Saturday, 28 October 2017

Grow the Flowers, Cut the Flowers

What’s On The Show Today?

Do we really need floristry tools in Tool Time? Not all beans are the same in Vegetable Heroes: Pincushions are go in Plant of the week, a flower that signifies beauty and strength in Talking Flowers.


Floristry Tools for the Home Gardener.
Do you love cutting flowers from your garden to bring inside?
Sure, why not especially if you have a flower garden.

But wait, are secateurs what we’re supposed to use to cut these flowers or is there something better?
Let’s find out all about which tools you could be using for your cut flowers….
I'm talking with Tony Mattson, general manager of

When it comes to florist cutting tools, there are a number of different tools for different jobs. 
Scissors are good for occasionally cutting flowers, but if you've got a few then you'll be better off with Snips.
Silver series 90mm snips from Cut Above Tools
Snips are good because you're only using your hand to close the snips onto the flower stem.
The spring in the snips returns them to the open position so you're not straining your hand as much.
Usually the blades of good quality snips are stronger than scissors too so your'e less likely to put them out of alignment if the stem is a little bit tougher than you expected.
Don't forget the role of secateurs in cutting those harder stems of Proteas, Waratahs, Camellias and Viburnums.
Using the right tool for the job is crucial to getting high quality arrangements.
The quality of these tools determines how much of the stem is left on your flower, how many thorns are left on a rose, and how neat your final packaging is cut.
If you have any questions about floristry tools, then why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


BEAN or Phaseolus vulgaris which is latin for the Common Bean.

Do you love your beans?
Did you know that beans have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years?
Beans have been eaten by people for so long that they have worked their way in to everyday expressions.

Have you said
“He’s full of beans when you’re describing somebody with a lot of energy?”
Perhaps you wanted someone to spill the beans –tell you a secret or the truth?

Bean pods can be green, yellow, purple, or speckled with red; they can be flat, round and a yard long.

Beans are what’s called a legume in the Faboidea or the pea family.
Beans Make Their Own Nitrogen!

Growing beans is pretty easy and I would say essential in a veggie garden because beans, as well as other legumes, have nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots.
Yep, that’s right, the roots make nitrogen out of the air and deposit it into the soil.
Lightning storms are even better for that reason because they convert nitrogen into ammonium ions.
Bean varieties originated from different places or countries.

Green bean originated from Central and East Asia, North-eastern Africa and the Mediterranean.
Would you believe that beans are supposed to have been grown in ancient Peru from around 500 B.C?

Bean varieties such as green beans, French bean and long bean have been planted for their fruits or pods for vegetables in many regions in the world since 6,000 years ago

When to Sow Beans
  • Beans, either climbing or Dwarf Beans, are sometimes called Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans. 
  • To grow beans you need up to four months of warm weather. 
  • In subtropical climates beans can be grown almost all year. 
  • For temperate and arid zones, mid-spring through to late summer are the best times to plant. 
  • In colder districts, beans, don’t like the cold at all and they certainly don’t like frost. You have until the end of summer, certainly you wouldn’t be expecting any cold snaps now. 
  • Tropical districts, once again, need to wait until the winter months to sow beans.
String beans
  • Beans are best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 30°C so planting them from now on is ideal. 
  • Sow your bean seeds about 2.5cm deep or depending on the size of the bean I guess. 
  • Sow your beans, either climbing or dwarf beans either in rows or just scatter so the seed are 5-10cm apart (don't worry about the odd ones which are closer). 
  • Cover with soil, potting mix, or compost and firm down with the back of a spade or rake. 
  • Grown this way the beans will mostly shade out competing weeds and 'self-mulch'. 

An important fact about growing beans is that they need well-drained soils with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0 and are sensitive to deficiencies or high levels of minerals in the soil-especially climbing beans.

So make sure you spread some chook poo or cow manure before sowing your bean seeds.

TIP: When growing green beans, keep the soil moist.

A good rule of thumb is to put a finger in the dirt and if the dirt is dry up to the first knuckle, then it needs about an inch of water.

Keep your beans watered and watch for vegetable bugs and green caterpillars
Pods won’t set at temperatures above 27° C.
Why are my dwarf beans climbing? 
This is a question I get asked often.
  • The answer is like all vegies, beans need a sunny spot and dwarf varieties grow taller than expected due to environmental factors 
  • In fact, dwarf beans can have a peculiar reaction to insufficient sunlight: they can start to turn into climbers. 
  • That's because all beans were originally climbers and given half a chance, dwarf beans will head skywards, especially if they don’t think they’re getting enough sunlight. 
  • Another possible reason is that your soil is just too good and contains heaps of nitrogen which makes plants put on lots of vegetative growth. 
  • Just nip out the top growing point to begin with, at the height you would like your beans to be. 
Erect a sturdy trellis for your bean plants.
Fertilising Your Beans
Beans make their own Nitrogen so don’t use fertilisers that are high in this particular macro nutrient.
Use only those fertilisers where the N ( Nitrogen) in the NPK (Nitrogen:Phosphorus: Potassium) ratio is smaller compared to the other numbers.
This is usually somewhere on the back of packets.
For example Thrive Complete Fertiliser has a NPK ratio of 5: 7: 4 compared with say something like Cow Manure which contains about 3 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus, and 1 percent potassium (3-2-1NPK). 
TIP: Did you know that if you pick the beans as soon as they’re ready, you’ll get new flowers? 

If you neglect your bean plants and let your beans get large and stringy, flowering will slow right down and you probably won’t get any more beans from your plants.

Tip: To have beans all summer long, plant more seed as soon as the previous planting starts to flower.

Protect against snails and slugs by laying down straw or sugar cane mulch and sprinkling coffee grounds around the edge of the veggie bed.
Slugs and snails will completely destroy newly sprouted beans.
Beans do poorly in very wet or humid tropical climates because they get bacterial and fungal diseases.
Go easy on the fertiliser or you’ll get lots of leaves and no beans.
When picking your beans, pick times when your plants are dry.
Working with beans when the leaves are wet tends to spread any diseases.
When are beans ready pick I hear you ask? 
Usually in about 10-12 weeks.

TIP:Pick them when they are about as thick as a pencil, smaller if you want a better, tender taste. 
Why are they good for you? Green Beans are a good source of vitamin C and also contain calcium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin A. But, the most important nutritional fact for beans is that they provide a major source of soluble fibre, wand we all need what that's good for.
Also is a source of folate .

Some varieties of the dwarf beans are Brown Beauty-flat pods
Dwarf Snake Beans-ready in 11 weeks.
Windsor Delight has long pods of about 15cm.
Blue Lake Climbing, long pods again but they’re round this time.
Dragons Tongue beans
Scarlet Runner Beans
Lazy Housewives Bean???



Pincushion Flower
Scabiosa columbaria hybrids
Have you ever wanted more butterflies to come into your garden?
Pincushion Flower
Well here’s a plant with plenty of nectar to get you started.
Nectar rich flowers isn’t all what butterflies need.
They need a flower that’s like a landing pad so they can have a bit of a rest while the sipping on the nectar. 
Let’s find out about this plant.
I'm talking with the plant panel: Karen Smith, editor of Hort Journal and Jeremy Critchley, The Green Gallery wholesale nursery owner.

Scabiosa or Pincushion flowers belong to the Honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae.
Easy to grow and spread.
As young plants they are a bit sensitive to over watering, but as mature plants, they can cope with frost and take some heat.
Pincushion flowers do best in full sun but well-drained soil is a must!
Those with heavy soils should grow these flowers in a raised bed. 
The flowers are on long stems of around 30 cm.
The foliage which is a pale green, makes a small mound around 20 cm

Jeremy recommends the Bliss Bomb series which have intense lavender blue flowers.

 You can also buy deep maroon pincushion flowers but they are harder to get.

Remember: if you try to grow them in clay soils, they won't last until the next season, preferring to grow in more free draining soils.

These plants can last for a few years in the garden before you need to replace them, much like Shasta daisies.

You can try cutting them back to increase their longevity.
The best thing is that these flowers are drought-tolerant, once they are established and will bloom from spring until the first frost.
Best of all they also make great cut flowers lasting for up to 10 days in the vase.
If you have any questions about growing Scabiosa or Pincushion flowers, why not write in to


Dendrobium or Singapore Orchid
Don't be confused because we're not talking about Australia's Dendrobium, but the ones that florists prefer.
These florists' orchids are also called Dendrobiums.
These orchids grow from a pseudobulb and are largely epiphytic or lithophytic, preferring high humidity to grow outdoors.
Keep in mind, these orchids don't like temperatures below 15 C

Native to Southeast Asia, the genus dendrobium is one of the largest of all orchid groups from the Orchidaceae family.
There are about 1,200 individual species, and they grow in a variety of climates, from hot, wet lowlands to high-altitude, colder mountains. 
Growers usually divide dendrobiums into groups based on their growing conditions.
I'm talking with flower therapist and florist Mercedes Sarmini of

Recorded live during the radio broadcast of Real World Gardener , all about Dendrobiums.

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