Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Bird Named Barry

REALWORLD GARDENER Wed 5pm, Sat 12 noon 2RRR 88.5fm

Wildlife in Focus: Kurtis Lindsay talks to RWG about the Pacific Baza. We jest when suggesting that this bird is named Barry, but listen in for the interview.

Vegetable Heroes: They look weird, but taste great, the Chinese Artichokes are making a comeback of sorts. Chinese Aritchokes, or Crosnes. Stachys affinis)      You can grow them in a flowerbed, around a landscape shrub and maybe in a spare patch of ground, but probably not a veggie bed as they tend to spread a bit.   You can only get them as tubers to grow some, and August September, are the only months that you should plant them.They will grow anywhere in Australia.   
Plant the tubers, 30 centimeters apart and 8–10 centimeters deep. Chinese artichokes grow in the same way as mints, to which they are related. They prefer rich soils, full sun to part shade and a moist position. You know what happens to mint when the soil becomes too dry. The soil must always be kept moist. Allowing the plant to dry out will make it go dormant. Plants take 5-7 months to form the tubers.
What do Chinese Artichokes look like?    It’s a low-growing, herbaceous (means it does dies down in winter) perennial bush, 30-50cm high, (that’s between 1-2 ruler heights)
Chinese Artichoke is a bit sprawling to about 30-50cm across, with bright-green leaves that look a lot like lemon balm, to which its related, but the leaves have scent. Chinese artichokes form small, spiral-shaped tubers 4-6cm long, that have an attractive pearly-like sheen. An attractive gourmet vegetable with a crisp, crunchy texture and a sweet, nutty flavour,
Design Elements: So you've had enough of the lawn, the weeds, the mowing. Why not put in a bird attracting garden instead? Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host) talk about ways to remove the lawn before planting something instead.
Listen here for the podcast.

Plant of the Week. Snowing in Summer, or even Spring is probably not unheard of, but on just one tree. That's different. The multistamenous flowers of Melaleuca linarifolia is jst the thing for a spectular native tree for a bird attracting garden.
Snow in Summer or Narrow Leafed Paperbark. Melaleuca linarifolia.
Where does it occur naturally?     East coast of New South Wales and southern Queensland usually along watercourses and swamps. Grows in heath and dry sclerophyll forest in moist or swampy ground; on the coast and adjacent ranges, north from Bawley Point.   Melaleuca linariifolia is usually a hardy tree to about 8 metres in height. It is widely available in general horticulture and is used for both home gardens and in landscaping. A number of shrubby forms are known and some are in general cultivation. These include "Snowstorm", a shrub to 1.5 metres and "Sea Foam", a larger plant to 2.5 metres.
The white flowers look like fluffy clusters which cover the plant in late spring and summer to almost exclude the foliage from view. It is this flowering habit that has given rise to one of the plant's common names, "Snow-in-Summer". The leaves are linear in shape and about 25 mm long.
For more information on M. linarifolia visit

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