softened with a mantle of greenery'.
 
While doing some garden research I happened on one of her most famous creations called Bickleigh Vale in the Melbourne suburb of Mooroolbark in the foothills of the Dandenongs.
  • She just happened on some land while out bushwalking and convinced a bank manager to lend her money to buy the land and build her first house 'Sonning.'
Trisha%2BDixon%2Bin%2Bgarden.jpgWho better to talk about them is someone who has researched Edna Walling for the last 40 years.
I'll be talking with Trisha Dixon, garden author and photographer and sometime tour leader of gardens.
 
Trisha mentions that she found that actual village that this was modelled on, the real 'Bickleigh Vale ; in Devon, in England.
Listen to parts 1 & 2 of the podcast below. 
 
A quote from https://www.bickleighvalevillage.com.au/properties.html

 is this quote
 In the early 1920s Edna Walling acquired land at Mooroolbark where she built a house for herself - 'Sonning'. Here she lived and worked, establishing her nursery and gathering around her a group of like-minded people for whom she designed picturesque 'English' cottages and gardens. She named the area Bickleigh Vale village.
The houses and outbuildings that were designed or approved by Edna Walling in what she termed 'the English style' include her own home 'Sonning' which was rebuilt in 1936 following the destruction of 'Sonning I' in a fire,

Bickleigh%2BVale%2BVillage.jpg
Bickleigh Vale Village
 

Have a listen to part 1, a bit of Edna’s history and a bit about Bickley Vale.
We’ll continue next with more about the actual village and also more about Edna’s vision in creating beautiful gardens.
If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

What’s The Difference: Garden Snips vs Hand Pruners or Secateurs

August 19th, 2021

Garden Snips vs Secateurs

You would think that gardening tools would have all the same name pretty much all around the world.
What else would you call a spade ?
Perhaps a trowel may have a few different names, but what about secateurs and garden snips?
Are they the same thing?

  • Secateurs are sometimes called  pruning shears or hand pruners .

    1-DSC_1477.JPG
    My Toolkit: Felco No8 secateurs 
  • Secateurs can be bypass style, where the cutting blade passes a curved non-cutting 'anvil.'
  • Secateurs can also be anvil style where the cutting blade cuts into a 'anvil.'
  • Good quality secateurs will cut easily, feel comfortable to hold and spare parts are able to be purchased.
  • Secateurs are used for the  'green' wood on plants cutting easily up to the diameter of a person's fingers.
Calibrachoa_Cabaret_Good_Night_Kiss_Basket_25420.jpg

Garden snips ( bottom of picture) are closer in appearance to scissors, with two cutting blades. Unlike scissors, they have a spring to make repeated cutting of plant material easier.

  • Garden snips are best used for trimming off spent flowers on plants such as calibroachoa, petunias, and other annuals and perennials. Light trimming of soft 'green' plant material is OK as long as the stems or branches are not too thick. Garden snips don't have the cutting power of secateurs.

Let’s find out more

I'm talking with Tony Mattson, general manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au

PLAY: snips vs secateurs_18th August 2021

Like me, a lot of gardeners would have both types of secateurs-anvil and bypass as well as a pair of snips.
After all, not everything can be pruned with the one tool.

If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

What’s The Difference: Dibbler vs Bulb Planter

August 19th, 2021

 TOOL TIME

What's the Difference?

Dibbler or dibber vs bulbs planter

Ever wondered if there’s a difference between two garden products, tools or ways of doing something? Tool time will look at some of these differences over the next few months.

  • Today, it’s about the difference between a tool that’s used to mainly plant bulbs.
  • Planting bulbs is a lot of fun, but can quickly turn into a chore if you have quite a few different bulbs that need to go into the garden.
  • Just imagine planting out the scene pictured, at Keukenhoff in the Netherlands.
  • Every type of bulb will have a preferred depth and spacing so to get it right you will need a special tool.
  • This is where those bulb planters of plant dibbers come in handy.
  • plant-field-lawn-meadow-flower-tulip-1153098-pxhere.com.jpg

Dibbers are those carrot shaped bits of wood with a pointy end, that are used to poke holes in soil.

They will have graduated markings showing depth and sometimes have a metal tip.

Some come with a T-shaped handle, others just a rounded knob at the top.

Dibbers are great for quickly planting up lots of small bulbs, seeds and transplanting seedlings.

Bulb planters are mainly for bulbs, big ones and little ones, but especially big ones.

  • This is a heavy duty implement that acts much like an apple corer with either a short or long handle. Bulb planters have the ability to push through hard soil because of their serrated edge and also have a spring-loaded handle that dumps the ‘core’ of soil you pushed through. 
  • This also makes it a handy tool for digging out bulbous weeds such as oxalis and onion weed, and it can be used to planting small seedlings and tubestock, too.
  • Depth markings are along the side taking the guesswork out of planting.  

High quality carbon steel ones will keep their edges sharp and not get coated with rust if you are forgetful about cleaning your garden tools.

Let’s find out more: I'm talking with Tony Mattson, General Manager from www.cutobovetools.com.au

 

Winter Pruning of Figs in Plant Doctor

August 18th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR

Pruning Figs: 

Ficus carica is the edible fig that hails from the Mediterranean.

Fig trees aren’t quite as ubiquitous as citrus trees are in the produce garden but they are still a firm favourite.

What's not to like?
They are delicious to eat fresh and or dried, plus nothing beats home grown figs. 

There are a few different types: 

  • 'Black Genoa' is typically a large growing fig tree and not suitable for small back yards. This is a fast growing heavy cropping tree that produces large sweet purple skinned fruit. Good for inlan Australia but not so good on the far north coast.
  • White genoa-great for drying about half the size of black genoa: also grows well in cooler areas.
  • Brown Turkey  good for eating fresh, is a very hardy tree that does well in inland areas.
  • White Adriatic-a green skinned medium to large fruit.
  • Dwarf Brown Slow growing and compact this small tree can be kept at about 1 - 1.5 m in height. Great for small spaces and pots and smaller backyards
There’s a only few things you need to know when attending to those trees and believe it or not, winter time is one of those times.
In fact, winter time is the time you need to go out and take a look at your fig tree, assessing it for what to prune and what to leave
fig%2Bfruit.jpg
 
  • When you first get your fig tree, prune the tree by half; cut it back to 3 or 4 branches.
  • Prunings can be used to propagate more trees as the cuttings take root very easily.
TIP: figs like to grow in shallow soil which has been enriched with limestone. 
  • pH 8 is an ideal for figs, and you can do this by adding crusher dust to the soil. 
  • What is crusher dust?
  • Crusher dust is a blend of small crushed blue metal rocks and finer dust.
  • Either add it to your pot or to the soil.
  • Incidentally, crusher dust is a great medium for striking 'slow to take' cuttings.

Getting Down To Pruning

Steve’s tip is to prune new fig trees by half when you get them, but for older trees, prune one-third to one-half each year. 
  • We are looking for the new growth to supply the current season's fruit.  
  • Prune out any limbs that are less than 45 degrees to the trunk. Keep branches that are more or less at right angles to the main trunk.
  • Remove any branches or laterals that are less than half a metre from the ground.
  • If you need to, you can now bring it into shape but otherwise you have done your main pruning.

So let’s find out what more needs doing.
That was Steve McGrane, agriculturist and horticulturist.
PLAY: Pruning figs_7th July 2021
If you have any feedback email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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