Sunday, 14 August 2011

Browsing on Thyme

Community Radio like no other.
Wildlife in Focus: Kurtis Lindsay talks about the Brown Falcon, an Australian raptor. Hear about what it looks and sounds like. Real World Gardener thanks Tony Bayliss, from the Australian Wildlife Sound Recording Group for providing the sound file of the Brown Falcon.

Vegetable Heroes" Going for Thyme. Not a vegetable but still a hero.  You can grow the common Thyme from seed which is very small. The best time of year in any climate to sow Thyme seeds is in Spring except for in Arid regions of Australia. Autumn is the best time for that zone. The soil temperature should be between 150 C and 250.C. That doesn’t mean air temperature which is usually a few degrees higher.
  Either scatter the seed in a garden bed or start of in a punnet, then cover the seed lightly with something like Vermicullite, pop into a plastic bag and tie off, if you don’t have a mini-greenhouse.
 Thyme will start to look quite straggly after a couple of years, so cut it back quite hard after flowering. This is usually around late summer or autumn. Take some cuttings if you can be bothered with fiddling around with the very thin stems, otherwise dividing up the plants with a trowel will get you  a few smaller plants.  By the way, dividing plants that are 3-4 years old is best to get enough roots on each bit that you dig up.
 Why not try Caraway Thyme or Thymus herba-barona This Thyme comes from Corsica, is narrow leafed with a distinctive scent of caraway seed. Has lots of lavender pink flowers.
How about Pizza Thyme, sometimes known as Oregano Thyme. T. Pulegoides cv. This makes a soft mounded sub-shrub of about 15cm. This has wider leaves than most thymes.
 Then there’s my favourite Lemon Thyme. T x citriodorus. It smells like lemon and thyme all together and has been in gardens since the 17th century.
Thyme likes full sun, and prefers sandy or any other well drained soil. Fertiliser is not required.
Design Elements: Pruning Hedges Safely. Listen here to the whys and wherefores of pruning a hedge. Lesley and Marianne (me) also talk about the saftey aspects of using ladders when pruning.

Plant of the Week : Allard's Lavender or Lavandula allardii is the focus of today's plant plus a few fruity Italian Lavenders.
L. allardii
   “Riverina James.” Grows 1m x 80cm and prefers full sun, withstands dry conditions and coastal environments. Most noticeable feature of this lavender variety is the strong scent released from the slightest touch of its attractive, evergreen foliage. In addition, long lavender flower stems are also produced for a lengthy display over the warmer months. Dry and frost tolerant for difficult sites and coastal regions. Flowers will last a long time in a vase without water of course.
For more info: the site for Plant Growers Australia.
From the Ruffles collection of Lavenders, Lavandula Blueberry Ruffles and L. Boysenberry ruffles, and L. Mulberry Ruffles. These all grow to only 60cm x 80cm. Full sun and dry conditions for this Italian lavender.

Prune all Italian lavenders in summer after their main flowering period and to keep them bush. Boost with  some slow release fertiliser during spring. Avoid using Dynamic Lifter or other Chook Poo pellets-they don’t like it.

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