Real World Gardener Midgen Berry in Plant of the Week

September 27th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK 2

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

Austromyrtus%2Bdulcsis%2Bflower.jpg
 
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

PLANT OF THE WEEK

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.

Thryptomene.jpg

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_saxicola-flowers.jpg
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 realworldgardener@gmail.com
 

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. 

Blue%2Bbanded%2Bbee.jpg

 

  • 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. 

Bee%2Bhabitat.jpg

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.

    1-1-1-Borage-Flowers-for-blog.jpg
  • 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 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.
Boronia_pinnata2..jpg


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.
Boronia%2Bmegastigma.jpg
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 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.
Hibbertia%2Bscandens.jpg
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 Australian Mint Bush in Plant of the Week

June 26th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Prostanthera lasianthos and other species. Australian Mint Bush

It smells like mint but is it? The leaves are round or sometimes oval or even pointy. 

It’s even in the same family as common mint: Lamiaceae
Australia does have a wide variety of endemic mint bushes.

There are 90 species all of which originate somewhere in the bush,  but how well does it do in your garden? 
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, qualified horticulturist and native plant expert. 

Prostanthera comes from the Greek for an appendage because inside the flowers are small spur-like appendages on the anthers. 
These minty plants are bushy, evergreen shrubs, usually with strongly aromatic leaves.

Heaps of purple flowers covers the soft leaves all through spring and early summer, attracting butterflies and small insect-eating birds. 

did you know?

  • Mint bushes often wilt when they badly need a water, particular in the summer months.Because of this, they are excellent "indicator" plant for the rest of the garden.
 
Prostanthera lasianthos


Some of the varieties available are:

Prostanthera lasianthos is quick growing and in good conditions may reach 8-10 metres. Tolerates heavy shade as well as full sun.

  1. ovalifoliahas very aromatic foliage. Quick growing and spectacular in flower. Prune back by about one third to keep that bushy habit. Suitable for full sun or semi shade.
  2. rotundifolia- Very aromatic foliage. Quick growing and spectacular in flower. Needs pruning back by about one third every year to keep a bushy habit. Can grow in sun or semi shade. Prostanthera_lasianthos_flowers.jpg

The leaves are round while growing as a compact shrub that reaches a height of one and a half metres in our garden.  The flowers are over one centimetre wide and mauve to purple

Plant it along a pathway so you get the benefit of brushing past the fragrant leaves. 

Good pot plant also. Feed with a good native fertiliser, watering in afterwards to avoid leaf or root burn. 

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 3 in Design Elements

June 11th, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Edible Gardens Series Part 3

Part 3 is selecting and buying the seeds and plants.
Probably the most enjoyable part of the edible garden process.
So which seeds or plants and where to buy and what about crop rotation?
Let’s find out…
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, landscape designer and consulting arborist. 

You don't have to go to a store, because every type of vegetable is available online, either as a seed, or seedlings.
You can buy advanced seedlings as an example, from a mail order company in Gippsland, Victoria if it‘s getting a bit late to sow or plant your winter crop. www.diggers.com.au 
They call them speedings, because they’re at least a month ahead of where you would be if you started them from seeds.

diggers%2Bspeeding%2Bcollection.jpg
Diggers seeds speeding collection

Seeds are of course much cheaper but they could be 6-8 weeks behind seedlings, especially cabbages and other brassicas which are quite slow growing.

The other issue if you plant out winter crops too late, so that when they're maturing, the season is too warm. Warm weather can bring with it more fungal problems and a horde of insects to infest your crop.

  • Crop Rotation Is Important

Crop rotation is important of course so that you don't have a build of pests of diseases with a particular crop.

If you understand which group the vegetable your growing belongs to, then you can understand what to plant next once a certain crop is finished. Never grow the same crop more than once in the same bed.

Fabacea or Legume family: peas, beans

Asteraceae or Daisy Family: Leafy crops: spinach, lettuces, chicory.

Solanaceae or Potato family:-tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, capsicum

Apiaceae or Carrot family-carrots, parsnip, parsley, dill, celeriac

Brassicaceae or Cabbage family: broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, radish

Amaranthaceae or beetroot family: beetroot, spinach, swiss chard

Cucurbitaceae or Marrow family-cucumber, zucchini, squash, marrow, melon

 

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville 

Real World Gardener Bring Plants Back to Life in Plant Doctor

June 11th, 2020

PLANT DOCTOR

Can you bring a plant back to life? 

We all love our garden, but sometimes a hiccup in garden maintenance brings distastrous results.

Take this next scenario:

You've come home from a couple of week's holiday and found that your treasured Spathyphyllum sp. or peace lily seems to have melted over the sides of the pot. It was a hot summer and the house-sitter didn't think to water it. 

  • What can you do to revive your dying plant? 

Most people immediately assume that they should water it, but an extra dose of water can actually harm a plant that doesn’t need it. 

  • However, in this case, a good dunk in a bucket of water will remove most of the plant. There will be some dead leaves of course.

Out in the garden, there's a similar scenario, with small shrubs looking dried with burnt and scorched leaves.

They're not necessarily dead yet, so how can you tell?

The first thing to do is scratch the bark with your fingernail to see if there's some green underneath the outer layer.

If yes, then happy days, because with a bit of TLC, this plant will be brought back from the brink.

Also test if the limb or branchlet is still supple or snaps when you bend it.

If the stems are brittle, and brown inside when you cut it with a pair of secateurs, then the plant is dead and can’t be saved.

  • Perhaps your buxus hedge is only half dead. Trim back the dead stems and give it a good water, adding a seaweed drink to the watering can. That can revive the plants no end.

    Buxus%2Bwith%2Bdead%2Bbranchlets%2B3.jpg
    Dead branchlets on my buxus hedge

One last chance.

When the plant above ground is all dried up and dead looking, there is a chance that new growth will spring from the roots, depending on what it is of course. Australian natives are good at springing back to life if you cut them to about 5 cm above the ground.

 

Diagnose the Problem

You need to weigh up whether or not your giving it too much water, (one of the most common mistakes) or not enough water.

  • Has your peace lily got brown leaves that are dry around the edges or curled up? It's a sign of insufficient watering, so go water it!

Root rot symptoms.

This is when the plants' leaves look wilted, yet the soil is moist around the roots. In fact probably too moist if it's been sitting in a pot of water.

More than likely, your plant has root rot and the only way to save it,(slight chance), is if your spray it with Yates Anti-Rot which contains phosacid. This will only work if you've caught it in time and the leaves are able to take up the phosacid and translocate it to the roots.

Another option is to replant it into drier soil, which is easier if it's in a pot in the first place.

 

Don't Fertilise Yet

Fertilising now will stress the plant further and possible cause root and leaf burn. Wait it out a couple of weeks to let the plant recover, then add a gentle fertiliser at half strength.

Burnt Leaves

Buxus%2Bburnt%2Bleaves.jpg
Bromeliad needed more shade.

Australia's hot summers can burn leaves of plants, particularly if the ground is very dry.

If it's in the ground and the leaves keep getting burnt every year, dig it up and move it to a shadier spot in the garden.

If it's in a pot, that's an easy fix to move to a better spot.

Frost damage on plants looks similar to leaf burn from too much sun.

If you're expecting more frost because it's only the start of winter, invest in a some horticultural fleece, and throw it over the plant on frosty nights. Leave the burnt leaves for now, because they will protect the lower leaves that haven't been burnt.

 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au 

Real World Gardener Emu Bush is Plant of the Week

May 29th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific name: Eremophila sp. 

Common name: emu bush

Family:Scrophulariaceae 

EtymologyTheir name is from the Greek 'eremos' meaning desert and 'philio' - love. 

Distribution: Australia especially Wetern Australia

Native Habitat:Grow where rainfall is sparse, adapted to dry habitats

Climate: Warm temperate, Mediterranean, Semi-arid, Arid

Flowering:Winter

eremophila%2Bnivea.jpg

Here we go with one of those little heard of native plants that’s probably hard to track down.

But it’s the distinctive, but diverse flowers of these plants (eremophila) that are the real show-stoppers. 

 

Let’s find out more.

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

Adrian says don't expect them to last more than several years if growing them on the eastern, because of the high humidity.

The general species have grey leaves with purple flowers.

Grafted plants, although more expensive, last longer. Eremophila nivea is one example that's available as a grafted plant.

  • Tip: check out the Olive Pink garden in Alice Spring.

Eremophilas come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from ground covers to shrubs, to small trees and they can be found growing in the toughest of conditions.

They are drought resistant and tolerant of frost once established.

  • Some of the flowers are insect pollinated and others are pollinated by birds. It's apparent by the colour and shape of the flower. "The flat, purple or violet ones tend to be insect pollinated. Some flowers have little tracks on the inside which are like landing strips for the insects."
  • "The tubular flowers are more often bird-pollinated - their beaks delve into the long tubes for the nectar at the bottom. The pollen ends up on their heads and they move on to the next flower. Tubular flowers have a curious twist: they flare at the ends and split in such a way that they look like they are growing backwards on their stems.

 

  1. bignoniflora grows well in Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

 

Real World Gardener Native Fuschias in Plant of the Week

May 21st, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Correa species

Plants with bell shaped flowers are pretty much sought after by gardeners because the flowers are unusual and add an extra dimension to the floral palette. 
The good old fashioned fuchsia is however not easy for gardeners to grow in some districts so what can you do?

Correa_alba.jpg
Correa alba

Turn to the native equivalent, which is much more hardy and suited to a variety of climates. 
Let’s find out more. 
That was Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
Family:Rutaceae

Distribution: mainly eastern Australia
Flower: C. reflexa has the tips of the joined petals, turned back with eight stamens that stick out. May to November is the main flowering time with spot flowering in between.
Location: Light shade with moisture: suitable for under trees.
  • Notes: They may not last forever in your garden, but will brighten up the cooler months.
  • They like dry shade but do better with a bit of a drink, especially as they have fine shallow roots. Mulching with help retain moisture.
  • If they grow leggy, give them a light prune.
Adrian and I focussed on four species of correa:

  • Correa, reflexa,
  • Correa pulchella, wide colour range from pale red, pink and orange that flower in autumn and winter.
    correa%2Bbauerlenii%2Bchefs%2Bcap.jpg
    Correa bauerlenii: Chef's cap Correa
  • Correa alba with whitish flowers and tomentose leaves
  • Correa bauerlenii.tends to be limey green scented flowers.

TALKING FLOWERS

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