Saturday, 26 November 2016

Passionfruit and the Scent of Lilac


I was going to have Tony Mattson from Cut above tools, on the program until I realised that I needed to talk to one of the judges of the Tesselaar rock Star Florist competition.
The art of floristry has come a long way from posies of yesteryear.
Floral Design is the ‘in thing’ or buzz word, where creating anything from simple bouquets to floral chandeliers, to floral head dresses are the go.
Where can they showcase their stuff?
At a floral competition and today I’m talking to Julie Rose, one of the judges and former competition finalist for 4 years.

This year there are three bona-fide Australian RockStar Florists to judge  the competition as expert judges and mentors:

•Holly Hipwell from The Flower Drum
•Melanie Stapleton from Cecilia Fox
•Julia-rose from Flowers by Julia-rose
These industry superstars will help select finalists and the ultimate winners. They will also then offer their valuable time and expertise to train up our lucky winners.
The way it works is the judges chose their finalists (9 each for a total of 27 finalists), which they have already done, then from 16th -23rd November, the public can vote on, where you, get to select the 3 category winners – then back to the judges who will decide amongst themselves who is to be the overall winner - 2016’s RockStar Florist!


Passionfruit or Passiflora edulis.
Almost every garden has space for a passionfruit.
Yes, it’s a fruit but botanically it’s a berry.
Plant a Passionfruit or two- Passionfruit Panama Red, Panama Gold, Nellie Kelly and Banana passionfruit.
The passionfruit vine has the look of a tropical vine with it’s lime green glossy 3-lobed leaves and its intricate purple and white flowers with a crown like appearance.
So distinctive is this flower that 16th Century Spanish Catholic missioniaries named it "Flor de las cinco llagas" or "flower of the five wounds."
They thought the flowers portrayed ‘Christ’s passion on the cross’ because it showed the Three Nails, the Five Wounds, the Crown of Thorns and the Apostles
Passiflora edulis

So it could have come from Brazil but no-one knows for sure.
PASSIONFRUIT is a well known and loved vine in Australia.
Passion fruit grew here before 1900 in what had been banana fields.
Until1943, passionfruits were a high yielding commercial crop but when the vines were devastated by a widespread virus, the industry was devastated.
Although some plantations have been rebuilt, they can’t produce enough passion fruit to satisfy the demand.
So Why Grow A Passionfruit?
Passionfruit vines are have twining tendrils that grab onto anything within reach and can clamber up trellis, fence or pergola in most soil types.
They’re also suitable for large pots on a balcony.
The passionfruit vine is very ornamental in leaf and flower and will improve the appearance of fences, stark walls, tanks and just about anything else.
Almost every garden has space for one passionfruit vine, so try to find a suitable spot against a sunny fence or wall.
The common, or purple, passionfruit are the size of an egg, round to egg-shaped with a thick, purple skin, which becomes dull and wrinkled as it ripens.
Inside, the pulp is yellowish-orange, sweet and jelly-like with many edible, black seeds covered in jelly-like pulp.
Some varieties are yellow, some are banana-shaped, others are larger than the purple passionfruit.
Commercial growers in cooler climates often use hybrid varieties of the purple and golden passionfruit.
That way they get a plant that tolerates cooler weather.
How to grow Passionfruit from seed.
Growing passionfruit seeds isn’t hard.
The seed just needs to be fresh.
For some reason old seed takes a lot longer to germinate.
So buy some nice passionfruit, separate half a dozen seeds from the pulp, and plant them as soon as possible.
They take about ten to twenty days to germinate.
Keep in mind that most passionfruit found in the fruit and veg shop are hybrid varieties and won’t come true to type.
Another problem with growing from these seeds is that the plant that grows will be more susceptible to the fungal disease, Fusarium Wilt.
If you have this problem in your district, often in cool temperate zones, then you’ll have to buy a grafted variety of passionfruit.
If you buy your seed then it's likely older, so be prepared to wait.
Old passionfruit seeds can take months to germinate.
The best way seems to be to just put them in the garden and leave them be, and they may came up.
Next Thing.
When your seeds germinate and are ready to transplant, dig in some Chook poo pellets before planting,
Sprinkle  the soil with 0.5 kg dolomite lime, and mulch with an organic mulch once the vine’s in place.
All passionfruit like full sun and protection from wind and frost.
They also need something to climb over.
You only need two wires along a north facing fence.
One placed near the top of the fence and another one 50 cm lower.
Train the young plant up a stake until it reaches the first wire, then allow two shoots to go out along the wire.
Of course you can grow it along other structures, it’s really up to you.
Like all fast growing plants passionfruit needs a lot of nutrients.
Passionfruit are notoriously short lived, so it’s a good idea to plant a new vine in a different part of the garden every couple of years.
In colder areas you can grow the banana passionfruit which have a similar taste and pink flowers.
Regular water and fertiliser will increase vigour and crop size.
Passionfruit plants have a vulnerable root system.

A fertile soil with lots of organic matter is the ideal situation.
If your soil is poor you will get problems with wilt diseases, root rot and nematodes. Heavy clay soils also cause problems with rot diseases.
The root system also can handle lots of water as long as the soil it’s in is well drained.
The plant also needs plenty of water when it’s fruiting.
In warm areas you will get fruit for most of the year.
In temperate areas expect a crop summer and late autumn.
In cold areas only summer.
 (Passionfruit - Panama Gold vigorous and sweeter than the others.
Black Passionfruit - (Passiflora edulis) Will tolerate light frosts. Self pollinating.)
Why Are They Good For You?
They’re an excellent source of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.
A good source of vitamin C
They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre. Australian figures rate passionfruit higher than any other fruit for dietary fibre.
Also contain more of the B complex vitamins riboflavin and niacin and also more iron than other fruits


Scented Plants for Cool Temperate Gardens. (The envy of warm climate gardeners!)
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 plants for cool climate gardens.

Sometimes I think cool climate gardens have it all.
Not that you need to have a palace as in the photograph of lilacs taken in Vienna.
Those gardeners can plant an English style garden, they can even plant a tropical style garden by choosing cold hardy large leaved plants.But best of all, they can plant these sumptuously scented plants that gardens further north struggle with.
Let’s find out more.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer and project Manager of Paradisus Garden Design.

Daphnes, Luculias, Bouvardia,  and Lilac are all plants that gardeners other than in cool climates try to grow with limited success.
Sometimes they last for a few years, sometimes they don’t survive the season.
Their allure keeps drawing us in.
The plants that Peter mentioned are:

Philadelphus coronarius
Daphne odorata : Viburnum carlesii
Luculia gratissima, L. pinceana, L. grandifolia
Siringa vulgaris - Lilac
Edgeworthia chrysantha - Paper Bush
Chimonanthus praecox - Winter Sweet
Lonicera fragrantissima - Woodbine
Narcisis - jonquils, daffodils Lavendula


Amaranth caudatus_Love Lies Beeding

Described as have brilliant red seed heads that dangle like rubies, the tassles of this flower can reach up to 30cm long.
That means that if you want to display them in a vase, the vase has to be quite tall.
So let’s find out what it is.
I'm talking with the plant panel:Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal  and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Did you know that Love-Lies-Bleeding grew in many Victorian English gardens and in the language of flowers, it represents hopeless love?
Tiny blood red petal-less flowers that bloom in narrow, drooping, tassel-like, panicles throughout the growing season.
The tassels contain thousands of tiny flowers and hang straight down to 30cm (occasionally 60 cm) long and look like velvet cords.
Did you know that the red colour of the inflorescences is due to a high content of betacyanins?
This plant grows best in full sun and well drained soil.
It tolerates dry conditions and poor soil, but can’t grow in the shade.
If you have any questions about growing  Amaranthus or Love Lies Bleeding, why not write in to

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