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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Darling Dahlias

SYDNEYGARDENTALK 2RRR Saturdays 12-1pm, Wednesdays 5-6pm 88.5 FM
Feature Interview: President of Eastwood Evening Garden Club-Arthur Mc Cullagh.
Next meeting on Tuesday 13th April, 7.30 pm at Dundas Baptist Church Hall.
Dahlias are easy, just dig a hole and plant the tuber with some Blood 'n' Bone.
Divide Dahlias when they start to shoot next Spring.
Use Eco Rose for powdery mildew -contains Potassium Bi Carbonate.
Use Dipel or Success (contains Spinosad) for caterpillars.
Vegetable Hero: Salvia officinalis or Sage. Sage prefers a warm, sunny location, although it does not enjoy extreme heat. It is not particular about soil, except that it be well-drained.
Pruning after flowering will keep plants attractive and prevent them from getting too woody and leggy. Fertilize in early spring.
The health benefits of growing sage have been handed down to us from ancient wisdom.
Herb tea made with sage is a stimulant used to treat all sorts of ailment and disorders. It is also good for clean teeth and promotes healthy gums.
Sage is a mild tonic great for the nervous system. This mild tonic quietens the nerves, relieves spasms, helps induce sleep and combats depression, mental exhaustion.
Design Elements: Problem Dry Shady Garden. For dry shade under a tree-try Vinca major or Periwinkle-green leaves and violet blue flowers from spring to Autumn.
Cliveas do well in dry shade-orange through to creamy yellow flowers with dark green strappy leaves.
Grassy types-Liriope muscari or Lilly turf-purple flower spikes. Mondo grass-black through to variegations of green and white, yellow and green.
Lamium 'Beacon Silver'-has silvery foliage for lightening an area.
Ivy-Hedera helix, has variegated cultivars also to lighten an area.
Raise beds to increase growth of planting underneath or grow in pots. Hellebores do well in shadey areas as to hydrangeas, especially in raised beds.
Plant of the Week. Begonias.Begonias are desert plants, that is they are succulents so they don’t like overwater.
Originating in the shaded protection of tropical and subtropical forests, begonias will not tolerate frost, and most dislike direct sunlight except for some morning sun. This means that in frost-prone areas they should be grown under the shelter of shrubs or trees, under verandahs and pergolas or in containers which can be moved to protected spots, while bedding begonias should be treated as annuals.
The succulent nature of begonias means that they are able to store moisture and need less frequent watering. However, they prefer a humid environment with adequate ventilation to avoid diseases, and getting this balance of moisture and ventilation just right is the key to success.
Whats On:Wednesday 31 March, Royal Botanic Gardens. Native Fruit & Nuts walk and talk, 10.30am – 12.30pm Join volunteer guides David Chandler, Jenny Pattison and Lisle Brown to explore the incredible diversity of native plant seeds. Find out when a berry is not a berry, and a gumnut not a nut. On this ‘hands-on’ tour you will have the opportunity to discover the vast array of interesting and unique ways Australian plants package their seeds. Where: Maiden Theatre, Royal Botanic Gardens
Cost: Friends $12,non-members $18, includes morning tea at 10.30 am
Enquiries: 9231 8182

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How Green is Your Home?

SYDNEY GARDEN TALK on 2RRR 88.5 fm Saturdays 12-1pm, Wednesdays 5-6pm
Feature Interview: How green is your home? Go to
Vegetable Hero: Savory herb- winter and summer. Savory is an annual or perennial herb, Satureja hortenis, for Summer Savory, or Saturejo montana being for Winter Savory.
All Savory’s belong to the mint or Lamiaceae family. They have dark-green,narrow leaves for winter savory and light green narrow leaves for summer savory. The savories can be used fresh or dried and crushed. The history of savory goes back about 2000 years and they are one of the oldest culinary herbs.
What does Summer Savory like. Well, it’s no different than growing Thyme, it likes full sun with well-draining soil.
Savory prefers to be planted in soil that's slightly alkaline. Give it a side-dressing of compost or worm castings whenever possible. Summer savory is bushy and low-growing so it makes an excellent edging plant for a kitchen garden, herb bed, or vegetable garden.
Summer savory likes regular water. I have some growing in a strawberry pot so that it cascades out of one of the holes. It seems to like that spot better than the strawberries. As far as the soil in my container goes, well it’s just potting mix with soil wetter crystals added to it. So you see it's well-suited to container gardening, as well.
Tips for the Chef:Summer savory, Satureja hortensis, is a nice herb to use when you are cutting back on salt-it's flavor is mild, a little bit similar to thyme, but with it's own unique flavor. To me, it has a slightly peppery flavour, but a piney fragrance when you crush it in your hand. You can mince summer savory and combine with bread crumbs for coating fish or vegetables such as squash before sauteeing. Use it in potato dishes, tomato sauces, meatballs or vegetable juices. It's also great in egg dishes such as omelets and frittatas.
Mince fresh summer savory leaves and combine with garlic, bay and lemon for a good marinade for fish.
Design Elements: Planting out your garden with cacti and succulents.
For a hot or suuny spot that is weel drained, ie, doesn't hold much water, try cacti and succulents.
Make a dry river bed using pebbles, and plant out blue shaded succulents to give the impression of a water feature.
For dry sloping sites, terrace your garden and plant out with larger succulents such as Agave attenutata, Kalanchoe spp.
 Group your succulents according to colour size and leaf shape to give it some form. Uses splashes of colour such as Aeonium Zwartkopf (very black foliage) and Sedums that have different flower colours ranging from pinks yellows to dark reds.
Plant out succulents amongs steps, sleepers or stoney rockeries.
For sunny side passageways, add gravel, stepping stones and succulents.
Plant of the Week: Camellia Sasanqua. Let’s start with the main difference between Camellia japonica and Camellia Sasanqua.
The leaves are dark green on both, but Sasanqua Camellias have a noticeably smaller leaf to that of Japonicas. For me that’s an easy way to pick between the two.
Sasanqua flowers are also smaller, from the very tiny Baby Bear, palest of pink flowers to the larger, but more blowsy white edged with pink, C. Sasanqua “Something Special, or Wahroongah.
The growth habit is much faster, sometimes, twice as fast. There are some Camellia japonicas which take 10 years to get to over two metres…like the red Emperor of Russioa.
That’s why the Camellia Society of Australia, is always showing its members how to graft Camellia japonica onto a stock plant of Camellia Sasanqua.
#I’ve got one going…the handsomely named. C japonica Dona Herzilia de Freitas Magales, that I grafted onto a sasanqua stock last June. One of the three has survived and is being carefully nurtured for planting out in autumn.
Sasanquas, the Sun lover. Sasanqua Camellias are among the easiest of garden plants to grow. They flower heavily in very early Autumn and early Winter with a not too much care.
The glossy dark green leaves of all cultivar varieties always look good in garden design. Cultivars growing to various heights and widths are available for selection. There is also a wide range of flower colours and forms. Flower colours range through a selection of whites, pinks and reds. A carpet of petals covers the ground below the bush when it is in flower.
What's On:
Open Garden 20th and 21st March-19 Fourth Ave, Eastwood.
Saturday 27 March, West Ryde Easter Parade and Market. Time: 10am - 3pm
Venue: West Ryde MarketplaceCommunity parade and market stalls. For more information email or call 9858 1788.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cacti and Succulents are Native Too!

SYDNEY GARDEN TALK 2RRR 88.5 FM Saturdays 12noon-1pm, Wed. 5-6 pm
Feature Interview: Attila Kapitany, President of the Australian Cacti & Succulent Societ.
Vegetable Hero:Carrots- daucus carrots sativus.
The simplest way to sow carrots is to mix a packet of seed with once cup of river sand, pouring the contents into seed drills or just broadcasting them in 10 cm wide row. Cover the seed with finely sieved compost. Not too thick or they won’t germinate. The sand makes germination easier; but because sand drains so quickly you need to make sure the carrot seedlings don't dry out at this crucial stage.
Carrots have one of the longest germination times of all vegetables; often taking over 3 weeks.
To help with the germination, add a packet of radishes. These germinate in 4-5 days, and help break the surface crust of the soil. The radishes will be gone in a few weeks so no problems with overcrowding there.
Thin the carrot seedlings out when they're about 5cms (2 inches) tall, when they have 4 little leaves to a distance of 2cm (a little under an inch).
Carrots need about 5cm between plants so they can grow the root without pushing onto other carrots, which would stunt/prevent growth of root of harvesting size and shape.
Design Elements: Mediterranean Dry Gardens.
Plant of the Week: Dahlia-March "to do" list.
Continue to remove spent blooms to encourage new flowers to grow, otherwise the plant is fooled into thinking it had better set some seed before dying back for the end of the season.
The more you pick, the more flowers you will have coming on. Always pick with a decent stem, and cut it off just above a leaf node so that the next laterals can grow on. Keep up your spraying with caterpillar spray-something that contains Spinosad.
Continue to disbud where required, and keep up your watering and spraying regime. Water in the cool of the evening, and give a good soaking once or twice a week. This is better than a quick watering every day which achieves very little.
What to do in april-Excessively wet soil may cause the tubers to rot, so if your weather has been wet and stormy, you may want to wait for a drying trend.
Dig and prepare a 30cm-12 inch diameter by 30cm or 12 inch deep planting hole. Mix a shovel full of compost, a handful of bone meal, and a little Dolomite lime to the soil which was removed.
What's On

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Garden Party

SYDNEY GARDEN TALK 2rrr 88.5 fm Saturdays 12 noon- 1pm, Wedneseday 5-6pm
Feature Interviews: Two open gardens in Drummoyne, St Georges Crescent.Hooper garden tip-mulch your garden. Croll garden tip-water your garden an it will grow, feed your garden and it will flourish.
Open Garden Scheme:
Vegetable Hero: Oregano, Origanum marjoram ; Origanum vulgare.
You can grow this plant from seed, or buy as a seedling.
Harvest when plant reaches the flowering stage
Sow in garden, or start in seed trays. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 25°C.
Space plants: 15cm
As far as companion planting goes, anything that benefits from having a flea beetle deterrent, like all Hibiscus, plant Oregano next to it. I haven’t tried this one, so if anyone has found this successful, give me a call in the studio.
For best flavour harvest in the morning just after the dew has lifted. Oregano has a high level of antioxidant activity, as it has lots of phenolic acids and flavonoids.
Garden Design Elements:Dry Native Gardens.
Need-free draining soil, low phosphorus.
Use in borders, banks, rockeries.
Design uses-infomal,use colour and texture like a tapestry, plant in drifts and curves, avoid straight lines.
Formal-Westringia clipped like topiary, hedges, lillypilly.
Contemporary-striking plants-Doryanthes, Xanthorrea.
Grasses in combination with other plants. Lomandra 'Tanika, L. 'Seascape,' Dianelle 'Breeze' D. 'Cassa Blue'
Feature trees;Corymbia'Summer Beauty'. Euc. cladocalyx. 'Vintage Red'.
Plant of the Week: Stenorcarpus sinuatus, Qld Firewheel Tree. Proteaceae Family.
Grows in warmer types of rainforest in coastal areas north from the Nambucca R.Despite its sub-tropical to tropical origin, S.sinuatus is adaptable to a range of climates and will even succeed in dry climates if additional water is available. It prefers fairly rich, loamy soils but is tolerant of most well drained soils. It may be grown in a sunny or partly shaded location.Keep one single leader to avoid splitting of the trunk as the tree ages.
Keep it well watered in really hot weather otherwise it tends to drop a lot of leaves. Bird attractant trees get a bit of flower and seed mess around the bottom but I have underplanting of Heliotrope and various begonias without any trouble.
What's On.
Monday 8 March, Easy Care Gardening Workshop by the City of Ryde. A good opportunity to meet other gardeners, learn about Easy Care Gardening Inc and the joys of volunteering. A free lunch is provided followed by a tour of Eden Gardens.Time: 11am - 1pm,Venue: Eden Gardens, Cnr Lane Cove and Fontenoy Roads, North Ryde, Free,Numbers are limited. Bookings are essential. Call 9144 1699 by Tuesday 2 March 2010.
Tuesday 9 March Eastwood Evening Garden Club meets with Helen Kerley from the City of Ryde talking about worms. (Marianne…mention Ailsa on the show last week). The Club welcomes guests and if you’d like to go, it’s at 7.30pm at Dundas Baptist church hall, 154 Marsden Road, Dundas.
Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 March – Electronic Waste cleanup Time: 9am - 4pm
Is your home full of electronic clutter? Then have a clean out and bring your unwanted electronic goods for recycling and safe disposal. Products accepted: televisions, computers, laptops, monitors, printers, mobile phones and computer-related peripherals (joysticks, mouses, hard drives etc) Products not accepted: whitegoods, UPS units, overhead projectors, contaminated equipment or other hazardous waste. A maximum of 20 systems per carload will be accepted. Collection points are:
Bicentennial Park, Lofberg Rd, West Pymble
Mosman Council Carpark, The Crescent, Pymble
Balcombe Heights Estate, 90-94 Seven Hills Rd, Baulkham Hills (Saturday from 9.30am)
Kimbriki Environmental Enterprises, Kimbriki Rd, Terrey Hills