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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pandemonium with Bromeliads!

Sydney Garden Talk Wednesday5-6pm, Saturday12-1pm 88.5fm, 2RRR
Feature Interview:Treasurer NSW Bromeliad Society, Ken Phelan talks with me about the different genera with the Bromeliaceae family.We talk about how to distinguish between, Neoregelia, Nidularium and Vriesia, as well as which of the genera are more sun hardy. Those with hard leaves and spines on the edges of the leaves such as Aechmea, and some Guzmania.
Vegetable Hero: Mustard Plant. Mustard seeds of the various mustard plants are among the smallest of seeds. The seeds are about 3mm in diameter, and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are important spices in many regional cuisines. The seeds can come from three different plants: black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba).Mustard is grown like lettuce. It is more heat tolerant than lettuce, but long hot summer days will force the plant to bolt (go to seed). If you can get the seeds, sow them in early the Spring or early Autumn.
Sow mustard seeds 1/4 to 1/3 inch deep, and 3" apart. Thin seedlings to 5" - 9" apart.
They prefer cool weather, so leave the middle of the summer for the heat loving vegetables.
Mustard plants grow well in most good garden soils. They prefer full sun and cool weather. Planting successive small crops, separated about a week apart, results in a continuous supply of greens.
Mustard plants should be grown quickly. Use plenty of water, and ample amounts of fertilizer, to promote fast growth of tender, green leaves. Water plants during dry periods.
Mustard greens are eaten raw, or cooked. Harvest leaves while young and tender. Pick individual leave, or the entire plant. Leaves get tough and have a strong flavor during hot, dry weather.
Design Elements: Cool colours
Plant of the Week,Gordonia axillaris or Poached Egg Tree.Even though Gordonia is yet another genus in the tea family with flowers that closely resemble single white camellias with their large central boss of yellow stamens. The genus is now considered a strictly New World one, because the Asian species have been moved to the genus Polyspora.
Polyspora axillaris has the common name of Fried Egg Tree, so named for its 9mm wide white flower with its orange-yellow central boss of stamens. There’s a couple of quite good specimens near tennis courts in Hillcrest ave, Gladesville..

If you're looking for a small tree for your backyard, then you must check out this one.  better known to most by its old name Gordonia axillaris .
What's On:Bromeliad Society Autumn Show, 11 Wellbank St. Concord, 24th &25th Arpil 9-5pm

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Save the Salt Marsh Please

Sydney Garden Talk Wednesdays 5-6pm, Saturdays 12-1pm. 2RRR 88.5fm
Feature Interview: Mia Dalby-Ball, ecologist specialising in salt marshes, and river systems.
Saltmarshes are considered to be important coastal habitats because of their role in filtering surface water and  run off from land before it enters the estuary and the sea, their contribution to coastal productivity and because they are a source of organic material and nutrients for a wide range of marine communities.Salt marshes are the spongy layers between Mangroves and the land that may occur inland or near the sea.
They support grasses and succulents plants, but also small crabs, about 2-3 cm in size. The spawn from the crabs supports fish called small fry that are an essential food source for the bigger fish and so on up the chain.
Large numbers of crabs burrow in saltmarshes environments. These crabs excavate burrows over large areas in the saltmarsh, changing the physical structure of the environment.
From studies about mangroves and crabs, it’s been found that when the crabs bury the plant material in their burrows, this enhances the efficiency of microbial decomposition in subsurface mangrove sediments..
Crabs in mangroves are recognised for the role to the structure and function of mangrove habitats because of their burrowing and feeding activities, where they are high order predators.
These crabs are important to the foodweb because they process the leaf litter into more palatable forms and so contributing to nutrient recycling.
Vegetable Hero:Ellataria cardamomum-Cardamon
Cardamom is a perennial (means won’t grow a trunk or turn into a tree) with tall simple canes or stems that grow out of rhizomes. It is native to the shady forests of India, Ceylon and Malaysia.
Growing Cardamom-is a tough plant and drought tolerant as well if you grow it in the right spot.
You need to get a rhizome from someone in order to grow cardamon.True to its original habitat, cardamom prefers humous rich soil, filtered light and room to grow. You can grow it in a pot if you really must, but over summer it will get pot-bound, and refuse to flower, so you must keep dividing the plant and passing it out to friends (a great gift, by the way).

Even if your plant doesn’t flower you will have a huge supply of fragrant leaves, which is just as good to have as the spice.
From winter to midsummer feed your plant with fish emulsion.
Design Elements;Colour in Garden Design, designing with Hot Colours.Tropical associations, red, yellow, bright pink and organge.Warm colours may the garden seem closer than it is really is so use these colours to make parts of the garden to draw visitors into a space. Create a focal point with a hot colour.
Use Bougainvillea, Cannas, Bird of Paradise, Hibiscus, Kniphofias.
Temper down the look with palms,Philodendron and ferns-ie. plants with big leaves. Try Ensete ventricosum.
Plant red flowers among silver foliage to give jewel effect.
Plant of the Week. Asters:Mostly very frost resistant, asters have a preference for well-drained fertile soil that remains moist during the growing season. A sunny, airy, open position ensures maximum flower production and minimum mildew, which can cause problems in humid conditions. Deadhead routinely to encourage continued flowering, and cut back hard after flowering. Propagate by winter division or from spring softwood cuttings.
What's On:
Bromeliad Society Autumn show. Senior Citizens centre,Wellbank street, Concord 24,25th April. 9-5pm

Saturday, April 10, 2010

At the Easter Show

Sydney Garden Talk 2RRR 88.5 fm Saturdays 12-1pm, Wednesdays 5-6 pm
Feature Interview: Jeff Cooke, Managing Director Ramm Botanicals,
Talking about new plants bred by Ramm: Anigozanthus "Pink Pearl." Brachysome "White Cloud." Mandevilla "Regal Ruby."
Vegetable Hero: Petroselinum-Parsley
Design Elements: Designing your garden with colour. Ep.1-Mixed Colours and the Colour Wheel.
Plant of the Week: Fuchsia
What's On.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Join A Garden Club Now

Saturdays 12-1pm, Wednesdays 5-6pm
Feature Interview: Christine Rethers, Secretary Kuringai Horticultural Society. meets Tuesday 6th April, 7.30pm
Vegetable Hero: Mizuna-Japanes lettuce  greens. Easy to grow, just sow the seeds and pick off the leaves. Use in stir frys, soups, salalds.
Design Elements:Mediterranean gardens.
Plant of the week:Correa reflexa, Correa, alba, Correa pulchella-Correas, or Native Fuchsia
Flowering now and all through winter providing nectary for all nectar feeding birds.
Grows in part sun, not full western sun. Water over dry periods.
Whats On: