Saturday, 24 February 2018

Roses Are Red, Radishes and Gloxinias Too

What’s On The Show Today?

Continuing the series “useful and beautiful” in Design Elements growing radishes of all kinds in Vegetable Heroes, orchids flowers on trees in plant of the week plus the world's most famous flower, the rose, in Talking Flowers.


Useful and Beautiful part 2
Groundcovers for shade.
Part 2 of a new series in Design Elements starts and it’s all about plants.
Gloxinia sylvatica

In fact it’s so much about plants that it’s been named ‘useful and beautiful.”

Last week we covered groundcovers for sun.
But now it's time for the shadier areas of your garden.

So sit back, with pen and paper and enjoy.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon Director of

You may have inherited that large tree that gives plenty of shade but with root ridden soil.
So what will grow in only 200mm of top soil?
Farfugium japonicum Aureum-maculata : Leopard Plant
Peter mentioned Gloxinia Goldfish, Begonia domingensis, Farfugium japonicum aureum maculatum or Leopard plant, Nidularium innocentii , Streptocarpus, and Ruellia macoyana.

If you have any questions about groundcovers, either for me or for Peter or have some information to share, why not drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Radishes or Raphanus sativus.

When was the last time you had radishes served up in a meal?
Can't remember?

Have you thought why we don’t see too many radishes being served up in salads these days except for the floral radish on the side? 

Yes, they seem to have gone out of favour but that’s about to change
The word radish stems from the Roman word “Radix” that means “Root”, and it belongs to the mustard family.

Did you know that radishes were first grown in China thousands of years ago, then in Egypt before the building of the pyramids.

In Ancient Greece the radish was so revered that gold replicas were made and offered to the god Apollo.

As usual there are myths and legends about eating vegetables throughout history and in England in the 1500’s, it was rumoured that eating radishes cured kidney stones, intestinal worms and gave you a blemish-free complexion.

But there is more than one way to grow radishes.

Radish seeds can be even grown in a sprouter and eaten just as you would eat mustard and cress or any other sprouted bean or seed.

Radishes grow in all climates and like to be in moist shady places, especially on hot summer days.

In autumn, you’ll have no trouble growing radishes in sunnier locations.

Plant them all year round in tropical and subtropical areas, in temperate zones they can be grown almost all year except winter, and in spring summer and autumn in colder districts.

Radishes will take light frost.

Because radishes are closely related to cabbages, so they need much the same type of thing.

The best thing about radishes though is that they’re quick being ready 6-8 weeks after planting and because of that you can plant them among slower growing vegetables like carrots.
How to Sow:
To sow seed, make a furrow about 6mm deep, lay down some chicken poo pellets or something similar, cover with a little soil and sprinkle in some radish seed. They also love a dose of potash.
Fill the furrow with compost or seed raising mix and water in.
Radish Seedlings
  • TIP Seedlings will appear in a couple of days but makes sure you thin them out to 5cm apart otherwise your radish won’t grow into a big enough sized root for the dinner table and you’ll end up with mostly leaf. 
  • Feed with a liquid fertiliser such as worm tea every week at the seedling stage. 
  • Tip: As radish is one of the fastest growing vegetables, too much fertiliser causes the leaves to outgrow the root. Long leaves have no shelf life, just look in your local supermarket 
  • Pick the radish when they are the size of a ten cent piece and leaves about four inches or 10cm long. 
  • Make sure radishes have enough water and don't let them become too enormous. If they are water deprived or get too big, they can become bitter. 
Here are some varieties to get you interested.

Radish Black Spanish Round: The radish chefs prefer, this unique black skinned radish has a delicate black circle around the pure white flesh when sliced. Can also be pickled.

Radish Watermelon You'll never see this one on the supermarket shelf. When you slice through the bland looking white exterior of this radish you’ll see that it looks like a mini watermelon with white 'rind' surrounding a bright pink interior. And it’s deliciously flavoured.
Radish Watermelon

Or you can buy an heirloom mix. This seed packet contains a kaleidescope of healthy bright round radishes that add a spicy punch to salads and sandwiches.
Includes golden Helios, Purple Plum, scarlet Round Red, pink and white Watermelon and Black Spanish.Radish
There’s also Champion cherry bell that has deep red skin and firm white flesh, good for cold districts.
Radish China Rose has a smooth rose coloured skin and is a great Chinese winter radish.
French breakfast is readily available, scarlet skin with a white tip, and a mild flavour. Ready in 28 days.
Plum purple is bright purple with crisp sweet firm white flesh.

The unusual varieties are available through mail order seed companies such as Eden seeds or 

Why are they good for you? 
Radishes are a very good source of fibre, vitamin C, folic acid and potassium, and a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese.

Radishes are also mildly anti-inflammatory, which is another good thing. A diet containing anti-inflammatory foods can help to control inflammation in the body, which is an underlying factor of so many allergies and illnesses.


Bauhina x blakeana: Hong Kong Orchid Tree

We love our orchids because of the spectacular showy flowers, which can seem tricky to grow.
What if they were easy to grow and you didn’t have to fuss about the growing medium or the fertiliser?
Bauhina x blakeana: Hong Kong Orchid Tree
Would you want that? Of course.
Let’s find out .how.
I'm talking with Karen Smith editor of

The Hong Kong orchid tree was discovered by a monk in the 1800’s then propagated and grown in the Hong Kong Botanic gardens. 
The residents there thought it was such a lovely tree that it was planted out all along the coastline.
If you live in the tropical parts of Australia, say Darwin, then expect to see this tree in flower from February right through to November.
If you are planting from seed you can expect your Bauhinia to flower from a year to two from when it was a seedling.
If you have any questions about HK Orchid tree either for me or for Karen, why not write in to


Roses are Red......
 “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” 
But did you know that  the Latin expression "sub rosa"(literally, "under the rose") means something told in secret, and in ancient Rome, a wild rose was placed on the door to a room where confidential matters were being discussed?

Floral meanings of each colour:
  • Each colour offers a distinct meaning:
  • red, the lover's rose, signifies enduring passion; white, humility and innocence;
  • yellow, expressing friendship and joy;
  • pink, gratitude, appreciation and admiration;
  • orange, enthusiasm and desire;
  • white lilac and purple roses represent enchantment and love at first sight. 
Botanical Bite
All roses have a flower head that is round in shape and symmetrical across its face and down its vertical axis
The fruit of a rose is called a rose hip. The berry-like hip are usually red in colour, but can sometimes be dark purple or black.
The sharp spikes on the stem of a rose bush are usually called “thorns”.
However, these are actually technically prickles.

I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Video taken live during broadcast of Real World Gardener program on 2rrr, 88.5 fm in Sydney, every Wednesday at 5 pm.

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