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What kind of garden do you have?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day on the radio

Feature interview:Habitat network member and IEWF (international weeds foundation ceo) Bev Debrincat talks about bring back small birds to your garden. Plant small prickly bushes closely, like Acacia ulignosa, Grevillea sericea, dianella spp, and Geranium homeanum.
Fantastic Fruit:
Garden Design Elements:
Blacony gardens that face south.
Plant of the Week:
Corymbia "Summer Red."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What is this thing called Permaculture?

Sydney Garden Talk, Saturdays 12noon-1pm. 2RRR 88.5 fm
Today's feature interview was with Rosemary Hadaway, Permaculture Sydney North's coordinatore for the Ryde local group.
There are several main elements to Permaculture that makes it different from an organic or sustainable gardenening.
1. Have veggies and herbs, compost bin and worm farm near the back door. This is called Zone 1.
2.Have a water element near you veggie bed. It can be a 30cm bowl to add humidity, attract dragon flies and other beneficials to your veggie garden.
3.Grow perennial herbs like bush basil to support your tomato plants.
4. The next zone contains the fruit trees, further away from the house.
To find out more, join a local permaculture group
Ryde Rosemary Hadaway 9809 1253

Plant of the week: NSW Christmas Bush

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Asthma gardens

Saturday 12noon-1pm. SYDNEY GARDEN TALK 2RRR 88.5 FM
Feature interview with Michael McNaught, horticultural liasion officer at Eden Gardens.
What changes can you make to an existing garden? See asthma website below.
Spray your living christmas tree with DroughtMaster, an acrylic polymer which fixes any mould spores, before you bring the tree into your home.
To visit the asthma display garden go to Eden Gardens Cnr Lane Cove and Fontenoy roads, North Ryde, Ph (02) 9491 9900
For further information about asthma free gardening go to or ring 1800 645 130

Vegetable Hero: Cucumis sativus or Cucumbers.
Cucumbers aren’t picky about soils. As long as your soil is well-draining and has a pH of around 6.5. Add in plenty of organic compost so that they have the proper nutrients to grow strong and healthy. To make sure your garden bed has the proper drainage you can build the soil into mounds (like mini volcanoes) that are about a ruler length and a bit, apart Wet the soil first and then sow 4 -5 seeds into the top of each mound. Make sure the mounds don’t dry out, especially during hot weather so add some sugar cane or tea tree mulch. Of course if you’re watering too much and wondering why nothing is germinating, that’s because the seed has rotted away. When your seeds have germinated, pick out the strongest couple and throw away the other couple so you don’t get overcrowding.

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 a soluble plant food.
 Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that is spread by spores carried by the wind. Look for white to gray fungal deposits on the leaves and stems of your cucumbers. As the mildew spreads, the leaves may begin to drop off. There are varieties of cucumbers available that are resistant to this disease. You can also try a natural fungicide. 1 part whole milk to 10 parts water. Make up into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the leaves.

Pictured: Hydrangea "Ayesha" features cupped petals.
Where they grow best?

There is nothing difficult in growing hydrangeas.
The natural habitat of hydrangeas is a woodland setting. This means dappled shade. Morning sun is good –southerly or easterly aspect, or in the shade of tall trees, but not afternoon sun because the flowers will deteriorate (scorched and bleached looking) much quicker if they receive hot afternoon sun.
Hydrangeas are hardy and can take some frost as they lose their leaves in winter anyway.
Mulch well with compost and some form of animal manure. Feed heavily in spring.

WINNER OF PLANT OF THE WEEK: Ann from East Ryde, wins a Hydrangea "Endless Summer"-a repeat flowering Hydrangea. for ringing in with a gardening question on how to get rid of white fly.
Use Natra Soap a concentrate available from Yates.
Spray needs to make direct contact with the pest.
Sunday 20 December. Carols spectacular at North Ryde Common in support of local Rotary clubs. Festivities start at 5pm at suburban Sydney’s biggest and best carols show. Admission is free. Food stalls and drinks plus rides for the children. School choirs and well-known artists will be on stage singing some of your favourite carols. Spectacular Fireworks Finale at 9.30pm.

Monday 21 December Botanical Christmas Craft - Kids’ Activity at Royal Botanic Gardens. Make special Christmas decorations and wreaths from plant materials. When: Mon 21 Dec, 2 sessions daily: 10.30 am-12 noon & 1-2.30 pm
Where: Community Education via Woolloomooloo Gate
Cost: $15, Friends $13.50
Enquiries: 9231 8134

Green Christmas ideas: Christmas is a great opportunity to give gifts to the people we care about. However, we need to be mindful of making sure the gifts we give are more sustainable.
Consider giving someone a voucher for a service this Christmas. Services use fewer resources than manufactured goods but still contribute to the economy! Ideas include:
  1.  Dinner at a cafĂ© or restaurant
  2.  Subsription to "Friends of the Botanic Gardens."
  3. Tickets to a theatrical performance, concert, movie.
  4.  A cooking class, gardening course from Eden Gardens, photography or other course…
  5. Lawnmowing or general gardening service.
For more sustainable Christmas ideas visit the CSIRO website:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Community Gardening

Sydney Garden Talk Saturdays 12noon-1pm 2RRR 88.5 FM

PLANT GIVEAWAY-Begonia fuchsioides "Red Cascade." Gorgeous plant to suit full, sun or semi shade. Drought hardy, with bright red fuchsia style flowers. Suit pots, hanging baskets or front of garden beds. Grows to 50 cm.
All you have to do is write in with a gardening question.

Today's show featured Mark Hall, president of Macquarie University Community Garden Club corner of Culloden and Talavera roads, Marsfield. A 3,000 square metre site of 60 members. Winner of the Royal Easter Show flower and garden section, and 3rd prize of vegetable garden section in the Ryde Spring garden competition for 2009.
Start a community garden by applying for some land. Get members by leaflet dropping, newspaper announcements, notices on community boards.
Then digging, weeding and improving the soil with the addition of compost. Each member pays an annual fee of $20, plus a dollar fifty for every square metre of allotment.
Anybody can join, ring Mark on 0408 869 863  or emaill: for an application.
Fantastic fruit: Peaches and growing Peach trees, (Prunus persica.)
Peach trees are vigorous growing, but small tree with a spreading canopy, usually 2-3m in cultivation. Of course you can get the dwarf cultivars known as Nectazie, with yellow flesh and Pixzie, a white fleshed peach. Easily grown in a pot of 30cm -40 cm, grows to about 1.5m but with full sized fruit.
Peach trees like deep, well-drained soils, loamy to moderately sandy soils are best. Most varieties naturally form a vaseshaped tree which is the simplest way to grow stone fruit. Remove any dead, whippy or crossing branches. Prune to shape in late summer or autumn after harvesting.
apply lots of nitrogenous fertiliser like Dynamic Lifter, Blood and Bone.

Garden Design Elements: South facing balconies. Choose, ferns  (Dryopteris erythrosa) or Gold dust Plant, (Aucuba japonica "Crotonifolia.") . For Morning sun and afternoon shade, Begonia "White Cane," Fatsia japonica (2 metres), Plectranthus "Mona Lavender."
Morning shade, afternoon sun-Bromeliads such as Aechmea blanchetiana, or any Neoregelias.

Plant of the Week: Eleaocarpus reticulatus or Blueberry Ash tree. Aa small tree, that grows between 3-15m tall and 3-5m wide. It has a dense crown of foliage, and an approximately conical form. It needs little maintenance, surviving well in low nutrient and dry soils (although it performs best when well watered). This species grows in a range of light intensities, from shade through to full sun.

E. reticulatus is naturally found in a wide range of environments, from moist gullies through to rocky ridge outcrops and sandy coastal scrubs. An Australian native that naturally grows along the east coast from Fraser Island, Queensland down to Flinders Island, Tasmania. The warmer temperate conditions along the coast suit this species, and it is not found at cooler high altitudes or in areas with frosts.