Thursday, 20 June 2013

Yellow Robins in the Garden

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Real World Gardener is funded by CBF, Community Broadcasting Foundation.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website

Wildlife in Focus

with ecologist and bird expert, Kurtis Lindsay
Eastern Yellow Robin It’s a pity more birds don’t hang around for us to peer at and marvel at their birdsong and colouring, but maybe we should get up earlier.
You may have heard the sound before and wondered about what bird could’ve been making it. That’s if you’re up at the crack of dawn.
Let’s find out more...

Eastern Yellow Robins prefer an understorey canopy of tall shrubs with a canopy of small to large trees. Think of this as two layers in your garden.
Because these Robins look for insects all year round, insect attracting trees and shrubs are recommended as is stopping the use of pesticides.
Trees with stringy, fibrous or chunky bark provide good nooks and crannies for insects to hide in, and provide a meal for insect eating birds.
The sound of the Eastern Yellow Robin is bought to you curtesy of Bill Rankin and Tony Bayliss of the Wildlife Sound Recording Group  has kindly provided RWG with wildlife sound recordings for our 'Wildlife in Focus" episodes.
If you’ve seen an eastern yellow robin, send in a photo ,or drop us a line. to or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675,  or post them on Real World Gardeners facebook page, and I’ll post a CD or some seeds, in return.


Vegetable Heroes:

There’s two types of Cumin that you can grow. Black cumin is in the Ranunculaceae family, while the other cumin, Cuminum cyminum is in the carrot and parsley family.
The type of cumin that’s sown at this time of year is actually Black cumin (Nigella sativa), also called fennel flower, nutmeg flower Roman coriander and black caraway.
Don’t confuse this with it’s cousin, Love in the Mist or Nigella damascena.
Because, black cumin, is related to the delicate-looking love-in-a-mist, it looks like Love in the Mist
They both have that fine light green ferny foliage.
Black cumin has similar flowers to Nigella except they’re white, while Love-in-the-Mist flowers are pale blue.
Black cumin also grows balloon capsules which dry on the bush but are larger, spicy and fruity seeds that were an important seasoning before black pepper was first brought to Europe.
Cumin and black cumin are temperate to subtropical annuals.
Both of these cumins you can get as packets of spice, one of them, the Cuminum cyminum, is often slow to germinate but once you get it growing, there’s no stopping them.
The black cumin is dead easy-even for beginner gardeners.
Cumin is grown for its aromatic and flavourful seeds.
Black Cumin has been grown for around 3,000 years.and is used for cooking, and extensively used in the Middle East, Turkey, and Western Asia.
Did You Know?- they found some Black cumin seeds in Tutenkamen’s tomb, although they’ve never worked out what they were there for?
The seeds have been traditionally used in the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries for treating a variety of illnesses.
In modern Marrakech, nigella seeds are sold in small bundles to be rubbed until warm, giving off an aroma which opens clogged sinuses in the way that eucalyptus or Vicks does.
Nestlé has filed a patent application covering use of Nigella sativa as an food allergy treatment
The aromatic seeds of Black Cumin are used in many Indian spice mixtures, as well as in bread.
Black Cumin seeds can be ground in a peppermill and used like pepper
Where to buy?
Mail order is probably the way to go for Black cumin or Nigella sativa
Available from and
Black Cumin is a hardy annual that grows to about 40cm, so you’ll have to sow it each year.
Being hardy it will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.
When to Sow:
Ideal temperature is 15-180C. and a rich, well-drained sandy loam, pH 4.5-8.3,and the sowing times is between Autumn and Spring.Drop two or three seeds at each planting site and cover with 3mm of soil. Water well with a gentle spray to settle the soil.
The seeds will germinate in two to three weeks; keep the soil moist but not soggy during germination.
Thin the emerging plants by pinching off all but the strongest seedlings.
You can also start the seeds off in punnets or trays if you like.
Cumin needs at least 4 months from seed to harvest and doesn’t tolerate long periods of dry heat.
Planting close together will help to support the heavy heads when they mature.
Prefers full sun and a sheltered position.
Collect seeds as soon as the ballon-shaped striped seeds pods have formad and are beginning to feel dry. They should be turning brown.
The black seeds are ground up and used like pepper as a spice.
Cumin requires full sun and a long growing season. It tolerates a fairly wide range of soil types, but will do best with well-drained, fertile soil.
Why is it good for you?
Like other spices, even though cumin has large percentage of iron, you’d have to eat and awful lot for it to be of any use as a dietary source.
Instead, think of the seeds as something useful for your cooking. Cumin is found even in some breads and cheeses.
Because it has a spicy, nutty flavour, black cumin can be sprinkled whole or ground up on food, and the oil can also be used on salads and other dishes
How about that coating for fish and meat called Dukkah? I’ll put that recipe up on the web, or send me a note and I’ll post a fact sheet.

Design Elements

with Garden Designer Lesley Simpson

Why do plants climb? Is it because most climbing plants originated from rainforests and needed to reach the light? That’s one theory.
Plus so many climbing plants have different ways of reaching the top.
They can be twining stems with tendrils like Mandevillas and Stephanotis, or scrambling like Banskia Roses, or have thorns like Bouganvillea.

Let’s review some of these climbers for your garden now…


Climbing plants are useful if you haven’t got much room in your garden because they add a vertical element to your garden and most of them don’t take up much room. Most need a support of some sort, and most are evergreen, so even if they’re not flowering, there’s some vertical interest with the leaves all year round.

Plant of the Week

Is Zygocactus really a cactus?
Where are the leaves and where are the stems?
It turns out yes, it’s a cactus and the stems are now the leaves?
Confused, …
Over thousands of years of plant adaptations to drier conditions, the stems of the Zygocactus or Schlumbergia, elongated while the leaves dropped off forever.
That meant the stems took over the function of food making or photosynthesis and developed pores or stomates for gas exchange.
But enough of science because for a splash of colour through Autumn and Winter, there’s a showy zygocactus for your garden. So many differed flower shapes and colours to choose from. From filly whites, pale yellows, deep purple and bright reds.Easy to look after and easier to propagate.Just don’t overwater them
Looking after your Zygocactus
You probably have known them as pale pink to pale orange coloured flowers, but these days you can get them in fantastic shades of cherry red, mauve and magenta. I prefer these brighter shades at this time of year, because it contrasts well with the darker winter sky.

Zygocactus are not desert dwellers, but epiphytic plants living high up in the canopy of rainforests. So they’re surviving on leaf litter and not getting full sun, but instead, dappled shade from the rainforest canopy.
Zygocacti like to stay evenly moist but not wet or soggy. When soil dries on top (but not all the way down), water thoroughly. Give them good air circulation and plenty of good, bright light. Outdoors, in mild weather, they like light shade or very filtered sunlight. They cannot tolerate frost.

Zygocactus respond to light feedings with diluted liquid fertilizer during spring and summer growing seasons. If you’re growing them indoors,use any good houseplant fertilizer or African Violet food every two to three weeks.
But I don’t think people of Sydney do that as they grow quite well outside. Give them a potassium food such as tomato food or something for flowers. Stop fertilizing in early March to allow buds to set. Do not transplant or move the plant once buds have set. Resume fertilizing after flowering.

Transplanting Zygos is dead easy, just don't disturb the roots.
Press the soil firmly around the plant.
As with all transplanting of potplants-DON'T bury the plant too deeply – use the same soil line that it presently has.
Leave a half inch space from the top of the pot to your soil line for watering.
Use a general potting mix but added loads of coarse sand, or perlite.. The epiphytic cacti prefer a soil that is slightly acidic.
If you can find a pre-packaged cactus soil mix, feel free to use it. If you should use unglazed terracotta pots, remember that they dry out faster and will need watering more often.


growing seedling.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Honeycombs and Banksias

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Real World Gardener is funded by CBF, Community Broadcasting Foundation.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website

Living Planet

with Manager, Urban Ecology, Katie Oxenham

  • Ever thought of keeping a beehive?
  • Maybe some listeners do just that.
  • Did you know that commercial honey bees (Apis mellifera) are not native to Australia. They were introduced from Europe in about 1822.
  • I bet you didn’t know that Australia has over 1,500 species of “true Blue” Aussie native bees, some of which don’t sting.
Let’s find out if keeping native bees is for you….

You can buy a box of native stingless bees to put into your backyard. Native bees are great for gardeners or nature lovers. They’ll help pollinate your plants-well of course but best of all they’re stingless.Stingless bees are only for the warmer parts of Australia that includes all across the top end and down to the coastal areas of NSW around Bega.If you’re in other states listening to this you’ll have to give your stingless hive artificial support in the form of heat.Find out more at
If you keep bees, any bees, not just native bees, drop us a line, send in a photo,. to or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675,  or post them on Real World Gardeners facebook page, and I’ll post a CD or some seeds, in return.

Vegetable Heroes

MUSTARD Greens or Mustard Lettuce
  • The mustard plant comes from the Brassica family and is called Brassica juncea. They’re in the same family as those Mustard plants that are grown mainly for their seeds to be used in the condiment Mustard.
  • Mustard greens originated in the Himalayan region of India and have been grown and eaten for more than 5,000 years.
  • Mustard greens feature in many different cuisines, ranging from Chinese to Southern American.
  • In Russia this is the main variety grown for production of mustard oil, which after refining is considered one of the best vegetable oils around and is widely used in canning, baking and margarine production; and the majority of table mustard there is also made from this species of mustard plant.
  • They’re not called Mustard greens for nothing, because you can use them in place of that Mustard out of a jar because they have that peppery, and zesty flavour that’s really like the real deal mustard.
  • All members of the Brassica juncea species have colourful large leaves that vary in colour from red through to lime green.
  • Did you know that Mustard greens are called Sarson ka saag in Hindi. They’re also called Indian mustard, Chinese mustard or just leaf Mustard.
  • One of the mustard plant facts is that it loves cold.
  • I have some popping up around my garden at the moment, not too many to make them a nuisance but enough for me to not have to save the seeds.
  • They grow to about 50 – 70 cm high, around knee height and don’t really mind what soil they grow in.
  • I think the variety I have is Red Giant. Red Giant has deep purplish-red, large, Savoy leaves with white mid-ribs. The thick leaves have a spicy, pungent flavour and are excellent for adding to sandwiches with ham or other meats.
  • Mustard plants are easy, fast growing cool weather crop with leaves that are great raw, in sandwiches,  in salads, or as a cooked greens.
When to Sow
  • In tropical and sub-tropical, temperate and cool temperate areas you can grow them all year round, perhaps not in full sun in the hotter areas. In arid areas you can grow them between April and August.
  • Mustard greens are grown like lettuce. It’s more heat tolerant than lettuce, but long hot summer days will force the plant to bolt (go to seed).
  • Mine self sow and start coming up at the end of April.
  • You can also grow them as a green manure crop. Just dig them in when they get quite big but before they flower.
  • If grown as a green manure, the mustard plants are cut down at the base when big enough, and left on the surface, acting as a mulch until you want to plant something else. That’s when you dig in the leaves.
  • Mustard green provide a lot of green matter that improves soil texture and soil water retention, or as scientists call it, water holding capacity.
  • Where to get the seed? If you’re wonder where to get the seed varieties like Red Giant, or Ruby Streak and Golden streaks that have finely serrated leaves, you can easily get them from online suppliers, www.,au
  • Another way is to buy seedlings. I bought my seedlings a couple of years ago from a market stall at an organic market in the inner west.
  • Sow mustard seeds 5-10mm deep, and 25cm apart. They prefer full sun. and cool weather, so leave the middle of the summer for the heat loving vegetables.
  • Mustard plants grow well in most good garden soils.
  • If you plant some seeds a week apart, you’ll get Mustard greens all winter.
  • Like all greens, Mustard plants should be grown quickly.
  • Use plenty of water, and lots of fertilizer so they’ll grow fast to give you tender, green leaves.
  • For winter crops soluble fertilisers are the way to go because organic ferts won’t break down much in cold weather
  • In some districts, winter can be a dry affair, so don’t forget to water your greens.
  • Mustard greens are eaten raw, or cooked.
  • Picking the leaves when they’re still quite small is the tastiest way to enjoy your Mustard greens. Leaves get tough and have a strong flavour as they get bigger, especially during hot, dry weather.
  • You can pick off one or two leaves at a time, or the entire plant.
  • Leaf mustards add zest to a salad mix;
  • If you actually want the seeds themselves, Mustard seeds should be picked when the plants begin to yellow. You want to leave them on the plants as long as possible, but before the pods burst open and spill their seeds. That’s why I’ve got hundreds of the little seedlings all over my veggie bed.
  • Keep the plants well weeded, so weeds do not compete for water and nutrients. It makes picking the leaves easier, too.
  • The leaves should be ready by 6-7 weeks
    • By the way, beneficial insects like lacewings and Predatory wasp,  like the flowers of mustard plants.
  • Mildews can affect the plant especially when they get older.
  • Keep your plants growing fast and healthy plants, so they’ll be less susceptible to disease.
  • Allow proper spacing to increase air circulation. Avoid watering towards evening.
  • Why Are They Good For You?
  • Mustard leaves are good for your health because they have a great ability to lower cholesterol. Even better than collard greens and kale.
  • They’re low in calories and carbs, yet high in vitamins.
  • At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups

Design Elements

Reviewing Perennials
Do you know the difference between an annual and a perennial plant?
Annuals grow, flower and set seed in less than a year.
Perennials, are those plants that are way smaller than most shrubs, but they flower and set seed over a number of years.
Let’s find out about some of these now?


Perennials add that extra layer to your garden without which, just having trees and shrubs would be just two dimensional.
They come in so many colours, shapes and sizes, you’re really spoilt for choice. Your nursery in your local area will have the ones the grow best in your area, and probably can get in ones that you’re really after. I don’t mean those large conglomerate chains that all sell the same thing either.
You can perennial plants through mail order catalogs, and online as well as from your local nursery.

Plant of the Week:

Banksia ericifolia subspecies Macrantha;Family: Proteaceae
  • Do the two Banksias, Heath Banksia or Banskia ericifolia and Banksia spinulosa (pictured below)always have you beat?
  • For whatever reason do you get the leaf shapes mixed up between the two so when it comes to identifying them when out on a bushwalk, you’re talking a guess?
  • Compare the two photos. The one with golden coloured flowers is Banksia spinulosa or Hairpin Banksia. The leaves are wider and have turned under margins.
  • Banksia ericiolia or Heath Banksia, has needle like leaves, pictured with the reddish brown flowers with the red pollen presenters.


Banksia ericifolia subspecies Macrantha, is a compact shrub up to 5 m high, but the leaves are more crowded, the individual flowers are larger and the flower colour is often darker.
Banksia ericifolia
This subspecies of the Heath Banksia occurs in coastal heaths of the north and mid-north coast of New South Wales where the water table is seasonally high.
Heath Bankisas make a good windbreak or screen plant and can withstand a considerable amount of salt spray. The dense foliage and nectar-rich flowers make it an excellent choice for attracting both insectivorous and honey-eating birds. It prefers well-drained soil and would make a useful and decorative addition to a large garden.

Both varieties of Banksia ericifolia are medium to large shrubs with narrow , linear leaves to about 15 mm long. The flower spikes are 80 - 110 mm wide, up to 500 - 600 mm long and usually orange in colour, although there is a form with maroon flowers in cultivation and another with whitish flowers with red styles. B.ericifolia is one of a group of banksias with "hooked" styles projecting from the axis of the flower spike. The flowers occur in autumn and winter and are followed by woody seed-bearing cones.
B.ericifolia is fire-sensitive in that it does not have a lignotuber for vegetative regeneration after bushfires. The species relies on seed for regeneration - seeds are retained in the cones for many years and are released by the heat of a fire.
Banksias prefer acid soils, that aren't too heavy and are well drained. They will grow in full sun or semi shade and are one of the best plants for attracting honey-eating birds.
Fertilisers with a phosphorus component of more than 1,2 from the NPK ratio, should be avoided.

Propagation from seed or cuttings is relatively easy.
TIP:Remember Heath Banksia has needle like leaves that remind me of the herb Rosemary in a way, and Banksia spinulosa or Hairpin Banksia has slight wider leaves that are rolled under on the margins. You’ll have to take a closer look but you don’t need a hand lens.
Let me know how you go with identifying the two plants. If you need any help, send in a photo and I’ll identify it for you.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Greys and Reds in the Garden

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.
Real World Gardener is funded by CBF, Community Broadcasting Foundation.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition. The new theme is sung by Harry Hughes from his album Songs of the Garden. You can hear samples of the album from the website

Wildlife in Focus

with ecologist Sue Stevens

Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) A habitat is where a bird or animal lives. They make nests and get comfy in their homes.
This cutest of little birds makes a nest in trees or shrubs. The nest is made out of Fibres, Moss, Bark and Hair. You will normally find their nests in native trees. Let’s find out what this cute little bird is all about….

The fantail eats a strict diet of…….. Insects, only the finest! Of Course! Spiders, only the juiciest! Why not?
A fantail catches its food by hawking like a hawk.
Let me know if you’ve seen a grey fantail and where. Perhaps send a photo to or by post to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675,  or post them on Real World Gardeners facebook page, and I’ll post a CD in return.

Vegetable Heroes

Garlic-Allium sativum comes from the Onion family. Alliaceae
Legends convinced people that there were certain things over which vampires had no power, and garlic was one of them. This was the case only in European and American folklore.
Did you know that eating garlic helps keeps mosquitos away.
There’s even a fact sheet from the DPI about growing garlic There’s also a website of the devoted entirely to garlic growing in Australia.
Garlic is thought not to have evolved in the wild but from cultivated Allium longicupis or Wild Garlic, which grows naturally in central Asia.

It was thought that hanging garlic bulbs on doors would check the spread of diseases such as smallpox. I think this was mistaken for what the London College of Physicians recommended garlic during the great plague in 1665.
In 1858, Louis Pasteur, showed that garlic could kill infectious germs. Garlic was used during World War I to treat battle wounds and to cure dysentery. During World War II, garlic was known as "Russian penicillin" because it was so effective in treating wound infections when there weren’t enough antibiotics to go around.
Sow direct in garden where they are to grow.
Garlic grows best on fertile, well-drained, loamy soils, but any soil suitable for onions is good enough for Garlic.
Find a warm sunny position is all you need to get garlic to grow.
 If you want to, you can check your soil pH –anywhere in the range 5.5 to 7.0.
Garlic grows best when the temperature is between 13º to 24ºC, that’s why Garlic is best planted in cold weather and harvested in summer ("plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest").
When to Plant:
You can plant Garlic blubs now in all districts of Australia, including cool temperate. For temperate districts, April to June, Arid areas, you’ve got from April to July, and tropical and sub-tropical zones, from May until July.
For cool districts, you’re right on the edge of when you can plant, so don’t delay, plant today.
Plant the cloves after separating them from the bulb, point upwards, deep enough to just cover with soil.
How to Plant:
When you plant the cloves, don't plant too deeply otherwise they will rot off.
Plant them so the tops of the bulbs are just below the surface. and about 8 cm apart with the point end facing up.
Garlic usually takes about 17-25 weeks. 4-6 months to mature.
How do you can tell when it’s time to dig up the garlic bulbs?
You’ll see the leaves or stalks would’ve flopped over and turned brown.
Give them plenty of water, (especially in spring).
Also fertilise them, 2 or 3 times throughout the growing season.
Some young shoots can be cut off for a garnish. Some people even harvest young garlic and eat the 'green' garlic leaves and all.
Reduce water at end of Spring (4 weeks prior to harvesting). (Well, we're a bit late, so it might be end of December for us.)
When they are ready to be dug up, ease bulbs out with a fork, careful not to damage bulbs because these won't store well. May go a bit mouldy.
 If the weather’s sunny, let them dry in the sun for a few days.
Hang to dry for 4 weeks in a warm place with good ventilation. Store in a cool airy place. This will prevent the bulbs from rotting.
Garlic is a fairly tough and easy-growing plant.
On better soil with regular watering you’ll get a better crop.
On poorer soil, and forgetting to water them, you will still get some garlic, only not quite so much.
Leave a garlic to go to seed, and you will probably get plenty of self-sown plants the following year. I’ve done that mainly because I forgot where I planted them in the garden.
Cloves that haven’t been treated can be saved and planted in the garden.
Remember most garlic in supermarkets comes from China and has been sprayed with Methyl Bromide in quarantine.
You can buy Garlic from online suppliers or from organic suppliers. Remember that garlic plants will grow to be 2/3m and more tall.

Types of Garlic
Like onions, there are early, mid season and late varieties available.
There are softneck and hardneck varieties. Softnecks are the most common garlics grown, and are the ones found in supermarkets. Softneck garlick usually doesn’t have a flowerhead and have a longer shelf life (up to 9 months).There’s one called “Italian White” that’s available online.
Monaro purple, and Rocambole- are Hardnecks variety and these do have flowerheads like onions, and usually bigger cloves. They don’t have as good a shelf life as the softnecks and prefer cooler winters.
Rocamboles have great flavour, glamorous red-purple skins and are easily peeled, single circle of 6-12 plump cloves.
An artichoke type has cloves that overlap each other like an artichoke. There can be 3 or 4 layers. Buy this one from a Victorian company in
There is also the extra large garlic called Elephant or Giant Russian garlic and has a milder flavour but is great for roasting. This is actually a type of leek that you can get these from some markets that are around or from an online bulb
Why is it good for you?
If you eat only small amounts of garlic – like 1-2 cloves in the family dinner, you won’t get that many nutrients, but if you eat lots of garlic, like they do in Italy, Korea and China, where a garlic-rich diet seems to be protective against disease, people there eat as much as eight to 12 cloves per day; then you’ll get  lots of dietary fibre, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamin C.
While that sounds like a lot of garlic, increasing the amount  you eat to five or more cloves a day isn’t hard if you use it every time you cook.  Include garlic in soups, casseroles, even mashed potatoes.
You could also make a habit of snacking on garlicky dishes like hummus with vegetables.
TIP:Many home chefs mistakenly cook garlic immediately after crushing or chopping it, but to maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.
 If you have any questions about growing garlic or any other vegetable,

Design Elements:

with Garden Designer Lesley Simpson

Older federation gardens knew their shrubs. You might know of a garden with some large shrubs, probably a bit unkempt now, that you’ve wondered about?Some of them have gone out of favour for no other reason other than fashion or fads. Yes, it happens a lot in garden design. We seem to be asking for new releases every year. It doesn’t hurt to look backwards sometimes to examine old favourites.Let’s find out about some of these now?

Of all the old fashioned shrubs, Chinese Fringe Flower, with it’s dark purple leaves, and Rondeletia, with the large pink waxy cluster of perfumed flowers are my favourites. You can still buy them, but may need a bit of searching or asking around. Maybe even mail order.

Plant of the Week

Last week, we featured winter flowering Grevilleas, today, still on natives.
Tried and true might be a good idea for some gardens and gardeners, and yes, those plants have  their place.
Then comes along a new release that makes one of the tried, but not necessarily hardy plants need to be referred to the back bench.

Callistemon viminalis Red Alert™ is a compact Callistemon with vivid red foliage for 2 months in autumn and 2 months in spring, and lighter new growth foliage in other months.
Red Alert™ will grow2-2.4m high x 1.5-2m wide unpruned and 50cm-2m high x 40cm-1.5m wide when pruned.

Perfect as a hedge or specimen shrub.

Like all Callistemons or Bottlebrushes, plant them in full sun to part shade.
Callistemons can cope with pretty much most soil types.
they're tough and drought tolerant.
Certainly more drought tough and frost tolerant compared to exotic Photinia.
As with all newly planted shrubs or trees or anything really-water well until established and prune after red new growth in autumn and spring.
what's good about this new bottlebrush?
Callistemon "Red Alert" is a compact Callistemon with beautiful red new growth; low maintenance and an alternative to exotic Photinia
Needs less pruning to establish a hedge .
Red Alert is a unique Australian Bottle Brush with vivid red new foliage growth.
There are other varieties that have new red toned foliage growth like Callistemon "Great Balls of Fire," but not quite as red. I would say Great Balls of Fire's new growth is more of a dark pink or Salmon Pink.

It is more drought tough, very frost tolerant, and has longer periods of red new growth compared to Photinia.
Expect it to have a maximum height of 2-2.4 metres after 6 to 8 years, which is significantly
Callistemons are generally less prone to drought stress, particularly when first
planted. An alternative suggestion for a windbreak or for windy situations .
Not all formal gardens have to be exotics. Need a new hedge? Plant this one-Callistemon viminalis Red Alert is compact with deep red leaves., not only is it native, stays red longer, but needs less pruning to turn it into a hedge.