Sunday, 10 January 2016

Keep Cool Colours, Borage and Pimms


Design with Cool Colours in the Garden
This colour series hopefully has made you use the colour wheel because it is the gardener’s best friend when it comes to creating a pleasing garden palette.
It's based on the three primary colours -- red, yellow, and blue.
A full colour wheel looks like a rainbow, with red and orange next to yellow, followed by green, blue, purple, and violet.
Cool Perennials photo M Cannon
We know that warm colours are red through chartreuse while cool colours are green through violet.
Let’s find out about using the cool colours this time. Talking with English Garden Designer, Lesley Simpson.

I hope that’s inspired you to try several different combinations of cool colours:
how about blue, pink and white, you can’t go wrong with that combination, or silver, white and blue for a supercool combination?
Cool Colours in Garden Design photo M Cannon
Then there’s the romantic touch with soft purples, blues, pinks and whites. They would look good around a bird bath, garden seat or other ornament you might have in the garden.
If you have any questions about choosing cool colours in the garden or have some information you’d like to share, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


This weeks Vegetable Hero is Borage or Borago officinalis.I thought I would add this to the Heroes segment because I was asked last weekend why on earth I was growing it???
I have some growing in my veggie bed you see as well as around my roses.
Borago officinalis is a native of Northern Europe (Aleppo) and it is now naturalized in most part of Europe and in the temperate region of North America. It has been grown in kitchen garden for its herbal and culinary properties and for honey from its flowers.
Did you know that Borage was used by the Ancient Greeks and the Romans?
They believed that the herb was a source of courage and comfort.
It was usually steeped in wine or brandy and given to travellers before a long journey or to soldiers before battle.
Borage photo M Cannon
In medieval times borage tea was given to competitors in jousting tournaments as a morale booster and again as a source of courage. "Always borage brings courage", was a popular rhyme of the day.
Borage is an easy growing annual plant with vivid blue flowers and leaves with the flavour of cucumbers. It is considered a herb, but is I have ig growing in my vegetable gardener and I’m not the lone ranger on this one.
Did you know that Borage is in fact considered a good companion plant for tomatoes, squash and strawberries?
It’s even supposed to deter tomato bugs and improve the flavour of tomatoes growing nearby.
Easy to grow. Borage has a cucumber aroma and is great added to salads - it can be used like spinach as a vegetable or added to spinach and cabbage.
 It's also slightly salty in flavour so if you're on a salt reduced diet you need to grow this plant.
The fresh blue flowers can be added to salads, candied and used as cake decorations or dried and put in a pot pourri.
When to Grow Borage
It’s very quick growing. If you put in some seeds today, you would have Borage in 8-10 weeks before harvest.
Use leaves before flowers appear, otherwise they will be 'hairy'. .
To sow seed in the garden, this is what you have to do.
Borage likes a sunny spot with well drained fertile soil.
Borago officinalis photo M Cannon
The warmer months are best when soil temperatures are between 10°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
Here’s a tip-Borage grows best if direct seeded. 
Where to Grow
Barely cover the seeds with soil and keep well watered. They are tolerant of any type soil, even poor dry soil.
Space plants 20 cm apart as they grow quite big and you might want to stake them because they flop over quite a bit in windy weather.
Borage is a tall annual plant, attractive but rather gangly plant, often grown in flowerbeds as well. Borage has vivid blue star-shaped flowers. Will grow almost anywhere but prefers well-drained soil
Borage dies down in the winter in colder areas but mine has been going most of the winter. Although it’s only been flowering when spring started.. It self seeds quite vigorously and spreads around the garden. Luckily, it is so attractive that it adds to the general design. So if it’s not growing in the right place, transplant it or give it away
Can be transplanted when young but older plants don’t move well. The root system is quite weak at the early stage and no problem to pull out
Culinary hints - cooking and eating Borage
Has a slight cucumber taste which goes well in salads and when cooked with silver beet or cabbage and cauliflower.
The flowers make a pretty drink decoration when frozen in an ice-block.
Use the cucumber-tasting leaves fresh in drinks.
Older leaves will get prickly, making harvesting anything on the plant a bit unpleasant because they're slightly prickly to touch.
The young leaves and flowers do add a bit of flavour and a great deal of colour to salads, soups, dips & spreads, open face sandwiches. Chopped leaves of borage are added to soups just after you’ve taken it off the heat. Because boiling, frying and simmering loses the borage fragrance quickly.
As with all edible flowers, use only a little until you know how they effect you. Borage is reputed to be a gentle laxative.
I quite like blue borage flowers in my lemonade.
Summer cocktails and other drinks are also garnished traditionally with leaves and flowers. The English like Borage flowers in their Pimms!
In Germany, sauces prepared from herbs are very popular in summer. Green sauce is made in Frankfurt and its ancient formula contains seven herbs - parsley, chervil, chives, cress, sorrel, burnet and borage.
Lemon balm is a popular extra herb.
Why Is It Good For You?
Well apart from uplifting the spirits, Naturopaths have used Borage for colds, Menopause symptoms and inflammations to name a few.
One cup of Borage-either leaves or flowers has lots of Vitamin A , B1,2,3,6and B9, large amounts of vitamin C and about 15 other nutrients that include protein iron and calcium.

Borage is open pollinated and it is very easy to collect and save the seed from flowers allowed to remain on the plant and turn brown.
The blue flowers are very attractive and this plant can easily find a place in the flower border as well as the herb garden
Apart from anything else, you’ll never find Borage leaves or flowers for sale in the shops
So grow some yourself today.
If you haven’t room to grow Borage, try getting some Borage oil capsules, 



An alternative to compost bins and worm farms.

Greg Hales with his Composting Cannon
You probably have heard that worm farms are great for the garden, but there is a bit of work involved with changing the layers and keeping the worms cool during warm weather.
Then there’s the compost bin.
How many of us have a compost bin in the corner of the yard but never bother to turn the compost or actually put it on the garden?
Seems like a hassle, and who has the time?
Here’s an alternative. Let’s find out about a portable worm farm. I'm talking with Greg Hales.

The other alternative is to dig holes in the garden, but in some scraps and then cover it up doesn’t seem that great.
By composting directly into your garden bed or pot, the composting cannont delivers nutrition and worms right where your plants need it.
Saves you the trouble of getting it out of your worm farm doesn’t it?
If you have any questions about composting cannons, why not write in with your question or ask for a fact sheet. Greg's website


GYMEA LILY Doryanthes excelsa

Plant of the week this week has a few common names.
Common names are often confusing especially if plants have different names in different states.
Doryanthes is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Doryanthaceae. The genus consists of two species, D. excelsa and D. palmeri, both native to the coast of Eastern Australia.
But there’s no mistaking this plant once you see it, you’ll remember it no matter what name you choose to call it.
Let’s find out some more…I'm talking with Landscape Designer Jason Cornish

Doryanthes or even Dory’s is probably just as easy to remember as Gymea Lily.
Plants do best in deep soil and grows as a large clump with numerous sword-like fibrous leaves, to 1 m in length and up to 100 mm wide.  
Plants grow in a rosette form, only flowering after more than 7-10 years.
The red, trumpet-like flowers each 100 mm across are held on a compact terminal head on a leafy flowering stem 2-4 m high. For this reason, and because they are surrounded by brown bracts, the flowers aren't that easily seen from the ground.
Did you know that honeyeaters love the nectar of the large flowers?
Besides that, Aboriginal people (in the Lake Macquarie district of NSW) used to roast the stems, after chopping the stem off when it was about 40cm high and as thick as a person's arm?
They also roasted the roots which they made into a sort of cake to be eaten cold.
If you have any questions about Doryanthes, why not write in to


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