Thursday, 26 January 2012

Seeing Red 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

For Community Radio Network Listerners this program aired on 28th January 2012
Wildlife in Focus:Mosquitofish were introduced by military and local councils to control mosquito populations in 1925.What went wrong? Hear the full interview with ecologist Kurtis Lindsay.
Vegetable Heroes:Tarragon, Artemisa dracunculus or specifically French Tarragon is a little used herb that does best in cool climates. Tarragon is from the daisy or Asteraceae family and it can be grown through Australia from seed  but usually is propagated from division or cuttings because the plant rarely sets seed.     The herb was then cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
In Sub-tropical and Cool districts you can do that in January, but temperate, arid or inland regions, we’ve missed the boat expect for buying some seedlings from the local markets. Although I must say, parts of Australia have had a cooler than average summer and we gardeners like to push the envelope anyway, so it’s worth growing some cuttings wherever you are.
 If you have a friend with some, cuttings or root division are done when soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C
Tarragon likes full sun, a sheltered spot and excellent drainage. Don't ry and cram in into a small pot, because the root system is vigorous, and will strangle the plant in three years.
Tarragon dies off in winter in most areas of Australia, but will come back. If you live in a frost prone district, cover the pot with some mulch in winter. Alternatively you can bring it indoors.
Use Tarragon leaves at the end of cooking time or in cold dishes a few hours before serving so that the flavour permeates the sauce.
Chop the leaves very fine to extract the flavour for cream sauces and béarnaise sauce. Add to vinegar and steep for a few weeks to get the full flavour.
Design elements:Red may not be your cup of tea as a colour to use in the garden. But wait, there’s so many shades of red, there’s got to be at least one shade that would suit as an exclamation mark or to add drama to your garden. There are tricks to use the colour red that you may not have thought of, listen here to garden designer Lesley simpson, and host Marianne discuss red in the garden.

Plant of the Week:Noxious weed Cotoneaster spp.Plant of the week is an evergreen shrub or small tree with dark green oval leaves.  Berries occur in large numbers, which if you eat them will cause Gastroenteritis. For information on how to identify Cotoneasters go to this link
Some gardeners like to see berries that hang on trees as added colour in the garden, especially when flowers are a bit scarce. The drawback is that birds also like these berries and help the spread ot these unwanted plants into bushlands and open spaces.
What you should grow instead is perhaps one of the many varieties of Lilly Pilly, or the Diamond Leafed Pittosporum an Australian rainforest tree with orange berries. Auranticarpa rhombifolium grows in most districts of Australia. Plant flowering Crabapple or Malus hybrids for a similar look for colder districts.
But if you really want to feed the birds and look after the environment, you should be planting any number of Banksias-try B. Collina v spinulolsa for the biggest flower spikes on any Banksia.

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