Real World Gardener Two Best Banksias are Plant of the Week

June 11th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Banksia ericifolia and Banksia spinulosa: what's the difference?

Scientific Name: Banksia spinulosa

Common Name: Hairpin BanksiaBanksia%2Bspinulosa.jpg

Family: Proteaceae

Plant height: Mostly a multi-stemmed lignotuberous shrub. Varies greatly in height 1 -3 m 

Position: Full sun, frost hardy including Canberra winter frosts.

Leaves:long and narrow, 3-8 cm long by 2-7 mm wide, and variably toothed. Leaf margins often recurved which is an adaptation to dry environments.

Flowering:The flower spikes range from 10-20 cm in length. A spike may contain hundreds or thousands of individual flowers, each of which consists of a tubular perianth made up of four united tepals, and one long wiry style.

Position: Prefers to grow in the open where it makes a nice rounded shrubs.

Shade makes it spindly.

Banksias are an import source of nectar during autumn and winter when flowers are scarce.

Scientific Name: Banksia ericifolia

Common Name: Heath Banksia

Family: Proteaceae

Plant height: Mostly a multi-stemmed shrub. Varies greatly in height 3-6 m

Position: Full sun, frost hardy including Canberra winter frosts.

Leaves: The linear dark green leaves are small and narrow, 9–20 mm long and up to 1 mm wide, generally with two small teeth at the tips. 

The leaves are crowded and alternately arranged on the branches..Banksia%2Bericifolia.jpg

Flowers: cylindrical flower spikes are quite large at 4-6 cm wide and up to 30 cm long

Differences: Banksia ericifolia has much narrower leaves and is fire-sensitive in that it does not have a lignotuber for vegetative regeneration after bushfires. The species relies on seed for regeneration - seeds are retained in the cones for many years and are released by the heat of a fire.

Pruning:

People are afraid to prune Banksias because they think of them as being a bit tricky.
If you’re not sure what type of Banksia you have, then only light pruning.
If you know your Banksia has a woody rootstock (lignotuber) then it can be heavily pruned.

  •  Only low phosphorus fertilisers should be used if at all. I’d recommend Blood n Bone.

Here's an interesting tidbit: Historically B. ericifolia is supposed to be the first specimen collected by Sir Joseph Banks at Botany Bay in 1770. 

For some reason, Banks did not describe this new discovery however and it was left to Carl Linnaeus who later named the genus Banksia in honour of Banks in 1782.

Have a listen to the podcast.

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

 

Real World GardenerWinter Flowering Grevillieas are Plant of the Week

June 11th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Winter flowering Grevilleas

Scientific Name: Grevilliea

Common Name: Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

There’s a lot to choose from but before you run out to the nursery to buy up all the winter flowering ones for your garden. Let’s look at what conditions Grevilleas need to thrive.

Red soil is too heavy for many grevilleas. So if you live in Moree, you may not be able to grow many grevilleas  because of the heavy soil.

Grevilleas like air in the soil, so a light sandy soil is preferable,but you could easily just plant them on a bit of mound mixed with good compost and some light potting mix in it so they  can get established first..

Once they are older they don't seem to mind the heavier soil, but  drainage is a must.

  1. superb. 1.5 x 1.5m. Red to yellow flowers, Yellow tips on the stamens. Tolerates frost to -30C Bird attracting.
  2. coconut ice2 x 1.5m. Reddish pink flowers through out the year. Dense semi-spreading habit. Not like coconut ice confection atl all. Tolerates frost to -40C
NOR_4885.JPG
Grevillea Coconut Ice : photo M Cannon

G Honey Gem, an old favourite although rather big. 4 x3m Large leaves which are deeply lobed, dark green above silver reverse. The flowers cylindrical and bright orange which drip with sweet nectar. Bird attracting. Tolerates frost to -30 C

Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream' grows to 1.5m x2m. with cream flowers which change to pink as they age. Flowers all year.

Have a listen to the podcast.

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

Real World Gardener Lilac Hibiscus is Plant of the Week

June 11th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific name: Alyogyne heugeli

Common Name:Blue Hibiscus or Lilac Hibiscus

Family: Malvaceae

Flowering: late spring to summer

Position: Full sun to part shade.

Fertiliser; low phosphorus (P) or native fertiliser only.

As in all Hibiscus, the flowers open in the morning and last one day.  

  1. huegilii is a prolific flowerer-lots of flowers from late spring until the end of summer.

I’ve seen it grown at the back of the border, amongst exotics like May Bush, Loropetalum, and in front of Princess Lillies, and I must say, I regret having pulled mine out because the flowers are really lovely.

This plant blends so well with any other plant on the planet.

  • The original A. heugelii needs to be pruned to promote lower growth and this one grows to about 2 ½ metres tall. 
  • Although, you can keep it down to 1 ½ metres because it sends out fast-growing shoots from old wood.

There are new select forms that are more compact and lower growing.

Alyogyne heugelii Karana-a medium shrub 1.5m by 1.5m wide

Alyogyne heugelii Misty-a medium shrub 1.5m by 1.5m wide; also frost tolerant.

Have a listen to the podcast.

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

Real World Gardener Australian Paper Daisies in Plant of the Week

March 19th, 2021

Rhodanthe chlorocephala
Paper daisies
Some people call them paper daisies, some call them everlastings but as we say on Real World Gardener, don’t be fooled with common names because they are most often applied to an array of plants.
pink%2Beverlasting.jpg

 

Scientific name: Rhodanthe chlorocephala
Common name: pink & white everlasting
Family: Asteraceae
Flowers: from winter to spring, daisy like flowers 1-6cm in diameter, composed of white or pink papery bracts. Heads normally appear singly, but tip pruning will encourage branching to produce multiple flower heads.
Position: full sun in well drained, even sandy soils. easily propagated from seed. Best sown in late autumn or early winter.  If conditions are right, they will self-seed, otherwise collect the seed when the flowers turns into a fluffy head.Store the seed head in a paper bag until next season.

Whatever you call them, it’s something even beginner gardeners can grow to pretty up their patch.

Australia's version of meadow planting can be easily achieved with these paper daisies or
everlastings. All you need to do is scatter 1 gm of seeds per square metre and rake gently into the soil. The seeds will germinate in 7-10 days if kept moist. Expect a carpet of flowers as you would see in Western Australia.
Rhodanthe chlorocephala subspecies rosea is the most widely grown subspecies and is commonly known as “Pink and White Everlasting”, “Rosy Sunray”, “Pink Paper-daisy” and “Rosy Everlasting.”
The flowers can be dried like other native daisies and used in floral arrangements for months.

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

Real World Gardener Ivory Curl Tree in Plant of the Week

December 31st, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name: Bickinghamia celsissima
Common Name: Ivory Curl Tree
Family: Proteaceae
Etymology:Buckinghamia....after Richard Grenville, Duke of Buckingham.

celsissima....from Latin celsus, high or lofty, a reference to the habit of the plant in the wild.

Origins: Rainforests of Queensland.
Height: grows to 30 m in natural environment, but 7-8 metres in the home garden. Often used as a street tree.
Flowering: Summer to late Autumn, depending on the location, when the entire crown can be almost entirely covered with spectacular and large (30cm )  racemes of pendant white to cream sweetly perfumed flowers. Often covered in bees happily taking in the nectar and pollen.

BuckinghamiaCelsissimaWs800.jpg


pendant white to cream sweetly perfumed flowers. Often covered in bees happily taking in the nectar and pollen.

Fruit: Wooden follicles that contain several seeds. Fresh seed germinates fairly easily, producing plants that can flower within three years. 
  • You will find that it can be grown throughout most of Australia, including as far south as Melbourne. However Buckinghamia celsissima doesn't do well in Canberra, because it hates frosts, and it won't flower in the humidity and heavy rains of the northern tropics.
  • If left to it's own devices it will go straight up like a telegraph pole and you will miss the spectacle of the flowers.
  • Tip pruning judiciously will give you a shrub as in the picture where the flowers can be observed at close quarters.
  • It can be pruned reasonably hard, but be warned, it will recover slowly.
I'm talking with native plant expert Adrian O'Malley
 

Real World Gardener Albany Woolly Bush in Plant of the Week

December 31st, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name:Adenanthos sericeus 
Common Name: Albany Woolly Bush
Family: Proteaceae
Etymology: latin sericeus ("silky"), in reference to the very soft foliage. Common name-after a town where it grows indigenously 4.5hrs drive south of Busselton
Height: species grows to 5 metres tall but numerous cultivars are much smaller.
Flowers: insignificant but do appear late winter to early spring.
Albany%2Bwoolly%2Bbush.jpg

Many people either grow it themselves or buy an Albany Woolly Bush around Christmas time because it really suits this idea because the. grey-green leaves give it a colour that almost ‘hints’ at being snow covered.

 
Cultivars:
Adenanthos 'Silver Lining' a groundcover 40cm in height with 1.5m spread
Adenanthos 'Platinum' 1.5m height
Adenanthos 'Silver Streak' grows to 2m
One of the best Christmas trees yet because of the soft furry foliage that you just can't help touching it. One thing to watch, when hanging tree ornaments on it, because the branches are quite supply, the tree has this kind of spreading look when you finished decorating it.
  • The woolly bush is susceptible to phytophthera which can result in the plant dropping dead, seemingly overnight. Particularly if your district has summer humidity.
  • The leaves are needle like but not stiff like you would see on a pine tree.
I'm talking with native plant expert, Adrian O'Malley

Real World Gardener Dendrobium orchid in Plant of the Week

October 8th, 2020

 PLANT OF THE WEEK

Dendrobiums sp. Episode 1

Scientific Name:Dendrobium speciosum
Common Name: Rock Orchid, Sydney Rock Orchid
Native Habitat: growing on granite cliff faces or boulders.
Plant type: Lithophyte
Description: consisting of pseudobulbs or canes that can be up to 45cm long. Large leathery leaves than can last up to 12 years on the plant. Flowering August to September.
Flowering:Arching racemes that can have up to 100 fragrant flowers per stem.
Climate zone: Outdoors in tropical to temperate climates, but shadehouses in colder areas.
 
1-Dendrobium%2Bspeciosum.jpg
 

Some gardeners think that growing orchids can be a bit tricky or only for the orchid afficionado. 

They may have experienced one or two failures that has tainted their perception of orchids for life. 
But I think, give orchids another go, because there’s ones out there that are hard to kill. 
This one’s no exception. 
Let’s find out what it is. 
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, native plant expert and native orchid afficionado. 

One of the most spectacular Australian orchids and one of the easiest to grow.

  • When establishing your new orchid, you can attach it with coated wire or plastic rope to a tree, or boulder in your garden.

Adrian has his own orchid house in his backyard where he grows about 200 different types of orchids and yes, they are all types of Australian native orchids. 
Be like Adrian, and grow some yourself. 
If you have any questions about Australian orchids, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 

Real World Gardener Yellow Tea Tree is Plant of the Week

August 19th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name:Leptospermum flavescens 'Cardwell.'
Common Name: Yellow Tea tree
Family: Myrtaceae
Growth: 1.5- 2m in height
Distribution: south coast of New South Wales up to far north Queensland.
Native Habitat: sandstone derived soils.
Flowering: late winter to summer (August to January.) Flowers are cup shaped, creamy white.
Tea trees when they are in heavy flower, you can't see the leaf because they are so floriferous!
  • Leptospermum Cardwell is a tea tree with intensely fragrant leaves all year round, and is covered in typical tea tree flowers from late winter to summer.
Leptospermum 'Cardwell' is a small tidy bush with a weeping habit. Looking similar to a miniature willow tree.

1-ADE_3927.JPG

After flowering the little nut like fruits appear on the bush.
I'm talking with Adrian O'Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

PLAY: Leptospermum Cardwell_5th August 2020 
Tea trees are not necessarily long lived so getting 5 years out of this small shrub is probably good going.

Plant tea trees in fairly sandy or light soils rather than heavy clay soils.
Bird and insect attracting makes it a lovely addition to your garden. 
Look out for the “Cardwell’ cultivar because of it’s weeping habit and how it’s covered in tiny flowers that make it stand out like a beacon when planted in your garden.

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 Privacy With Container Plants in Plant Doctor

May 1st, 2020

PLANT DOCTOR

Plants for Privacy in a Container

What do you do if you want a plant for privacy but there’s either not enough soil in that location or you’re in an apartment? 
I’ve talked about big trees in pots with horticulturist, Adrian O’Malley from Plant of the Week, before, but it doesn’t have to be just about trees for privacy. 
So what can it be? 
Let’s find out . 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au 
PLAY: Plants for Privacy in pots_15th April 2020 
Choose as large a pot/container as you can accommodate in the spot where you want to achieve some privacy.
For my Magnolia 'Little Gem,' I have a 60cm terracotta round pot.
The disadvantage with round terracotta or ceramic pots, is that they can be bowled over in strong winds.
Mine has a large crack down one side having been blown to the ground numerous times during strong winds.

Magnolia%2BLittle%2BGem%2Bin%2Bcontainer
Magnolia Little Gem surround by orchids. 
Cracked terracotta pot after being knocked over in strong winds.
There is of course the problem of replacing the soil which over a few years, will slump.

Rejuvenating Your Large Potted Plant

  • TIP: employ help to push the container gently to the side then ease out the tree or large shrub.
  • Use this opportunity to give the plant a root prune, about 10% all over.
  • Replace any loose soil with good quality potting mix and only a couple of handfuls of compost, whether homemade or store bought.
If you really want a sure fire winner, then choose Murraya paniculata or commonly called Murraya, for your screening option. 
Yes, I know it’s pretty common, but that’s a good choice if you’re prone to forgetting to prune it. 
A lesser known and somewhat handsome plant that Steve mentioned is Radermachera “Summer Scent.” 
Originating from Southern China, Summerscent has lush, glossy, compact foliage. 
Best of all this plant has clusters of white to pale pink scented flowers that flower profusely throughout the warmer months. 
A perfect plant for hedging or screens as it responds well to pruning and adds a tropical feel to the garden. 
Summerscent grows well in full sun and shade as well as indoors if kept in a well lit position. 
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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