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? 

Teddy%2Bbear%2Bmagnolia.jpg
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

Michelia%2BFairy%2BCream.jpg
.
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 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.

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.

1-DSC_0001.JPG
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. 
1-STO_0906.JPG
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.

 

Real World Gardener Black Bean Tree in Plant of the Week

April 8th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Common Name: Black Bean Tree: 
Scientific name: Castanospermum australe
Family: Fabaceae
Native distribution: east coast of Australia in Queensland and New South Wales, and to the Pacific islands of Vanuatu, New Caledonia
Over the last few weeks in this segment, we’ve been talking about big, big trees, and today’s offering is no exception, but perhaps not as big as the Kauri Pine. 
This tree, although very range with amazing huge boat like seed pods, is in the same family as peas, beans and broadbeans.

800px-Castanospermum_australe_-_Moreton_
Castanospermum australe

The Black Bean tree makes an interesting pot specimen. 

Lovely red and yellow pea like flowers, typical of the legume family.
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
So let’s find out more. 

PLAY: Castanospermum austral_18th March 2020 

  • Black bean tree is an attractive Australian rainforest tree with dark glossy leaves and masses of yellow and red flowers during summer. 
  • Flowers attract lorikeets and other nectar feeders.
Sometimes used as street trees as long as they’re not under power lines. 
DO NOT plant in the garden, because it has invasive roots.
Certainly bird attracting when in flower and has a spreading canopy when it matures. 
If you want to grow it from the large bean like seed, sow the seed so that half of it is inserted into the seed raising mix.

Castanospermum%2Baustrale.jpg
Attractive pea like flowers of Castanospermum australe
Sometimes sold as a novelty plant with 6-10 seeds in a small pot, sort of like a bonsai plant but with many stems.
Unless you have a large garden, we recommend that you can plant this one successfully in a pot for many years. 
  • The beans of Castanospermum austral or black bean tree or toxic to everyone. 
Sydney Botanic gardens have a couple of these trees and various suburbs such as Hunters Hill, have the occasional Black Bean tree as a street tree.
seed-pods-castanospermum%2Baustrale.jpg
seed pods of Black Bean tree.
 

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Why Trees Fail in Design Elements

April 3rd, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Why Trees Fail/Fall?

When a large, mature falls in your garden, it can be very disheartening, especially if it’s a special or favourite tree.

Glenice%2527s%2BKurrajong.jpg
Kurrajong tree photo Glenice Buck

You may be left wondering what happened to cause it to fail after 20 or 30 years. 

Sometimes it’s obvious why a tree may fall in your garden, but what are the underlying factors? 
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer. 

www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 
Let’s find out . 

PLAY: Why Trees Fall_25th March 2020 
There are many reasons why trees fail or fall.

Irish%2BStrawberry%2Btree%2B10th%2BFeb%2

  • Trees need to be growing in well drained soil. 
  • If the soil holds onto too much moisture, this results in no oxygen in the soil, leading to tree roots rotting, making the tree unstable.
Trees will also fail or fall over in extreme weather events if they're susceptible.
Heavy rain inundation together with strong winds undermine the soil that the tree is growing in, particularly if the soil is shallow.
Glenice talks about the force of the wind, where the canopy of the tree acts like a lever, causing it to topple.
Sometimes the tree can be rescued by giving it a hard prune and winching it up, but that is the exception rather than the rule. 
  • Trees not planted correctly is another factor.
  • The planting hole needs to be wide enough so there there is enough room for the roots to spread . The hole should have more of vase shape, and loosen the soil so there is no soil 'glazing.'
  • Don't plant the tree too low in the ground.
  • If the tree is planted into a tight narrow space, not giving it enough room for the roots to develop to support the canopy.
If you want to know more or if you have any questions about why trees, fail, next week’s episode is about assessing trees for failure with Glenice. 

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 Kauri Pine in Plant of the Week

March 28th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Kauri Pine: Agathis robusta-an Australian native

Over the last few weeks in this segment, we’ve been talking about big, big trees, and today’s offering is no exception. 

Kauri pine, like it's name states, is a conifer in the Araucariaceae family.
Also considered a dinosaur tree because it evolved millions of years ago when Australia was largely subtropical all over and not just in Queensland.

Kauri%2BPine.jpg
Kauri pine: Agathis robusta

So let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY: Agathis Robusta_11th March 2020 

Big trees in pots: 
  • The Kauri pine is quite happy in pots if you have limited space.
  • Just need to be root pruned every couple of years, but no more than 10% all round.
Being an ancient conifer it comes from an era when the world was much wetter and rainforest covered all of Australia.
The tree has  big wide, leathery leaves with parallel veins. Leaves are in opposite pairs and 5-12cm long. The bark is smoothish, grey or a sort of grey brown.

beautiful-foliage-branch-Kaurie%2Bpine.j
Leaves of kauri pine, no mid-rib.
The lower part of the trunk is free of branches, having dropped off as it grows.
The pine cones come in to shapes. Male cones are long and narrow, but female cones are rounded, 8-13cm in diameter.

Agathis%2Brobusta%2Bfemale%2Bcone.jpg
Agathis robuasta female cones

  • The Queensland Kauri is a little known but magnificent specimen, that dates back to the mid-Jurassic period.

Agathis or Qld Kauri can live for centuries, but did you know that they were logged for their straight timber too much so by 1922, the Forestry Branch reported: ‘Of kauri pine the southern resource is utterly gone.’ 

The wood was used to cabinetry, floorboards, kitchen sinks, and boat building during the 1920's and 30's. 
  • Geelong Botanic Gardens have an avenue of Kauri pine trees planted around the 1860's.
  • Sydney Botanic gardens have one large specimen not far from the kiosk and close to the giant Dragon's Blood tree.

If you want to hug these large mature trees, you'll find that the girth is massive and it's more likely that 4-5 people with arms outstretched might make it being 150cm or so in circumference.

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Silky Oak is Plant of the Week

March 27th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Silky Oak: Grevillea robusta

Here’s a semi-deciduous grevillea, that can grow into a big tree. Flowering at the same time as Jacarandas and just as spectacular. 
When you see one, you don't think the Silky Oak as being a large tree. But here it is.

A bit messy, semi-deciduous, losing a lot of leaves from time to time. 
Grevilleas like this one are nectar rich, loved by the lorikeets. 

Grevillea_robusta_leaves_and_flowers_1.j

Apart from that drawback, the leaves are attractive with the added bonus is that the flowers are attractive to birds that come from all around the district to have a feast on the nectar of the flowers. 
So let’s find out more. 
I'm talking with Adrian O”Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert. 
PLAY:Silky Oak_4th March 2020 2020 

Silky%2BOak%2Btree.jpgThe silky oak flowers at the same time as Brachychiton querquifolia and Jacaranda mimosifolia, and there are some large gardens that have those big three. 
  • Brachychiton has the striking red flowers, contrasting with the purple of the Jacaranda and the golden yellow of the silky oak. 
So much nectar that on hot days, the nectar ferments, so the birds become intoxicated when sipping on the nectar, and become quite territorial.
When growing in pots, they take on the classical conifer type shape.
Remember Adrian's maxim, "spend a penny on the pot and a pound on the soil."
Very impressive to look at. 
The timber has a marbling dotty effect and is quite rot resistant should you come across this scarce resource.
The timber used to be used for frames around windows.
If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Plum Pines in Plant of the Week

March 5th, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Podocarpus elatus: Plum Pine

 

Are you of the opinion that all pine trees have pine cones and needle like leaves?

Most gardeners associate pine trees with Christmas because after all, that’s a conifer. Right?

Wrong? 

Before the continents separated, there was a lot of rainforest over the earth and there was no need for trees or any plants to adapt to dry periods.

Needle like leaves are for conserving moisture after all.

So what did conifers look like millions of years ago? 

podocarpus%2Belatus.jpg

Podocarpus elatus:plum pine

 

So let’s find out.

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

PLAY: :Plum pine_19th February 2020

The plum pine has been around for 250 million years back when the world was a big rainforest with plenty of rainfall.

No need for needle leaves to conserve water back then, but instead large leaves, and they do not have cones like the other conifers but instead have a single seed attached by a fleshy stem to the branch.

The purple fruit have a sort of plum like flavour and can be used for making sauces, jams and relishes.

  • Botanical Bite: Trees are dioecious, (different house), meaning the male and female flowers parts are on separate trees.

You would need to consider planting two or three of these trees together to ensure you get any fruit at all.

  • Be aware, when the pines do bear fruit, birds and flying foxes will come a calling and spit out the pips, leaving a purple stain on your nice paving. Best to not grow it near your driveway or paving.

Adrian had a plant in a pot, which does quite well with root pruning every few years. In the ground the tree will grow to 12 metres in its natural habitat, but a lot less in your backyard garden.

If you have any questions either for me or for Adrian, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

Real World Gardener Featuring Frangipanis part 2

March 5th, 2020

Frangipanis and...

 

Some plants develop a following or have societies created around them, where fellow collectors swap cuttings, ideas and seeds of that particular genus. 

JJs%2BDesert%2BSunrise%2Bphoto%2BSusan%2
JJ's Desert Sunrise photo Susan Newie

Frangipanis are tropical trees are loved by many collectors, and funnily enough, these collectors are going for the darker coloured flowers, like the dark reds, or almost black flowers.

  • But it’s not only the colour of the flowers that drives collectors crazy, it’s the size of the flowers and how they lookEvery so often that present a show, usually annually or biannually to sell some of their plants to the public.

This is the time to pick up something rare and exciting that you will never find in a nursery, garden centre let alone a big box store, and it’s not to be missed. 
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi, President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. 

Anthony, mentioned the Moragne hybrids. 
Bill Moragne is the father of Plumeria breeding.

Plumeria%2Bclassic.jpg
#27 

A professional horticulturist in Hawaii during the 1950’s he pioneered and perfected the cross breeding/hybridizing technique for frangipanis. 
His best hybrids set the standard years ago and they still do today.

  • Why Doesn't My frangipani flower?
Answer: 
  • It may be too young. 
When you first buy your frangipani plant, whether just a cutting or in a pot, it will most likely flower in the first year. The second year, it will put all its energy into growing strong roots and lengthening branches.
While it's still young, the stems will need a minimum of 2 years before the wood is ready again to produce buds and flower. The same applies, if you prune it.
 
  • After that, you may need to think about your fertilising regime.
Anthony recommends Sudden Impact for Roses, but following it up with a couple of applications of potash granules applied in spring and summer.
  • The third factor is, sunlight. 
Is your frangipani growing in full all day sun?
If it's not getting enough sun,  a minimum of 6 hours, it will resolutely fail to flower.
Not all the colour variations have strong perfume, but quite a few have flowers that are 10cm across, and imagine that amplified with a bunch of flowers,.
You end up with a cluster of flowers the size of a basketball.
Now that’s something to see.

Pink%2BOrange%2BPlumeria.jpg

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about where to get these amazing cultivars, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Featuring Frangipanis part 1

March 5th, 2020

Frangipanis and...

 

Some plants develop a following or have societies created around them, where fellow collectors swap cuttings, ideas and seeds of that particular genus. 

JJs%2BDesert%2BSunrise%2Bphoto%2BSusan%2
JJ's Desert Sunrise photo Susan Newie

Frangipanis are tropical trees are loved by many collectors, and funnily enough, these collectors are going for the darker coloured flowers, like the dark reds, or almost black flowers.

  • But it’s not only the colour of the flowers that drives collectors crazy, it’s the size of the flowers and how they lookEvery so often that present a show, usually annually or biannually to sell some of their plants to the public.

This is the time to pick up something rare and exciting that you will never find in a nursery, garden centre let alone a big box store, and it’s not to be missed. 
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Anthony Grassi, President of the Frangipani Society of Australia. 

Anthony, mentioned the Moragne hybrids. 
Bill Moragne is the father of Plumeria breeding.

Plumeria%2Bclassic.jpg
#27 

A professional horticulturist in Hawaii during the 1950’s he pioneered and perfected the cross breeding/hybridizing technique for frangipanis. 
His best hybrids set the standard years ago and they still do today.

Why Doesn't My frangipani flower?

Answer: 
  • It may be too young. 
When you first buy your frangipani plant, whether just a cutting or in a pot, it will most likely flower in the first year. The second year, it will put all its energy into growing strong roots and lengthening branches.
While it's still young, the stems will need a minimum of 2 years before the wood is ready again to produce buds and flower. The same applies, if you prune it.
 
  • After that, you may need to think about your fertilising regime.
Anthony recommends Sudden Impact for Roses, but following it up with a couple of applications of potash granules applied in spring and summer.
  • The third factor is, sunlight. 
Is your frangipani growing in full all day sun?
If it's not getting enough sun,  a minimum of 6 hours, it will resolutely fail to flower.
Not all the colour variations have strong perfume, but quite a few have flowers that are 10cm across, and imagine that amplified with a bunch of flowers,.
You end up with a cluster of flowers the size of a basketball.
Now that’s something to see.

Pink%2BOrange%2BPlumeria.jpg

If you want to know more or if you have any questions about where to get these amazing cultivars, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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