The House and Garden at Glenmore :author Mickey Robertson.Imagine a ramshackle set of buildings dating back to the 1850’s set way out on the outskirts of a big city.
No garden, but plenty of land.
Imagine also your partner or husband coming home and telling you that he’s just bought such a property.
What would you do?
Let’s find out ..'[m speaking with author of The House and Garden at Glenmore Robertson
Glenmore House was once a dairy farm and when Mickey's husband came across it 28 years ago, it was a collection of once dilapidated buildings.
These buildings took time to restore and in the book, Mickey describes the long process.
Mickey wrote the book in 1 month, working every day fro 10 hours.
Being an inveterate compiler of lists she was able to draw on them for the names of plant material and order of things.
Ideas for the garden came from notable famous gardens like Sissinghurst in England but the garden isn't entirely English.
Not only does Mickey provide heaps of plant information in this book but there are gardening tips along with 30 seasonal recipes, including that recipe for cumquat Ice-cream.
Next time there’s an open day at Glenmore, we should make an effort to go and visit. You won’t be disappointed.
You can catch up that segment by listening to the podcast www.realworldgardener.com
If you have any questions Glenmore house, drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW
VEGETABLE HEROESOKRA Abelmoschus esculentus
The answer to the question What vegetable, was used to thicken soups and stews, and the seeds were toasted and ground then used as a coffee substitute?
OKRA the way to pronounce is "Oh krah" not "Aukra"
Okra is also known as Lady’s fingers.
Okra is in the Malvaceae or Mallow family and called
Abelmoschus esculentus. (A-bell-mow- shus es-kew-lent-us)
It used to be called Hibiscus esculentus so that may you give you a clue as to what the bush might look like.
Did you know that Okra is related to cotton, cocoa, hibiscus and Rosella plants?
"Okra probably originated somewhere around Ethiopia and Okra is found growing wild on the banks of the river Nile.
According to records, the Egyptians were the first to grow it as a veggie it in the basin of the Nile during 12th century BC .
And as Okra made its way to North Africa and the Middle East, more uses were developed.
Not only were the seed pods eaten cooked, the seeds were toasted and ground, and used as a coffee substitute (and still is).
You might have also heard of a dish called gumbo. This comes from using Okra or gumbo as a thickener especially in soups.
So what does the Okra bush look like?
Okra varies in height from 60cm to 2m high depending on the variety of seed you buy.
The leaves are heart shaped with plenty of yellow hibiscus-like flowers with a maroon throat.
In case you don’t know Hibiscus flowers, think of Hawaiian or Tahitian girls with flowers in their hair. Might also be a Hibiscus or a Frangipani.
As you know, after the flowers comes the fruit that looks like a five-ribbed small pod with a cap on it, sort of like a gumnut cap.
Much smaller than beans or cucumbers.
Pick these a week after the flowers emerge because the Okra, gets too tough and stringy after that.
I’m told the leaves can be used as Spinach.
When to sow.
So when do you grow it?
In sub-tropical districts, you can plant them in August and September and then again January and February.
In temperate climates, sow seeds in October through to December,
Arid areas have between August and December to sow seeds directly into the soil.
Cool temperate districts, including Tasmania, for you, the advice is to grow them in a greenhouse, but I discovered a blog from Adam whose from a cool mountain climate and Adam says “Okra does indeed grow in the cool areas, it just needs a bit of help to establish.
Adam puts an old plastic milk bottle over the plant until it fills the bottle, then away it goes.
Just pick the warmest part of your garden.
You’ll get a small crop if you have a cold Summer, but should have heaps if the summer is warmer. Thanks Adam!.
Finally for Tropical districts, you’ve won the jackpot this week, because you can grow Okra all year round!
Okra seeds germinate reasonably well, but will be helped along if you soak them in a shallow dish of tepid water for 24hours.
This will soften the hard outer seed coat.
Pick a spot that gets full sun and has plenty of compost dug into the soil.
One thing that Okra detests, and that’s wet, boggy soil or soil with poor drainage.
Okra will also be set back if you get a cold snap in your district.
Either sow the seeds directly or into punnets for later transplanting.
I have heard that they don’t like being transplanted that much so you could try sowing them in pots made of coir, or make them yourself from newspaper or toilet rolls.
A very permaculture thing to do.
Because they grow as a largish bush, space the seeds or seedlings if transplanting, about 50cm to a metre apart.
Water your Okra fairly regularly, and if your soil is too hard or clayey, grow some Okra in a pot no problem.
TIP:By the way, Okra are partial to high amounts of Potash.
During the growing period, water in lots of liquid fertiliser, such as worm tea and add handfuls of compost.
Tip pruning will also give you a bushier plant with more flowers and more Okra pods.
In warm areas of Australia, your Okra will be ready to pick in 10 weeks.
In cold temperate zones however, it may take as long as 16 weeks.
Pick your Okra when they’re small and certainly before they get bigger than 10cm in length. Around 5 – 10 cm length is best.
Tip: Okra pods are referred to as mucilaginous.
What does that meant? Ughhhh! This can make them a bit slimy in cooking, so if that bothers you, don’t slice them, keep them whole.
Alternatively, add a couple of drops of vinegar or lemon juice.
I’ve also read that you should avoid growing Okra where you’ve had tomatoes, capsicums or potatoes growing previously.
For different varieties of Okra, go to www.4seasonsseeds.com.au
Two varieties I found online in Australia, are Okra Clemson Spineless, a bush that grows to 1 ½ m and Okra red Burgundy. Red Burgundy has red pods on a vigorous 1.5m tall plant with green leaves and attractive bright cherry red stems.
I’ll put a link to this site on my website. You can get many rare and hard to find seeds at this company. Well priced too.
Why are they good for you?
Okra contains lots of valuable nutrients, almost half of which is in the form of soluble fibre.
A half of a cup of okra contains about 10% of the recommended levels of B6 and folic acid.
By the way, Okra has black seeds inside the pod. Don’t feel you have to remove them because you don’t. The seeds add flavour to the cooking.
The fibre is in that mucilage.
How about trying a mix with peppers and eggplant! Or grill it on the BBQ! :) try it !! grill it on its side for 2 minutes each!its yummy!!!!
AND THAT WAS YOUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY
DESIGN ELEMENTSScented Bulbs for Your Garden
Earlier this year Garden Designer Peter Nixon started a series on scent for your garden.
We now take it up again with a focus on scented bulbs.
So many plants are lovely, with beautiful blooms, but only a smaller section of these also include a wonderful fragrance.
When it comes to bulbs you probably know hyacinths and peonies and paperwhites as fragrant choices - but did you know there are bearded iris, daffodils, hostas and even tulip varieties with a luscious scent?
Let’s find out more. I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and project Manager of Paradisus Garden Design. www.paradisusgl.peternixon.com.au
So many gardens are planted without a thought to scent – perhaps because there has been such a shift to perennials, which are the least-scented group of plants.
They’re missing the third dimension – fragrance puts the whole garden onto another level.
Why not grow all of these plants so that you can turn your garden in to a perfumed paradise all year round.
You can hear that segment again on the website www.realworldgardener.com
Sometimes, the first indication that you have that a plant is flowering is from the drifting perfume.
How much nicer to inhale the luscious waves of sweet smelling flowers than the exhaust fumes from our big cities.
Summertime should include the sweet scent of flowers, freshly mown grass or even that undefinable smell of a garden having just been watered.
Don’t hold back, plant more scent in your garden.
PLANT OF THE WEEKNEW Gazania hybrids
Have you ever seen grey leaved daisy like flowers growing on someone’s nature strip.
They seem to take over the whole path and usually only come in bright colours or yellow and orange.
Showy flowers, which appear throughout the warmer months, are large, brightly coloured, often marked, and the ray florets tend to be darker at the base, with a contrastingly coloured central disc.
The species usually have yellow or orange flowers, but the newer hybrid garden forms are available in a wide colour range
So let’s find out more about the new kids on the block.
I'm talking with the plant panel:Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal www.hortjournal.com.au and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner. www.thegreengallery.com.au
New Gazania hybrids have doubles and anemone style flowers making them sterile
The clever thing the plant breeders have done is to replace the male parts of the flower with petals.
The flowers is so full of petals that these new Gazanias can't close up at night as the old fashioned singles are wont to do.
Gazania species are grown for the brilliant colour of their flower-heads which appear in the late spring and are often in flower throughout summer into autumn.
They prefer a sunny position and are tolerant of dryness and poor soils so all the more reason to plant some out soon.