Friday, 18 January 2013

Bring Joy to the Garden with Flowers

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Real World Gardener is funded by CBF, Community Broadcasting Foundation.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.

Feature Interview

with Anthony Grassi, Events Coordiantor Frangipani Society of Australia.
Turn your garden into a tropical paradise with a selection of Frangipanis?  Why not? There are so many colours now to choose from.
Ever heard the saying "Perfumes are the feelings of flowers."  - Heinrich Heine, a garden lover.
We’re all familiar with the lovely creams, lemons and pinks, but new hybrids offer colour breakthroughs ranging from chartreuse, blue and purple to warm coral and burgundy as well as stunning combinations with colour veining through the flowers.
Listent to the interview for tips on care, maintenance and a new method of propagating called 'bag' striking.

The Frangipani Society of Australia (FSA) is a group of friendly people passionate about Plumeria spp (Frangipani). If you are interested in growing more varieties and species of Frangipani, or if you need advice on how to care for your Frangipani, join the FSA !
Membership entitles you to participate in the online email group, as well as receiving a quarterly newsletter full of interesting articles about Frangipani.

Vegetable Heroes:

  • Celeriac or Apium graveolens var rapaceum Celeriac has been described as the ugly duckling of vegetables, or just plain ugly, but if you don’t think of vegetables as pretty or ugly, don’t be put off by all that talk.
  • This vegetable is closely related to celery and is thought to have originated in the Mediterannean.
  • It was first recorded as a food plant in France in 1623, and was grown in most of Europe by the end of the 17th century.
  • Celeriac looks like it might be the root of something, but it actually is the swollen stem.
  • The usual size you see in the supermarket is roughly 10cm, a very pale brown, rough, almost acne’ed looking ball with lime green tops.
  • The green tops look a bit like celery, and the smell is similar but a bit stronger.
  • When to grow it?
  • In sub-tropical areas you can sow the seed in March, April and August.
  • In most other regions of Australia, you can sow the seed in Spring, Summer and Autumn, except for the tropics. It’s not really suited to that region. But should you be listening somewhere in tropical Qld, and have grown Celeriac, please drop us a line about your success.
  • Celeriac is best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 21°C.
  • Hot summers won’t suit this plant. Wait until this hot weather takes a break or  start the seeds off in punnets.
  • Tip:Celeriac seeds are a bit hard to germinate, but if you soak the seeds in a saucer of water with a splash of seaweed solution, this will help the germination rate.
  • Like a lot of members of the Celery family, Celeriac likes soil that has plenty of organic compost and manures, otherwise, it’ll bolt to seed.
  • If you start your Celeriac seed in punnets, you can control the moisture content of the mix more easily rather than in the garden bed. This is what I do with all my seeds at the height of summer.
  • Transplant when there’s at least 4 leaves.
  • Celeriac loves wet soil. You can’t water it too much, and a thick layer of mulch will help in keeping the soil moist.
  • If you don’t water it enough you might get hollow roots or the plant will bolt to seed.
  • Keep the weeds down as well because celeriac doesn’t compete well with weeds,  but don’t disturb its shallow roots.
  • As the root develops, snip off side roots and hill the soil over the developing root.
  • Side dressing periodically during the growing season with an organic fertilizer high in nitrogen, like chook poo, is also helpful, but don't overdo it, otherwise you’ll get lots of leaf, rather than  root, growth.
  • Celeriac is slow-growing, taking around seven months from seed to  maturity (that is, about four months from transplanting), although the root is edible at any earlier stage.
  • Likewise, some say celeriac is frost-tender, while others say a few light frosts won't bother it. I’m inclined to think that it helps its flavour.
  • I have heard that "celeriac increases in flavour after the first frost.
  • Also, some recommend drawing soil up around the stems in early autumn, to blanch them; others don't bother.
  • Apart from the long growing season, pests don’t seem to like Celeriac, so a bonus. No spraying needed.
  •  What do you do with this vegetable?
  •  Celeriac is most often eaten raw. A classic way of using it is to grate it or cut it into thin strips or cubes, and to serve it as a salad seasoned with a dressing. Celeriac can also be cooked, either on its own or together with other vegetables. 
  •  It makes a good puree mixed with potatoes, but best of all, it makes a non-starch substitute for potatoes. Celeriac mash anyone?

Design Elements

wuth Louise McDaid
Would you like a garden make-over but think, Nah, it’s too costly? There are other ways of making over your garden without all that expense that you see on those televised garden renovation shows every week.
Over the next few weeks, Design Elements will explain different ways of updating your garden without all that expense, sweat and hard labour. We’ll cover updating your garden in many different ways, including using existing plants, colour and shape of plants, and easy make-overs. Today, we’re starting with updating your garden using flower colour.
There should be plenty of ideas to get you started if you’re a beginner gardener, and some tips for those of you who’ve been doing it for a while.
"The world is a rose; smell it and pass it to your friends."
- Persian Proverb

Plant of the Week

with Sabina Fielding-smith

Shore Juniper / Juniperus conferta / 這杜松(ハイネズ) Shore juniper Juniperus horizontalis

Does part of your garden look like it never saw a plant? Perhaps it’s baked by too much sun or the soil in that spot resists improvement. Is a sloping site, where water is always running off and even weeds can’t get a foot hold?Here’s a plant, although not native, is as tough as old boots, even a cast iron plant and all those things which make it a reliable performer.
A lot of Juniper species, or ground covery type of conifers, are good to include into any type of garden even if you dislike conifers. Because of there low stature, not growing terribly tall, that fit into any garden where you need to fill a problem gap.
Shore juniper Juniperus horizontalis, as the name suggests is salt tolerant, and very hardy. It can also take moderate frosts and short periods of drought.
Shore juniper can grow anywhere in Australia.
Shore juniper isn’t fussy about soils, growing equally as well in sandy soils as in clay.
If you grow this plant, you don’t need to prune it as it’s self shaping.
If there are some branches that are sticking straight up spoiling the look of the plant, you can cut those off.
If you feel like giving it a prune to shorten it for whatever reason, don’t cut into old wood that’s not showing any signs of green growth.
Fertilise with any organic fertiliser in Spring, or a 9 month controlled release fertiliser. Shore juniper will grow on it’s own without any help though.
Being so hardy Shore juniper is suited to coastal gardens, as groundcover in shady areas, spill over plantings, rockeries pots and planters and as contrast planting for foliage and habit.
I thought I had to mention Juniperus sabina or Savin Juniper.
Not  quite a ground cover, but grows as a shrub to 2metres x 5 metres wide.
his conifer is dark green and only on one side of the branch, but there are cultivars in this range.
One called J. sabina “Arcadia grows to 60cm x 2m and has grey green leaves.
There’s also J sabina “Blue Rug” to 20cm by 3m wide. This has blue leaves that change to purplish grey in cold weather.
This is another tough range of Junipers that tolerate moderate frosts, short periods of drought, second line salt, so not right on the coast, and copes with acid or alkaline soil.
Also a slow grower.
For all these Junipers, even though they tolerate short periods of drought, if you want the best out of your plant, keep it watered during dry times.
All of these Junipers grow best in full sun but tolerate part shade quite well.
 The big tip is, if you’re expecting a heat wave, water all areas of your garden including any new plants that you put in last Spring and including those shady areas that also become quite dry in hot weather.

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