Real World Gardener Peppercorns of All Sorts in Spice It Up

September 27th, 2020


Black pepper, White Pepper: Peppers of All Sorts

Until recently, this next spice, black pepper, was one of the most traded in the world. 
We’re talking thousands of tonnes of black pepper, can you imagine? But why was that and how does this it grow?
On a tree, a shrub or is it an orchid?
Did you know that to get black peppercorns, the berries are harvested when they are green?

Let’s find out more.

I’ve being talking with Ian Hemphill from

The peppercorn that we know is
Piper nigrum vine native to south India.

All peppercorns are harvested by hand.

Gardeners in the tropics and possibly sub tropics can grow this vine up a trellis or a tree outside in the garden.

Pepper is a jungle plant so that the roots need to remain cool,
The vine will fill a trellis in about three years. Berries that are picked when they're fat and green can be dried to make black pepper.

In the wild, or in plantations where they are allowed to grow up palm trees, the hermaphrodite pepper flowers  are pollinated by rain running down the catkin. This occurs during the monsoon

So if you want to grow one in your home garden, watering the flowers should mimic this.

Berries allowed to mature and turn red, can be peeled and inside is a seed.
This is actually white pepper.

Real World Gardener Midgen Berry in Plant of the Week

September 27th, 2020


Scientific name:Austromyrtus dulcis
Common name: Midgen berry
Flowers: white with 5 petals, in spring and summer. Later in cooler districts.
Leaves: variable 9-30mm with noticeable oil glands. New growth is covered with silky hairs.
Site: part shade to full sun
Uses: bush tucker food

Cultivars: Austromyrtus  'Copper Tops." ( A hybrid between A. dulcis and A. tenuifolia.)

Here’s a shrub that has not only green leaves but berries that you can actually eat.

Let’s find out more…I'm talking with Adrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 
The white berries have pale purple spots and a reputedly crunchy with a similar taste to blackberries.
I never found that thinking they were more pasty albeit sweet tasting. 
The preferred soil is will drained.
  • Midgen berry hedges is a great alternative to murraya hedges. Plant that closer together than the recommendation on the plant tag. Usually half the distance is best.
  • In it's native environment it may grow as a spreading shrub up to 2 m tall. Usually found in sandy soils in heath, scrub or open forests and occasionally on the margins of rainforests. 
  • In the home garden 40cm x 1.4m wide
  • Midgen berry copper tops has coppery coloured new growth.

Real World Gardener Rock Thryptomene in Plant of the Week

September 27th, 2020


Thryptomene sp and Thryptomene saxicola F.C.Payne

There are some plants that can be forgiven for not doing much for most of the year, then, when they come into flower, they become the star of the garden.
In a way, they behave like a spring or summer bulbs, because they’re practically invisible until they pop out and flower their heads off.


So what is this Thryptomene which I have been alluding to? 
Let’s find out more… 
I'm talking with Adrian O’Mally, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert.
PLAY:Thryptomene NEW_26th August 2020 

Rock thryptomene is as close to a common name as you'll get for this plant.
Growth is as for a sub-shrub 0.75 – 1.5m tall by 1 – 1.5 wide.

  • Adrian came across seven thryptomene planted along a bank with a south-east aspect.
  • They had grown leggy so to keep your shrub bushy, keep up the formative pruning in the early stages.
  • Doing this you will able to keep the shrub to 60cm in height.
Thryptomene is evergreen with a slightly weeping habit and  aromatic small leaves are small.
You may find it as a filler in bouquets because the tiny 5-petalled flowers blend well with larger flowers of any kind.
Thryptomene saxicola (pictured below)
Thryptomene paynei, then newly introduced to New Zealand was "raised by FC Payne of Adelaide".
F.C. Payne was the owner of "The Sanctuary" plant nursery in Ashton, in the Adelaide hills of South Australia who promoted the use of Australian native plants in local gardens.
By 1967 the cultivar had become a "garden favourite" in Australia and was featured in a gardening guide for native plants in The Australian Women's Weekly.

Bird and insect attracting plants always make a lovely addition to your garden. 
Look out for the different cultivars of thryptomene in your nursery or big box store this spring, because there won’t be many, and they’ll be snapped up quick smart. If you have any questions about anything gardening, why not email us

Real World Gardener Crop Rotation with the Veggie Lady

September 18th, 2020

 CROP ROTATION with The Veggie Lady

You may have heard of crop rotation but perhaps relegated it to the basket where moon planting and biodynamics reside.
But did you know that crop rotation isn’t something that gardeners should scoff at because of it’s importance in the life-cycle of plants and insects.


In fact it’s a really important strategy that organic gardeners use. 
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking withToni Salter the veggie lady of 
Toni only changes crops once every 12 months but uses a 4 bed rotation system. Changeover is usually spring.

Group 4 groups together so you're planting the same thing in the same place only every 4 years.
You can do it based on the plants families.
Toni likes to put it into whether it's a leaf crop, a flowering crop or a root crop.
  • This system divides per type of vegetable
Root crops-onions and garlic.
Leaf  and legumes together-leeks and spring onions, brassicas,
Flowering crops are split further into two beds


Bed 1 is tomato, capscium and chilli plants
Bed 2-cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin and corn
Bed 3 root crops-carrots, parsnips, beetroot, onions and garlic
Bed 4 leafy crops-beans, lettuces.
  • Start with a 4 bed rotation.
  • That means you’re only planting the same thing in the same place every four years. 
  • So you will be growing four different types of crops in each garden bed. 
  • Toni divides it into leaf and legumes in one bed, then, flowering crops are split into two beds-tomato family in one, and all the rest into the other. 
  • Finally root crops like carrots, beetroots, onions and garlic. 

If you have questions for Toni about crop rotation or have information to share, drop us a line to or write 

PO 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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

August 26th, 2020


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 

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. 



  • 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. 


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.

  • 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

Real World Gardener Snake Vine or Hibbertia scandens in Plant of the Week

July 25th, 2020


Common Name:Golden Guinea Flower: Snake vine

Latin Name: Hibbertia scandens
Family: Dilleniaceae
Etymology: Hibbertia...after George Hibbert, a patron of botany; scandens.... "climbing", because of the climbing habit of the species.
Flowering:spring, summer but spot flowers throughout the year
Description: a scrambling climber or vine anywhere between 2 to 4 metres. Glossy mid green leaves with buttercup yellow flowers with prominent golden stamens.
Hibbertia scandens
What else?
Let’s find out…

That was Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert.
Hibbertias are sometimes called Guinea Flowers because the flower shape and colour looks like the ancient Golden Guinea coin.
When Adrian has seen it in the bush, it's mostly in open forest or gullies. 

The flowers shape and colour is a dead give-away for the hibbertia species.
The "snakes" are the tendrils that twine themselves together and climb up.
Perfect specimen for sloping sites where it can scramble freely.
If you have any questions of course, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World GardenerHow to Create a Hot Compost on The Good Earth

July 25th, 2020


Hot Compost


How many of you out there still do not have a composting system of some kind?

There’s no excuse, even if you only have a small balcony, everyone should be composting their kitchen scraps instead of it going to landfill.

  • You just need some space for your compost.
  • you could have compost bays, compost bins, or any structure that can hold up to 1 cubic metre of compost.
Compost bins at Margaret's House: Photo by Margaret Mossakowska


There’s so many systems out there to accommodate all kinds of limitations that you might have.

You can even make a compost heap without building or buying anything.

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from

Let’s find what to do .


Vermin: put Rapid mesh under you bins if you have rodents invading your compost.

Alternatively, put food scraps into a worm farm, and use you compost bins just for green waste.

Worm farm that is smelly:

  • Too many food scraps will make the worm farm smelly and anaerobic. Mainly nitrogen rich.

The way to fix it is to add more carbon rich material such as shredded newspaper, coffee chaff or straw.

note: coffee chaff is free by-product of coffee roasting, that is husks of coffee beans. You just need to ask.

Compost Bins/Bays


  • To make a hot compost you need to assemble at least 1 cubic metre of material in one go.
  • Wait for it to heat up to 55-60 C, usually after 2-3 days, then you can turn it.
  • Use a compost thermometer so the compost doesn't get over 60 C. This temperature is enough to kill weed seeds and insect eggs.
  • Commercial compost is biologically dead because it is heated to  more than 70 C.
  • Ratios are important: 4 buckets of carbon rich material to 1 bucket of green clippings/food scraps.
  • Molasses can be added to compost to innoculate it, or use comfrey, nettles, nasturtium soaked in a bucket of water.

Margaret now runs workshops that you can attend without leaving your home because they’re via Zoom, that’s on your computer.

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


Real World Gardener Purple Hardenbergia in Plant of the Week

July 13th, 2020


Scientific Name: Hardenbergia violacea

Common Name: Native Sarsparilla, Happy Wanderer

Family: Fabaceae



Grows:the species form grows to 6m. There are many other forms that grow only as a sub-shrub or smaller climber.

Etymology: Hardenbergia...after Franziska Countess von Hardenberg.

violacea...referring to the typical flower colour


Hardenbergia_violacea2.jpg"Happy Wanderer" (very vigorous, purple flowers)

"Pink Fizz" (pink flowers - climbing, not vigorous)

"Mini Haha" (compact, shrubby - purple flowers)

"Alba" (white flowers)

"Free 'n' Easy" (whitish flowers, vigorous climber)

"Blushing Princess" (shrubby - mauve-pink flowers)

"Purple Falls" (trailing - purple flowers, good for rockeries)

"Bushy Blue" (shrubby - blue-purple flowers).

If you love the colour purple in the garden you’ll love this next plant because it’s got it all. 
It’s tough, it flowers for ages, and you don’t even have to do too much to look after it. 
Let’s find out more...
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Hardenbergia violacea_1st July 2020 

There’s so many Hardenbergias to choose from that come in not just creepers or climbers, but small little shrubby things that spread a bit. 

Some of the shrubby forms of Hardenbergia are very useful for mass plantings, rock gardens, retaining walls and banks for home gardens and larger landscapes. 

There are some good shrubby forms on the market such as ‘Bushy Blue’, ‘Purple Spray’ and ‘Regent’ which can grow from 60cm tall (‘Bushy Blue’) to 1.5m tall (‘Regent’). ‘Mini Haha’ is a compact dwarf form but it is not as robust as other types. 

There’s also ‘Meema’ will grow to approximately 450mm tall with a 2 metre spread which is ideal for outcompeting weeds and creating a ground cover with a shrubby appearance. 

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 Running Postman is Plant of the Week

July 13th, 2020


Scientific Name:Kennedia rubicunda; 

Common name: Dusky Coral Pea, Running Postman

Family: Fabaceae

Etymology:Kennedia...after John Kennedy, an English nurseryman
rubicunda...referring to the colour of the flowers
: Spring with pea like flowers, that is, a standard of 4 petals, a keel and two wings.

Grows: 3m high x 3m wide
Suitable as a trellis climber or covering embankments. Bird attracting.
Kennedia rubicunda
This next plant is a climber as we have been taking about climbers for a couple of weeks. 
It’s got these attractive scarlet to pink flowers but what else? 
Let’s find out…

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



PLAY: Kennedia rubicunda_8th July 2020 

The running postman title is probably because of the red flowers that appear on this fairly vigorous vine or creeper. 
Did you also know though that it’s a very useful medicinal plant to grow? 
Apparently its leaves were bruised and drunk as a tincture when recovering from illness. Don’t know what sort of illness though. 


Use it as a groundcover, for arches, teepees and vine supports. 

some will say that it's happy growing in a pot.  I can't be sure about that.
Dusky Coral Pea does best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. 


It needs to be protected from frosts.
There is another cultivar Kennedia nigricans that Adrian and Marianne mention. This has black and yellow coloured flowers. 
A cultivar known as Kennedia nigricans 'Minstrel' was registered with the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority by Goldup Nursery of Mount Evelyn, Victoria in September 1985. This cultivar was selected from a batch of seedlings in 1983 and has a pale colouration instead of the yellow, which appears almost white.

Real World Gardener Sweet Morinda in Plant of the Week

July 2nd, 2020


Sweet Morinda

You most probably know Australian climbing plants and would immediately think of Bower or Wonga wonga vine, either Pandorea jasminoides or Pandorea pandorana, 

Very tropical looking climbers that suit all sorts of conditions around Australia.

But there’s some many more Australian native climbers that would suit our backyards and here’s one of them.

Common Name: Sweet Morinda

Scientific name: Gynochthodes jasminoides syn. Morinda jasminoides

Family: Rubiaceae

Habit: scrambling climber to 6m. Adrian uses it to screen some ugly buildings.

What's in a name?

Morinda    Latin morus = mulberry and indicus = indian (referring to it being like an Indian Mulberry)

jasminoides   From the plant being Jasmine-likeThis pant is a native creeper found in eucalypt and rainforests along the east coast, across to Western Australia.

You most probably know Australian climbing plants and would immediately think of Bower or Wonga wonga vine, either Pandorea jasminoides or Pandorea pandorana, Very tropical looking climbers that suit all sorts of conditions around Australia.Sweet_Morinda%2B1.jpg

But there’s some many more Australian native climbers that would suit our backyards and here’s one of them.

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

.Let’s find out…

Let’s just call it sweet Morinda or Morinda jasminoides.

Not overly floriferous but the flowers resemble those of jasmine with dense thick foliage that works well as a screen ugly buildings or scenery.


Flowers: Small clusters of 3-20 heads, but in Adrian's garden, it's not a prolific flowerer. There is some jasmine like scent but it's not overpowering. Mid spring to mid summer flowering.


Fruits: The main attraction some say because they're lumpy bright orange, 2cm in diameter.



Leaves: have an interesting bump in the centre called a "domatia."  

the bumps are a symbiotic relationship with an insect that lives in the pits.The mite-habitat pits are so large that they make conspicuous bumps on the upperside of the leaves, making the plant easy to identify when it's not flowering or fruiting.

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