Dealing with a Tough Garden Bed part 3 in Design Elements

September 27th, 2021

Part 3: The final Countdown

 

In the last 5 years Glenice and husband Phil, have made so many improvements to the soil .

A very difficult spot that experiences 40 degrees C  temperatures in summer and winter temparatures below 0  and even minus 5 degrees C at times.
A hard clay soil that had been compacted by heavy vehicles driving over part of it for many years.
The planting also included these very tough and hardy plants.
  • Teucrium fruiticans- also known as Germander, is a very hardy small evergreen bush in the mint family with grey stems and undersides of the leaves. 1.2m
  • Phillyrea angustifolia . Drought, heat, frost and salt tolerant. Phillyrea are olive related which explains their toughness-dark green glossy leaf with serrated edge, making a contrast to the other silvers in the bed. Height to 2.5m, slow growing. Alternative to English box. can be kept to under 1m in height
  • Aloes
  • Other succulents
  • Beschoneria yuccoides-Mexican lily, is a perennial succulent with a rosette of slender strap-like leaves that can grow to 1m in length. 
  • Rhagodia spinescens Salt bush-Small, native shrub with silvery, grey triangular foliage growing to approximately 1.5m. Tolerates all soil types and coastal conditions
  • Atriplex nummularia, commonly called Old Man Saltbush, a large grey shrub to 2 m tall and to 4-5 m wide, with brittle woody branches
 
Glenice said in her post that
She said of the garden that;
We used a rotary hoe to break up the soil before planting.
Spread/dug through gypsum and watered in liquid gypsum
Dug through premium garden soil and compost.
Mulched the area with fine grade pine bark, sugar cane mulch, straw and tea tree mulch.
Continued fertilising any new plants with composted animal manure pellets and liquid fertilisers every 2 to 3 months.Continued to give any plants in the area a deep slow water by hand to ensure they receive a good amount of water closest their roots.

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Garden at the Berkshires-photo Glenice Buck


  • Selected plants that will cope with the tough conditions that area hot and dry conditions.
  • Over planted the slope- I planted out all the plants with closer spacing than recommended as they will help protect and buffer each other in this tough location. They will grow, settle in and get established more quickly together.
  • When you're dealing with tough locations like this you also need to have patience and give the garden soil time to take in all these improvements. Soil preparation is very important and you should try to hold off planting before the soil is ready - haha! try telling a gardener to do that when there is open soil / spare space in the garden. I didn't wait!

I'm talking with Glenice Buck Landscape designer and Arboriculture consultant.

www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 

Tackling a Tough Garden Bed part 2 in Design Elements

September 27th, 2021

Part2 Tough Garden Bed
In the last 5 years Glenice and husband Phil, have made so many improvements to the soil .
  • We used a rotary hoe to break up the soil before planting.
  • Spread/dug through gypsum and watered in liquid gypsum
  • Dug through premium garden soil and compost.
  • Mulched the area with fine grade pine bark, sugar cane mulch, straw and tea tree mulch.
  • Continued fertilising any new plants with composted animal manure pellets and liquid fertilisers every 2 to 3 months.

She said of the garden that they did this process listed above ,every year for 5 years but it wasn't until the 3 year mark that there was a turn around in plants being able to survive.

Without those years of soil preparation, the plants would not have been able to thrive.

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Miscanthus transmorrisonensis

Planting Palette Glenice used for this area - lots of silvers!

  • Miscanthus transmorrisonensis-Evergreen Feather grass, evergreen leaves to 80cm tall by 100cm wide fountain-like mounds
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ or Blue Switch grass is special for its dramatic, metallic blue foliage and for its strong upright habit to around 140cm.
  • Senecio viravira- a beautiful rounded evergreen shrub with silver-white dissected leaves topped by soft lemon flowers. One of the best silvers. Sun loving and drought tolerant. 80cm x 100cm.
  • Artemisia Powis Castle- a hardy, bushy, low growing shrub that has very attractive, soft, silvery grey, deeply divided foliage
  • Olea europaea 'Piccolo' suits really tough conditions - drought, frost, poor soil, no irrigation. Grows to 2m
  • Teucrium fruiticans- also known as Germander, is a very hardy small evergreen bush in the mint family with grey stems and undersides of the leaves. 1.2m
  • Philorea
  • Aloes
  • Other succulents
  • Beschoneria yuccoides-Mexican lily, is a perennial succulent with a rosette of slender strap-like leaves that can grow to 1m in length. 
  • Salt bush
  • Atriplex nummularia, commonly called Old Man Saltbush, a large grey shrub to 2 m tall and to 4-5 m wide, with brittle woody branches
I'm talking with Glenice Buck Landscape design and Arboriculture consultant.

Winter Savoryvs Thyme in Spice it Up

September 18th, 2021

 SPICE IT UP   

 SAVORY VS THYME

Often there’s a couple of herbs that look alike and even have similar flavour profiles.

If you had them growing together in the herb garden, you may even confuse the two because of how closely they look to each other.

Thyme is the better known herb in Australia, which from the 1950's was commonly used in soups, stews, scones and casseroles.
For some reason, savory is not very well known in Australia, but it’s commonly used America and England.
In England, and America, it's quite popular and in the US, winter savory is a key ingredient in the stuffing for the 'Thanksgiving Turkey.'
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If you rubbed both herbs without knowing which was which, you would most likely think they both were the same herb.

  • Winter savory, unlike thyme, is not sold as a cut herb in the produce aisle of your supermarket.
  • Confusingly there is a 'summer savory' which tends to die off in winter and usually not come back.

Looking after both herbs

With their tiny leaves, both herbs are adapted to the dry regions of the mediterranean. 
Both herbs are in the mint (Lamiaceae) family, but unlike mint, don't  feel you need to give either thyme or winter savory heaps of water with the exception of the hottest days in Australia's summers.
  • I've never seen the seeds of savory being sold however if you have a pot of winter savory that's overgrown and become leggy, follow these tips to refresh it.
  • Dividing the roots  in spring, will rejuvenate the plant.
  • Start off by trimming about a third of any wrapped or circling roots.
  • Divide the root ball into thirds or quarters, making sure that each section has a healthy piece of root and stems with green leaves attached.
  • Remove one-third of the top growth, and trim away any dead or damaged stems and leaves.
  • Re-pot into new containers and gift some to your friends.

But can you substitute one for the other?

Thyme has the volatile oil: thymol which is a strong natural antiseptic.  
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Wild thyme growing amongst a rocky outcrop

You only need to use a small amount to get the flavour, and is a key ingredient in mixed herbs.

  • Did you know there are over 100 varieties of thyme?
  • The wild thyme of Provence is known for its strength of flavour. Think 'herbs de Provence' is a blend with this wild thyme.
The answer is yes, both herbs are interchangeable, but savoury is less pungent than thyme.
  • You will find winter savory, Satureja (sat-you-rea) montana, as a plant sold in most garden centres.
  • So time to get some of your own.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

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

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

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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.
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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
 

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.

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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.
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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

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