Friday, 7 March 2014



“If someone asks for help in the herb garden, you can certainly give Sage advice if you have Thyme.”
Why did the chef add extra oregano to his sauce?
He was making up for lost thyme.

Listen to this…..with herb expert Ian Hemphill from

If you want to grow Thyme in your garden but your soil’s a heavy type, first spread a layer of gravel then plant your Thyme.
Should that fail, Thyme grows well in pots . Use it as a filler in a bigger pot with a large plant in it.
Thyme can be preserved by freezing some in ice cube trays. When the cubes are frozen take them out of the tray and pop them into a plastic bag.
Another way is to wrap the Thyme, stem and leaves in foil and put that in the freezer.
Frozen Thyme keeps well for a few months.
Thyme is quite pungent so even if you add some sprigs of Thyme at the beginning of cooking, there will still be flavor at the end.
The best advice for adding fresh herbs to any cooking is at the end. Dried herbs are best at the beginning.


Well it’s TIME FOR VEGETABLE HEROES  Garden Sorrel and French Sorrel or Rumex acetosa  and Rumex scutatus are members of the Rumex family and found mainly in temperate climates all over the world
Some people think Sorrel’s are all alike
Did you know that there’s a Garden Sorrel or Common Sorrel and French Sorrel?
French Sorrel is not quite so sour.
The word "sorrel" comes from the old French surele, which derives from sur, "sour".
The Cambridge World History of Food and Drink claims that “sorrel” actually comes from a Germanic word also meaning sour.
Yes, we get the picture, it’s sour to taste.
Have you been given a pot of something and planted in out in the garden, only to think a few weeks later, “where did I plant that?”
I was given a pot of what is most likely the French Sorrel over the weekend which I accepted gladly because I couldn’t remember where in the garden my sorrel had got to.
The flavour of sorrel is memorable – astringent and a lemony taking me back in time when I was very young.
I was given some Sorrel soup and although eating it, complained that I had been given soup made of grass.
How things change.
Sorrel originates in Europe, North America, and Asia.
Sorrel is a close relative of the weed dock, with large, arrow-shaped leaves.
If you know the weed Curled Dock, you’ll know what I mean.
Sorrel, whether French or the Garden variety, grows best in a rich soil, but will grow in any well-drained soil, and can be planted in sun or partial shade.
Sorrel grows anywhere in Australia, and for Tropical and Sub-tropical climates it’s a good substitute for Spinach, which tends to run to seed in those areas.reenish brown flowers when they appear in summer by cutting the flowering stem, or the plant will put its energy into seed, not leaf, production.
When your sorrel plant is established, it's easy to propagate by using a sharp knife to cut sma
Prepare the bed by digging in generous amounts of aged manure or compost.
An occasional side dressing of compost doesn’t hurt during the growing season either.
The plants should be kept moist, so water well during dry summer months.
French Sorrel is a perennial (means in will continue growing year after year) grows to about 15-45 cm high, and about 60cm wide if you put it into the garden.
The mid green leaves are shaped like squat shields.
Plants can be bought from a garden centre or started from seed.
Better still, if you know someone with an established sorrel plant, ask for a small cutting.
The plants will grow into fairly sizable clumps, anywhere from ½ metre high, and will produce tangy, edible leaves approximately four months after thinning.
Remove the gll sections from the main root.
Autumn is the best time to do this and these sections should be potted up to give away or planted back in the garden and watered in well.
Once the plant has matured, it can be treated as a 'cut and come again' crop.
Sorrel is pretty much a self-care plant.
Just don’t forget where you planted it in the garden.
So what do you do with Sorrel?
If you pick the leaves when they’re young they’ve got a fresh, palate cleansing taste and make a delicious addition to a salad.
Older leaves can be pureed to make green sauce for fish, French Cream of Sorrel soup, or a variety of Russian borscht.
Sorrel leaves go well with avocado in a salad or on a sandwich.
Add some shredded leaves to scrambled eggs, omelets and frittata.
Quinoa salad loves the tangy addition of sorrel as do seafood and tomato dishes.
Why not stir finely shredded sorrel through a basic white sauce to give a real zing to vegetables.
Tough, outer leaves can be fed to rabbits and chooks or tossed into the compost bin.
Picking the leaves is simple, either pinch or cut the leaves off with a knife at any time during the growing season.
Leaves grow upward on a strong stem, so they don't get gritty, like spinach.
When picking the leaves, remember the smallest leaves are the most concentrated in flavour.
To keep your sorrel patch going at full strength, start new plants from section cuttings every few years.
That's all the work there is to growing sorrel.
Sorrel is basically disease and insect free - aphids may show an interest in the young leaves.
These can be removed with a sharp spray of water. Even slugs rarely bother this potherb. It's a great plant for the organic gardener.
Why Is It Good For You?
Sorrel is considered to be good for you in much the same way as Spinach.
Sorrel leaves are rich in potassium and vitamins C and A, and will keep its beneficial qualities and great taste for a long time, but they are especially good when fresh.
To store, put French sorrel into a sealed plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Sorrel doesn’t dry well, but it can be frozen.
Sorrel is high in oxalates and not good for people with kidney stones or arthritis.
with Louise McDaid

Today the final in the series on the colour green in gardens, and as a colour, mostly gardeners overlook on how effectively it can be really used.
Are you worried about having too much green in the garden and not quite getting the variation in leaf size, shape and texture to give your garden a lift.
Today we might have just the right answer in the final of the series
Let’s find out what this is all about.
PLAY: Green_Gardens_pt5_26th Feb_2014
Louse was talking mainly about plants with cream and green or cream and white variegations.

  • What is a variegated plant – one with leaves that have more than 1 or 2 colours – for this purpose we’re talking about green with white, cream or yellow. The colours are usually in thick or thin stripes, but sometimes other markings a bit more random like splashes or marbling – often there will be a few tones of green
Stripey – NZ flax, iris, dianella, miscanthus ‘zebrinus’, alpinia zerumbet ‘variegata’, agave succulent
Perimeter splashes or edging – hibiscus, zonal pelargonium, hosta, pittosporum (screening plant)
Random splashes and spots – aucuba (gold dust plant), zantedeshcia (calla lily)
Euphorbia – mentioned them as a green flower but also available with variegated foliage
CULTIVATION TIP: Plants with more white or yellow need more sun than those with less – the trick is to give enough light but not too much sun to burn the leaves.
For the most part, variegated plants don’t like full shade because the leaves have less chlorophyll for photosynthesis.
That tends to mean they also grow a bit slower.
HOT TIP: Plant an variegated and non variegated version of the same plant - it works well because of the repetition of shape, texture and form that gives consistency and harmony, but variation with the colour to add interest


You might be surprised to learn that Bursaria grows in all states except Western Australia and Northern Territory, generally excluding more arid areas, grassy plains, and heavy clay soils at higher altitudes;

One thing we didn’t touch on was that all Bursaria species are vigorously rhizomatous.
Once established bursarias  are extremely hardy and will last 30-50 years.
Bursarias are great colonisers of marginal or disturbed sites and regenerate from rhizomes, e.g. after fire.

Bursaria spinosa is of high wildlife value, as a habitat for birds and as a nectar source. It is a useful honey plant in poor seasons, producing medium to heavy quantities of pollen.


Bursaria spinosa is an erect, prickly shrub to about 3-4 metres tall.

The leaves are an elongated oval shape 20-45 mm long and up to 12 mm wide, green above and hairy beneath.

The flowers are creamy-white, star like, and have a sweet pittosporum like scent.

The petals are quite small about 7-10 mm in diameter and are carried in dense panicles at the ends of branches-i.e. terminal panicles.

Flowers are usually seen in mid summer, around Christmas time, which gives rise to the common name of 'Christmas Bush' in Tasmania and South Australia.

Flowers are followed by flattened, purse-shaped seed capsules about 10 mm x 10 mm.

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