Sunday, 29 November 2009

Geraniums or is it Pelargoniums?

Sydney Garden Talk 12noon-1pm Saturdays on 2RRR 88.5 FM
Feature interview was Gary Dale, Geranium breeder from Geranium cottage. Geraniums originate from dry regions of South Africa, so don't kill with overwatering. Regular tip rpuning helps flowering. Cut them back by half every year.

Plant giveaway: Ivy Geranium "Tom Girl."won by Susan from Newtown.

NEW: Design Elements with Lesley Simpson, garden designer.
Plant suggestions for north facing balconies.
Fantastic fruit: Blueberries.Selecting and Storing Blueberries – Pick or buy blueberries that are firm and have an even colour with a whitish bloom. Ripe berries should be stored in a covered container in the fridge where they will keep for about 1 week. Realistically blueberries should be eaten within a few days of picking or buying. I tend to eat mine straight of the bush..
Don't wash blueberries until right before eating as you will remove the bloom that protects the berries' skin from going bad.. If kept a room temperature for more than an hour, the berries will start to spoil.
Blueberry Nutrition - Blueberries are also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, manganese and both soluble and insoluble fibre like pectin. A cup of blueberries will give you 30% of your RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of Vitamin C.
If you think they’re too fussy to grow, . for the same price as a cup of coffee, treat yourself to a punnet of Blueberries, eat them straight out of the punnet (wash them of course) and enjoy the health benefits.
Mail Order:
Choose Rabbit Eye and other chilling varieties like Sharp Blue and Misty for Sydney districts near Ryde and Hunters Hill.
Plant of the week: Star Jasmine. Botanical name:Trachelospermum jasminoides.
Family: Apocynaceae
Common name: climbing star-jasmine
Originates in woodlands of Japan and India.
Twining semiwoody vine to several meters long. Leaves opposite, deciduous, 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 in) long and 1.3-5 cm (0.5-2 in) wide, lanceolate to broadly elliptic or oval, apex usually acuminate, base cuneate to rounded, margin entire, dark green and glabrous above, paler and pubescent below, petioles 3-8 mm (0.1-0.3 in) long. Flowers in cymes clustered in leaf axils, peduncles 1.3-2 cm (0.5-0.75 in) long, corolla 5-lobed, funnelform, greenish-yellow, striped with orange inside. Fruits paired follicles 12-22 cm (5-7 in) long and about 4 mm (1/6 in) in diameter.
For climbing on tall walls, Star Jasmine needs tying and training. With age, the vines do become thicker, and so the structure on which it is trained, ought to be able to take some weight. On short walls though, it does not require support, as it cascades over the top of the wall. It is also used sometimes as a medium scale ground cover. Left to its own devises, it tends to mound somewhat, and in time can become bare and bald, other than at the growing tips. It is therefore worth pruning and clipping on a regular basis in order to induce lateral growth and ultimately, a denser, more compact appearance.

QnA from Granny Smith festival was about Catnip.
Picture is my cat Mozart eating some Cantnip leaves growing in the garden steps.
Nepata cataria pictured in garden.. Grows to about 50cm x 50cm
Catnip or Nepeta cataria, can be grown from seed or you can buy it from the herb section of good nurseries. They are tough plants, coping with sun or semi-shade. Just give them a good clip to keep them tidy every so often. They really don’t need much fertiliser, if any and only an occasional sprinkle of water. Give you feline friends a bit of treat. A lot of cats like to lie on the bush or even eat a few leaves. Eating the leaves makes them bit drowsy, but for some cats you wouldn’t notice the difference. Catmint doesn’t have as many oils in the leaves, but makes a
nice low growing mound underneath plants like roses. There’s also Cat Thyme or Teucrium marum, harder to get, but much more potent. I used to have a cat that loved nipping this plant.

What's On:
Sunday 29 November. There’s a new community garden starting up in Lane Cove. It’s behind Chatswood South Uniting Church, cnr of Mowbray Road and the Pacific Highway. They hold open days for interested people on the last Sunday of every month between 2 and 5 pm. If you live near this area and are interested in being part of a community garden, visit or ring Jono on 0401 890256 or Mandy on 9436 2891. They are actively looking for new members to get involved.
Saturday 5 December, 9am – noon. Seed Collection Field Trip From delicate grass seeds to hard woody fruits, our local native plants form and hold seeds in a range of fascinating ways. Come and learn the fine art of collecting seed and practice your skills on a local bushwalk. Wear study shoes, bring a hat and water. Spaces limited.  Location: Lane Cove Council. Contact: Michelle Greenfield PHONE: 9911 3579
Sunday 6 December. Brush Farm House Open day. Tours at 11am and 1.30pm. Cost: Free. Bookings essential. Phone 9952 8222
Sunday 6 December. Macquarie Community Garden. Gardeners meet at 4pm on the first Sunday of every month at corner of Talavera and Culloden Roads in North Ryde, adjacent to the University sports fields. If you’re interested in getting involved, come along and talk to the other gardeners. You don’t have to be a student at the Uni to be part of the community gardening club.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

More Birds in the Garden

STAY TUNED TO 2RRR 88.5 FM  Sydney Garden Talk on Saturdays 12noon-1pm
Today's program was all about Pidding Park In Ryde, and how bushcare volunteers have worked to make it the best buhcare site in the Ryde Spring Garden competition. Join you local bushcare group now and make a difference.
For more information contact:Ryde Council Bushcare Officer :Sandra Payne:Ph: 9952 822
Vegetable Hero:Beetroot-grow some now, soak in a shallow saucer of water overnight then sow about 1cm deep.Harvest when about 3cm in diameter for tender tasty beets or no later than 7.5cm in diameter. Keep up the water otherwise they will be tough and woody.
Plant of the week:Jacaranda mimosifolia. Prune dead and crossing branches right back to the trunk so that the suckers don't spring out from the cut. Flowering late October through November. Comes in white as well. Suitable for big gardens.
Australian Conservation Foundation is holding a meeting for Lane Cove residents on Thursday 12th November. RSVP on 1800 223 669
Recycle your electronic waste 9-4pm on Saturday 14th at Willoughby Leisure Centre, 4 Small Street Willoughby.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Granny Smith Festival Day

Today's program  featured the CEO for Smart Approved Water Mark. Go to to use the water use calculator.Michael from Eden gardens gave some beaut descriptions of the 1st and 2nd place getters for the Ryde Spring garden competition. It seems judges are looking for a unified theme. Stuff your garden with as many plants as possible. Don't mix and match plants from tropical and cottage garden themes. Don't have any weeds, and manicure your plants to blazes.

The vegetable hero, was in fact the Granny Smith Apple. Needs winter chilling of 400 hours (below 7 deg. C) to grow successfully. This also applies to Pink Lady and Pinkerbelle apple trees. You also need two trees for pollination to occur.

My tip: leave the apple growing to Bilpin growers and buy your fruit from the organic markets.
Plant of the week:Grevilleas-any. (Pictured)
Put in the new hybrids Grevillea Lady O and the ground cover one G. Lemon Gem. Or stick to traditional good doers like G. Moonlight, G. Superb and G. Ned Kelly. Prune these larger grevilleas to keep them looking good in your garden.
Listen to 2RRR 88.5 FM on Saturdays 12noon-1pm. email your gardening question: