Saturday, 18 November 2017

Spring Cleaning Along That Great Garden Path Where You Grow Waratahs

What’s On The Show Today?

Spring cleaning made easy in Tool Time, how hot can you go in Vegetable Heroes; walking down the best path in Design Elements and NSW's emblem  in Talking Flowers.


High Reach Cleaning Made Easy
Do you Spring clean or have you put that task off for a little while?
You might think cleaning is a bit of a stretch for a gardening show, but the house is in the garden and it needs to be clean too.

Not to mention garden furniture and ornaments that could probably do with a clean.
You might be temped to get up on a chair or a ladder, but why become another statistic of falls in the home or garden?
Let's face it our reflexes may not be as good as they used to be?
Getting up on ladders to prune is bad enough but for cleaning it’s even worse, because you tend to wave your arms about a bit more vigorously
Let’s find out how to do it safely.…. 
I'm talking withTony Mattson from

The safest way to clean up high is to use a lightweight extension pole with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
Look for lightweight aluminium extension poles that extend from 2-6m, costing around $100.
This should reach the eaves on a two-storey house if the house is on level ground.
Taller than that you need a carbon fibre pole which is around $AUS400
Something to remember
If you are using a ladder you should always have 3 points of contact at any one time. 
Shoulders should be near the top of an extension ladder, but no higher.
If you’re carrying something then you’re in trouble.

If you have any questions about high reach cleaning either for me or Tony, why not email us or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


CHILLI - Chilli peppers or Capsicum annuum or C chinese. 

They come as red, green, orange or almost the brown colour of chocolate.
They can be pointy, round, small, club-like, long, thin, globular or tapered.

Their skins may be shiny, smooth or wrinkled and their walls may be thick or thin.

You guessed it - chillies!”

Have you ever witnessed someone, perhaps a fellow diner at a restaurant, gulping lots of water or waving their hand in front of their mouth because their mouth feels like it’s on fire?

Maybe you were that diner at an Indian restaurant.

Want to know the best way to get rid of the burning sensation?
The heat in chillies comes from the compound “capsaicin.

Capsaicin is hydrophobic, meaning it doesn't dissolve in water but readily dissolves in fats and oils. 
And this explains why, something with a lot of fat in it - like yogurt or milk - is going to dissolve the compound and wash it away, and not water. 

Ian Hemphill from Herbies Spices, recommends a spoonful of sugar to take the heat away. 

The chilli pepper comes from a pod-like berry of various species of the capsicum family found in Latin America.

Did you know that there are over 2000 different varieties of chillies most of which have some degree of pungency, hotness or fieriness.

TIP:The colour of chillies is no guide to their hotness 

All chillies begin life green and turn yellow or red as they ripen.

As a rule red fresh fruit are two or three times hotter than green fruit, and dried pods are up to ten times hotter than fresh pods.

Generally, the smaller chillies are the most pungent or hotter giving you the most burning sensation. 

Did you know that most of the heat is in the seeds and the membrane, so if it's your first time trying chillies, or you don't like too much heat, get rid of this part.
Soaking a chilli in vinegar also dilutes this effect.
If you then throw out the first lot of vinegar and soak the chillies again, you’ll further reduces the heat.
But wouldn’t you just use a milder chilli?

Now the burning question, how is hotness of the chilli measures. 

  • The unit of hotness is the SHU or Scoville Hotness Scale. 
  • Wilbur Scoville was an American chemist who devised a test based on repetitively diluting an extract of the pepper with sugar water until the heat was no longer detected. 
  • By the way, now testing is more carried out using accurate laboratory equipment, like a chromatograph, and equating 15 parts per million (PPM) of capsaicin with an increase of 1 on the Scoville scale. 
  • The heat comes from that same chemical compound called capsaicin which I’ve mentioned already,(the active ingredient in chillies), this intensifies as the chilli matures.. 
  • There is a theory that the heat in chillies caused by capsaicin was an adaptation to prevent animals from eating chillies so that birds, which are a better distributors for their seeds, can eat them. Birds don’t feel the heat of the chilli. 
How to Grow and When to Sow your chillies. 

Sowing chilli seeds can be done throughout the year in Tropical and sub-Tropical climates. Lucky guys.
Being a warm season plant the season is shorter in temperate climates only fruiting over the summer months and dying back in winter.
They’re totally not suitable in areas where frosts occur.
Perhaps try them in a pot and place it a very warm verandah because warm conditions over a five-month growing period are necessary for any good quality fruit.
Chillies need soil temperature of 15–30°C to germinate so if you’re in a cool temperate or even a temperate climate, start off your chilli seeds in a punnet or tray or pot using seed raising mix.
Chillies need a slightly warmer temperatures than tomatoes or cucumbers. For the best chillies in your town or suburb, temperatures for fruit setting are between 16°C and 21°C.
For good fruit development, night temperatures of 15–17°C and day temperatures of 24–30°C are best.
Make sure your Chilli plants are in a position that receives a good amount of light.
But chilli seeds can be tricky to germinate taking anything from 1 to 6 weeks so don’t give up.
To grow chillies well, add lots of high nitrogenous matter, like Nasturtium or comfrey leaves to the soil as well as compost and manures, so you won’t have to fertilise with chemical fertilisers.
There’s no special soil or potting mix that they need, just start to add a side dressing of fertilise when you see the flowers develop and don’t let them dry out too.

Protect your chilli plants from wind by tying them to supporting stakes.
There’s quite a few pests that like chilli plants like aphids and spider mites. Spraying with a horticultural or preferable a botanic oil to suffocate them, is the best solution.

The most common species of chilli peppers are: 

Capsicum annuum (common varieties such as bell peppers, paprika, rating of 2 out of 10,
jalapeƱos rating of 6)
Capsicum frutescens (includes cayenne and tabasco peppers having a rating of 8-9)
Capsicum chinense (includes the hottest peppers such as habaneros having a 10 out of 10 on the heat scale.
Capsicum pubescens (includes the Thai chilli with a rating of 9)
Capsicum baccatum (includes the South American aji peppers).

If you really like your chilli peppers and want to get the most heat out of your home grown plants, then you’ll need to start a worm farm and apply worm tea
or worm juice to your chillies. 
That’s according to Mark Peacock, a plant scientist from the University of Sydney, who in 2011 helped to cultivate the world's hottest chilli, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. 
Like all fertilisers, 'worm juice' is rich in nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen, but what makes it particularly effective for bringing out the heat in chillies are the bodies of insects that have decomposed in the worm farm.
The insects in there are living and dying pretty rapidly, and bits of their shell will break down.
When you apply the juice to the plants' roots, the chilli plant responds as if it’s getting eaten by insects."
This in turn makes the plant produce more of their defensive compounds like capsaicin.

Why are they good for you? 

Don't include too many chillies in your diet if you're interested in: Weight gain.
Chillies contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
Also when you cook with chilli, it only loses one third of its vitamin C content so you don’t have to worry about eating them raw!
Chillies are also thought to help buffer pain from arthritis, and headaches
Chillies are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Dietary Fibre, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus.

One Chilli divided into a dinner for four doesn’t cut it though but you’ll get a small proportion.
Capsaicin in chillies will cause an unpleasant burning sensation to eyes and skin. Try to avoid handling them too much, wear gloves if possible, and be sure not to touch your face or eyes during preparation.
So happy chilli growing gardeners.

Creating a Great Garden Path

You probably do have a garden path, in but does that path work for you?
Is your path so dominant that you end up having a path with a garden rather than a garden with a path?
Perhaps your garden path doesn’t dominate but it just doesn’t work for one reason or another.
So what do you do?
Let’s find out. 
I'm talking with Peter Nixon, principle of Paradisus Garden Design

Peter mentioned a few variations on the garden path. 
Salt textured concrete is the favourite.
You can press large leaves into the concrete before it's completely dry and weigh the leaf down with a brick overnight.
The next day, peel off the leaf and you'll be left with an impression; not one that jumps out at you, but a subtle impression that you need to be almost on top of before you realise how marvellous the path really looks.
  If you want to know more or if you have any questions about garden paths, why not write in to


Telopea speciosissima

What does the botanical name mean?

Speciosissima is the superlative of the Latin adjective 'speciosus', meaning 'beautiful' or 'handsome'. Telopea means seen from afar.

Waratah (Telopea) is an Australian-endemic genus of five species of large shrubs or small trees, native to the southeastern parts of Australia (New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania). 
The one we see walking in the bush is the red flowering version and is also the NSW state emblem.
Grows to 3m tall. 
Can be tricky to keep alive in the garden.
If you've tried to grow a Waratah, make sure it has great drainage.

Dreamings about the Waratah focus upon the tragic consequences of lost love. 
Two Wonga pigeons live together in a rich, lush forest. One day the female bird notices her mate is no longer by her side, so she searches for him, calling out for him. She cannot find him, so in a panic she flies above the canopy of the forest where a hungry and ever-vigilant hawk sees her and, swooping down, grabs her and clutches her in his sharp talons. She manages to wriggle free and plummets down, finally falling onto a white Waratah blossom, her blood staining its petals to red. From then on, Waratahs are generally red; it is very rare to find one that is white.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

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