Real World Gardener Kangaroo Paws in Plant of the Week

March 19th, 2021

Kangaroo Paw: Anigozanthos spp

This next plant is the floral emblem of Western Australia where it has grown for millions of years.
The flowers, which bloom mostly in the spring and summer, are covered with a very thick, soft fuzz, making them look almost like velvet.
It’s also bird attracting and once a favourite of gardeners.

Common Name: Kangaroo Paw

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Scientific name: Anigozanthos flavidus
Family: Haemdoraceae
Flowers: spring and summer are main flowering times. Fine coloured hairs cover the flower giving it, its flower colour. Flowers are a distinct shape which can only be described as that of a kangaroo's paw! Cultivars known as 'Bush Gems" come in all colours of the rainbow.
Hardiness:Develop a blackening of the leaves in humid climates, known as inkspot disease. Cut it down to ankle height with clean secateurs to renew the growth if this occurs.
Uses: Mass planted in borders, in cottage gardens, native gardens, rockeries and containers.
Make sure you find a good colour form as it is great bird attracting garden plant that can be a feature at the back of beds.

Remove the dead flower stems and their associated foliage after flowering.

Let’s find out more
I am talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

Real World Gardener Topiary and Topiary Tools in Tool Time

March 9th, 2021

 TOOL TIME

Topiary Shears

During the warmer months of the year, your garden can start looking like a jungle because it’s growing so fast.
More so because of la nina bring welcoming rains to drench the parched soil.
What things can you do in the garden to tame it somewhat other than a short back and sides?
Have you thought of a bit of topiary?

You don't have to go all out and doing something like in this photo, although it is rather nice.
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You could just do a few simple balls on a stick instead. 

But what tools help you do the job properly?
Let’s find out what needs doing

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I'm talking with Tony Mattson general manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au
Normally you need to do the trimming fairly regularly and you're trimming the newer growth. 

Older wood may need a nip with secateurs.
  • The single handed topiary shears are great for small jobs such as perfecting that topiary ball. Topiary shears are similar to sheep sheers. (pictured
  • Two handed topiary shears are a lightweight hedge shear usually weighing less than 1 kg. 
  • The blades are straight and vary between 20-25cm (8-10 inches) in length.
  • There's also battery operated one handed shears.
Starting your own topiary from scratch like the balls in the photo,  you need to choose the right type of plant that responds well to topiary. 

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Think buxus species, lilly pillies, or the common myrtle,  (Myrtus communis) are great starting points to kick off your topiary garden.
Between each trim, step back and look at how you are progressing so it ends up symmetrical.  

If you have any questions either for me or for Tony you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Blueberry Ash in Plant of the Week

December 31st, 2020

 PLANT OF THE WEEK : 

Blueberry Ash

 

Common Name:Blueberry Ash
Scientific name: Eleaocarpus reticulatus
Family:Elaeocarpacea
Etymology:Elaeocarpus - From the Greek elaia meaning 'olive' and karpos meaning 'fruit';
reticulatus - Latin word meaning 'net-like' referring to the leaf venation.
Tree Height: 6-15m (various cultivars Prima Donna 8-10m)
Flowering:April - October
Origin: Australian rainforests along the east coast.

This is a beautiful tree with sculptural leathery leaves that show off a 'bloom' much like you see on some eucalypt leaves. 
Leaves are medium sized (12cm) with a drip tip apex and serrated edges. 
Starting off as mid to dark green the leaves age to a bright red which contrasts well, being opposite on the colour wheel.
The flowers are also quite a feature resembling clutches of lily of the valley flowers in either pink or cream all over the tree.

Blueberry_Ash_-_Elaeocarpus_reticulatus.jpg
The fruits are small blue berries, hence the common name. The fruits are liked by many birds including currawongs, parrots, cockatoos and native pigeons.
Fruits can persist on the tree until the next flowering.

Although the height can grow to 15m you can keep it to as small a height as you would like even 2-3m if preferred.
  • Adrian says they shed foliage 12 months of the years so don't plant them near your gutters.
I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, native plant expert.

Real World Gardener A Special Garden Waraburra Nura

October 31st, 2020

 Warraburra Nura Native Garden

In Conversation with Alice McAuliffe Creative Producer

You may not know of garden in on the 6th floor of a building that you the public can visit. 

From the website, “Waraburra Nura is a public medicinal plant garden at the University of Technoly (UTS) Sydney, developed by UTS ART in partnership with Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research (JIIER). Established in 2018, the garden is located on level 6 of the UTS Tower. 

'Nura' is a local word meaning country or the place that you are from.
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Let’s find out more.
I’ve being talking with Alice McAuliffe who is a creative producer .
  • Alice recalled that Waraburra Nura didn't start so much as a garden but as a way of creating a third dimension for artworks by various aboriginal and torres strait islander artists.
  • Alice put forward a proposal the idea to put in a few boxes with plants initially but the idea grew.
  • The process to create the garden involved designer Nicole Monk. Garden boxes were sent up from Melbourne.
  • Garden soil had to be light so that the weight would not be too heavy for the balcony plus a possible 100 people. Aunty Fran Bodkin  (Dharawal Senior and botanist) advised that the soil should contain pumice.
  • Plants were chosen because they had medicinal properties, and together created associations which increased their medicinal properties.
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This garden is open to the public on weekdays during student hours 

'About the garden' section on the website states that “Waraburra Nura (Happy Wanderer’s Place) is a space for visitors to connect to Country in an urban environment. The garden utilises combination planting, an Indigenous agricultural practice which enhances the rich medicinal value of each plant. 

All of the plants in Waraburra Nura are native to Wa’ran (Sydney) and have been cultivated by Darug, D’harawal and Gadigal peoples for generations. 

If you have any questions about Waraburra Nura, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Dockrillia Orchids in Plant of the Week

October 31st, 2020

DOCKRILLIAS EP 4

I’m sad to say this is the final in the series about native orchids. 
If by now your interest in growing native orchids hasn’t been piqued, I would be very surprised. 
Like most avid gardeners, as soon as someone in the know starts spouting information about a particular plant that has fabulous attributes, you will want one. 
So it is with dockrillias.?

Dockrillia_wassellii.jpg

Let’s find out more. 
I’m talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and orchidophile 
Adrian mentioned a primary hybrid between dockrillia schoenina x dockrillia teretifolia.

The most commonly available dockrillias are:

Dockrillia teretifolia, 
Dockrillia fairfaxii, 
Dockrillia linguiformis, 
Dockrillia cucumerina,
Dockrillia striolata, 
Dockrillia. pugioniformis, which are all cool-growing orchids. 

Dockrillia rigida and Dockrillia calamiformis, grow in tropical Australia, but do well in intermediate conditions, that is somewhere between tropical and cool. 

If you have any questions about native orchids, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Hybrid Dendrobium Orchids of the Week

October 8th, 2020

Dendrobium sp. episode 2

Dendrobium hybrids

Australia has 50 native species of dendrobiums and dockrillias and most of these grow mainly somewhere along the east coast of Australia. 
The ones that grow in Qld, in quite warm temperature to tropical areas, don’t grow so well further south and one might need a greenhouse to grow some of these.

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But those that originate in Victoria or NSW don’t do so well in the tropics. 
This is where hybrid dendrobiums of these native orchids come in 
Let’s find out.. 
I'm talking to native plant expert and orchidophile, Adrian O’Malley 

Hybrid dendrobiums are numerous and as an example can be crosses of Dendrobium speciosum and Dendrobium kingianum. 
This particular cross gives you Dendrobium x delicatum which can have either with or pink flowers and even perfume. 
A famous one that Adrian mentioned is Dendrobium Hilda Poxon (pictured above).
This is a cross between Dendrobium speciosum x Dendrobium tetragonum

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.

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

July 25th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK X 3

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.
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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 realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Creating Edible Gardens part 1 in Design Elements

May 21st, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

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.

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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 realworldgardener@gmail.com or glenice@glenicebuckdesigns.com.au

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

DESIGN ELEMENTS 

Assessing Trees for Failure ( following on from blog on "Why Trees Fail"
 https://realworldgardener.blogspot.com/2020/04/why-trees-fail-and-celery.html

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.

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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  

www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 
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. 
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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 www.treenet.org 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 realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

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