Saturday, 10 December 2016

Clouds of Blue Leaves and Cape Gooseberries


Pruning Saws: all you need to know.

Pruning is one of those jobs that a lot of gardeners shy away from because of the fear that they’ll either ruin the shape of the plant or kill it outright entirely.
Because pruning is actually wounding the plant, it’s important to make sure you’ve got a proper reason for doing so, as well as using the proper tools with which to do it.
Let’s find out ..
I'm talking with Tony Mattson general manager of

Pruning saws are best for branches greater than 35mm or wood that's older than a couple of weeks.
It's easier to get in amongst the branches with a pruning saw than with a long handled lopper.
Rule of thumb: cut branches that are half the width of the blade.

So for a 300mm blade you can cut branches up to 150mm in diameter.
Pruneing saws need maintenance just like other garden equipment such as secateurs.
Tap of any sawdust and wipe the blade with a cloth that has been lightly dipped in methylated spirits.
This not only cleans the blade but disinfects it as well.
TIP:Buy pruning saws that you can get replacement blades for because they're notoriously difficult to sharpen.

For branches greater than 8cm in diameter, a chain saw is generally needed.
Chain saws should only be used with appropriate safety gear by people who have been fully trained in their use.
If you have any questions pruning saws or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Cape Gooseberries (Physalis peruviana)
This weeks Vegetable Hero is the Cape Gooseberry Physalis peruviana syn. P. edulis  also sometimes called the ground cherry, that can be grown in all parts of Australia.
Cape Gooseberry does best in temperate and subtropical areas but we can grow it elsewhere with a bit more care.
Cape Gooseberries are thought to have originated in Peru and were one of the few fresh fruits of the early settlers in New South Wales.
The plant is a straggling bush up to one metre tall with yellow fruits inside a brown papery envelope.
It’s a short lived perennial  and can tolerate some frost so growing it further south shouldn’t be a problem.
In colder climates treat the cape gooseberry as an annual, much like you would tomatoes.
The cape gooseberry is related to tomatillo, ground cherry and husk tomato, all in the genus Physalis.
Don’t confuse the Cape Gooseberry, Physalis peruviana with an entirely different species referred to as Gooseberry bush. Ribes uva-ursi
The Gooseberrybush will produce very sweet, tart berries, but the cape gooseberry is quite different- and nice!
Cape Gooseberries taste like tiny cherry tomatoes .
The best thing is that Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds and plants can be easily spread around the garden.
The berry is the size of a cherry tomato,1-2 cm in size and  is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds.
How you know that the berries are ripe is when they turn a golden orange and drop to the ground.
When to Sow
The time to sow Cape Gooseberry seed in every region except Tropical is now until December.
For Tropical zones, Mar-August is the time to sow seeds.
If you sow the seeds in Spring and Summer you’ll get an Autumn harvest.
These plants grow in most soil types and do very well in poor soils and in pots.
The cape gooseberry will grow best on sandy to gravely loam.
They need lots of water throughout the growing year, except towards fruit-ripening time.
Sow seed at the usual depth rule-3x the diameter of the seed.
Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C
Space plants: 50 cm apart if you want to go into production otherwise just try one plant first because they do produce quite a few fruits.
Harvest in 3-4 months or 14-16 weeks.
To get the most fruit from your cape gooseberries, they need to be in a sunny place as long as there is no risk of frost.
Water them regularly and, when they grow flowers, feed them every two
weeks with a tomato food.
Cape gooseberry plants get the same pests as what you’d get in your area from the common tomato.
No surprises there.
So it would be a good idea to plant them amongst your flower border where they will grow quite happily and confuse the nasties at the same time.

How Do You Eat Cape Gooseberries.
Cape gooseberry once extracted from its husk, can be eaten raw tasting bit like ordinary tomatoes maybe a bit more zingy.
They can be added to salads, desserts and cooked dishes, they are delicious stewed with other fruit, especially apples. They also go well in savoury dishes with meat or seafood,  as a flavouring, and in jams and jellies.
They can also be dried and eaten much like raisins or other small dried fruit.
Cape gooseberries contain large amounts of pectin, and are therefore suitable for jams and pies
Grab some cape gooseberry seeds from online seed suppliers, sprinkle a packet over your garden & go nuts!
The variety Golden Nugget grows to 1m
Why are cape gooseberries good for You?
Apart from their taste, Physalis is a good source of nutrients, minerals, vitamins.
Vitamins A, C & B, high in protein and rich in iron.


Sun Scorch on plantsEarlier in the year  Garden Designer Peter Nixon talked about challenges in the garden thrown at us mostly by nature but also due to a situation in your garden that you might need to fix.

Leaf scorch on Lychee photo M Cannon
Today’s garden challenge is about scorch damage- that’s the browning of plant tissues, including leaf margins and tips, and yellowing or darkening of veins which may lead to eventual wilting and the leaf dropping off.
What can you do? Let’s find out…I'm talking with Peter Nixon, garden designer

Sunburn on plants sounds a bit far- fetched but that’s what happens and if the air is hot enough, flowers will dry and curl up even if they’re in shade.
Leaf scorch on Bromeliads photo M Cannon
Affected plants may sometimes recover through watering and fertilization (if the cause is not over-fertilization).
Light pruning may also help to reduce the water-pumping load on the roots and stems.
Make sure that the watering you do actually gets down into the soil.


Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)
Do you want some low mounded, hard as nails little plant to put at the front of the border.
Perhaps a little grassy mound that copes with a lot of dryness?’
Are you wondering but that sounds boring, green lawn then a border of mounds of green grass.
Sago palm surrounded by Blue Fescue photo Karen Smith
Well, there’s green and then there’s different types of green.
Not all grasses are green and this one’s blue.
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.

Blue Fescue stays blue all year round and can be planted in full sun or partial shade.
The leaf blades grow longer in partial shade as seen in the photo below.
In dry weather extremes, the lower leaves will brown off and look unsightly.
Rescue your plant by cutting back the dead leaves and watering with a seaweed extract and/or soil wetter to ensure that moisture is getting to the plant below the soil surface.

Did you know that there are ten thousand different species of grass worldwide?

Everywhere you look there’s some grass.
Also all grasses are wind pollinated but not all grasses affect people like Rye grasses do for example.

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