Sunday, 22 May 2011

Royal Wedding Memories with Sweet Williams

Real World Gardener on Community Radio 2RRR.
How about a plant that commemorates William and Kate’s wedding? Now that’s novel.
Feature Interview: Talking to Peter Maish, arboriculturalist and tree preservation officer with a local council. Peter talks about problems with trees and what you can do about them. Listen Here.

Vegetable Heroes: Cauliflowers, Brassica oleracea.   All cauliflowers need a neutral or slightly alkaline soil to do well. If the soil is too acidic, the plants won’t be able to access the trace elements they need, and may develop whiptail.  On the other hand, soils which are too limey or chalky can lead to stunted and discoloured cauliflower. Winter cauliflowers are much more tolerant of soil conditions, and will grow on most types of soil, as long as there is no water-logging.  Ease off on the liquid fertilisers with high Nitrogen, because Caulis grow slowly over a longer period of time, and the one thing you want to avoid is lush, rapid and therefore vulnerable growth.  If plenty of organic ferts have been dug in, there is no need for additional fertilizers, before to planting out winter cauliflowers. They need a sheltered site, with some protection from winds.  They do better in sun rather than in the shade.  A cauliflower is ready for cutting when the upper surface of the curd is fully exposed and the inner leaves no longer cover it.  As usual in your  veggie garden, cauliflowers are ready at the same time.  If the weather is warm and you leave the cauliflowers in the ground once they have matured, the heads expand and they become discoloured and less appealing. To avoid this lift some early, they will be quite edible.      Here’s a tip to not have to eat cauliflower everyday for a month, gather up the leaves and tie them together over the curd so that they cover it, using garden twine, an elastic band or raffia.  It will also protect the winter ones from the frost.
Design Elements:Even though Lesley and I talk about this garden problem in Sydney, around the country, there are plenty of places with exactly the same problem, and the solutions we suggest apply just as much to a garden in Hobart, as it would to a garden in Cairns.So what is today’s  Garden Design Problem well it is “I have a steeply sloping garden.”What to do? ” Listen here.

Plant of the Week:Today it’s about Sweet Willams.  Why not plant some of these aptly named plants to commemorate the wedding of William and Kate. I couldn’t have thought of anything more apt. There’s no point buying  commemorate mugs, plates etc, too many people will buy those and you’d probably have to live to 200 to gain any value. So, a sustainable alternative that will make you smile is Sweet Williams or Dianthus. This could be the plant you’re looking for.
a)   Dianthus plants are sun lovers and prefer average, well-drained soil. They appreciate a bit of humus in the top soil layer, but they will not survive long in a damp, highly fertile muck. Do not use mulch around pinks because their crowns tend to rot beneath it.
b)   Whetman Pinks have been the main grower and distributor of scented Pinks in the UK since 1936. And now they’re being propagated in Australia from UK stock plants, so virus free. 
c)    Two types that I know of from that range are d)Candy Floss:  Sugar pink and beautifully perfumed.  Approx flowering height 28cm (11"). A great variety for patio planters where you can enjoy the perfume on warm summer evenings.
d)Coconut Sundae:  Coconut Sundae is a beautiful white sport of Raspberry Sundae and produces a mass of perfumed flowers with a maroon eye.  It is really eye-catching.   Flowering height approx 20cm (8"). 

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