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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gardening is Easy

Sydney Garden Talk 2RRR 88.5fm Sat-12midday, Wed -5pm
Feature Interview:winning team leader of Easy Care Gardening at Volunteers Award Ceremony in Ryde, Ian Norman, and interviewed by guest 2RRR trainee, Rosalind Horton. Why not ring today on 9983 1644 or go to the easy care gardening website. You’ll find the contact number there as well as the address and the little bit difficult email address as well. Or ring me here at the station and I’ll pass it on. Email:
Vegetable Hero-Asparagus officinalis-Common Asparagus. Grow it now-buy the Asparagus crowns from you supermarket, garden nursery or online.Plant in winter or early spring, while the crowns are still dormant. Plant in furrows about 20 cm deep and 30 cm wide. Place the crowns onto a small mound in the centre of the furrow, so that the roots point down at about 45°, spread the roots out carefully. Backfill with compost to a depth of 7.5 cm. Space the plants 45cm apart, with 1.2 m between rows. Fill in the trench gradually as growth progresses. The next Spring (that is, the first season) light cutting of spears can be done for the first month of the growing season, with normal cutting taking place each following year until late December.
Design Elements: Reviewing trees-why not go for Port Wine Magnolias?Some suggestions for hardier trees-. good doers-Michelia spp, port wine Figo, small purple flowers, Coco-slightly largere cream flowers, Mixed Up Miss, bigger cream flowers. Feature glossy green leaves and perfume flowers that are not that big really, but big on perfume. 3 metres-but can be clipped into a 2 metre hedge or less. Hardy and drought tolerant once established.
c. Bauhinia variegate-Orchid Tree-small tree suits most gardens. Evergreen with variegated pale magenta flowers. Heart shaped grey-green leaves.
d. Arbutus unedo-Irish Strawberry tree-glossy dark green foliage, bunches of lilly of the valley type flowers, red berries that can me made into jams and liquers. e,i. Eucalyptus cladocalyx “Vintage Red.” Is a red form of Sugar Gum. This eucalypt has deep coloured bark that looks quite black when young. The leaves are a deep dark red. Grows to only between 2-4metres. Can prune it back by 1/3 every 12 months if you want to keep it small. This is a grafted plant so any green shoots coming from the bottom of the trunk should be pruned off straight away.
Plant of the Week: Tagetes patula and Tagetes lemonii.Tagetes Lemmonii sometimes known as Lemmon’s marigold is a large ornamental shrub with a lemony smell and lots of single yellow marigold flowers. A profuse bloomer over a long season it is commonly used in warm climates as an addition to the perennial border or as an accent shrub along hot sunny walls. It’s bright green fern like foliage, wispy and soft, is not what it seems.
What's On-Camellia show at Ravenswood school hall Sat10th July 1.30-5pm and Sunday 11th July, 11am-4pm. Check out details at

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's Camellia Time

Sydney Garden Talk 2RRR 88.5fm, Wed 5pm, Sat 12 midday.
Feature Interivew:Bill Parker from Parkers Camellias and
Tried and true Camellias-Camellia japonica"Lovelight,"-large white flowers, semi double, with central gold stamens. C. japonica "Red Red Rose,"-vibrant red semi double flowers, C. japonica "Don Herzilia de Freitas Magalhes," purple informal double flowers.
To enter a Camellia flower or photograph of a Camellia, advise entry by 1st July to NSW Camellia Research or 9449 8989.
For show schedule
Vegetable Heroes.Onions-Allium Cepa
Onions are a good companion plant. Grown around the garden they repel pests. They contain sulphur which is a strong disinfectant. In the past it was used to heal gun shot wounds and during World War 1, sphagnum moss was soaked in the juice as a wound dressing.
Remember to always lime your soil well a week or two before planting onions. They love a sweet soil. Don't forget avoid applying manures and blood and bone to the beds in which you're about to grow your onions because they prefer alkaline soil. You can use spent mushroom compost instead of cow manure.
Onion seeds are can be sown into seed raising mix into punnets. Or if you want to sow them directly into the garden, make it easy for yourself, mix the seed with some river sand-say one packet of seed to one cup of sand and sow it that way. Bit like sowing carrots!
Design Elements: Reviewing Perennials-Salvias-all kinds-eg. Salvia "Limelight"-Green and Purple bracts. Salvia leucanth "Santa Barbara."-Puple velvety bracts and grey foliage.. Helichryseum petiolare or Licorice plant grey felty foliage. Full sun, drought hardy.
Anisodontea "Pink Star."-small shrub to 1.2m. in full sun.
Arthropdium cirrhatum or Renga Renga lilly for light shade-pale green leaves and white starry flowers.
Clivea mineata or Clives. Full dry shade.
Plant of the Week: Diamond Pittosporum or Auranticarpa rhombifoliium.According to the Lamington National Park website, the common name is Deamond Pittosporum because of the shape of its leaves.
As it matures the natural shape of the tree can form a pyramid, but the ones I’ve seen around Gladesville reserve haven’t reached that stage yet.It has a smooth, grey bark.. The leaves are simple-diamond shaped, alternate, glossy and a bit leathery. About 75 mm long with toothed margins and distinct venation ,clustered at branch ends.Flowers are small, white, bell shaped and perfumed in terminal clusters in summer and are followed by colourful orange berries (5mm dia) in autumn and winter. The berries are carried on the tree for several months and each contains 2-3 black seeds.The Diamond Pittosporum naturally occurs in rainforest regrowth. Usually sub-tropical rainforest, but it can tolerate drier conditions. The ones growing the Gladesville Reserve, don’t get any additional water and survive dry summer quite well.
What's On.Catchment connections is planning a Bushcare bus tour on Saturday 3 July. The Monash Rd site has been chosen to showcase Bushcare in the City of Ryde. Phone Ryde Council.
NSW Camellia Research Society's 41st annual show 10-11July at Ravenswood Girls High School.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

When Is A Park Not A Park?

Sydney Garden Talk Wed 5-6pm. Sat 12-1pm 2RRR 88.5fm
Feature Interview: Friends of Cudal Reserve-Tonia Amy and Andrew Wilson talk about fighting to keep this Reserve as open space instead of being sold by Sydney Water and houses being built on it. A park is not a reserve it seems. A reserve is land put aside for use yet to be determined even if it has been open space for more than 50 years. To support Tonia and Andrew email
Vegetable Heroes:Garlic-Allium sativum-In Sydney we would normally plant after about the 20th March, and during April, but it was really warm still then and even into May, so you still could do it now. The crop might have smaller cloves though.
When you plant the cloves, don’t plant too deeply otherwise they will rot off. Plant them so the tops of the bulbs are just below the surface. Plant them about 8 cm apart with the point end facing up.
Garlic usually takes about • 17-25 weeks. 4-6 months to mature. You can tell because the leaves or stalks have flopped over and turned brown.
Design Elements:Reviewing Shrubbery. The shrubbery of older gardens from the 20’s through to the 60’s were a green backdrop to border plants. These were often hardy plants that could cope with drought and floods, but are now hard to find.You can find a list on (navigate via About Heritage/ Landscape & Gardens/Heritage Gardens) Let’s look at spicing up boring scenery with some mixed shrubbery. That are good doers as well and only need a once a year prune.

i. Abelia “Frances Mason-golden foliage and only grows to 1 metre. Easily clipped into a ball or standard if you like.
ii. Loropetaum chinense-chinese Fringe Flower-tough, good doer with dark plum coloured foliage and pink fringe flowers that aren’t that intrusive if you don’t like pink. Grown more for the foliage and can be trimmed into a hedge. Very drought hardy and landscapers are using them more in designs.
iii. Rondeletia amoena-Rondeletia. 3m dense glossy leaves with pale pink clusters of waxy perfumed flowers. Bird and butterfly attracting. Used in Federation gardens together with Viburnum tinus or Laurustinus. Hard to get now but available from the Botanic Gardens nursery. Grow it from semi-hardwood cuttings taken in October/November.
iv. Spiraea cantoniensis or May bush grows on roadsides in Austria. Tough plant with mass of white flowers in spring. Deciduous.
v. Justicea carnea & J. carnea “Alba.” Known as Brazilian Plume flower. Flowers are dark pink or white for the Alba variety. Grows to 1.5-2m. sun, part shade. Large dark green leaves.
ix. Babingtonia virgata, syn Beackia virgata. Replaces the ubiquitous Diosma. Similar leaf to Diosma and larger habit. Addition of very small white flowers-suit native bees and small mouthparts of beneficial insects such as predatory wasps and lacewings.
x. Leptospermum flavescens “Cardwell” great small shrub with hundreds of white tea tree flowers-like miniature daisies. Grows to 2m. has a weeping habit. There’s a smaller version growing to 0.5m called L. “White Wave.” Tea trees are often overlooked, but have very showy flowers and respond well to clipping. Great for a fast growing screen or hedge-can even get burgundy coloured foliage > morrisonii “Burgundy.” 3 x 1.5m Full sun.
xii. Callistemon-very hardy and cope with sandy soils easily.
Plant of the Week:Zygocactus-Schlumbergera spp.Zygocactus respond to light feedings with diluted liquid fertilizer during spring and summer growing seasons. If you’re growing them indoors,use any good houseplant fertilizer or African Violet food every two to three weeks. But I don’t think people of Sydney do that as they grow quite well outside. Give them a potassium food such as tomato food or something for flowers. Stop fertilizing in early March to allow buds to set. Do not transplant or move the plant once buds have set. Resume fertilizing after flowering. Use a general potting mix but added loads of coarse sand, or perlite.. Propagation-this is really dead easy. Just break off a small piece of branch with 2-3 segments and strike it in some sandy mix, like seed raising mix.
Whats On:Saturday 12, 19 and 26 June, Bushcare Training Workshop. Council's Bushcare program, an introduction to weeds and a practical session on the hand removal of non-woody weeds in the field. The course is free but you must book your place with Liz Powell on 9777 7871
Monday 14 June, Free Guided Walk on Plants and People of the Lane Cove River from 1.30-3.30 pm. Start at Magdala Park in North Ryde, . the City of Ryde on 9952 8222.
Friday 18 June, Moonlight Meander with Sugar Gliders, 7pm to 8.30pm. This is a free event from Willoughby City Council  Explosives Reserve, Opposite 42 Cammeray Road, Castle Cove. Bookings essential, phone Di Eva on 9777 7755

Saturday, June 5, 2010

World Environment Day

Sydney Garden Talk 2RRR 88.5 fm Wed. 5pm, Sat. 12noon
Feature Interview: Anna Ainsworth-Community Development Director at Eden Gardens. Nilushi Disanyake, Kristin Gabriel-from Environment team at Ryde Council. All 3 talking about the events on Sat 5th June at Eden Gardens to celebrate World Environment Day.
Vegetable Hero:Angelia-Angelica archangelica-a herb used to ward off diseases by chewing on the root of the plant in the 15th Century. Angelica likes moist, rich soil that is slightly acid, growing best in semi-shade. Find a shady, sheltered spot for growing angelica - it likes moist soil, so keep it well watered .Leaving the seeds to ripen on the stems, will mean they’ll self sow readily. The young angelica stems can be candied and used to decorate cakes and pastries, and can also be jellied. Do this when the stems are in their second season-mid to late Spring when stems are still green.
The leaves are used in herb pillows - it's said to have a calming effect - and the roots can be cooked with butter.
Design Elements:Plant up structure. Choose a shrub that you like and clip it to shape and put 3 or 4 around the garden as a way of introducing structure in a garden bed. Helichrysum petiolare is a good option-no need to let it sprawl. Box and Lilly Pilly's make good stand alone shrubs too.
Plant of the week:Arbutus unedo-Irish Strawberry tree. Native to Portugal and Spain but migrated to Ireland after the Ice Age when there was still a connecting land bridge. Grows to 3 metres with 2-3 main trunks. You can prune to keep it smaller. Dark green leathery leaves-6cm long with toothed margins. Bell like or urceolate white flowers hanging in bunches of 10-30, similar to Lilly of the Valley flowers. Flowering in late Atumn/Winter.
Aggregate drupe or berry starts off green and 12 months later turns to red. Rought brown/red bark peels to a smooth trunk as the tree ages. Slow growing. Grows in any soil. Sun, part shade.
What's On:Tuesday 8 June Eastwood Evening Garden Club is meeting at Dundas Baptist Town Hall at 7.30pm. Guest speaker this month is Stuart Read from the Heritage Council of NSW.He’ll be speaking on gardens of yesteryear. Visitors are always welcome at the Club.
If you have any questions call Ailsa on 9874 2306.

Monday 14 June, Free Guided Walk on Plants and People of the Lane Cove River from 1.30-3.30 pm. Start at Magdala Park in North Ryde, walk to Lane Cove National Park and back and learn about the history and environment of this area. Places limited, call . the City of Ryde on 9952 8222.