Saturday, 22 June 2019

Up The Garden Path With False Bird of Paradise

We’re going up the garden path in a new series on just that, in Design Elements; grow peantues for real in Vegetable Heroes plus environmental history, will it affect us in the Garden History segment, and flowers to impress in the Talking Flowers segment.


Garden Paths Series Part 1: Gravel Paths

Garden paths serve an obvious function but they can also be aesthetically pleasing.
This next series in Design Elements, is all about garden paths that work and that you can do yourself.
Over the next 4 weeks, landscape designer, Jason Cornish, and I, will delve into 4 different types of paths and things you need to now before you put them in.
Let’s find out the first one is:Gravel
I'm talking with Landscape Designer, and, Director of Urban Meadows Jason Cornish.
Gravel Path: Hear The Crunch When You Walk

There’s a few things to think about when putting in the cheapest path option. The stone's colour can be used to tie into the scheme of the garden.

Limitations are when walking with a wheelbarrow or wheelie bin whose wheels can sink into the gravel making it hard going.

On the other hand, if it's too thin a layer of gravel, weeds can take over making it a chore to maintain.
Weedmat underneath the gravel is good for a time, but as the leaf litter builds up on the surface of the gravel, weeds will still find a foothold.

Then again, it might suit your location or garden, or maybe just the thing before you decide on one of the more expensive options. 

If you have any questions either for me or for Jason, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Arachis hypogaea:Peanuts!
  • The peanut is not a true nut but a legume, like peas, and beans.
Why peanuts? Because people tell me it’s easy, and fun thing to try.
Another announcer here at the station, bought a small plant from a low cost supermarket a few years ago, planted it in a pot and harvested some peanuts.
He was amazed at how easy it was and wondered if it would continue to crop the following year.
I’ll answer that later.
  • Did you know that anthropologists working on the slopes of the Andes in Brazil and Peru have discovered the earliest-known evidence of peanut farming dating back an amazing 7600 years?. Amazing!
  • Did you also know that peanut growing was introduced into Australia in Queensland during the gold rushes of the 1870's?
Chinese gold diggers on the Palmer River near Cooktown in the 1870's and 1880's first grew peanuts.
How Does It Grow?
Peanut bushes
  • The peanut plant develops from an embryo embedded between the two cotyledons of the kernel and grows to a bush about 50 cm tall and up to 100 cm wide.
  • Small, yellow, pea-type flowers emerge at 30-40 days after planting give or take a few weeks, and, after self-pollination, the ovary's base elongates, bends downwards and penetrates the soil.
  • The tip of this 'peg' then enlarges to form a pod containing one to three kernels.
  • Depending on what variety you managed to get, where you’re growing your peanuts and what the weather’s like that season, the growth period can take from 14 to 26 weeks, or 3 ½ to 6 months.
  • Peanuts aren’t too fussy about the type of soil you’ve got.
  • Peanuts are a subtropical legume crop needing relatively warm growing conditions and 500 to 600 mm of rain.

  • As long as the soil is well-drained and friable with no large stones, sticks, stumps or chemical residues.
  • Peanuts can tolerate a wide range of pH - from 5 to 8, but can’t tolerate heavy clay soils.
  • Planting usually occurs from October to January in Queensland and NSW. In the Northern Territory, plantings occur in March-April.
  • Peanuts have been commercially trialled in Western and South Australia, so give them a go there too.
  • For cooler zones, plant your peanuts in pots or containers and keep the going by placing them in the warmest part of the garden.
Grow Your Own
  • To grow your own peanuts if you can’t find any peanut bushes to buy, it’s sort of easy.
  • What you need is a packet or raw peanuts. Not salted or roasted or any other fancy shmancy types.
  • It has to be raw peanuts.
  • Then, like any other seed, you sow some raw peanuts either into jiffy pots, punnets or into a garden bed.
  • Sow each seed 3-5cm deep and if they are fresh they should germinate in one to two weeks).
  • There’s a few strange and weird things about looking after your peanut bushes though.
  • For instance, you might be surprised to know that the pods take most of their calcium and boron directly from the soil rather than through the roots.
  • Calcium, such as in Dolomite, is best applied to the plant before flowering.
  • Next, watering is critical particularly during the critical stages of germination, flowering, pegging, and pod filling.
When To Harvest

The next trick is to know when to dig up the peanuts, and like a lot of things that grow in the veggie bed, it’s when the leaves start to turn brown.
You can check to see if they’re ripe by digging a few up.
What you need to see are dark-coloured pods inside the shell, where the kernel should be changing from a pink to gold colour.
Not all the pods will be ready at once so timing is important.
But look, if you get it wrong, that try again next year.
Now Brian, the answer to will the plant grow again next year.
No, because you have to dig up the whole plant, shake off the excess soil and hang the entire thing up in a warm, dry place, such as the garage or garden shed.
Dry the bush for a week or two until brittle then break off the pods.
Wash off any dirt-dirt isn’t too tasty- and air-dry for a couple of weeks.
If you like raw peanuts you don’t have to do any more.
If you like roasted peanuts, then put them on a tray in the oven at 160-180°C in an oven for 15-20 minutes for shelled kernels or 20-25 minutes for peanuts still in the shell.
Why is it good for you?
Peanuts are high in fibre and protein but free of cholesterol.
They’re a high energy food but with a slow energy release over a long time because of the high oil unsaturated (good) fat content.
They also have a high folic acid (iron) content


Environmental History

Does history play a part in all manner of things, or is it just built structures , gardens and events?
What about environment history is there such a thing?
There is a definition which goes, “Environmental history is the study of human interaction with the natural world over time, emphasising the active role nature plays in influencing human affairs and vice versa.”
Australian Landscape: photo Edward Dalmuder
You can even study that subject at University so there must be something in it.
Let’s find out. I'm talking with Stuart Read,a garden historian and a member of the Management Committee of the Australian Garden History Society.

Change tends to come from the bottom up.
Did you know the first public parks in England didn’t eventuate until the early 1800’s.
In Australia it was 1850 when Paramatta Park in Sydney was allocated.
Documenting say land clearing and land use over time, but not just land, water use it’s a great tool for understanding what we are doing right or wrong.
If you have any questions for Stuart or for me, you know what to do.


Common Names: Imposter bird of paradise, false bird of paradise, wild plantains and lobster claws.
  • Heliconia flower is not actually a flower but highly modified leaves and bracts.
  • A bract is a leaf structure at the base of a flower.
The trick about growing Heliconias outdoors is that the climate must be tropical.
1.      The far north of Australia is perfect because it's hotter and the more north, the hotter it gets. 
  • They are also really thirsty; give them roughly 120 ml of water a day. ;
  • Mulch is really important.: cut the leaves off and put them under the plant to help with water retention.". 
 Some of the commonly grown Heliconia species include 
Heliconia lennartiana; 
Heliconia Augusta, 
Heliconia bihai, (pictured right)
Heliconia brasiliensis, 
Heliconia caribaea, 
Heliconia latispatha, 
Heliconia pendula, 
Heliconia psittacorum, 
Heliconia rostrata, 
Heliconia schiediana, and Heliconia wagneriana. 
I'm talking with Mercedes Sarmini of

Video was recorded live during broadcast of Real World Gardener Radio Show on 2RRR 88.5 fm in Sydney

No comments:

Post a Comment