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.
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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 Billy Buttons are in Plant of the Week

March 19th, 2021

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Some plants you just love their flowers, some just have fabulous leaves, but here’s a plant, even though on the small side, packs a punch with bright golden flowers and grey leaves that would fit into any style garden.

Billy%2BButtons.jpg

Scientific name:Craspedia globosus syn. Pycnosorus

Common name:Billy buttons, drumsticks.
Flowers:  golden-yellow tennis ball like spheres made up of tiny flowers on long stalks 80cm-100cm
Leaves: a rosette of grey green leaves above an underground rhizome.  
Interesting fact: Billy Buttons were part of the flower arrangement that were presented to medal winners of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Hardiness: tolerates light frost and extended periods of dry weather. Don't like wet weet.
Billy Buttons are very famous for being very long lasting cut flowers, their bright yellow spherical flowers can be dried like other native daisies and used in floral arrangements for months.
 
In areas with high humidity, treat them as an annual as they will succumb to fungal problems. Easily grown from seed but use wildflower seed starter to break the dormancy of the seed. 
Let’s find out more
I'm talking with was Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.

Real World Gardener Topiary and Topiary Tools in Tool Time

March 9th, 2021

 TOOL TIME

Topiary Shears

During the warmer months of the year, your garden can start looking like a jungle because it’s growing so fast.
More so because of la nina bring welcoming rains to drench the parched soil.
What things can you do in the garden to tame it somewhat other than a short back and sides?
Have you thought of a bit of topiary?

You don't have to go all out and doing something like in this photo, although it is rather nice.
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You could just do a few simple balls on a stick instead. 

But what tools help you do the job properly?
Let’s find out what needs doing

topiary.jpg

I'm talking with Tony Mattson general manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au
Normally you need to do the trimming fairly regularly and you're trimming the newer growth. 

Older wood may need a nip with secateurs.
  • The single handed topiary shears are great for small jobs such as perfecting that topiary ball. Topiary shears are similar to sheep sheers. (pictured
  • Two handed topiary shears are a lightweight hedge shear usually weighing less than 1 kg. 
  • The blades are straight and vary between 20-25cm (8-10 inches) in length.
  • There's also battery operated one handed shears.
Starting your own topiary from scratch like the balls in the photo,  you need to choose the right type of plant that responds well to topiary. 

Topiary-Shears-GF-4714.jpg
Think buxus species, lilly pillies, or the common myrtle,  (Myrtus communis) are great starting points to kick off your topiary garden.
Between each trim, step back and look at how you are progressing so it ends up symmetrical.  

If you have any questions either for me or for Tony you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 

Real World Gardener Help with seedlings in Plant Doctor

February 26th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR    

What's Going On With My Seedlings?

People have been turning to gardening in droves this year, and for one reason or another, they’re into growing their own food.
A lot of new gardeners, though, are finding it difficult to either get those seeds to germinate, or keep those seedlings going.seedling.jpg

Here are some of the common problems:

  • Seeds germinate and grow for a while then die. Number 1 culprit is drying out.
    • Seedlings are for the most part growing in a shallow soil and all it takes is for a bit of warm weather, then unless you're there on the spot to water them, they shrivel up and die.
  • Seedlings growing in moist soil because you've somehow managed to keep them hydrated. If they keel over at this point, it's due to 'damping off.' The seedlings is attacked by fungal or bacterial infection, the end result of which is death of your seedlings.
  • Overwatering and poor airflow is another possibility.
  • Seaweed solution may help with overcoming this problem.
  • Watering with a tea with strong antimicrobial properties, such as strong chamomile or cinnamon tea may work as a preventative. 
  • Create a clean environment as possible by (a)sterilising your soil by placing it in the oven for 30 minutes at high temperatures and (b) wipe down pots and benches with a 10% solution of bleach. 
  • Seedlings just sitting with no growth for weeks are a sign of insufficient fertiliser. Water in a liquid fertiliser immediately and follow up as per dosage instructions. 
  • Although, one thing to watch out for:The seeds have germinated but mysteriously, the tops get chewed off. 
    I’m still wondering how the slug go into the closed mini-greenhouse and ate my basil seedlings.
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to get back into growing from seed and have all the information you need to get those seedlings going.

 So what help do they need? Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I’m talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

If you have any questions about seedlings, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Mulled Wine and Jelly in Spice It Up

February 25th, 2021

SPICE IT UP

Mulled Wine and Mulled Wine Jelly

Are you missing the Christmas spirit? In Australia it was mostly too hot around Christmas time to partake in mulled wine. Winter isn't that far away, and for some people, Christmas in July is a thing.

That would include mulled wine.
Right now though, you could make some mulled wine jelly to relive some of that Christmas cheer which just seems like a faded memory.

You may have heard of the spices that go to make mulled wine, a traditional drink in the northern hemisphere at that time of year.
But here in Australia, it’s too hot, so what else can we do with these spices?

Traditional mulled wine spices contain allspice berries (ground), cassia bark (Asia version of cinnamon), ginger, dried orange peel, and cloves.

Mulled%2Bwine.jpg

 

METHOD: Mulled Wine
In a saucepan 
POUR 1 bottle of red wine
ADD1 cup of brown sugar,
ADD 1 fresh lime
ADD 1 fresh quartered orange.
ADD2-3 tablespoons of mulling spices.
SIMMER gently for 30-40 minutes DO NOT BOIL
STRAIN: into a jug and serve while warm.
If you’re keen to experiment with your own recipe, then use real vanilla pods, cinnamon quills, fresh citrus and star anise at the very least.

Apart from mulled wine jelly, and mulled wine fizz, there’s also mulled wine glazed ham. So experiment away. Listen to the podcast to find out more.

I’m talking with Ian Hemphill from herb and spice expert from www.herbies.com.au
PLAY: Mulled wine jelly_9th December 2020
If you have any questions about spices in mulled wine spice mix, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Fermenting Vegetables part 2 in What’s Cooking

February 25th, 2021

FERMENTATION PART 2

Dry Fermentation Process: we're doing a cabbage.
The whole leaf on top of the shredded cabbage is the 'plug.'
Leave some headroom in the jar so the fermenting process doesn't bubble over.
The cabbage should start bubbling which is the fermentation process.

fermenting%2Bcabbage.jpg
LEAVE it out of the fridge but in a cool spot such as a tiled floor.
WAIT ten days then taste it. Before this time it doesn't taste very nice.
You can leave it longer if you like.
PROBLEMS:
White yeast growing on the surface needs to be removed otherwise it will spoil the flavour.
If you see mould, throw it out and start again.
Once you like the flavour, put it in the fridge, it will slow the fermenting process.
Let's find out more.
 

Real World Gardener Vegetable Fermentation part 1 in What’s Cooking

February 25th, 2021

 THE ART OF VEGETABLE FERMENTATION

Have you ever wanted to ferment vegetables but thought it was a bit too hard?
Perhaps you’re an avid fermenter but need to know more.
In this new segment I find out that it’s actually easy to start fermenting.

Holly describes herself as an 'old fermenter.'

Sauerkraut_Jar.jpg
Jokes aside, what's the first thing you need to know before you start fermenting any vegetable.
Do you need high end equipment?
Let’s find out more.
 
Fermenting is a process that happens in the absence of air.
It turns out that a clip lock jar or a glass jar with a screw top lid would suffice. Or you can use a plastic jar.
NOTE: the lid needs to have a coating on it which most would have if they were on jars that were bought with food in them. These jars are perfect for re-purposing for fermenting.
Cabbages and other root vegetables are ideal for fermenting.
METHOD:
PICK a cabbage that is heavy for it's size, preferably an organic one.
Should be dense and tightly packet.
STRIP off outer leaves.
CUT the cabbage into four and cut the heart out of it.
SHRED your cabbage finely, Holly likes it between 3-5mm in width so it has some crunchy.
If your ferment comes out mushy then air has entered into the process.
ADD 20gms of fine ground sea-salt to every kilo of cabbage.
RUB sea salt into cabbage until it releases moisture-make sure it's vigorous , releasing plenty of liquid.
There should be enough liquid to completely submerge the cabbage in the jar.
STUFF into a jar and cover with the liquid.
PLACE one of the previously discarded whole leaves on top of the shredded cabbage in the jar.
I’m talking with Holly Davis, whole food chef, and educator.
PLAY: Fermentation Part 1_25th November 2020

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 Willow Myrtle in Plant of the Week

December 31st, 2020

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Scientific Name:Agonis Flexuosa
Agonis_flexuosa_Peppermint_Kings_Park_Perth1.jpg

Common Name: Willow Myrtle/ Peppermint Willow (pictured)

Family: Myrtaceae
Etymology: derived from the Greek word agonos, translated as "without angles," in reference to the drooping branches of some species

flexuous means "bending" or "curvy," referring to the way the branches arch gracefully.

Origins: Native to Western Australia

Height: to 10 metres
Flowering: Late spring-branches are covered in fragrant tiny white flowers.
There are various cultivars available such as Agonis 'After Dark" (pictured) and Agonis 'Jervis Bay, Agonis 'variegata' and Agonis 'Burgundy.'
Also there is a dwarf form Agonis "Nana.'
Another fairly spectacular tree when in flower which although small, there are heaps of them.
The burgundy or dark foliage is a superb contrast to all that green you may have in the garden.
Soil preference is sandy to medium soil, but not clay soils.     
This one's not frost tolerant.
Adrian says you would grow it for the attractive foliage and attracting furrowed bark.
I'm talking with native plant expert Adrian O'Malley

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