Sydney Garden Talk 2RRR 88.5fm Wed. 5pm. Sat. 12noon
Feature Interview: Hilary Valance, great great granddaughter of Lachlan Macquarie's Aide de Camp, talks about how Sydney's Botanic gardens were largely responsible by the vision of Governor Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth.
Vegetable Hero:Chokoes. This unusual climbing plant Sechium edule belongs to the pumpkin or Cucurbitaceae family and is a single species native to tropical America.Put one or two in a warm dark place for a few weeks, till they put out a runner, then put in a warm light place for a few weeks, by the time your ready to plant them they will have a strong runner maybe a foot or 2 long, a head start, crushed egg shells around the vine when planted in the ground is a good deterrent to snails and slugs,When you plant them, after any danger of frosts is over, plant the seed with the sprouted end pointing upwards. Plant the whole fruit - half in the soil and half out but wait till it starts sprouting. Back fill with a mix of soil, compost and animal manures like composted chook poo.
Design Elements: Irrigation for your garden. For certified Irrigation installers go to http://www.irrigation.org.au/ and Smartwatermark gives lots of handy tips on irrigation. http://www.smartwatermark.org/
You need th have a "backflow valve" or preventer to stop contaminants like fertilisers and other garden chemicals going back into the water supply should there be a revers in pressure.
Plant of the week: Pansies, Viola wittrockianum.Pansies can be difficult to start from seed. They require cool temperatures (60 - 65 degrees F.) And darkness, to germinate. Covering the soil with black plastic or a sheet of newspaper, will help germination, but the soil should be checked daily to make sure it doesn’t dry out under the cover. Once the shoots are visible, the cover should be removed. Seeds generally germinate in 1-2 weeks, but allow 15 weeks from seeding to flowering.
Maintenance: If you can allow your pansy plants to remain in your garden and rest during the hottest months, they will probably begin blooming again in autumn.
sShearing the plants back when they start to set seed, will encourage new growth. Deadheading will encourage more blooms. As with any long blooming annual, pansies appreciate some fertilizer. However too much food will just make them leggy. They respond well to monthly foliar feeding.
What's On: 21-29th August. Kauri exhibition at Lion Gate Lodge, Sydney Botanic Gardens Botanic. The gardens lost Agathis moorei or Kauri pine (one type) in 2008 due to roosting of flying foxes. Parts of the tree were handed out to 20 craftsmen who have made desirable wooden objects for exhibition and purchase.
August 22nd: Herbarium open day10.30-4pm at Sydney Botanic Gardens.