Friday, 23 December 2011

Cool Colours in the Garden

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm Sat. 12noon, 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on
Design Elements: Ever thought of looking out into a cool relaxing garden? How do you get that?  Maybe you want a meditation garden, how do you get that? Listen here for all the info with Lesley Simpson, garden designer and Marianne (host).

Vegetable Heroes:eggplants, aubergines to some and Solanum melongena to botanists.
    Eggplant is a short lived perennial plant that is usually grown as an annual. Eggplants grow best when the temperatures are at least 250C or above.
    Eggplants or aubergines particularly resent frost and so far my plants from previous years never survive the cold and I have to start all over again.
  Eggplant seeds/seedlings can be planted in spring to autumn in tropical areas, spring to early summer in temperate zones and during late spring in cool climates.Maybe a bit late for you guy, but you could give it a try this week maybe?
  Eggplants have to have full sunlight or they simply won’t grow well.
Any spot that gets about six to eight hours of full sun.
The seedlings don’t need to be planted too far into the ground. Just enough so that the soil covers the roots is fine. After the seedlings have been transplanted, give them a little water and leave them to grow.
Don’t overwater your eggplants as they are susceptible to root rot.
When you pick your eggplant fruit is really up to you. As soon as the “skin” of the fruit is glossy, it is typically ready to be picked. If the skin has turned brown then you’ve waited too long to pick the fruit.
Why not try ROSA BIANCAVigorous Italian heirloom variety, heaps of fruit that are  rosy lavender and white heavy teardrop shaped fruit with a mild flavour. 
How about TURKISH ORANGE?  Beautiful red-orange fruit, round to 7.5cm, lots of fruit in 65-85 days.    For cooler districts, why not try the funny soundying UDUMALAPET
  Yellow-green teardrop shaped fruit with vibrant lavender stripes, best eaten small at 8cm.
Plant of the Week:        OK. It’s a tropical plant but plant nuts, plant addicts, plant collectors, call us what you will, we try and grow the impossible. Can we do it for this one in your district? 
Family: Rubiaceae has shrubs in this family native to Africa, Madagascar and Asia. All are grown for their showy sepals-not unlike Bouganvilleas.
Bracts or sepals?-The showy part of the Mussaenda flower is composed of enlarged sepals, either white or pinky salmon  colours and even red. In a "typical" flower, the petals are the showy component while the sepals (which form the calyx) are usually green and relatively inconspicuous in the open flower, but not on this plant.
Mussaenda is a rounded evergreen tropical shrub or sub-shrub that will grow to 3m  tall in tropical areas, but more likely will reach 1-2m  tall in containers. Clusters (corymbs) of small, tubular flowers with five spreading lobes bloom in summer, however it is the large and colourful, ovate, leaf-like sepals (to 1m long) that provide the real ornamental display (in somewhat the same way as with Bouganvilleas). Some individual flowers in each cluster will develop a single enlarged sepal. Elliptic to ovate, bright green leaves (to 6î long). Hybrids sold in commerce typically...
Mussaenda erythrophylla cv Flamingo has large brightly coloured sepals of flaming pink. M erythrophylla Queen Sirikit has pale pink sepals.
M. Philippica is a dense spreading shrub with large clumps of ivory coloured sepals and tiny orange flowers, Very showy. This plant was discovered in the Philippines on Luzon Is in 1834.
Mussaendas need fertile  well drained  humus rich soils with an acid pH
.Full sun to part shade- somewhat cold sensitive and prone to spotting. A thick layer of mulch will protect the roots and help conserve  moisture.
Winter hardy - grow in containers that must be overwintered indoors. Use a well-draining potting mix and keep soils consistently moist.
 Grow in full sun to part shade. Best bract/sepal colour in full sun, but plants also appreciate some mid-day filtered sun in hot climates. Bring containers indoors in fall when night temperatures start dropping below 100C. Overwinter in a greenhouse or a warm sun room. Cuttings may be taken in late summer for overwintering.

Feature Interview:      Organic Neem oil sprays can protect garden plants from chewing insects and fungal diseases and protect people and animals from biting bugs. Talking to Gary Leeson from OCP let's find out what neem oil is all about..


1 comment:

  1. Now I know why my eggplant plant karked it - I think I planted it a bit deeply!