Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation
http://www.cpod.org.au/The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website www.songsofthegarden.com
Wildlife in Focuswith ecologist Sue Stevens.
Have you wondered what is that bird, that you’ve just spotted in your garden or on your daily walk?
Birds are active, and energetic and you need practise to develop a quick eye that helps you with identification.
The obstacles are many—the light may be dim, you could have the sun in your eyes, or the bird may dive into a bush.
So to stand the best chance of landing a name for a bird, you'll want to know what to look for—what matters most and how to spend your precious viewing time.
But is that all there is to it?
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Identifying a bird can be quite difficult if not a bit of a challenge and now you have a bit more to go on.
Next time you spot an unknown bird, keep a close eye on it, because you’ll need to absorb some of its details like markings, what it sounded like, size and what it was feeding on, what shape was its bill, colour of its eyes.
If you have a camera handy or your mobile phone camera if it’s close, that’s good, otherwise jot down the details on a notepad.
Then consult your handy bird field guide of Australia.
If you have any questions about a bird you want identified, why not drop us a line. Or send in a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675, and I’ll send you a copy of the Garden Guardians in return..
Cinderella thought that the best way to travel to a ball was in one. They also make great scones or candle holders.
- Pumpkin is considered an annual, and comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours and patterns.
- Pumpkins are slightly different from other in the same family.
- For instance, Pumpkins are normally hard-skinned, but squashes and zucchinis, have softer skin, but there are exceptions.
- Honestly, for those of us who have a compost heap, one of the most often things to grow out of the heap other than tomatoes, is the pumpkin. Usually a Butternut or Queensland Blue.
- Just as well that Pumpkins like compost heaps because the vines need fertile, compost-rich, well-drained soil in full sun, and are most easily grown as ground-cover plants.
- There is a bush variety called Golden Nugget, that can be grown in a pot but all the rest grow way too big for pots.
- Vines can be trained over frames provided they can support the weight of the heavy fruit.
- Start early, with your pumpkin seed planting, because, before you know it, summer is here and you’ve run out of time to grow it to maturity.
When to Sow
- In temperate zones, plant your pumpkin seeds from September until the end of December.
- Arid zones have from September until February.
- Sub-tropical regions have between August and February.
- Cool temperate districts have between October and December.
- Tropical areas you can grow them all year round.
VarietiesThere are as many different varieties of pumpkins as there are of tomatoes, except you can’t get the Cinderella pumpkin in Australia.
Pumpkin seed needs a soil temperature of 20˚C for germination.
- Pumpkins are shallow-rooted so they need regular watering in dry or windy weather.
- It’s not good watering every other day in warm weather because your pumpkin will end up splitting.
- Pinch out growing tips of those rambling stems to keep the plants in check, otherwise they may take over you whole backyard!
When I worked at Yates, getting those pumpkins to fertilise was the bane of quite a number of people’s veggie growing.
- The complaint was lots of leaves and few flowers or that the embryo fruits and flowers fall off.
- Pumpkins produce short-lived male and female flowers that can close by mid-morning. Female flowers open above the swollen, distinctive embryo fruit and male flowers produce pollen.
- If the embryo fruit falls off, that usually means it didn’t get pollinated.
- Native and honey bees are normally able to complete pollination, but sometimes ants harvest pollen before this occurs.
- High temperatures can affect fruit formation over 30˚C, and here you may need to try hand pollination to improve fruit set.
- To hand pollinate, pick male flowers, remove the petals then dab pollen on the stigma of female flowers.
- Squeezing female flowers aids pollination in wet weather.
- Remember,, sometimes female flowers take two weeks or longer before they start appearing.
- This is because the pumpkin vine has to grow to a decent size where it can support fruit, before the female flowers appear.
Harvesting and storingYour pumpkin is ready to pick when it’s finished swelling which is when the vine is dying off, and they sound hollow when you tap on the shell.
Why are they good for you?The bright orange colour of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with the antioxidant, beta-carotene.
Design Elementswith Landscape Designer, Louise McDaid
Have you ever travelled a long way to see some great gardens?
Just by chance have you stumbled on one of the world’s best for that particular style?
Seeing lots of gardens up close and personal is something we gardeners like to do and should do.
Plus you learn so much about planting styles that you can reflect on and adapt to your own garden.
Here is one such inspirational garden, the Japanese Garden within Tatton Park in Cheshire, England.
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This Japanese inspirational garden doesn’t sound too hard to emulate does it?
Some rocks, some maples of different colours and leaf shapes, a tea house, and a bit of clipped Buxus or Azaleas, and hey presto, transformation!
If you have any questions about this week’s Design Elements, send it our email address, or just post it.