Friday, 2 October 2015

The Early Days of Gardening and Electric Blue Hues


Imagine if you didn’t have a stove, fridge, or not too many shops to buy your groceries or bread.
What would you do?
That’s what life was like for the early colonists of Australia.

Elizabeth Farm
Rouse Hill Historic House
Growing your own veg, and being self-sufficient, would’ve been a priority wouldn’t it?
Did you know that Garden Island, now a navy base, was named for the kitchen garden established there by the crew of the Sirius?
Perhaps you would work out to make Damper but could your make your own bread?
What rising agent would you use?
Let’s find out. Talking with Gastronomer Jacquie Newling from Sydney Living Museums.

You might have thought that it cooking with ‘bush foods’ or ‘bush tucker’ was something new that chefs in classy restaurants are keen to try.
But no, early colonists embraced native produce, adapting local ingredients to their tastes and cooking techniques.
Also, early colonists were given a weekly ration of 5.5 Kg of flour.Certainly enough to make a stand 600g loaf of bread.Colonists could make their own either ‘hearth’ or damper-style bread, either in hot ashes or in a Dutch oven, or take their flour to the public bake-house.
Many householders settled for ‘soda’ bread, using bi-carbonate of soda as the rising agent, and added buttermilk for extra flavour because baking soda was available at least from the 1820s,
f you have any questions life in the early 1800’s, or have some information you’d like to share, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Parsley-Petroselinum crispum is, by far the most commonly mentioned herb in recipes all over the world.
Parsley’s name comes from two Greek words Petrose meaning rock; beause it grows on rocky cliffs and old stonewalls in the Mediterranean; and selenium an ancient name for celery-so one can think of it as “rock celery”.
We all know what Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) looks like.
That bright green, biennial herb that is very common in Middle Eastern, European, and Australian cooking.
Parsley comes in two forms, curly leaf and Italian or flat leaf.
Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish but many people think flat leaf parsley has a stronger flavour but I find it hard to tell the difference.
However, scientific evidence shows that from chemical analysis, flat leaf parsley has much higher levels of essential oil, so it must be true.

Myths and Legends?
Did you know that both types of Parsley were around and used by ancient Romans in the fourth century BC?
Something you might not have known is that the Ancient Greeks crowned winners of major sporting events with wreaths of parsley.
There’s an old wives’ tale that says you could bring about the demise of an enemy by plucking a sprig of parsley while speaking his (her?) name.

In Medieval times revellers placed it on their tables and around their necks to absorb food odours.
It was also used as a poison antidote.
Parsley was introduced into England from the Mediterranean, where it originally grew wild, in the 16th century and in The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit “ate some lettuce and some broad beans, then some radishes, and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.”

Growing Parsley

Parsley seeds are slow to germinate.
I’ve heard that the reason for the slow and unreliable germination of parsley is that the seed goes nine times to the Devil and back before coming up.
The un-germinated seeds are the ones that the Devil keeps for himself.
Here’s a tip to help with germination- To give them a jump start try soaking them in water for 24 hours before planting. Parsley seeds should be planted in a shallow trench and covered over with a 1.2 cm layer of fine soil.
I find Parsley sows itself if you let a couple of plants go to seed.

Another reason for letting it go to seed, especially for organic gardeners, is that the flowers of Parsley attract beneficial insects like parasitic wasps and predatory lacewings.
These are the bugs that eat the troublemaker bugs in the garden.
Parsley needs full sun, but will cope with a little shade.
It likes well drained soil that’s got some organic matter like cow manure or garden compost mixed in with it.
It will grow in pots or containers, but because it has a large tap root when it matures, you’ll need to pull it out and start again every couple of years because it’ll have used up the potting mix by then.
Parsley may be cut from the stalks any time after the leaves are fully formed.
Cut the outside leaves and stems, but allow the inner stems to grow so that there is a continuous production of new leaves.
Why Is it Good for You?
Parsley has many health benefits.
It has dietary calcium, iron, riboflavin, thiamine, carotenes, ascorbic acid, and vitamin A.1 and vitamin C and folic acid.
It’s also good for blood pressure, the heart and stomach, and for pain relief. Arthritic aches and pains are supposed to be relieved by taking parsley.
Parsley is mildly laxative –but I haven’t found out how much of it you need to eat for this to work.
Make a hot poultice of Parsley to relieve insect bites and stings.
Parsley is a natural breath freshener.
If you chew on a few sprigs of Parsley it’s supposed to reduce the odour of garlic breath.
This is thanks to parsley’s high chlorophyll levels.


How do you hide that Boundary Fence when there’s not much room to plant anything?
Plus, you’ve got to stop the neighbours from peering into your house from the second storey.
Questions like that are being asked all over the country and we’ll try to solve that and other problems in this series of Best Fit Gardening.
Talking with Garden Designer Peter Nixon. Let's find out more....
Peter's suggestions are Pavonia coccinea "Shooting Star', a sub-tropical free standing, scarlet flowering evergreen shrub growing to 2.4m.For a warm temperate bamboo, Peter's choice is Drepanostachus falcatum or Blue Bamboo non-invasive clump forming growing to 3m with feathery foliage and ultra fine stems or culms.
Blue Bamboo

Pavonia coccinea Shooting Star
There are many types of Bamboo that fit into small spaces and only spread 1 ½ metres.There’s also many different heights, some only grow to 3 or 4 metres, some to 6 metres and some reach for the sky at 8 plus metres.

For cooler climates, don't go past Magnolia " Kay Paris" -ginger flock backed ornamental leaves, lemon scented large white flowering and growing to 4 metres high and 1 metre wide if left untrimmed.for cool climates you could also choose Choisya ternata or Mexican Orange Blossom.

If you have any questions about hiding the boundary fence or have a suggestion why not write in or email me 


Talking with the Plant Panel; Karen Smith editor of and Jeremy Critchley owner
Do you love blue flowers? If so you’ll love this next plant,

Lobelia usually sold as an attractive annual herb but there are new varieties that are biennial or even perennial.
Lobelia it’s an easy-to-grow, carefree plant that prefers cooler climates but grows all through the summertime.
Butterfly like blue flowers smother the plant for many months.
Flower colour is the brightest of brilliant blue.
It flowers so much it will be still going right through until the first frost.
Did I mention that the flowers are really, really blue so let’s find out what it is…

Lobelia species are native to North America, South America and Southern Africa There are many selections of Lobelia erinus grown in gardens around the world and growing lobelia is an asset to the garden.
Lobelia erinus from which Lucia Dark Blue is bred and selected is South African in origin.
'Lucia' Dark Blue

Location is the key to success with Lobelias.
They need a well draining garden bed or container in full sun to part shade for some of the day.
Keep the soils evenly moist and mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil cooler.
Once plants are established a regular but diluted liquid feeding programme every two weeks or so is beneficial.
Insect pests and other diseases are not a serious problem.
A light prune when plants are beginning to look a bit sad together with an application of a balanced fertilizer will promote new growth and another crop of flowers.


No comments:

Post a Comment