Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Wildlife in Focus:Well it’s not a cuckoo and it’s not a dove so what is it? It even uses it’s tail to hang on branches of trees when it searches for food. Listen here for the full segment.
Vegetable Heroes: Strawberries or Fragaria sp, meaning fragrance in Latin. Strawberries are grown all year round in all states of Australia. They are frost sensitive but a 10cm layer of mulch will be enough to protect the plants. Make sure you don't grow strawberries where other strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, capsicums and chillies (peppers) or eggplants have grown in the last 3 years. Otherwise your strawberries might get verticillium wilt, a fungus that's starts in the soil. It attacks through the roots and eventually blocks up the water conductivity system in the plant. The plant dies, rots away and you think - what have I done? Just don’t replant in the same place with new strawberries. And don't forget nurseries do sell certified virus-free stock, and that's the safest way to grow new strawberry plants. You'll find most strawberries flower in spring, set fruit which is harvested late spring/early summer, send runners out in summer and become dormant in winter. There are also everbearing varieties available which can set a second crop in autumn .
When planting a strawberry plant make sure that about a third of the crown is above the soil. If you plant too deep or shallow the plant might die.
Varieties include Redlands Crimson was developed in south east Queensland so it does very well in subtropical climates sending runners everywhere.
Tioga's - is better suited to a cooler climates and Torrey is suited to warmer climates.
Design Elements: I have a friend that doesn’t like flowers. Strange as it might seem, there are a few people who might be like this whether is allergies or asthma. Perhaps a scheme that involves only green is the answer? Listen here to Lesley Simpson garden designer and Marianne discuss green in the garden as a design element.
Plant of the Week: Grasses might sound a bit boring but the best of botanic gardens include ornamental grasses as a focal point in amongst their borders. Grasses come in all shapes, sizes and colours too.
Just to put your mind at rest, this Pennisetum alopecirpodes Pennstripe, that we just talked about is a native species to Australia and not Pennisetum setaceum or the highly invasive African species.
Some nurseries have apparently sold the African incorrectly labelled as native. Double check if you think there’s been a mix up. Pennstripe has never produced viable seed so it won’t spread into native bushland and cause a problem.
For more information on Penniseteum visit www.ozbreed.com.au/pennstripe.html
Friday, 23 December 2011
Design Elements: Ever thought of looking out into a cool relaxing garden? How do you get that? Maybe you want a meditation garden, how do you get that? Listen here for all the info with Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host).
eggplants, aubergines to some and Solanum melongena to botanists.
Eggplant is a short lived perennial plant that is usually grown as an annual. Eggplants grow best when the temperatures are at least 250C or above.
Eggplants or aubergines particularly resent frost and so far my plants from previous years never survive the cold and I have to start all over again.
Eggplant seeds/seedlings can be planted in spring to autumn in tropical areas, spring to early summer in temperate zones and during late spring in cool climates.Maybe a bit late for you guy, but you could give it a try this week maybe?
Eggplants have to have full sunlight or they simply won’t grow well.
Any spot that gets about six to eight hours of full sun.
The seedlings don’t need to be planted too far into the ground. Just enough so that the soil covers the roots is fine. After the seedlings have been transplanted, give them a little water and leave them to grow.
Don’t overwater your eggplants as they are susceptible to root rot.
When you pick your eggplant fruit is really up to you. As soon as the “skin” of the fruit is glossy, it is typically ready to be picked. If the skin has turned brown then you’ve waited too long to pick the fruit.
Why not try ROSA BIANCAVigorous Italian heirloom variety, heaps of fruit that are rosy lavender and white heavy teardrop shaped fruit with a mild flavour.
How about TURKISH ORANGE? Beautiful red-orange fruit, round to 7.5cm, lots of fruit in 65-85 days. For cooler districts, why not try the funny soundying UDUMALAPET
Yellow-green teardrop shaped fruit with vibrant lavender stripes, best eaten small at 8cm.
Plant of the Week: OK. It’s a tropical plant but plant nuts, plant addicts, plant collectors, call us what you will, we try and grow the impossible. Can we do it for this one in your district?
Mussaenda is a rounded evergreen tropical shrub or sub-shrub that will grow to 3m tall in tropical areas, but more likely will reach 1-2m tall in containers. Clusters (corymbs) of small, tubular flowers with five spreading lobes bloom in summer, however it is the large and colourful, ovate, leaf-like sepals (to 1m long) that provide the real ornamental display (in somewhat the same way as with Bouganvilleas). Some individual flowers in each cluster will develop a single enlarged sepal. Elliptic to ovate, bright green leaves (to 6î long). Hybrids sold in commerce typically...
Mussaenda erythrophylla cv Flamingo has large brightly coloured sepals of flaming pink. M erythrophylla Queen Sirikit has pale pink sepals.
M. Philippica is a dense spreading shrub with large clumps of ivory coloured sepals and tiny orange flowers, Very showy. This plant was discovered in the Philippines on Luzon Is in 1834.
Mussaendas need fertile well drained humus rich soils with an acid pH
.Full sun to part shade- somewhat cold sensitive and prone to spotting. A thick layer of mulch will protect the roots and help conserve moisture.
Winter hardy - grow in containers that must be overwintered indoors. Use a well-draining potting mix and keep soils consistently moist.
Grow in full sun to part shade. Best bract/sepal colour in full sun, but plants also appreciate some mid-day filtered sun in hot climates. Bring containers indoors in fall when night temperatures start dropping below 100C. Overwinter in a greenhouse or a warm sun room. Cuttings may be taken in late summer for overwintering.
Feature Interview: Organic Neem oil sprays can protect garden plants from chewing insects and fungal diseases and protect people and animals from biting bugs. Talking to Gary Leeson from OCP let's find out what neem oil is all about..
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Wildlife in Focus"Silvereye"- Zosterops lateralis. Quick. No other word can really describe these birds, They move extremely fast from one plant to the next, Seem to come and go in a flurry. Makes them hard to photograph.Listen here to Kurtis Lindsay, ecologist and Marianne (host) talk about this little bird.
Vegetable Heroes:Summer Button Squash is the yellow or green saucer shaped members of the Cucurbit family that includes pumpkins, melons and zucchinis. Cucurbita pepo. Squash can be grown all year round in hot, subtropical climates, from spring onwards in temperate zones and only in early summer in cold regions.So squash can be grown somewhere in all parts of Australia right now..
Squash like to spread out, but will follow a trellis if the vines are tied to one. Seeds are planted on small mounds, three to five to a mound. Pinch out weak seedlings and leave the strongest.
Squash are, like most vegetables, heavy feeders and need lots of fertilizer and water don’t overfertilize with chook poo pellets or you’ll have big plants and no squash.
There’s a French heirloom variety Squash Jaune Et Verte - the flesh is sweet and buttery and the tender skin cooks to lime green. Takes 7 weeks from seed to harvest.
New Gippsland Seeds-Golden Ruffles Hybrid is a Yellow Button Squash-
Eden seeds_EARLY WHITE BUSH SCALLOPED Known pre 1722.
Try these online suppliers.
Design Elements: Designing with hot colours is this week's topic.Why not try red lilies repeated down the border, they can creat an impact and the orange-red of the flowers could be softened with silver foliage. Listen here for the full segment with Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne.
Plant of the Week: Staghorn Fern-Platycerium bifurcatum-P. superbum
These ferns grow in warm, humid forests. and occurs naturally from far Northern Queensland to southern New South Wales. It's best suited to highland, tropical gardens, and lowland coastal gardens, as long as it's protected from salt spray and hard frosts. These plants grow equally well on tree branches, fallen logs and rocks.
There are two types of leaves on the staghorn fern- flattened sterile shield fronds protect the anchoring root structure and take up water and nutrients. This ‘nest’ frond is designed to collect falling leaves and insects and funnels it to the feeding roots giving the plant potassium and calcium, needed to grow the large fronds. It is from this frond that the fern attaches itself to the host tree.
The second type of leaf are green, pronged fronds coming out from this base-there are the fertile antler fronds coming from low on the nest frond and can grow down to 2m. They are broad and multi branching in habit.
Staghorns do well in tropical and subtropical regions but are surprisingly hardy and tolerate the cold of Melbourne which is considered in the temperate zone.
The best position is in light shade with occasional patches of sunlight (not hot afternoon sun filtering through, in dry climates). Although they'll cope with light frosts, these plants will need more protection in really cold areas.
The best position is in light shade with occasional patches of sunlight (not hot afternoon sun filtering through, in dry climates). Although they'll cope with light frosts, these plants will need more protection in really cold areas. Perhaps throw over some protection like a fleece and protect from wind.
Water regularly throughout growing season behind the sterile fronds. Increase water as temperature rises.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
The complete CRN edition of RWGwww.cpod.org.au/
Design Elements: Good garden design involves knowing how to combine colours so that the final product will be one we like Listen to the first in the series on Colour in garden design is to get you started towards ways to use colour in the garden successfully.
Vegetable Heroes: Cucumbers.Cucumis sativus..
In tropical districts, you can grow them all year round, in Temperate zones-spring andSummer and in cold districts, late spring to late summer is the time you can plant the seeds. Choose a sunny, well-drained position.because Cucumbers need full sun. pH of 6.5 is ideal.
Make a mini mound of soil, plonk in 4-5 seeds and when they germinate pick out the strongest and discard the others.
Don't overwater-if you’re watering too much and wondering why nothing is germinating, that’s because the seed has rotted away.
Water regularly at the base of each plant – keeping leaves dry will reduce the risk of powdery mildew disease – and feed every couple of weeks with an organic soluble plant food.
After 7 weeks your cucumbers should be ready. Twist the cucumbers off the plant or cut the stalk just above the cucumber tip. They keep for 7-10 days in the fridge.By the way, if you do get a bitter cucumber, peel it and cut of the ends by about 2.5cm, that’s where the bitterness concentrated. Online seed supplies from - www.heritageseeds.com.au www.greenharvest.com.au
Plant of the Week: African Violets, Saint Paulia. http://www.africanviolet.org.au/Links.html to join or go to a show.
- African violets need:• Ten to twelve hours of light each day • Light that is bright enough to cast a sharp shadow,• No direct sun, except a little in winter, or early in the morning . Under cupboard lighting in the kitchen is ideal to extend the hours.
- Use the wick-watering method.It prevents the plants becoming too wet or too dry, and especially avoids the dry-wet cycle that is especially damaging to African violets. African violets should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Water should be tepid or room temperature.
- An open and friable potting mix is essential-it needs to hold water but let it drain away reasonably quickly. If you can't get African Violet mix, add Coco peat, Vermicullite, Charcoal and Perlite in equal quantities.
- The diameter of the pot should be approximately one-third the diameter of the plant.
If you go to www.climatechangerg.org/ The Ryde/Gladesville Climate Change Action group has a list of things you can do on their website regarding Climate Action, a monthly e-newsletter and you can become a supporter of this group also. Call Pamela or Jo to find out the next meeting which probably be next year. Monday 5 December 2011 at 6.30 pm. Call Pamela on 0422 532 586 or Jo on 0414 375 149 for details.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Wildlife in Focus: The young cuckoos, when they finally leave the nest, fly exactly the same migratory routes as their real parents How do they know which way to go? That remains a mystery, but find out some facts about the Common Koel by listening to ecologist Kurtis Lindsay and Marianne (host.)
Vegetable Heroes: Rungia klossi or Mushroom Plant.
Mushroom plant has dark green, glossy succulent leaves with a prominent yellow veins. The leaves are oval shaped and waxy. Grows to about 60cm x 60cm if planted in the ground.
Blue flowers in spring. It sends up new stems from the base.
Mushroom plants grow best in tropical and subtropical regions, and in temperate zones do well in the warmer months.
The potted plants that I have, stayed green throughout this winter, whereas previously they died right down.
Gardeners in cold climates could grow this plant because it always springs back to life after the cold months, when the weather warms up. I would recommend keeping it in a pot for those areas.
I ‘ve had several growing in pots for at least 2 years and they’ve so far never flowered.
These plants are best bought either from a large garden centre or perhaps through suppliers online
Tolerates most other soils, but it must be well-drained and kept fairly moist. RWG recommends a semi-shaded position, with morning sun.
It’s a very tasty herb and there should be more of it around.
The mushroom taste gets stronger with cooking.Go to your local markets and buy one todayTry these sites for sources of the plants.www.greenharvest.com.au www.edenseeds.com.au www.heritageseeds.com.au www.pleasanceherbs.com.au
Design Elements: Living in a cool climate, particularly if you’re in a mountainous region, might be your idea of paradise. What about the garden? Do you make it sympathetic to the surroundings or do you create your own oasis? Listen here for some tips:
Plant of the Week: Bouganvillea spp.Bouganvilleas will grow in all parts of Australia except the coldest parts. Not Tassie then and marginally in Melbourne and Adelaide
FERTILIZATION-These vines are heavy feeders and respond best to almost constant feeding .
With high light and constant feeding, the plants will flower at least 11 months of the year in tropical areas. Everywhere else only in summer. You can use controlled release fertilisers or organic fertilisers as long as they are high phosphorus with micronutrients, as well as additional iron and magnesium.
Plants grow best with small amounts of nutrients constantly available. Do not apply fertilizers to dry soil – Do not overfertilize – in this case less is better than more
WATERING-These plants flower best under stress. Keep the plant slightly on the dry side, and allow the plant to become root bound.
Give the plant a good, thorough soaking just before it reaches the wilt stage. Remember during the summer heat plants will use up water quickly, so inspect often.
If you want to be successful with bougainvillea keep containers moist but also they need to be well drained. No sitting plants in standing water!
DO NOT USE SAUCERS under your bougainvillea pots.
Pruning:after flowering and so it doesn’t become a large sprawling vine, thin out the oldest wood and shorten back the flowering wood leaving 3 or 4 nodes.
Training the branches horizontally will encourage better flowers. Upright branches don’t flower well.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Design Elements:Maybe your plants are yellowing, burnt or stunted, or possibly you can't even get them established in the first place. If this sounds familiar, we'll give you some ideas on how to overcome common problems in growing plants by the coast. Listen here to Lesley simpson And Marianne (host) discuss Coastal Designs.
Vegetable Heroes: This weeks Vegetable Hero is the Cape Gooseberry Physalis peruviana syn. P. edulis that can be grown in all parts of Australia. But does best in temperate and subtropical areas. The time to sow Cape Gooseberry seed in every region except Tropical is now until December.
They need lots of water throughout the growing year, except towards fruit-ripening time.
These plants grow in most soil types and do very well in poor soils and in pots.
Water them regularly and, when they grow flowers, feed them every two weeks with a tomato food.
Cape gooseberry plants get the same pests as what you’d get in your area from the common tomato. No surprises there
Cape gooseberry once extracted from its husk, can be eaten raw tasting bit like ordinary tomatoes maybe a bit more zingy.
Online suppliers: www.cornucopiaseeds.com.au www.newgipps.com.au
Plant of the Week: Not only suitable for native gardens but also exotic gardens because of its form and shape, not to mention leaf and flower colour.
Eucalyptus caesia eg E.caesia “Silver Princess” a tree that grows best in W.A.
Myrtaceae-Distribution:Granite outcrops in a restricted area in south Western Australia.. Gungurru (it is believed that this name may be more appropriate to E.woodwardii)
E, caesia “Silver Princess” is a small Eucalypt that can grow to about 6-9 m high. Great for smaller gardens. It has a very ornamental weeping habit and a silvery, white powdery substance that covers the branches and adds to it’s appeal all year round.
Reddy pink flowers appear during late winter/early spring followed by large gumnuts also covered in the white powdery stuff. Large "gumnuts" about 30mm in diameter.
E, caesia “Silver Princess” does grow a little sparsely-flowers and branches aren’t that many so it doesn’t give a dense shade. But if you like the look of Birch trees, this is an Australian alternative, because this eucalypt has dark brown bark which peels in curling strips to show a pale undersurface and has deep green leaves with a whitish bloom
E, caesia “Silver Princess” can be coppiced as this plant does have a lignotuber-means it can resprout from the base.
E, caesia “Silver Princess” needs a soil that is reasonably well drain.
E. caesia can grow in all areas of Australia except across the top in Darwin and through the arid-dry centre. Certainly will grown from Cape Yorke down to Tasmania and over in W.A.
Not a tree for a shady location, prefers full sun and is highly drought tolerant.
Feature Interview: Goodnight Gladesville hosts, Danny Scrivano and Geoff Martin interview their mate, a bushwalking fanatic. Here are some tips.
Bushwalking in Sydney-If you go to the website Australian suburb Guide, www.suburbguide.com,au you can navigate to bushwalks where you’ll get a list that gives you a good comparison of the bush walking tracks. Sort the bush walking tracks by difficulty, time, distance, starting and finish point, and pick the bush walking tracks which are suitable for you. There’s also walking coastal Sydney website. www.walkingcoastalsydney.com.au/
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Design Elements:In the 17th Century Europeans interest in tropical gardens grew largely because people equated tropical gardens with their idea of paradise and perhaps the ‘garden of eden.’
Listen to Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host) talk about how you can create your own paradise.
Vegetable Heroes: Phaseolius vulgaris or CommonBeans, either climbing or Dwarf Beans, sometimes called French beans.
To grow beans you need up to four months of warm weather.
In subtropical climates beans can be grow them all year. For the rest of us, mid-spring through to late summer are the best times to plant. In colder districts, beans, don’t like the cold at all and they certainly don’t like frost. But you should be safe from any cold snaps now.
Beans are best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 30°C. so planting them from now on is good..
Beans are easy to grow. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. About 2.5cm or 1-inch or depending on the size of the bean .
Keep watered and watch for bugs and green caterpillars .
Pick the beans regularly to encourage new flowers.
Flowering will slow right down if you let the beans get too large (hard and stringy) on the plants.
For a continuous crop, plant more seed as soon as the previous planting starts to flower.
Protect against snails and slugs by laying down straw or sugar cane mulch and sprinkling coffee grounds around the edge of the veggie bed.
Slugs and snails will completely destroy newly sprouted beans.
Beans do poorly in very wet or humid tropical climates because they get bacterial and fungal diseases.
Pods won’t set at temperatures above 270 C.Go easy on the fertiliser or you’ll get lots of leaves and no beans.
When working with the mature plants and picking the beans, try to do so when they plants are dry. Working with them wet tends to cause them to have diseases.
When are beans ready pick?
Generally the green beans are ready to pick in about 10-12 weeks.
Pick them when they are about as thick as a pencil, smaller if you want a better, tender taste. Length is determined by the type you plant, but usually they will be at least four to six inches long.
Some online sources of heaps of varieites are www.heritageseeds.com.au . www.edenseeds.com.au
Plant of the Week:Geraniums and Pelargoniums are great collector’s plants with many varieties available. They are a good source of vivid colour, even in winter if a warm spot is provided. There’s even Geranium & pelargonium societies like the one in S.A. www.southaussiepellies.org/
Geranium sanguineum and Geranium himalayense-yes true Geraniums! The stork’s bill family – geraniaceae has about 700 plants spread over temperate and subtropical countries. To buy online try this site. www.frogmoregardens.com.au
Geranium & Pelargonium tip for November is
-Keep deadheading plants so they flower longer- Keep an eye out for white fly as the weather warms up,- Don’t prune your plants until February.
Feature Interview: Host, Marianne is talking to Jenny Patterson, volunteer guide at www.rbgsyd.nsw.au - What can we do to help scientific response to climate change? We can become a Citizen Scientist. Listen here for the interview.
Check out www.climatewatch.org.au
Friday, 11 November 2011
Wildlife in Focus: The Grey Shrike-thrush is best known for its lovely song. Birdwatchers call this bird the "GST". Grey Shrike-thrush. Find out what this songbird sounds like, what it feeds on and how you can attract the GST to your garden.
To hear the full segment with Kurtis Lindsay and host Marianne click on the player.
Vegetable Heroes: Chillies or Capsicum, annum, C. chinense, C. frustescens and others.
Sowing chilli seeds can be done throughout the year in Tropical and sub-Tropical climates. Luck guys. Being a warm season plant the season is shorter in temperate climates only fruiting over the summer months and dying back in winter. They’re totally not suitable in areas where frosts occur. Perhaps try them in a pot and place it a very warm verandah because warm conditions over a five-month growing period are necessary for any good quality fruit. Chillies need soil temperature of 15–30°C to germinate.
Germination takes from 1 to 6 weeks so don’t give up.
To grow chillies well, add lots of high nitrogenous matter, like Nasturtium or comfrey leaves to the soil as well as compost and manures, so you won’t have to fertilise with chemical fertilisers.There’s no special soil or potting mix that they need, just start to add a side dressing of fertilise when you see the flowers develop and don’t let them dry out too.
!4 different varieties available from www.edenseeds.com.au
Capsaicin in chillies will cause an unpleasant burning sensation to eyes and skin. Try to avoid handling them too much, wear gloves if possible, and be sure not to touch your face or eyes during preparation. So happy chilli growing gardeners
Design Elements: Country garden style began in England in the 18th Century and was also called English landscape park. This style of garden spread across Europe, replacing the more formal, symmetrical Garden à la française of the 17th century as the principal gardening style of Europe.
Listen to garden designer Lesley Simpson and Marianne discuss how country garden styles can suit your garden.
Plant of the Week : Brunfelsia spp. Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow Plant.
When the flowers first appear, they’re a deep purple. As the days pass and the plant ages, the flowers fade from the deep purple into a lighter lavender color, and finally, the petals fade to white.
They fade quicker than a kiss and the plant has earnt the name Kiss Me Quick in America!
a. Brunfelsia is a genus of flowering plants and shrubs native to the tropics and the subtropical regions of South and Central America
b. Grows to about 2-3 metres.
c. B. pauciflora, has the largest of flowers that completely clothe the plant.
d. Members of this genus have broad, simple leaves and distinctive tubular flowers with broad petals called “salverform”.
e. These plants are native to woodland habitats and prefer partial to filtered shade. People growing them in hot, dry climates with long, bright days should lookfor shadier areas, while people in cooler climates with less strong light can try growing Brunfelsia in full sun, although not generally a cool climate plant. You can grow it in a pot and move it around because some people have success growing them in cooler climates by bringing them indoors in the cold months, although they will lose their leaves in the winter.