Thursday, 2 February 2012

Windowboxes and Vintage Red Eucalypts

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm Sat. 12noon, 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
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Design Elements: Ever admired the windboxes in England and Europe? Picture the classic eye-catcher: a narrow box painted perfectly to match the house trim, spilling ivy geraniums, pansies, and petunias. Well today’s design elements discuss four different styles of windowboxes with Marianne (host) and  Lesley Simpson garden designer..listen here.
Vegetable Heroes:   Cauliflowers or brassica oleracea var. botrytus botrytus)
In tropical districts you’re going to have to wait until it cools down, so no planting until April, for sub-tropical areas, March is when you can start, however Temperate, and inland, some people call grassland, and also cold districts, February is the only time to sow seeds so get cracking otherwise you will have to buy seedlings from March onwards.
Caulis tolerate frost, but prefer a sunny site and a neutral soil. If you'r soil's acidic, and lime and wait around 6 weeks before sowing Cauliflowers.
 If plenty of manure has been dug in, there is no need for additional fertilizers, prior to planting out cauliflowers. Avoid using a plot on which a brassica crop was grown within the past two years.
Grow Cauliflowers in fulls sun and in a sheltered spot.
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.
Purple Sicily: Large purple heads, cooks to green, easier to grow than white cauliflowers. (around 4 months)
Snowball  has tight solid heads, well suited to warmer regions. 70-90 days. Very quick 10 weeks!
C.Paleface: Large firm white head, in most places can be planted throughout the year, suited to cooler climates. 155 days.
For those with little gardens how about C Mini White May be sown direct where plants are to mature and thinned out to between 15-30 cm apart or raised in a seedbed. The closer the plants the smaller the head. Heads ideal for one meal. Sow November to February suit cold and temperate zones.
Seeds available from - and
Plant of the Week:A few weeks ago, Lesley, RWG’s, garden designer came on the show and talked about designing your garden with the colour plum. We mentioned that E. Vintage red, a new grafted eucalypt would satisfy native gardens of any size. Of course you don’t want a whole lot of dark plum foliage because it will look like a black hole in your garden, just a few highlights here and there.
E. Vintage Red is a type of sugar Gum with leaves varying from dark red through to dark purple and grey. If you don't prune this tree at all it will grow a single trunk to between 10-20 metres.
Pruning will keep it to a smaller size and form a quite attractive dense habit.
E. Vintage Red has been grafted onto another Eucalypt variety. It's extremely drought tolerant once established -ie, After planting, water once weekly through its first Summer. Once the cooler weather comes, it will survive on natural rainfall.
Sugar Gums are found around Melbourne so this tree will also tolerate frost. Suits a Mediterranean and native bush garden.
Prefers full sun for the best leaf colour.
The trunk is black when yound and will gradually peel away as it matures to show a grey bark underneath.
To keep it to smaller size, you can "coppice" it. (cutting it back by about one third each year, once it's 3-4m tall). This was also something you could do with another Eucalypt E. caesia, Silver Princess.
This will result in masses of fresh new growth; a smaller, denser tree; and lots of foliage for the vase! ** As Vintage Red is a grafted tree, - make sure the graft union (a knobby bit low down on the stem where the plants were joined) is kept well above soil level, and keep any mulch away from the stem.
If any foliage starts to sprout from below the graft area, pull it off straight away. These shoots are from the rootstock (the original plant underneath) not only will it take away energy from the scion (the top part) but it will look quite different with green leaves.

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