Monday, 3 August 2015

Pink Pixies and Feathery Leaves


Star Anise, Aniseed and Fennel all have anethole in them which imparts that Aniseed flavour.
The dried seed that comes from the ferny Fennel herb, has seeds look a lot like cumin seeds, only greener, with an lighter aniseed flavour and a warm, sweet aroma.

Fennel seeds are also used in spice mixes such as Chinese five spice and the Indian Panch Phora.
Just a reminder, Phanch Phora consists of Fennel, Cumin, Nigella, Fenugreek and Brown Mustard seeds.
But aside from Asian cooking, what else can you do with this spice and can you grow it at home?Let’s find out. Click on the player to listen to the podcast.Talking with herb expert Ian Hemphill

You can use the whole Fennel bulb in cooking. The bulb has a light delicate flavour that can be used in dishes such as lasagne.
The fronds of the Fennel bulb can be used in salads and with fish.

The Phanch Phora seed blend is fried up at the beginning of a curry and is also good with parboiled potatoes and cabbage.

To use fennel seed in your cooking you'll get more flavour out of the seeds by either grinding them or dry frying them.

If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, put seeds you want crushed into a sealed bag and bash with a rolling pin or whizz them up in a small, clean coffee grinder.

To dry fry, heat up a pan, tip in the seeds and, over a medium heat, brown for a couple of minutes, tossing them around the pan frequently

If you have any questions about using fennel seeds in cooking, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Botanically Dill is Anethum graveolens and it’s in the Apiaceae or carrot family which includes such herbs as parsley, coriander, fennel, and Queen Anne’s lace.
The latin name Anethum means to grow upwards and the graveolens part means “emitting a heavy odour or strong smelling:
Dill is a native of the Mediterranean region and Southern Russia.
It grows wild among the corn in Spain and Portugal and on the coast of Italy, but not so much in northern Europe.
Did you know that in the Middle Ages, Dill was one of the herbs used by magicians in their spells and charms against witchcraft?
Fennel and Dill are sometimes confused as being one and the same plant.
The difference with Dill, is that the stems of Dill are hollow and usually there’s only one stem unlike the multi-stemmed Fennel.
Dill is a hardy annual herb with a flower that looks a bit like an umbrella.
The leaves have a delicate appearance and are often described as lacy, feathery, or needle-like.
The seeds are oval and winged but pungent and slightly bitter to taste, some say, similar to Caraway seeds.
Dill produces a single taproot that can reach deeply into the ground in ideal conditions.
Sowing and Growing dill
Dill can be grown in any well-drained soil in an open, sunny position, though it prefers districts with a warm, dry summer.
As per usual, incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil to help it retain moisture during the dry months.
Dill flowers attract beneficial insects
Sow seeds at monthly intervals in spring and summer for a constant supply throughout the summer and into autumn.
Dill will often self-sow, and the vivid yellow flower heads are excellent for attracting pollinating insects to the garden.
Sow in shallow drills, about 5 mm deep, leaving 25 cm between rows.
For a harvest of seeds, thin the first sowing to leave 25 cm between plants. Use the thinnings as a source of tender young leaves in the kitchen. Subsequent sowings, for a harvest of leaves, need to be thinned to only 10 cm apart.
Water well during dry periods, and keep well mulched with organic matter to conserve moisture.
The plants grow to 1m tall and so may need staking or protection from strong winds.
Pests and diseases-Dill is usually trouble-free. It can actually be a good companion plant to grow between rows of carrots as its strong aroma deters carrot fly.
Harvesting and storing
The leaves will be ready for picking about eight weeks after sowing and there are several ways to use the leaves.
Using them fresh, just pick the leaves as needed.
For freezing and drying, pick the leaves just before plants start flowering.
Can be a bit tricky, but you’ll see the flower heads about to form if you keep on eye on your dill.
If you’re a bit of a seed saver, then pick the flower heads a few weeks after they first appear and put them in a paper bag.
Leave this bag in a dry place until the seeds ripen and fall.
Or instead you can pick the seeding heads once they have turned brown. Then spread the seeds on a tray in a warm, dry place.
Store the dried seeds in airtight containers.
Dill seeds are viable for about 3 years if picked straight from the plant and if stored correctly.
Using in cooking 
Dill leaves are used to flavour soups sauces, fish or mixed with pickled cucumbers.
Dill pickles
You can make Dill vinegar by soaking the seeds in vinegar for a few days before using.
The French use Dill seeds for flavouring cakes and pastries as well as flavouring sauces. Why not give that a try?
Why is it good for you?
Fresh Dill is a good source of Vitamin A and C and has carminative (good for hiccups) and digestive and sedative properties.
You can get some of these health benefits by drinking dill tea made from either the seeds or the leaves.
Take 2 teaspoons of seed per cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.

The property with the bank planted. Photo Glenice Buck

Talking with Glenice Buck, Landscape Designer.
Over the last two weeks, a new series about re-working a garden on a farm property.
Landscape designer Glenice has mulled over how the garden should be laid out, what aspect will work to maintain the vast view, and whether plants should be the major plants or the hard-scaping. Plants won out of course.
The scenario is this: the house had been located on a level area almost centred to the entire garden, but had been angled to take advantage of the view.
There is a sloping bank behind the house heading up hill and a sloping bank heading down the hill.
Before deciding on whether to terrace the garden or not, the decision was made to keep the existing mature trees.
But where to next?
Let’s find out some more in part 3….
Listen to the podcast to hear the entire segment.
A lot of decisions which took at least 6 months of mulling over before deciding on the plan of action.
Gardens are not meant to be hurried. Not like on Garden Renovation TV shows.

The Set Out photo Glenice Buck

To begin with, if you’re re-working or starting a garden, bring in as much soil and compost as you possibly can work with to give your plants a good start.

Don’t be tempted to buy just one of this or that.
The designer’s rule of thumb is buy in odd numbers bigger than 1.

So if you’re on a budget ,then at least three of everything.

Glenice planted out 250 each of Lavender, Salvia and Rosemary!
They were planted out in curves that would all merge together to form a mass planting of silver foliaged plants with purple flowers.
The bank 6 months later. Photo Glenice Buck


Grevilleas are well known for attracting birdlife to our gardens and the newer ones have beautiful show flowers that are full of nectar.
Larger flowered species and hybrids such as Grevillea banksii, 'Moonlight', 'Robyn Gordon' and 'Peaches and Cream' are planted in most people’s gardens and are still  in great demand.
But there are small flowering newer hybrids that are covered in small flowers that are just right for the smaller birds in our neighbourhood.
 Which Grevillea is it?

Let’s find out, talking with nursery owner Jeremy Critchley and Karen Smith editor

Listen to the podcast.

Grevillea Pink Pixie
Let's look at some winter flowering grevilleas for your garden and what conditions Grevilleas need to thrive.
Grevilleas prefer a sandy loam or a sandy soil because they like air in the soil, so a light sandy soil is preferable,but you could easily just plant them on a bit of mound mixed with good compost and some light potting mix in it so they  can get established first..

Once established they’ll tolerate dry periods but will want a deep soaking
Grevilleas require low phosphorus, slow release fertilizer so something with a Phosphorus number of less than 1.
Grevillea Pink Pixie

Featured Select Cultivar

Grevillea  rosmarinifolia'Pink Pixie' is a great small sprawling shrub if you are after some winter and spring colour.
Growing to  over a metre tall with narrow linear leaves and dense clusters of pink flowers it’s also dry tolerant and frost tolerant.
Winter spring flowering, hardy, low maintenance & frost tolerant
Some tried and true hybrids:
Grevillea Sandra Gordon

Grevillea "Misty Pink" is one of a number of large, free-flowering hybrids that are loosely termed "Queensland" hybrids because all have at least one species native to Queensland in their parentage. Most of these plants are characterised by a tall habit, ferny leaves and large racemes of colourful flowers which appear over a long period. Other popular cultivars in this group include G."Honey Gem" (orange), G."Sandra Gordon" (yellow), G."Moonlight" (cream) and G."Sylvia" (bright pink).

No comments:

Post a Comment