Saturday, 21 May 2016



Wollemi pine photo Louise Brooks
WOLLEMI PINE Wollemia nobilis

The Wollemi pine is regarded as a Dinosaur plant because fossil evidence has dated it to have been around during the Jurassic period.

Way back in 1994, a chance discovery in the Wollemi National Park, by ranger David Noble and a couple of mates led to this tree being recognized as one of the rarest trees on the planet.

You can grow  buy a Wollemi pine for your home garden but need to know some expert tips as in the next segment.

Let’s find out what they are. Occasional reporter for Real World Gardener Louise Brooks is
That was Dr Cathy Offord, Research Scientist and The Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan.
She was speaking with occasional producer Louise Brooks.

PLAY: Wollemi Pine Garden care_11 May 2016 from 2006

Wollemi pine photo Louise Brooks
In the home garden, the Wollemi pine needs only 20% - 50% sunlight because that mimics the light level where they grow naturally.
Failure occur when Wollemi pines are grown in full sun.
Wollemi pines are the least heat tolerant of all the Araucariaceae family which includes Bunya pines and Hoop pines, disliking anything above 37 degrees centigrade.
They grow best on the south side of buildings and can be grown in a large pot.
Annually cut of the top of the Wollemi pine because they'll re-sprout.
Don't overwater or keep a saucer under the pot or container.
As for fertilising the good news is any general fertiliser will do as they haven't shown to be phosphorous sensitive.
Just remember that they have the potential to be large trees, growing to 35 metres in their natural setting, albeit very slow growing.
If you have any questions about Wollemi Pines or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Angelica archangelica or just Angelica

There are other varieties of angelica but only the one with the scientific name Angelica archangelica can be used in cooking.
 Doesn’t it sound a bit religious you say?
Why’s that?
Did you know that supposedly an angel presented 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 keep growing for a few more years if you clip off the flower stems before they bloom.
So what does angelica look like?
There are a couple of different varieties.

Angelica photo M Cannon

One has yellowish green, feathery leaves that look tropical because of their large size which is about 0.7-1m long, and are divided into 3 leaflets with toothed edges.
This variety of 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.
Another variety has by far the darkest of the Angelica's, with a rosette of near black delicately divided foliage.
During early Summer, dark flower stems carry broad umbels of purple buds, which open to soft pink.
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 because it’s normally found near water in the wild.
Although that’s not really necessary.
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 a150cmsquare.
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.

Angelica photo M. Cannon
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. How Do I Use It?

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 any cottage or perennial garden, because the flowers and leaves are various shades of either green or purpleso they blend well with just about anything.
Depending on which variety you have of course.
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.
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
What Do You Do With It?
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.
Chopped leaves may be added to fruit salads, fish dishes and cottage cheese in small amounts.
Add leaves to sour fruit such as rhubarb to neutralize acidity.
Boil the stems with jams to improve the jam’s flavour.
Remove the stems before canning or freezing. Young stems can be used as a substitute for celery.
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.
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.
TIP To keep your Angelica growing in the garden you need to make sure 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 disproven 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.


Wildlife in Tropical Gardens
Would you think that tropical gardens are any good for wildlife?
Of course! Think Daintree and Kakadu for tropical and rainforest;

Lorikeets in Drunken Parrot tree or Schotia brachypetala  photo M Cannon

Australia has some of the oldest and largest tracts of rainforest in the world, and they are teeming with wildlife.
So how can you get that into your garden?
Let’s find out. I'm talking with Louise McDaid, Garden Designer.

Australia’s rainforests stretch across the country and cover every climatic type.

Daintree rainforest
From Queensland's Daintree Rainforest to Tasmania's cool temperate wilderness and to the Gondwanan rainforest near Byron Bay.
You'll also find dry rainforest pockets in Western Australia's Kimberley region and monsoon rainforest in Kakadu National Park.
Down in Victoria's Otway Ranges, exist lush fern gullies.
This lush landscape is home to species like cassowaries, parrots, pythons, possums, tree kangaroos, and primitive-looking reptiles, many of which live nowhere else in the world.
You may not attract these to your garden but you certainly will attract something from your local area.
So there’s no excuse for not having a tropical rainforest no matter what zone you live in.

If you have any questions about creating tropical gardens drop us a line to


This next plant is for the lovers of fragrance in the garden.
And if you love fragrance, you’re probably going to buy plants that aren’t supposed to do well in your district.
Plants like Luculia, or Lilac (Syringia vulgaris) which are for cool climates mostly.
There’s another much plant that has a reputation of keeling over without warning, but gardeners still want to grow if because of its high fragrance.
Now, there’s a new variety with flowers double or triple the size of the old species (Daphne odora) and hopefully, a bit more resistant to some of the problems that plagued the predecessor.
So, what so good about it?
Let’s find out. I'm talking with the plant panel :Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal  and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Daphne Perfume Princess
Daphne Perfume Princess is apparently no ordinary Daphne and should be on every plant collector’s list.
Not only are the flowers bigger than the species Daphne, but it flowers longer, can grow anywhere in Australia and it has the strongest fragrance of any Daphne.
A definite must have.

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