Sunday, 18 April 2010

Save the Salt Marsh Please

Sydney Garden Talk Wednesdays 5-6pm, Saturdays 12-1pm. 2RRR 88.5fm
Feature Interview: Mia Dalby-Ball, ecologist specialising in salt marshes, and river systems.
Saltmarshes are considered to be important coastal habitats because of their role in filtering surface water and  run off from land before it enters the estuary and the sea, their contribution to coastal productivity and because they are a source of organic material and nutrients for a wide range of marine communities.Salt marshes are the spongy layers between Mangroves and the land that may occur inland or near the sea.
They support grasses and succulents plants, but also small crabs, about 2-3 cm in size. The spawn from the crabs supports fish called small fry that are an essential food source for the bigger fish and so on up the chain.
Large numbers of crabs burrow in saltmarshes environments. These crabs excavate burrows over large areas in the saltmarsh, changing the physical structure of the environment.
From studies about mangroves and crabs, it’s been found that when the crabs bury the plant material in their burrows, this enhances the efficiency of microbial decomposition in subsurface mangrove sediments..
Crabs in mangroves are recognised for the role to the structure and function of mangrove habitats because of their burrowing and feeding activities, where they are high order predators.
These crabs are important to the foodweb because they process the leaf litter into more palatable forms and so contributing to nutrient recycling.
Vegetable Hero:Ellataria cardamomum-Cardamon
Cardamom is a perennial (means won’t grow a trunk or turn into a tree) with tall simple canes or stems that grow out of rhizomes. It is native to the shady forests of India, Ceylon and Malaysia.
Growing Cardamom-is a tough plant and drought tolerant as well if you grow it in the right spot.
You need to get a rhizome from someone in order to grow cardamon.True to its original habitat, cardamom prefers humous rich soil, filtered light and room to grow. You can grow it in a pot if you really must, but over summer it will get pot-bound, and refuse to flower, so you must keep dividing the plant and passing it out to friends (a great gift, by the way).

Even if your plant doesn’t flower you will have a huge supply of fragrant leaves, which is just as good to have as the spice.
From winter to midsummer feed your plant with fish emulsion.
Design Elements;Colour in Garden Design, designing with Hot Colours.Tropical associations, red, yellow, bright pink and organge.Warm colours may the garden seem closer than it is really is so use these colours to make parts of the garden to draw visitors into a space. Create a focal point with a hot colour.
Use Bougainvillea, Cannas, Bird of Paradise, Hibiscus, Kniphofias.
Temper down the look with palms,Philodendron and ferns-ie. plants with big leaves. Try Ensete ventricosum.
Plant red flowers among silver foliage to give jewel effect.
Plant of the Week. Asters:Mostly very frost resistant, asters have a preference for well-drained fertile soil that remains moist during the growing season. A sunny, airy, open position ensures maximum flower production and minimum mildew, which can cause problems in humid conditions. Deadhead routinely to encourage continued flowering, and cut back hard after flowering. Propagate by winter division or from spring softwood cuttings.
What's On:
Bromeliad Society Autumn show. Senior Citizens centre,Wellbank street, Concord 24,25th April. 9-5pm