Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bower Birds and Oriental Garden Themes

 REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition
Wildlife in Focus:Some birds have such peculiar habits it makes them fascinating and the Bower Bird is not exception. John Dengate, TV personality and author of "Attracting Birds to Your Garden in Australia", knows all about Bower Birds, listen as he tells us about some of the marvelous insights into this bird.
Vegetable Heroes:       The snow pea is Pisum sativum var. saccharatum. or (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) is a distinct botanical cultivar or subspecies of garden peas The pod is pretty much flat and is eaten before the string develops and the peas start to swell.
You plant Snow Peas from April until September in warm Temperate climates, April to July in sub-tropical areas, April to October in cool temperate districts and May to July in Arid zones.
Edible podded peas do best under cool, moist growing conditions. The crop is sensitive to heat, so winter time is the best for growing them
Snow peas like day temperatures from 15o to 18oC average.
The stems and foliage of Snow Peas mostly aren’t affected by frost, but will get some damage if a cold snap follows a period of warm weather, but flowers are made sterile by frost and so are the pods. Pinch off the flowers so new ones will grow.
Peas thrive on a wide range of soil types, as long as the soil is well drained with good depth.
Peas and other legumes (even wattles) have symbiotic bacteria in their roots called  rhizobia, that 'fix' nitrogen in the soil meaning that peas are capable of manufacturing their own nitrogen.
Peas then don’t need as much fertiliser as other vegies and are good to dig into the soil to concentrate available nitrogen for future crops.
I assume that they're still pretty hungry for other nutrients though - so a bit of fertiliser won't go astray.
In the colder months, my mantra is, liquid fertiliser works best, as granular fertilisers take months to break down in cold weather. Compost and worm tea are garden gold.

Design Elements: We can have Federation, Bush garden or Cottage garden styles, but Real World Gardener listeners heard last week that you can have different themes within these styles. Ever thought of oriental area in your style of garden? Listen here to garden designer Lesley Simpson and Marianne talk about this theme.

Plant of the Week: Banksia ericifolia subsp. Macrantha or Heath Banksia.
Are possums making a mess of your garden?  Maybe they’re eating your rose foliage or winter fruits like oranges. Let’s face it we live amongst the habitat of creatures like possums, and in winter time, food becomes scarce. Planting a few native bushes will go a long way to helping these critters out and give you peace of mind. 
 If you want to stop a possum from eating a certain plant in the garden, a good method is to block access to the plant for at least three weeks. That changes the pattern of behaviour for the animal and they seek food elsewhere. This may mean throwing something unslightly over the plant for that time, but it’s only for three weeks. Good luck.
Banksia ericifolia subsp Macrantha grows to 5 metres  and adapts well to most soils. The photo was taken on a windy coastline on the way to Maitland Bay, so you can see it tolerates a good deal of salt spray. Honeyeaters are attracted to this plant.

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