Saturday, 16 September 2017

Pruning Up High, Growing Fruit Trees, and Gifting Gerberas

What’s On The Show Today?

How to prune in high places, part 1, in Tool Time, growing fruits from seed in Vegetable Heroes; continuing the series on mass planting with Garden Designer Peter Nixon in Design elements, and talking about one of the top 5 cut  flowers, the Gerbera in Talking Flowers.


High Reach Pruning Part 1
Now’s a good time of the year to do a bit of pruning, wherever you live in Australia.
Sometimes though our garden gets away from us because we all lead busy lives, and can’t fit enough things in the day.

The problem is, there are some branches of either a shrub or a tree, that are quite high up.
So how do we prune this safely, and if possible, without getting up on a ladder.
Let’s find out…
I'm talking with Tony Mattson General Manager of

Just in case you’re thinking of getting up on a ladder, is a couple of information from Staysafe NSW, which I’m sure will apply to all states.
Only use ladders for simple access jobs, or for a short duration.
It’s best to work from ground level whenever possible.
If you must use a ladder:
Always maintain three point of contact with the ladder. This means two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times.
Never lean or reach away from the ladder while using it. 
Tony suggests that tie the ladder to the tree so that it won't move.
The staysafe link:

Instead of ladders consider the different types of pole pruners.
Keep in mind that you'll be holding it up for a period of time so choose one that suits your strength capability.
If you have any questions about high reach pruning why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Growing Fruit Trees From Seed
Is growing fruit trees from seed just something for kids or is it something that we can do ourselves?

But if we grow it ourselves from seed, is it going to be useful?

That’s a good question and something that is hard to answer because it all depends on what seed you’re trying to grow.

The thing to remember is that most of the time, you will be getting a chance seedlings of perhaps the mother plant or perhaps something a bit weaker.

What Are The Drawbacks?
Then there’s the drawback of when growing from seed, it takes a lot longer before the tree starts to fruit.

But there’s even one more drawback.
A lot of fruit trees are grafted onto understock.
The reason for this is because the understock is more hardy and a stronger grower than the scion.
The scion is that bit of the tree that is the actual tree that you want.

Of course the disadvantage of grafted trees is that when the tree graft gets damaged or the top part of the tree dies for whatever reason, the understock takes over.
Quite often the understock is not a great fruiting tree.
Think those rough or bush lemons with the thick yellow nobbly skin and inside, the fruit is most probably not very juicy.

So do you still want to give growing a fruit tree from seed a try? Why not then?

Let’s start with growing a lime tree from seed.
Lime trees are great because you can use them in cooking, especially Thai food or with your gin and tonic.

Since the lime seeds you’re going to use is from fruit that you buy from the shops, they’re most likely hybrids.

Therefore, planting lime seeds from these fruits often won’t produce identical limes. Polyembryonic seeds, or true seeds, will generally produce identical plant.

I’ve never heard of these types of seeds being available in Australia.

Keep in mind that other contributing factors, like climate and soil, also affect the overall production and taste of lime tree fruit.

You can plant the seed directly in a pot using potting mix or place it in a plastic bag. Before planting lime seeds, however, be sure to wash them and you may even want to allow them to dry for a couple days, then plant them as soon as possible.

Plant seeds 1 cm deep in containers in potting mix

Germination usually happens within a couple of weeks.

As I mentioned before the downside to growing lime trees from seed is that it can take anywhere from four to ten years before they produce fruit, if at all.

Nectarines from seed
Let’s go for something bigger like a Nectarine seed.

Fruit trees are most often likely to be hybrids as well so that the new plant will be the same kind of plant, but its fruit and vegetative portions may not look the same as the parent, because the plant is "heterozygous."

There’s a good word.

The genetics term heterozygous refers to a pair of genes where one is dominant and one is recessive — they're different.

This means that all fruit trees must be vegetatively propagated by either grafting or budding methods.

The seeds of all common tree fruits (apple, pear, peach, and cherry) require a chilling period before they’ll germinate and grow into plants.

What you need to do know is put the seeds through a cold treatment.

·         First take out the seed from the fruit and clean off any fruit the is sticking to the seed and allow the seeds to air dry.
·         Then place them in a glass jar with a loosely fitted lid or cover.
·         Set the seeds aside June of next year.
·         Mix the seeds (in mid-June) with either moist (but not wet) sphagnum peat moss, sand or shredded paper towels.
·         Put the mixture to the jar and replace the lid.
·         Place the jar with the seeds in the fridge.
·         The seeds should stay in the fridge for at least 60 days.
·         Early in Spring plant the seeds out.
But before you rush outside to plant your seeds, there’s one more thing that you need to do.

Special Note

·         Stone fruits have a hard covering over the embryo.
·         It’s a really good idea to crack the hard covering slightly using a nutcracker just before planting so you’ll have a better chance of germination.
·         Be careful not to crush the embryo inside the covering.
·         The new seedlings will develop a tap root.
·         You can also improve the rate of germination by soaking the seeds in water for 12 to 24 hours before planting.
·         Keep the soil moist but don’t fertilise at this time. 

Once the seedlings have gotten going, you can plant them out into the garden or a larger pot.
If you’ve started your seeds in the ground first up, then to make transplanting easier,
You need to cut the taproot by pushing a spade under each plant.
Of course now what you can do is learn the art of budding or grafting, but that’s for another day.


Mass Planting For a Mediterranean Climate
You may have heard that some parts of Australia experience what’s called a Mediterranean climate.
That’s where you can have moist mild to very cold winters and warm to hot and mostly dry summers.
Sometimes the winters are a bit harsh and cold so how do you plant out a garden that has harsh freezing cold frosts but warm to blazing hot summers with little rain?
Do you stick to just having a desert style garden or one with succulents, but that has limited appeal really.

Perhaps you would like a garden with lots of mass planting instead and plants of different heights and flowers?
So what can you really plant in this climate.
Let’s find out about. I'm talking with Peter Nixon, landscape designer and Director of Paradisus garden design.

Peter mentioned plants like Chinese plumbago, Grevillea rhyolitica and Cistus species which do well in mass plantings and definitely work in a Mediterranean style climate.
If you have any questions about mass planting for Mediterranean climates, why not email us


Gerberas as Cut Flowers
Did you know that Gerbera flowers were named after Trauggott Gerber, a botanist and physician from the 1700s?
Another fascinating fact is that supposedly, many people place gerberas by their bed to enjoy a better sleep!
Gerberas emit oxygen and absorb toxins and carbon monoxide at night instead of during the day like most flowers.
I’ve heard that they’re the longest lasting cut flowers in a vase.

The Gerbera is the birth month flower for April.

If you look at gerbera flower, you would think that it’s just one big flower head with lots of small petals. In fact, the flower head is a huge cluster of hundreds of flowers.
Gerbera seeds are expensive because each flower only produces a few seeds that are only viable for 1 year.
Plus the large fluffy seeds don’t fit into automatic seeding machines so need to be hand sown, maybe still today?
They are native to South Africa, but a lot of breeding has gone into developing the large daisy-like flowers we see today.
Listen to the podcast here

Watch the video of Mercedes Sarmini talking with me (host) on Real World Gardener radio show.
We're talking about how best to look after Gerberas in the Vase.

How to grow a Gerbera-

Gerberas are perennials and do best in full sun, in well-drained soil.
They’ll grow in most parts of Australia but are happiest in a warm climate.
In cool or moist areas plants need excellent drainage and shelter from the cold. I
If your soil is poorly drained, grow the plants in a raised garden bed.If you experience wet autumns and winters plant gerberas where they will keep dry during the colder months.
If you have any questions for Mercedes, why not write in to

No comments:

Post a Comment