Tackling a tough garden bed part 1 in Design Elements

September 27th, 2021

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

When the going gets tough

Many gardeners have a section of their garden that might often see plant failures year after year.
They’ve tried all sorts of plants that claim to be tough as old boots, but still they fail.

Glenice Buck has dealt with one such problem garden bed where she lives and this week starts a series of 3, on how she went about solving the problem.

 
Glenice explains that the bed is on a slope (see photo below) so the water would just hit the soil and run down the hill.
This garden bed also gets all day sun on heavy clay soil.
Access to water is limited to hand watering. Not ideal considering the busy schedule that Glenice's parents have.
On top of the lack of shade and being baked by hot afternoon summer sun, the soil had been previously used as bit of a driveway and had been compacted by heavy machinery when the house was being build.
Glenice said in her post that 

 

"This section of garden bed in the rear garden at #thegardenattheberkshires has been the toughest bed I have ever dealt with. Five years on with a lot of work and improvements it is finally starting to fill in and look good. It has been hard to get anything to grow in this area. The reasons for it being a difficult spot to deal with is
 

tough%2Bgarden%2Bbed_garden%2Bat%2Bthe%2Bberkshires%2B2.jpg
Tough garden bed at the Berkshires photo Glenice Buck

Have a listen to the podcast
I'm talking with Glenice Buck Landscape design and Arboriculture consultant.

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 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.
0262066_rhagodia-spinescens.jpg

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.

Bickleigh%2BVale%2BVillage%2BBadgers%2Bwood.jpg

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

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
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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.

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