Saturday, 21 December 2019

Buttons on Stalks and Design A Garden

Part of the Real World Garden Radio Show


So You Think You Need A Landscaper part 2

You may have seen two- dimensional garden designs and wanted something similar for your garden, but is that kind of thing totally necessary?

Could a free hand sketch be just as good as long as it was to scale?
Let’s find out.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon Project manager and landscape designer for Paradisus garden design.

Peter advises to choose a landscape or garden designer that provides availability lists and photos of the plants that are in the design.
To many people, plant names, whether common or scientific, just don't mean anything.
But, if they are provided with a photo of what the plant can look like in a particular situation, say a screening hedge of Magnolia grandiflora St Mary's, then they will have a better idea.
f you want more than just new garden beds and new plants, you may just want a garden designer.
But if you want more doing than just plants, you’ll need project manager who is also a garden or landscape designer.


Pycnosurus globusus: Billy Buttons

Do you like the sound of a plant that has flowers like buttons the size of your thumb but on stalks, with grey strappy leaves?

What if I tell you it’s an Australian native, a perennial and loves dry weather, would you be interested then?

I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley native plant expert and horticulturist. 

Let’s find out about it

Billy buttons is a dense groundcover that spreads around 50cm in width.

Supported by an underground rhizome which allows it spread.
Grow it from seed, grow it from division, but just grow this sturdy groundcover like plant with yellow buttons made up of thousands of tiny flowers on tall stalks.
  • Botanical Bite: The flower is a pseudanthium consisting of between three and eight florets surrounded by bracts.
  • The petals are joined to form a small tube and the florets with their surrounding bracts are yellow or golden-yellow.
  • each flower head may contain over a thousand individual flowers.
Best is less humid climates, although it can be grown in temperate regions of the east coast.
Short lived perennial, 3-4 years.

Allspice and Cloves but Not With Beans

We start with allspice and cloves, similar but different, how? That’s in the spice it up segment, growing beans in Vegetable Heroes; a new series called ‘so you think you need a landscaper part 2, with Peter Nixon in Design elements and buttons on stalks in plant of the week.


Allspice vs Cloves
How well do you know your spices?
Would you think for instance, that allspice and mixed spice are the same?
Pimenta doica_allspice tree with berries.
Would cloves be a good substitute to save you running to the store, if you ran out?
Let’s find out.  I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from 

Even the Spaniards were confused with the allspice berry when they invaded Jamaica, thinking it was a type of pepper.  Probably why the allspice tree is Pimento doica.
  • The allspice berries  are picked when they're green and put out to dry in the sun.

Allspice and cloves
The heat of the sun activates the enzyme which turns the berries dark brown.
At night, the berries are heaped into a pile and covered with a tarpaulin.
The next day they are spread out in the sun again. 
This process is repeated over three to four days, by the end of which time, a volatile oil develops called eugenol.
It turns out that allspice and basil, also have a lot in common, because both contain the essential oil eugenol. 
That means both are perfect partners in tomato dishes.
  • But it also turns out you can use allspice instead of mixedspice but at 1/3 of the quantity because it’s much stronger. 
  • The clove tree is Syzygium aromaticum. The unopened flower bud is the clove.
.If you have any questions, please write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Beans: Phaseolus vulgaris
Do you love your beans?
Did you know that beans have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years?
  • Beans are a legume in the Faboidea or the pea family.

Scarlet runner beans
So you would think that beans are easy to grow but for whatever reason, some people find them challenging to germinate.
  • You may already know that as well as other legumes, beans have nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots. Yep, that’s right, the roots make nitrogen out of the air and deposit it into the soil.
  • Lightning storms are even better for that reason because they convert nitrogen into ammonium ions which is what plants need before they can take it up.

Green beans, either climbing or dwarf, are also called string beans and snap beans.
Dwarf beans are very quick growing and may be sown every three or four weeks from spring to give a succession of pickings throughout summer. They’re handy for filling in any gaps and perfect for tubs and window boxes.
Green beans can be yellow
  • Green beans generally have smooth, slender pods.
  • Runner beans tend to have slightly coarser pods and continue cropping a few weeks later than string beans.

Then there are the beans exclusive to warmer climates including soya beans, lima beans, and the appropriately named yard-long beans!
How To Grow
To grow beans you need up to four months of warm weather.
In subtropical climates beans can be grown almost all year.

For temperate and arid zones, mid-spring through to late summer are the best times to plant.
In colder districts, beans, don’t like the cold at all and they certainly don’t like frost.
You have until the end of summer, certainly you wouldn’t be expecting any cold snaps now.
Tropical districts, once again, need to wait until the winter months to sow beans.
For those gardeners having trouble getting beans to germinate, beans are best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 30°C.
If the temperature is colder , you probably will strike out.
How to Sow and Grow Your Beans
  • Drop in two seeds per hole, so they fall about 2cm apart, and 5cm deep.
  • Cover with soil, seed raising mix, or compost. Grown this way the beans will mostly shade out competing weeds and 'self-mulch'.
  • An important fact about growing beans is that they need well-drained soils with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0 and are sensitive to deficiencies or high levels of minerals in the soil-especially climbing beans.
    Bean plants can self mulch if planted closely.

How To Water Your Beans
When growing green beans, keep the soil moist.
A good rule of thumb is to put a finger in the dirt and if the dirt is dry up to the first knuckle, then it needs about an inch of water.
Keep your beans watered and watch for vegetable bugs and green caterpillars
  • TIP: Pods won’t set at temperatures above 270 C.

Did you know that if you pick the beans as soon as they’re ready, you’ll get new flowers?
If you neglect your bean plants and let your beans get large and stringy, flowering will slow right down, and you probably won’t get any more beans from your plants.
  • Tip: To have beans all summer long, plant more seed as soon as the previous planting starts to flower.

Beans do poorly in very wet or humid tropical climates because they get bacterial and fungal diseases.
Go easy on the fertiliser or you’ll get lots of leaves and no beans.
When are beans ready pick I hear you ask?
Usually in about 10-12 weeks.
  • Pick them when they are about as thick as a pencil, smaller if you want a better, tender taste.

Dragons Tongue beans
 Why are they good for you?
Green Beans are a good source of vitamin C and also contain calcium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin A. But, the most important nutritional fact for beans is that they provide a major source of soluble fibre, great for lowering cholesterol.
Also is a source of folate .
Some varieties of the dwarf  beans are
Brown Beauty-flat pods
Dwarf Snake Beans-ready in 11 weeks.
Windsor Delight has long pods of about 15cm.
Blue Lake Climbing, long pods again but they’re round this time.
So happy bean growing gardeners!

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Mushroom Plants, Dandelions and Garden Designers

We start with the topic of dandelion, it’s a weed but can it help you in Grow Your Health; growing a mushroom plant in Vegetable Heroes; a new series called ‘so you think you need a landscaper part 1’ with Peter Nixon in Design elements and a


Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale
I’ve talked about weeds on this program, not just controlling weeds but eating weeds.
It’s not something that I’ve got my head around yet, but one weed that is being showcased today has been used in herbal medicine and nutrtition for quite a while.
Apparently it’s good for your liver.

Let’s find out what it is.
I'm talking with Simone Jeffries, naturopath, nutritionist and wellness coach of

The leaf has a serrated edge forming a basal rosette, with a strong taproot.
Dandelion flowers have only ray florets, and no disc florets, therefore no centre.
Milky sap comes from the stem.
It’s good though that dandelion coffee or tea has the same health benefits. 
  • Simone recommends eating the leaf because they are bitter. 
  • Bitterness is good for us, because it stimulates the appetite.
Dandelion leaves are best when young because they become more bitter with age.
Add to a salad, incorporate into a pesto or mix it in with a juice.
The dandelion root is beneficial also, being made into tea or dandelion coffee.
Contains high amounts of iron and calcium.
You can slow bake the root until its brittle, then you can grind it up to make your own tea or coffee.
  • As always, make sure you can identify the weed correctly before consuming it.
  • Also don’t collect the weeds on roadsides or nature strips, because you don’t know what animal has left its message on them or if they have been sprayed with herbicide. 
If you have any questions for me or for Simone please contact us or write in.


Have you ever heard of a mushroom plant?
I bet you’ve never heard of a it?
  • Rungia klossii  or Mushroom plant is from the Acanthaceae family, that has quite a lot of ornamental plants with names like, Acanthus mollis or Oyster plant, Justicia sp, you might’ve heard of the shrimp plant, or even grown it yourself.
Why are these plants in the same family?
For one thing, these plants have sympetalous corollas-that means the petals are fused into a tube and they also have  mostly four stamens (sometimes reduced further to two).
Flowers of mushroom plant have sympetalous corollas
Members of this family that grow in Australia or New Guinea (Australia was part of New Guinea in Gondwana time.) are usually small herbs or shrubs with quite dark green leaves.
Back to the mushroom plant, where do you get it?
  • What is it actually then ?
The mushroom plant is a perennial-that means it flowers and sets seed over a number of years, growing to about 60cm high.
It comes from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, so it’s a tropical or sub-tropical plant, but seems to grow alright in cooler areas that only get a light frost.
Don’t despair, if you want to try this plant, I’ve been growing mine for years in a pot, and even though there’s not that much frost where I live, it seems to survive quite well.
Except for one time when house-sitters didn’t water it and it looked quite dead.
There are a couple of green stems so I’m hopeful that it will come back.
Where to Plant
  • In cooler areas, the plant will die down in winter but comes back up in spring. 
  • Mushroom plants can be grown in a position that gets morning sun or semi-shade. Full sun tends to burn them.
  • If your district experiences temperatures in the mid-30’s for stretches at a time, I would say that you should only try this plant in a semi-shaded spot.
  • In cool temperate climates you could grow the mushroom plant in a full sun position.
  • This plant certainly won’t cope with any frost in winter.

 Mushroom plants have dark green, glossy succulent leaves and stems with a yellow central mid-vein.
The leaf is crinkly, about 2 cm long with a sharp point.
And they’re also arranged in opposite pairs  on the stem but at right angles to those above and below.
This is what’s known as decussate.
What does it taste like?
  • If you bite on the leaf, it’s quite crunchy, and very tasty and yes, quite reminiscent of mushrooms, but not overpowerlingly.
  • Mine has never flowered but it’s supposed to have blue flowers in spring. It probably flowers in more tropical areas.
  • The flowering doesn’t matter really because you’re growing it for the leaves to put into your cooking, sandwiches and salads.
Growing it in a Pot
  • There isn’t much information about growing this plant in books or on the web, but I’ve found that it grows well in ordinary potting mix, and I’ve also put a plant in the edge of my veggie bed.
  • I have heard that it doesn’t like being waterlogged, so for those people who have clay soils, you need to grow it in a raised bed or pot of any size.
  • You could say it copes in most soils, but it must be well-drained and kept fairly moist.
If you manage to get one, I would recommend taking a cutting for insurance until you find the right spot for it to grow.
  • The plant will grow from root division as well. Spring is the best time, and it can be slow to strike, although once you get it going it can grow quite quickly.
  • If you plant it in the ground it’ll spread by suckering and will form a large clump over time.
  • Picking the leaves often means the plant gets more bushy-a bit like pruning most plants, the new growth that comes after is better.
How to Enjoy Mushroom Plant
You can eat the leaves in salads, they have a nice crunch to them, or chop them up and put them into scrambled eggs.
They won’t go that grey colour as they do when you use real mushrooms.
Add them to soups, stews and stir-fries towards the end of cooking time. Heat enhances that mushroom flavour.
Why is it good for you?

The leaves are extremely rich in chlorophyll, making them, valuable for blood cleansing and muscle building.
Mushroom plant leaves have 3% protein (higher in protein than actual mushrooms).
What I don’t get is that have a few calories, in fact they have 33 calories per 100 grams of leaves,
But the good part is calcium content is 272mg to 100 grams of leaves the highest in any plant!
It beats other plant foods with high sources of calcium are: kale at 249mg, almond 234, soybean 226, parsley 203, dandelion leaves 187, watercress 151, chickpeas 150, horseradish 140, sunflower seed 120, wheat bran 119, broccoli 103, fennel 100, spinach 93, lentils 97, raisins 62, Chinese cabbage 43 … which shows us that the mushroom plant is very high in calcium.
The plant is also a rich source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron and other vitamins and minerals.
It’s a very tasty herb and there should be more of it around.
The mushroom taste gets stronger with cooking.
Go to your local markets and buy one today.


So You Think You Need A Landscaper part 1

You may be wanting to redesign your whole garden so plants that are water hungry are removed and drought tolerant plants put in.
Tex Mex seen in passing. photo P Nixon
It needn’t be ugly or full of just succulents, but what do you plant?
This is when you need a Landscape Designer or even a garden designer
But which of these do you need?
Let’s find out.
I'm talking with Peter Nixon Project manager and landscape designer for Paradisus garden design.

PLAY: Need A Landscaper part 1_4th December 2019

  • If you want more than just new garden beds and new plants, you may just want a garden designer.
  • But if you want more doing than just plants, you’ll need project manager who is also a garden or landscape designer.
Peter Nixon's See Changer garden photo Peter Nixon
For plants as seen in this photo, you will need your garden designer or landscaper to prepare an 'availability list.'
Simply because, these are not the standard, run of the mill plants that are available in every pot size all year round.
You may like plants as those you see in gardening magazines or at plant fairs to be used in your new design.
That will mean, someone spending hours on the phone, finding out out which grower can supply them or in fact even contract grow them in the quantity and size that you want.
TIP: ask the right questions of your landscaper or garden designer. Namely, "will you source plants which I want?"

If you have any questions for me or for Peter, please write in to

Pruning But Not Banksias

Second part of Real World Gardener Radio Show


Pruning 101 After Care

You’ve pruned the branches on that tree so you can walk underneath it, but what do you need to be careful of?
Are there trees that don’t really need much pruning at all?
What care should be taken when you finished all that pruning?
All these questions answered and more.
I'm talking with Jason Cornish from
Let’s find out.

For grafted trees, or shrubs, this includes roses, if there is a shoot below the graft, called a sucker, that must come off because it belongs to the vigorous understock.
If left there, this shoot will take over from the upper part of the tree or shrub, which may actually die off if you don’t remove the sucker.
Pruning a peach tree
Pruning fruiting trees is best carried out when buds have begun to swell but not fully open, if you want to do formative pruning.
Remove about one -third of growth each year, keeping in mind that peach trees fruit on one your old wood.
Unlike other fruit trees, peach trees need to be opened up in the centre so that the branches form a vase shape.
Removal of crossing or dead twigs or branches can be done at anytime, as seen in the photo.


Banksia robur: Swamp Banksia
Banksia robur photo Adrian O'Malley
Here we have a small tree that’s gnarly and twisted but its scientific name suggests that it will grow into a strong upright tree, possibly an English oak.

Regardless of the fact that the tree is nothing like an English oak, even though it is robust, the botanical name still remains.

Which is strange, because botanists seem to like to change scientific names on a regular basis.

Let’s find out about it

That was Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.
The flower spikes appear in autumn and winter, perfect for providing food for nectar feeding birds when food is scarce.
Not grey leaves this time, but they’re really large, up to 30cm in length and quite leathery, with wonderful bluish green flowers.

As Adrian says, if you buy a small Banksia robur expecting it to grow into a shrub, it may just start going sideways and there’s no pruning that will make it go upwards.

Banksia robur photo Adrian O'Malley
Adaptable to most soils and will grow even in drier soil than from where it naturally occurs.
Swamp banksia is fairly resistant to root rot fungus.
The open habit of the shrub and the heavy leaf structure give the plant a bold outline which may be incorporated as a feature in a home landscape or as a group planting in an urban park situation.
Nectar bird attracting,- honeyeaters and lorikeets, also insects
If you have any questions for me or for Adrian, please contact us or write in to

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Cassia, Cinnamon but not with Fish Mint

We start with another look in part 2 Cinnamon and cassia in the Spice it Up segment  plus growing an unusual mint in Vegetable Heroes;


Cassia vs Cinnamon part 2
Last week in part 1 of this segment about cinnamon and cassia, Ian the herb and spice expert talked mainly about where and how, each of these spices are produced.
  • One thing to note: in America, Cassia Cinnamon is just called cinnamon and Sri Lankan cinnamon is called Mexican cinnamon.  
Keep this in mind when reading recipes on the internet or in American cookbooks.
Also, how to tell them apart just by looking at the cinnamon sticks, or feeling and tasting the power.
This time, we’re delving a bit deeper and giving out some recipe ideas also.
I'm talking with was Ian Hemphill from
Let’s find out.

There were some tricks of the spice trade to trap unwary customers.
Cassia is from a different tree mianly grown in China, Japan and Vietnam.
All of the bark is taken from the tree to make cassia quills. These look deceptively like the more expensive cinnamon quills but here's the difference.
Cassia on the left: Cinnamon on the  right
  • Cinnamon quills have many concentric layers
  • Cassia quills only have one concentric layer.
If you want to make Chai tea, think twice before using cassia cinnamon.
This type of cinnamon is too strong, but the true cinnamon, or what I regard as true cinnamon from Sri Lanka, is milder and sweet.
  • Think cheap spice, is it really worth it?
Remember unless that cinnamon powder that you bought feels smooth with any any grittiness, it’s probably been adulterated with cinnamon outer bark. 
Mulled wine jelly


Rind of 1 orange
Rind of 1 lemon

2 cinnamon quills
6 cloves
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
100ml vodka
10 gold-strength gelatine leaves
200ml port
2 cups (500ml) red wine
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
300ml thickened cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Herbies Mulled Wine spices can be susbtituted for the cinnamon, cloves and vanilla bean.

Place rinds, cinnamon quills, cloves, vanilla pod and seeds and vodka in a bowl.
Stand, covered at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight to infuse.
Once citrus mix is ready, soak gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer citrus mixture to a pan.
Add the port, wine and sugar, then place over low heat and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves (don't let it boil).
Squeeze gelatine to remove any excess water, then add the leaves to the pan and stir to dissolve.
Cool slightly.
Strain the mulled wine into a jug, then pour into a 1-litre jelly mould.
Cover and chill overnight until set.
When ready to serve, whip cream then fold in ground cinnamon.
Unmould the jelly, then serve with cinnamon cream
If you have any questions for me or for Ian, why not write in to or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Houttuynia cordata is Vietnamese Fish  Mint Herb
  • What is this fishy smelling herb with a hint of citrus which is also known as chameleon plant, fishwort an bishop’s weed?It’s also known as Dokudami which means “poison-blocking plant” and was often used for the exact same purpose.

Vietnamese fish mint is a flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, southern China, and Southeast Asia, where it grows in dark moist, shady places and along river banks.
Sometimes submerged deep in freshwater areas.
Houttuynia cordata: Fish mint
A somewhat invasive plant, it can be found growing on hills, fields, and even between cracks in asphalt.
In those countries it’s used as a leaf and root vegetable.
Vietnamese fish mint smells like a combination of fresh fish, mint and citrus, and has large amounts of the aromatic chemicals myrcene and undecanone.
These and many other naturally occurring chemicals are the basis of its huge list of medicinal uses.
According information about this herb it treats stomach aches, indigestion and swellings. Among other things.
  • Leaves can also be crushed to a paste to cure insect bites, rashes and itching.

The leaves are sort of heart shaped, and the plant itself grows to anywhere between 20 – 80 cm, depending on the climate and conditions you’re growing it in.
Vietnamese fish mint does have flowers in summer which are greenish-yellow and only 2-3 cm in size.
Fish Mint
Although mine has never flowered/
At first glance, a fishy tasting herb doesn’t seem all that appealing but, you can use in fishy flavoured dishes, with grilled meats, fish and noodle soups. 
The roots are rather interesting and grow to resemble a big ball of spaghetti which can be eaten raw or cooked.
Some people prefer the roots to the leaves because they have an aromatic flavour like ginger or galangal but without the heat.
How to Grow Vietnamese Fish Mint
Vietnamese fish mint is apparently an extremely common garden plant inf the UK and is able to withstand temperatures down to -150C.
However, the variety grown in England is the one with mottled technicolour splodges called Houttuynia cordata Chameleon, where the one grown in Asia is the plain leaved variety.
These plants grow best in very damp, rich soil either in the garden border or in the boggy margins of a pond, being perfectly happy with their roots entirely submerged in water.
In full sun, they’ll have a stronger taste and more intense colour on their leaves.
But if you’re keen on a milder flavour, then grow it in partial shade which will give you larger pungent leaves.
The plants are extremely vigorous and will spread out in all directions because of the vigorous roots system.
This plant is super tough, and in moister areas it really can be weedy, but if the plant strays too far, they’re pretty easy to pull out.
However, there’s no reason to plant it out into the garden because it grows really well in pots in a shady location but keep it moist.
That’s all there is to it.
There’ll be plenty of leaves for you, the chooks and the guinea pigs.
Cooking with Fishy Mint
Vietnamese fish mint can be eaten in all the same ways as regular coriander-sprinkled in salads, stir-fries and added to soups and stews.
It makes a pretty good garnish and is traditionally used in Cambodia, chopped up and sprinkled over a salad of sliced hard-boiled duck eggs with fried ground chillies, mint, chopped raw shallots and roasted peanuts.
In Malaysia the leaves are added to a spicy coconut laksa and in Thailand it’s used in heaps of salads, whereas in Vietnam, it’s used summer rolls.

Sauce: 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (I use Chinkiang), 1teaspoon chilli oil, 1 teaspoon. sesame oil, 1 teaspoon. soy sauce
Marinate 10 minutes, not more.
Top with chopped coriander, spring onion, and finely chopped smashed garlic.
Vietnamese summer rolls (serves 4 makes 12 rolls)
Dipping sauce
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of ½ lime
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp chilli sauce 60 ml water
For the rolls
12 x 22 cm extra thin dried Vietnamese rice papers
18 cooked king prawns sliced in half lengthways
2 large handfuls of Thai basil leaves, mint and vietnamese mint leaves.
16 chive leaves
½ a cucumber cut into matchstick sized pieces
2 carrots grated
150 crisp lettuce leaves.
Make the dipping sauce by mixing the peanut butter, fish sauce, lime juice etc.
Working with one rice paper round at a time, dip it into a shallow bowl of cold water and leave it to soften for a minute.
Remove and lie on a damp paper towel and cover with another damp paper towel.
Continue until you’ve done 6.
To assemble the rolls take one round and arrange a few prawn halves tip with thai basil, mints chives, cucumber carrot and lettuce leaf (torn or folded to fit)
Fold the edge of the paper closest to you over the filling then fold in the sides and roll the whole thing up like a burrito into a tight cylinder.
Place on damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with other round.
Why Is It Good for You?
When you’re allergic to a substance, your body produces histamine, a compound that initiates an immune response.
Studies have shown that Vietnamese fish mint has inhibitory effects on histamine release, possibly blocking it and reducing its effects.
This herb is high in antioxidants, promotes intestinal balance by discouraging harmful bacteria from thriving in the digestive system.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Pruning 101: Deciduous vs Evergreen and Sea Urchin Hakea

We start with part three of a new series “pruning 101” with landscape designer Jason Cornish, in Design elements and a fabulous pom pom flowers in plant of the week.
  • Pruning 101: Deciduous vs Evergreen.
Deciduous and evergreen plants have different pruning needs.
Have you ever had a shrub, say philadelphus that you thought wasn’t performing-no flowers for several years, so you transplanted it or pulled it out?
Perhaps you weren’t timing it right?
Philadelphus coronarius
I'm talking with Jason Cornish from
Let’s find out.

Marianne's Tips on Pruning
Pruning group
Pruning method
Time of pruning
Examples of plants
Flower on current season’s growth
Old wood thing. New growth shortened.
Winter/early spring
Roses, abelia, buddleia. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Flowers on previous season’s growth
Immediately after flowering
Spiraea, Rondeletia,Prunus glandulosa, Acacia, Callistemon, Grevillea
Flowering on older wood and spurs
Maintain tidy shape
After flowering
Prunus cerasifera & other prunus species
For showy fruits
Cut away most of leaders
 After fruiting if needed
Cotoneaster, pyracantha, Berberis spp.
For showy foliage
Prune 50% of growth’ feed and water
Winter to spring
Abutilon, Aucuba japonica-gold dust plant. Buxus.  Hebe, Euonymus.
Non flowering evergreen
Do not prune back beyond green foliage into older wood
Late winter

If you don’t know what shrub or tree that you’ve got, the best advice is to wait until it flowers or sets fruit, and then prune after that.
  • In the case of philadelphus, as soon as the shrub had finished flowering, cut out all of the stems which have just flowered.
  • Prune them back to around a third of their length. They will soon start to produce new stems which will provide the flowering stems for next year. Don’t just prune little bits off the end 
If you have any questions for me or for Jason, please write in to


Hakea petiolaris; Sea Urchin  Hakea
There are many reasons to like a particular plant which affects our choices.
For some it’s the flowers or the perfume, for others it’s the colour of the leaves.
But for something completely different, others like a plant because of the sound the wind makes through the leaves of that particular plant.
Hakea petiolaris flower
So what will appeal with this plant?
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.
Let’s find out.

For grey leaves, and spectacular flowers, the hakea is something to think about if you want a native small tree.
Medium tree 5 to 11 m high. Leaves are pale grey, broadly  obovate in shape and range from 5-15cm long by 2.3-6cm wide. 
Endemic to the south west of Australia, occurring at the coastal plain, jarrah forest and wheatbelt regions, often at the ancient granite outcrops of Western Australia. 

The only thing to watch for is high humidity can make them short lived.
Still, if you collect the seeds, then grow some more from seed and you’ll have another tree quite quickly.

If you have any questions for me or for Adrian, please contact us or write in.