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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Lemon Scent, Archangels and Chandeliers

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at www.2rrr.org.au and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network. www.realworldgardener.com
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The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on http://www.cpod.org.au/ , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. 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

SPICE IT UP

with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au
Backhousia citriodora, also known as Lemon Scented Myrtle, Lemon Ironwood and Sweet Verbena Tree.

For gardeners wanting fragrance in their gardens, you can’t beat planting a tree whose leaves exude a lemony scent all year round.

It might be too subtle for some because you really need to crush the leaves for the leaves to get the delicious aroma.

This tree has already featured in plant of the week as a bush tucker plant, but why is it so good that it’s popping up again in the Spice it Up segment?

Because the potential use in our kitchens has yet to be realised and who better to ask than herb and spice guru from Herbies Spices to find out all those extra uses in cooking.





Listen to this…..PLAY: Lemon Myrtle_9thMay_2014
What did you think of all those extra uses for lemon scented myrtle?
This tree grows well in all areas of in the eastern states of Australia.
Would you try chicken stuffing with a handful of the fresh leaves, then rub the outside of the chicken with some powdered lemon scented myrtle, plus salt and pepper?
Also use it in Asian cuisine-laksa, curries, spice blends, just substitute lemon grass with lemon scented myrtle leaves.
TIP: cut out the mid rib of the fresh leaves before using in cooking.
Lemon scented myrtle can be substituted for Lemon Verbena leaves in cooking.
What about lemon myrtle cream or yoghurt?
Sounds delicious doesn’t it?If that doesn’t suit, then there’s the dried crushed leaves in shortbread biscuits and cakes.
REMEMBER THE TIP: ½ teaspoon of dried powder to 1 cup of flour.

VEGETABLE HEROES

Angelica archangelica or just angelica
 Doesn’t it sound a bit religious you say? Why’s that?
Did you know that supposedly an angel gave an angelica plant to man as a cure for the plague, and 15th and 16th century herbalists recommended eating or chewing the roots as a cure for a number of diseases?
Apparently back then, they also believed that angelica would protect against witchcraft and evil spells.

Angelica is native to Europe, Asia and North America.
Although angelica is a biennial herb-growing the first year and flowering the second-it will continue to live for several more years if you clip off the flower stems before they bloom.

So what does angelica look like?

The yellowish green, feathery leaves look tropical and are large, becoming about 0.7-1m long, and are divided into 3 leaflets with toothed edges. Angelica has greenish white flowers that hang in umbrella like clusters at the ends of the stalks which are 1-1.5m tall, hollow, and stiff, so it's not really a plant for pots.
Angelica leaves-Real World Gardener 2014

How to grow it

Angelica likes moist, rich soil that is slightly acid, growing best in semi-shade.
Angelica can grow it most of Australia although doesn’t grow that well in hot humid climates.
Find a shady, sheltered spot for growing angelica - it likes moist soil, so keep it well watered - if you have a pond and can provide shelter, then it would do well there it’s normally found near water in the wild. Although that’s not really necessary.
Soil need to be kept moist, slightly acid  and in semi-shade
Mine grows well on the south side of a garage-but then it spread to a nearby veggie bed, and seems to be OK there too.
Angelica grows easily from seed that is if you’re growing your own or know of someone that has some.
To get the flower seed-it’s just a matter of waiting after the flowers have died. One seed head has about 100 seeds.
But you need to sow them within a few weeks after ripening or they lose their viability.
TIP: If you leave the seeds to ripen on the stems, will mean they’ll self sow readily.
Then you can pick out the seedlings when they’re quite small and pass them on to friends.
Angelica is a hardy perennial and you need no more than one plant in a 5ft (150cm) square.
Either sow seeds in the late summer and thin to 15cm then in the second year to 60cm then to 150cm or buy plants in autumn or spring and set them a metre apart.
If they self seed, then keep the strongest as replacement stock.
You also can propagate angelica from root cuttings.
It grows for four to five years as a rule, then it’ll die.
One thing to note, Angelica dies down completely in winter and re-shoots in spring, so remember where you last planted it.

Harvesting Angelica

Angelica stems-photo Real World Gardener
So now you’re growing Angelica and you’re wondering what do I do with this plant.
Firstly, it’s a reasonably attractive addition to a green garden, because the flowers and leaves are various shades of green so they blend well with just about anything.
But you can use it in the kitchen if you’re prepared to wait a year.
Plus, the candied angelica that you buy is not a patch on the real deal.
I’ll post the recipe on the website or you can write in for a fact sheet.
In the second year and onwards, you can cut the stalks for candying.
The books say do this in mid to late spring, whilst they are still young and green, but honestly, we’ve had such warm weather, that the Angelica I have in the garden is still green.
If you want to use the roots, then do it when the plant is still young in autumn or early winter or they may get woody
The roots, leaves, and stalks of angelica have a number of uses.
Young angelica stems can be candied and used to decorate cakes and pastries, and can also be jellied.
The leaves are used in herb pillows - it's said to have a calming effect - and the roots can be cooked with butter.
You can also eat the boiled roots and stems like celery.
Commercially, the seeds and an oil made from the stems and roots are used as a flavouring in many liqueurs such as vermouth, chartreuse, and Benedictine, and the seeds also can be brewed into a tea.
Wait, there’s more, the leaves or roots can be cooked with rhubarb or gooseberries to lessen the acidity.
So, all round it's a good value plant and there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had from producing something that most people only buy in shops or see in restaurants - candied angelica.
it’s well watered and remove the stems before they flower as the angelica will die after flowering and setting seed.
You can keep one or two going longer to fill in the gap left by waiting for seedlings to mature by not allowing them to flower.

Why is it good for you?

After the bacterial theory was proven in relation to the bubonic plaque of 1665 it was realized that Angelica had antibacterial properties.  Some people apparently chew the dried root for its anti-viral properties.

Candied Angelica

Angelica stems, granulated sugar, water Caster sugar for dusting.

Cut shoots into 8-10cm lengths.
Place in saucepan with just enough water to cover them, simmer until tender and then strain and peel of the outer skin.
Put back in the pan with enough water to cover  and bring to the boil, strain immediately and allow to cool.
When cool and equal weight of sugar and place in a covered dish for two days.Place the angelica and syrup which will form back in a pan and slowly bring to the boil.
Simmer, stirring occasionally until the angelica becomes clear and has good colour.Strain and discard al the liquid.
Sprinkle with caster sugar-as much as that will cling to the angelica.
Allow the stems to dry in a cool oven (1000C) to prevent them going mouldy later.Angelica stems, granulated sugar, water Caster sugar for dusting.
Cut shoots into 8-10cm lengths.
Place in saucepan with just enough water to cover them, simmer until tender and then strain and peel of the outer skin.
Put back in the pan with enough water to cover  and bring to the boil, strain immediately and allow to cool.
When cool and equal weight of sugar and place in a covered dish for two days.Place the angelica and syrup which will form back in a pan and slowly bring to the boil.
Simmer, stirring occasionally until the angelica becomes clear and has good colour.
Strain and discard al the liquid.
Sprinkle with caster sugar-as much as that will cling to the angelica.Allow the stems to dry in a cool oven (1000C) to prevent them going mouldy later.Store in an artight container between greaseproof paper.

AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT

Design Elements

Maintaining Your Potted Garden
Glasshouse -ideal location for your overwinter pot plants.

How many pot plants do you have in your garden?
Too many? Do you think, I need to cut down, but there’s no room in the garden to plant them out and you’ve got those special plants that someone gave you or you just have to have.
Or, maybe you live in a villa, and potted gardening is all you really have room for. Yes, pot plants do need a reasonable amount of maintenance –but what do they really need?
Let’s find out what this is all about.
PLAY: Maintaining Potted Garden _14th May_2014

When watering your pot plants does the water seem to run straight out the bottom?
Hmmm, that might be a sign of root crowding-in other words, the plant is pot bound and all the soil is used up.

Time to heave it over and give it a big root prune and refresh the potting mix.

If it’s too big, scrape off the top 10cm of soil and freshen it that way.


Better still, drill some large holes around the stem and throw in some water crystals and fresh potting mix.








PLANT OF THE WEEK-Hibiscus schizopetalus



Trees and shrubs should make up the backbone of your garden.

Hibscus schizopetalus_Japanese Lantern Hibiscus
Do you find though, some of the newcomers on the market aren’t what you were looking for? Perhaps you’re looking for a good doer that offers something exotic?
If that’s the case you can’t go past this week’s offering.

An arching shrub up to about 4 m, and produces flowers sporadically throughout most of the year. These flowers are attractive to butterflies, particularly some of the larger Swallowtails.

The distinctive flowers with their frilly petals and long slender column are often described as looking like an oriental lantern, a parachute or a chandelier. Because the flower hangs down like a chandelier or lantern, the common name Japanese lantern somehow has stuck.

The flowers open in the morning and die after about 12 hours. Flowers are attractive to butterflies, particularly some of the larger Swallowtails.

Plants suit tropical conditions best but can survive periods of cold and drought. Will grow in any fairly good soil and can tolerate coastal salt conditions.

Japanese Lantern or chandelier hibiscus or a couple of common names you could ask for when buying this plant.
But as sometimes happens, plants that have been around awhile, if not taken up zealously by landscape designers, they drop off the list of plants that get stocked in the nursery.
But, you may find that someone is growing in your neighbourhood and you might be able to get a cutting or two or three.
The Royal Botanic Gardens nursery in Sydney does propagate and sell this plant.



If you have any questions about where to buy the Japanese Lantern, why not write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

 

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the great information you havr provided! You have touched on crucuial points!
    Chandeliers

    ReplyDelete