Monday, 18 April 2011

Foxy, Foxy, Flying Foxy.

Real World Gardener on 2rrr 88.5 fm Wed. 5pm, Sat 12 noon
for 13th April 2011
Feature interview: RWG talks to Tim Pearson, Honours Biology student in Animal Behavioural Science. Tim has been studying the Grey Headed Flying Fox for 6 years. Find out why there might be a problem with removing the the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. Hear a condensed version of the interview here.
Vegetable Heroes: Nasturtiums, Tropaeolum majus.Nasturtiums are easy to grow, the whole plant is edible, and they are great companion plants as well! Nasturtiums help deter aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and other pests.   Nasturtiums are annual plants with rounded leaves like a water lily. The flowers are an open funnel shape with a little claw or spur on the underside. Save the seeds for ‘ron.Autumn is still the time to plant Nasturtiums and to get a faster sprout soak your seeds (they are large and pretty hard) in some warm water overnight and then place directly in the garden or pots where you want to grow them.  Nasturtiums resent being transplanted so don’t buy the seedlings. If you want to sow them in coco peat pots you can then plant the seedling, pot and all into the garden. They love part sun or semi-shade, but they don't do well in drought-like conditions. As long as you keep them watered and give them room for the air to circulate they will flower for a long time. The soil shouldn't be too rich because you will get more leaves than flowers.  Decorate cupcakes with Nasturtium flowers on top of the frosting for something really different!
Nasturtium vinegar -add several flowers and some leaves to a jar with a clove of garlic. Fill with vinegar and allow to sit for 4-5 weeks. The leaves and flowers can be added to any salad, used as garnish, or chopped into pasta salads. You can find more recipes and uses for Nasturtiums at
Design Elements: Today the problems are How do I make my small garden seem bigger, and my garden is a very long and thin rectangle, what should I do?.. So pencils on the ready....! Listen here.
Plant of the Week: Sabina and Mariane talk about uses of grass type plants. There are a couple of varieties that do as lawn substitutes and only need mowing 1x or 2x a year. Not for heavy traffic areas of course. Varieties are Amethyst, Isabella, Just Right and Pure Blonde!
a)    I suggest planting liriope 40cm (16") apart if you want to try growing it as a lawn substitute.
b)    Most gardeners wouldn’t buy liriopes for their flowers. Dainty and delightfully pasted to a totem like spike, they are fairly insignificant to some.
c)    Liriopes are foliage plants first. You can get quite a lot of variation and variegation.
d)    If you’re looking for a border plant that won’t be exposed to full-sun all day then liriopes should be considered. They actually prefer part-shade and can even tolerate full-shade locations provided they’re situated in well-draining soil.
g)    Liriopes aren’t even fussy about fertilisers and can often reside in soil that is far from rich in nutrient base. But, if you want to get the most from these plants then apply twice per year foliar spray. Their watering needs are fairly minimal and they have few disease and pest problems.
For more info go to
What's On.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Fly Like An Eastern Yellow Robin

Real World Gardener for 6th April 2011, Wednesdays 5pm on 2RRR 88.5fm
Wildlife in Focus: Kurtis talks about the Eastern Yellow Robin, it's habitat, call and much more. Hear it .....

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Bill Rankin and Tony Bayliss of the Wildlife Sound Recording Group  have kindly provided RWG with wildlife sound recordings for our 'Wildlife in Focus" episodes.
For more info on the Eastern Yellow Robin see
Vegetable Heroes: Broccoli, Brassica oleracea var italica.  Broccoli is not too choosy about the site it grows in but prefers to be in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade with no problems. Although, growing in too much shade will reduce the size of the Broccoli head.   The ideal soil is a reasonably heavy (not pure clay) A light soil can be improved by the addition of compost. Adding blood and bone to sandy or a heavier soil which is not too rich in nutrients will also help. Don’t plant Broccoli seedlings in your veggie bed if you’ve grown it before in the past 3 years. You may get a disease called Club Root that causes you Broccoli plant to wilt regardless of how much water you give it. Remember the acronym. LRLC-Legumes, root veg, leafy then Cucurbits, Brassicas.
Harvest broccoli heads when they have reached maximum size, are still compact, and before the buds loosen, open into flowers, or turn yellow. It will be about 70-90 days or 2 ½ -3 months, when your Broccoli will be ready if you plant it now, in time for a Spring crop
No Design Elements this week:
Feature Interview: A short interview with John Page, volunteer guide at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. John talks about the Walk and Talk that he co created with Brian called Garden Memories of War and Peace. 16th April:2-4pm Garden Memories of War and Peace.  Discover the stories behind plants and memorials and the importance of the gardens to generations of military personnel.
At the Moore room at Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, $15 p.p. book 9231 8304 Refreshments included.
For more info.
Plant of the Week. melicope elleryana. Doughwood or Corkwood. The Pink Flowered Doughwood is usually found in riverine rainforest areas.
That should give you a hint of this tree’s requirements. It definitely will not grow well in sandy soil. The one at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney is a magnificent specimen growing next to the Moore building. In my yard it’s underperforming and losing quite a lot of top canopy because it can’t cope with insufficient water and growing in poor soil. Where it is, it’s not for above a sandstone rock shelf and definitely not worth trying there. The flowers are certainly showy and look spectacular on a well growing tree. In it’s natural habitat in northern NSW and further up, it attracts the Papilio ulysses. Ulysses butterfly.  A fast growing, evergreen, large shrub or small to medium tree, forming a broad, spreading canopy which is excellent for shade. Cut back in Spring if it becomes too leggy.
What's On: On Sunday 17 April, there’s a free guided Tall Timbers walk from the City of Ryde. Enjoy an easy 3km walk through the remnant Blue Gum Forest in Darvall Park. You may wish to stay on to ride the steam trains after the walk. (Sydney Live Steam Locomotive - $2 adults, $1 children). The walk will go from 1pm to 3pm, and you should meet at 12.45pm at the playground by West Parade, Denistone. Bookings essential on 9952 8222. This is one of several free school holiday activities – find out more at or call Council on 9952 8222.