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Sunday, 22 May 2022

Climber Heroes and Climber Shrubs: What Are They?

Conomorpha fragrans

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

Climber Heroes

This design series is about plants that are categorised as non-general lines.

Every week I’ve been saying that were talking about plants that you won’t necessarily find in your big box store or possibly even in your nursery so you may have to search for them.

These plants are so worthwhile that because they provide year round interest with their foliage colour, texture and contrast, not just their flowers.

Today perhaps some climbers fit the bill

Peter refers to cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which means that overnight winter temperatures are down to about 5 degrees.

Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

Peter mentioned these climbers
  • Hoya carnosa
    Conomorpha fragrans often called climbing frangipani although it has nothing to do with the frangipani genus-Plumeria. The flower does look similar to the frangipani flower and are highly scented.
    • vigorous habit requiring a solid support
    • in cooler areas plant against a north facing wide. Deciduous in cold areas.

    • Dombeya ianthotrycha (tropical garden society of Sydney)-a winter flowering climber with large paper thin leaves. Flower colour is a muted red with a hint of orange. Can be trained as an espalier or a bun shaped shrub.

    • Hoya carnosa or wax flower, better in pots with specialised potting mix. If planting in the ground, must have well drained soil.
      • TIP: don't cut those flowering spurs off -  this 

    Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show ) is talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au

    Climber Shrubs

    This design series that covers everything from mixed shrub borders, sub-shrubs, climbers, hero trees to best garden bromeliads but use plants that are non-general lines.

    I have to say, Peter Nixon, RWG’s contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

    Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.
    Hibiscus geranioides

    Climber shrubs-what are they and how could I use them as 'garden fixes’ in my cool subtrops garden ?

    In fact if you were search for the term climber-shrub, you would be hard pressed to find it on the internet.

    Seems like a contradiction because climbers need support to climb whilst shrubs are free standing. But what about those plants that climb over themselves to form a sort of mounding shrub?

    Some of these types of shrubs are self-striking which might be called suckering.

    Insta examples from Peter Nixon

     Juanaloa aurantiaca -  or commonly called Golden Fingers because the flowers look like a little bunch of lady finger bananas.  Minimum winter overnight 6-7 degrees C

    Gmelina philipensis - 'Parrot Beak'. A deciduous shrub with unusual yellow flowers that resemble a parrot beak.

    Hibiscus geranoides-native to Australia. Loves a 'La Nina' type of weather. Interesting foliage texture

    Bauhinia tomentosa-sulphur flowering semi-deciduous  shrub to 3m with a cascading habit.

    Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show ) is talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au

    Friday, 20 May 2022

    Bright Shade Planting But Not In The Gloom

     DESIGN ELEMENTS

    Bright Shade Planting

    This design series is about plants that are categorised as non-general lines, in other words, plants that are not production grown that then become available in several different sized pots. This series is also about year round interest in the garden even when plants are not in flower. Imagine opening the back door to look at a sea of just green with no distinguishing features! A tad boring don't you think?

    Instead, think of plants with different sized and shaped leaves, that might also have contrasting colours.

    Plants we mention in this series, you won’t necessarily find in your big box store or possibly even in your nursery so you may have to search for them.

    These plants are so worthwhile that because they provide year round interest with their foliage colour, texture and contrast, not just their flowers.

    So you’ve got some shady areas that’s under trees. This spot is usually thick with the roots of the trees so will be difficult to plant anything there that will survive the root competition, or will it?
    This is where you have to think outside the square and look at plants that don't need to grow in too much soil.

    Cryptostephanos vansonii

    What are you going to grow in these root ridden shady areas?

    Peter mentioned

    • Calanthe sylvatica-a ground orchid-good for moist shade
    • Philodendron marshalliana-has storage stems and not a climber.

    • Syningia bullata and S. Canescens and S. cardinalis other syningia sp-small cordex that can regrow from.
    • Cryptostephanos vansoni

    I say every week that Peter Nixon, RWG’s contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

    Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.
    I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au

    Have a listen to the podcast.

    Mixed Shrub Borders Are In Again

     DESIGN ELEMENTS

    This is a series about foliage colour and contrast and textural contrast  for year round interest. The focus is also on non-general lines instead of production grown planting. In other words, plants that may not necessarily be easy to find but so worth the effort. We kick off the series with mixed shrub borders.

    1. MIXED SHRUB BORDER

     Are they a thing of the past or a living process that still has relevance for the modern smaller garden?

    Hibiscus capitolia 'Apricot Sport'
    This kind of design style has been used for hundreds of years because it has great garden appeal.  There is no reason for it be considered irrelevant or 'old hat,' simply because it is so adaptable. It can be either formal or informal, full of colour and contrast or not, annuals, perennials and shrubs.

    Today though, it's all about the shrubs and is a start of the design series that covers everything from mixed shrub borders, sub-shrubs, climbers, hero trees to best garden bromeliads.

    I have to say, Peter Nixon  and Real World Gardener's contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

    Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

    Peter mentions the following shrubs as his 'best.'

    Posoqueria longiflora

    • Tibouchina multifida-not more than 1.5m in height.
    • Hibiscus capitolio  'apricot sport'-double flowering hibiscus, slightly pendulous. 2.5m in height.
    • Posoqueria longiflora-commonly called Japanese Needle flower. Has perfumed flowers with a long white tube, height to 3m in semi-shade.
    • Brunsfelsia macrantha, 
    • Acokanthera oblongifolia - Bushmans Poison, 
    • Gardenia grandiflora ’Star’, 
    •  Rosa sanguineus, 

    • R. chinensis ’Ten Thousand Lights'

    Let’s find out more, I'm talking with  Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au,


    Thursday, 31 March 2022

    Lemon Verbena In All Its Deliciousness

     KITCHEN GARDEN  

    LEMON VERBENA

    Did you think that herbs were just for making tea?

    Maybe not, but some herbs have endless uses, and this week I’m featuring the herb lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) that’s larger than you would expect to find in a herb garden so probably could fit into the back of a border but in a sunny location.
    Lemon verbena photo M Cannon
    • How would I describe the scent of lemon verbena?
    I would say that lemon verbena has a bright, slightly sweet flavour with a strong hint of lemon.
    The strong lemon scent of this herb is far less overpowering than the lemon flavor and fragrance of lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon mint, and lemongrass.

    What does it look like?

    Lemon verbena is a vigorous growing deciduous shrub to 3 metres tall by 3 metres wide. 
    The leaves are a lime green and lanceolate, and flowers appear in late spring until the end of summer almost. 
    The flowers are white, quite small and appear in a panicle.
    • My plant is quite an old plant that I prune each winter to about 1 metre off the ground.

    How to use lemon verbena?

    • As a flavouring in kombucha
    • Add leaves to a sorbet or ice-cream when making
    • Poach stone fruit in a sugar syrup with lemon verbena leaves
    • Infuse lemon verbena leaves in olive oil or vinegar-250 ml of olive oil with 6 leaves or to taste
    • Fish en papiotte with lemon verbena leaves

    Corinne's Top Tip: 

    Why not try  a gin and sonic with muddled lemon verbena. Made with half soda water and half tonic so less calories. 

    Listen to the podcast.
    Marianne is talking  Corinne Mossati, founder of   http://www.thegourmanticgarden.com
    You can also follow Corinne for more delightful ideas on Instagram or subscribe to updates  http://www.thegourmanticgarden.com/subscribe/


    Mixed Spice and All Things Nice

     SPICE IT UP

    MIXED SPICE

    The name 'mixed spice,' sounds 'oldie worldie' to me because it's not something that comes up in too many recipes these days. 
    Perhaps if your flicking through an old  Woman's Weekly recipe book, or the cookbook you used at school in home economics class, you might find it in the cakes and buns section.

    What is mixed spice?

    Mixed Spice is a sweet spice blend and is used in a variety of cakes, puddings, pies, breads and buns, biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes, gingerbreads, and even fruit salads.

    Mixed spice has actually the following ground spices.

    • Cinnamon-two types, Sri Lankan cinnamon and cassia cinnamon
    • Nutmeg
    • Ginger-to add brightness and freshness
    • Cloves-a very small amount.
    • Allspice-a spice all on its own which is actually a berry.
    • Coriander seeds, ground of course. Coriander is an amalgamating spice.

    But what do you use if you can find it on the supermarket shelves?
    Melting Moment biscuits

    Mixed spice quick alternative:
    • Cinnamon 1 tablespoon
    • Nutmeg     1 teaspoon
    • Ginger       1 teaspoon
    • Cloves       1/2 cloves
    • Coriander  2 teaspoons


    Marianne is talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

    With the predominant flavor of cinnamon, it also makes a nice change to substitute this spice blend for anything calling for cinnamon for an added flavour boost.

    If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

    Sunday, 20 March 2022

    Macro Nutrient Deficiencies: Symptoms and Fixes

     PLANT HEALTH

    Plant Nutrition Deficiencies: Macro Nutrient Nitrogen

    The 'Plant health' segment was created for my radio show "Real World Gardener,' as a division of the 'Plant doctor' segment, because I felt that it’s important to focus on what can go wrong with plants that isn’t a pest or a disease.
    In the following audio podcasts, you will hear about what to look for in plants that have deficiencies of one of the macro nutrients: Nitrogen:Phosphorus:Potassium; in other words NPK or the macro nutrients.


    Gardeners can often see problems appearing first in the colour of the leaves, but this can also be followed closely by lack of vigour, stunted growth and general unthriftiness of the plant.

    The key to diagnosing problems, however isn't just looking at the colour of the leaves but it's knowing your soil type and soil pH.
    Yes, I know, we do go on about soil pH but that often underlies the reason behind your plants' problems.
    The other underlying problem may be insufficient drainage which causes waterlogging of the soil.

    That said, we  will assume that you soil pH is around 6.5 - 7 but your still seeing issues that are showing up in the leaves. So what next?

    Macro Nutrient Nitrogen

    Nitrogen is one of the three big nutrients or macro nutrients that plants need.

    Nitrogen is responsible for leaf growth and blossom formation.

    First Symptoms: Oldest leaves start to appear pale first, yellowing at the leaf tips then eventually the whole leaf will turn yellow.
    Quick Fix: Soluble fertiliser high in nitrogen. 
    Results should appear in a few days.
    Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers.

    Nitrogen on it’s own can be useful for quick greening of lawns and leafy plants like ferns in pots when the potting mix is depleted of any nutrients.
    Listen to the podcast: I'm talking with Kylie Last horticulturist and tafe teacher.


    Plant Nutrition Deficiencies:Phosporus and Potassium

    We have talked bout the role nitrogen played in played health and what to look for if a plant was deficient in one of the major nutrients, being Nitrogen.
    • In fact there are three major nutrients which are classified as NPK ratio on the back of all fertilisers. So in this part of the blog, we carry on with the two other major or macro nutrients.

    Let's look at phosphorus deficiency

    Phosphorus is responsible for the development of flowers and fruits and roots.
    • Phosporus is known as a mobile nutrient which can move around the plant to where it's needed.
    • Phosphorus deficiency happens more often in cold weather or gardens receive high rainfall, or a combination of both.
    • Often affects heavily fruiting plants such as citrus.
    • N..B. native plants are highly sensitive to phosphorus, so avoid spreading phosphate fertilisers near these plants.

    First Symptoms: Older leaves become quite a dark green then develop a purplish tinge.
     
    Tips will then dry off. Not to be confused with lack of watering especially in pot plants where leaves can also develop dry tips.
    Overall growth is affected in the long term resulting in smaller leaves and stunted growth.

    Quick Fix: Fertiliser high in phosphate either solid or liquid.
    Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers. 

    Let's look at potassium deficiency

    Potassium is responsible for thickening of cell walls, and also responsible for plant growth. Potassium deficiency are more evident in flowering or ornamental plants. Potassium deficiency often is a pH issue in the soil.

    First Symptoms: Older leaves become brown and dry on the upper surface, with leaf edges puckering slightly. 
    As the deficiency progresses, the leaves darken in colour between the veins.
    Flower stalks become thin and spindly and may be quite short.
    Fruits may fail to develop full colour and flavour.

    Quick Fix: Fertiliser high in potassium either solid or liquid, such as sulphate of potash.
    Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers. 

    Listen to the podcast: I'm talking with Kylie Last horticulturist and tafe teacher.



    I would recommend becoming familiar with the NPK ration on fertilisers, whether organic or not to see if you’re applying the right sort for your plants.

    For example, fertilisers that promote flowering and fruiting have higher ratios of potassium than those that are just for general purpose fertilising.
    If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

    Thursday, 3 March 2022

    Lacto Fermentation: Quick 'n Easy Guide

     KITCHEN GARDEN

    LACTO-FERMENTATION

    There are several ways to preserve food, these include freezing, drying, pickling and fermenting.
    You may think that fermented foods are a recent trend, but in fact, fermenting food has been carried out for thousands of years.
    Fermenting food is one way of preserving your ample supply of produce that's growing in your garden.
    There are a few ways to ferment foods but lacto-fermentation is one of the easiest.
    • The term lacto-fermentation is a scary one and belies how simple it really is. It's unbelievably quick and easy.
      Lacto fermented radish

    So what is it?

    Firstly the term wasn't derived for having to use milk in the process.
    Lacto refers to the lactobacillus bacteria that does all the breaking down of the food.
    Did you know that all vegetables are covered in the various strains of the good bacteria lactobacillus?
    It does involve lactic acid in the process which is a good thing because lactic acid is a natural preservative.
    • What about the bad bacteria?
    No problem, the brine that you submerge your vegetables in kill them off, while the lactobacillus survives to do the preserving work.
    Using the correct salt to water ratio in your brine will ensure the safety of your lacto-fermentation.

    How do you do it?

    You can lacto-ferment most produce in yur garden.
     Beans, carrots, beetroot, and Corinne's favourite is using stalks of chard, nasturtium seeds.
    You need salt but not iodised or table salt. Table salt will make the ferment go bad because of it's additives.
    • Use high quality sea-salt.
    • Photo: Corinne Mossati of Gourmantic Garden
      Non-chlorinated water, and no fluoride so will need to be filtered water.
    • Kilner jar or a glass jar with a lid.
    • Weights to submerge your ferment.
    • BASIC RULE: Brine solution is 2-3% salt.  
    • 2% brine:1 litre of water needs 20 grams of salt: 
    Step by Step
    1. Collect your dry ingredients and add them to a dry sterile fermentation jar.
    2. Pour in the brine solution to cover the vegetables.
    3. Add a ceramic weight on top to keep the vegetables below the liquid.
    4. Burp the jar daily: this releases the gas.
    5. It will take 2-3 weeks during the summer months.
    6. Once it's ready, place it in the fridge to slow the ferment process.

    Are you a chilli aficionado?

    Perhaps you’re growing the world’s hottest chilli, Carolina Reaper or the second hottest, Ghost chilli?
    But did you know that Carolina Reaper chilli is 200x hotter than a Jalapeno pepper?
    But what do you do with all those chillies other than freeze them?
    • Why not make a chilli lacto-fermeneted sauce?
    Follow the above steps then once you think the chillies are done, drain the brine and add other flavouring ingredients.
    Blitz in a food processor.

    To find out more, listen to the podcast.

    I'm talking with Corinne Mossati, founder of the http://www.thegourmanticgarden.com website.

    If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.