Sunday, 30 October 2022

Ways to Eat Yacon or Peruvian Ground Pear


How to Grow and Use Yacon: Peruvian Ground Apple

Scientific Name: Smallanthus sonchifolius
Common Name: Yacon, Peruvian ground apple
Family: Asteraceae-same as daisies and sunflowers.
Plant Height & Width: 1.5m x 0.5m

If you look at the flowers they are like much smaller versions of sunflowers.
Here’s a tuber that tastes similar to a nashi pear, looks something like sweet potato on the outside, and the sugars from it aren’t absorbed by the body.
Not only that, the tubers contain a lot of juice, and the sugars that make it sweet is not absorbed by the body so you can't put on the kilos! How good is that?  

Then there’s the fact that it’s easy to grow, and has small flowers that resemble sunflowers and you just can’t buy it from the supermarket or fruit and veg store.

Yacon plant growing in Margaret's garden

How to Grow Yacon from Tubers?

Yacon has two types of tubers unlike ginger or turmeric.
  • The tubers that you plant are attached to the main stem and are much smaller and pinkish in colour. I planted mine in early September and October was the time that it sprouted in my Sydney garden.
  • If you were to receive some brown tubers that look like a brown sweet potato, that's what you eat and not what you plant. 
  • The edible tubers spread from the clump sideways meaning you need at least 1/2 metre  of space to produce sizeable clumps.
  • Can be planted in any district as they can withstand frost.

When to Harvest?

Yacon is a herbaceous perennial meaning it has a dormant period that starts when the leaves die down in late autumn. 

This is the time when the tubers are ready to harvest. Simply fork up the entire crop, and harvest the large brown tubers to eat fresh, and use the small reddish rhizomes at the top to replant for next year’s crop.

What Can You Do With Yacon?

Eat it of course but how,  is the thing so here are some of Margaret's tips.
  • Yacon is sweet and crunchy and is great eaten fresh.
  • Ever heard of Yacon chips? That's right you can make chips out of this tubber.
  • Just cut up into chip sizes and drizzle some oil over the top and bake in the oven.
  • Try using it in salads like Waldorf salad and wherever you would use fresh pears.
  • Use it in stir fries.
  • You can also juice it or cook down the juice to make syrup and use it as a sweetener.

Fun Tip from Margaret

  • Running short of toilet paper, try large soft fluffy leaves like those of the Yacon plant.
But there's more uses, have a listen to the podcast.
I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska of

If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Flowers Have Their Seasons


Seasonality of Flowers

Vegetables have their season when they’re available fresh and not just out of the cold room where they’ve been for 6 months or more.
What about flowers?
Many people forget that flowers have their seasons too, after all there are plenty of flowers available all year round.
Hellebores-a winter flower
 Why is that important? 
It's the same as for vegetables and fruit, if it's not the current season for the flowers, then they're most likely imported.
If I asked you what’s the best time of year to buy peonies would you know?
What about roses, is there a best time?
Have a look at the below suggestions to realise what is actually in season.  

Winter Flowers

Orchids, Vanda, Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Phaleanopsis, Hellebores. Jonquils, Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, Daphne (pictured.)

Spring Flowers

Peonies are an October flower. Roses, Ranunculus, Australian wildflowers-Waratahs, Ericas, Geraldton Wax; Cherry Blossoms, Magnolias

Summer Flowers

Roses, Sunflowers, Gerberas, Carnations, Stephanotis.

Autumn Flowers

Dahlias, Roses are continuing. Asiatic lilies are an exception as in Australia they are grown in glass houses and are available all year round.

I'm talking with Nadine Brown of

The scientific name for spring stars is Ipheion uniflorum, often marketed as Triteleia Stars Of Spring, rather confusingly.

Got to say one my favourite spring flowers.

If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Saturday, 29 October 2022

Spice Up Your Meals with Furikake


Furikake: Japanese seasoning

Isn't it time you enlivened your tastes buds with something you've never tried before?

This next spice isn’t just one spice on it’s on but several spices or a blend of spices that are just right for Japanese food or any other food for that matter.

Furikake is a traditional Japanese seasoning that is sprinkled on cooked food.

In some ways like shichimi togarashi seasoning, furikake seasoning has not only toasted sesame seeds in it but also black sesame seeds that combine to give you a delectable nutty flavour.

But wait, will it have monosodium glutamate I hear you ask as so often spice blends in Asian cuisine do?

Well, here’s the thing, with 50 years of sourcing and mixing spice blends, Ian Hemphill is just the man to find a substitute for MSG without compromising the flavour of just such a spice blend

Fuikake also has the combination of  salt, nori flakes or nagi, to add that classic Japanese profile when it comes to flavour. Also orange peel, Sichuan pepper and Australian lemon myrtle.

Furikake goes well with rice, on top of eggs, seafood and on top of white or red meat.

Miso soup with furikake eggs. photo courtesy 

Let’s find out more bout this fabulous spice.

I'm talking with Ian Hempill, owner of

Ian has been a regular on RWG for many years but never has he admitted to carrying emergency spices in his pocket before.

Ian carries Furikake spice in his pocket in the off-chance he’s going to snack on some sushi.

How good is that? If you have any questions about spices why not email us at or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Leaf Celery Better Than Celery


Leaf Celery

Scientific Name:Apium graveolens var. secalinum
Plant family: Apiaceae
Common Name: Parcel

A relatively uncommon or even unkown herb or vegetable. Parcel stems from the idea that it looks like parsley but tastes like celery.
  • Leaf celery is a biennial plant growing to 60cm in height.
Biennial simply means that leaf celery grows vegetatively during the first year and fruits (seeds) and dies  at the end of the second year.
Leaf celery could be classified as a herb because the leaves are used just as much as the stalks in cooking.

Personally I wouldn't be without my leaf celery because it's a great substitute for the harder to grow culinary celery. 
I use it for making sugo, the tradition Italian tomato base for a lot of traditional dishes such as lasagne and bolognese.

Sugo For Sure-How to Make it

Sugo is made by first finely chopping onion, celery and carrot that frying for a few minutes until softer. Then adding the garlic and tomatoes to make a tomato base for any Italian dish.
Leaf celery stalks in my garden

However, if you like munching on celery stalks, or using them in Waldorf salads, it's not a substitute in that instance. 

The stalks of leaf celery are much thinner and hollow and have a more pungent taste ( to my liking) that normal culinary celery.

This winter I have practically depleted my supply of leaf celery because of the number of soups, and slow cooked meals I have been preparing. It’s just a great flavouring herb.
Leaf celery in flower in my garden

Easy Peasy Celery Salt

Celery salt can also be made from the seeds. Simply let one plant go to flower and set seed. Then once dried in situ, collect the seeds and crush them.
  • Corinne suggests dehydrating the leaves to make celery leaf salt.
Corinne Mossati, founder of

  has further suggestions.
    • Chop the stems and leaves and make a compound celery butter.
We both recommend growing leaf celery as a cut and come again herb or vegetable and an alternative to the larger stalked celery.
Much easier to grow too.

So let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Spice It Up with the Right Cardamom


Know Your Cardamoms.

There are many budding chefs and cooks that use heaps of spices in their recipes going by the success of cooking shows on television.
Green and brown cardamom pods
Indian, Asian and Mexican cooking particularly calls for a wide selection of these different spices.

Some spices though come in a variety of  grades, colours and uses making it possible for the unsuspecting cook to make a blunder.
This may not necessarily result in a vast difference in the final flavour, but it can make your creation not as 'flavoursome' as it should be.
Brown Chinese Cardamom
Brown (black) Indian cardamom (right)

Would you say you ever used cardamom pods or cardamom?
Did you know that there are different coloured cardamoms?

Cardamom pods are one such spice that comes a variety of colours and suit different cuisines.

So if you think there’s just the one, you may have been doing your recipes and cooking a disservice.
  • So which one should you use?
Ian Hemphill says the default cardamom is the green cardamom pod. Inside are little black to brown seeds which is the important part of the pod.
There are a couple of other cardamoms. 

Brown cardamom-Indian and Chinese

  • The brown Indian cardamom is a much larger pod than the green cardamom by 4-5 times the size. This cardamom has a smoky aroma and is especially used in tandoori dishes.
  • Chinese cardamom is usually used whole.
White Cardamom-be careful that you are actually get the real deal white cardamom and not bleached old cardamoms.
Thai cardamom is the genuine white cardamom.
White cardamom is hard to source.
If you are cooking Thai dishes that call for this cardamom you may substitute green cardamom but half the quantity.

NOTE: Cardamom is also used in sweet dishes such as this cardamom scented rice pudding (pictured), cardamom cake and cardamom biscuits. Definitely use the sweet or green cardamom and not the brown cardamom!

* Ian’s big tip is never grind the pods and seeds together.*

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

PLAY: Know Your Cardamoms_12th August 2022

Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show) is Ian Hemphill from

Hopefully that’s set you on the right path to using the correct coloured cardamoms in your cooking.
If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Choosing Fresh Flowers


Tips on Choosing the Freshest Flowers

Do you regularly buy a bunch of fresh flowers to brighten up your home?
Do you find that no matter which ones you buy, you just can't seem to get them to last past a few days, but friends regularly boast about how their flowers last for over a week?

Sometimes I cringe when I see a bunch of flowers outside some supermarkets because I know what signs to look for that tell me whether or not they’re really fresh.

But could you tell how fresh a bunch of flowers are when you see them for sale?

Some of the top tips are

  • Keep your flowers away from the fresh bowl of fruit.
The reason is because fruit, particularly ripe bananas give off ethylene which hastens the demise of your fresh flowers.  If you think about it, placing a firm pear next to a banana in the fruit bowl, makes it soften up really quickly.
  • Feel the stems to see if they’re fresh and not slimy.
Slimy stems stems means they've been sitting around for more than a few day. If you can't feel the stems that cast a close eye on the actual petals and ask yourself, " are the petals showing any signs of curling or browning at the edges,?" If the answer is 'yes' then move onto the next bunch.
  • Avoid buying flowers from the roadside.
Roadside flowers have inhaled all those exhaust fumes and that's a speedy way to make them fade.

Don’t worry, Nadine Brown will tell us how lots more .

I'm talking with Nadine Brown floral educator of
If you like buying fresh flowers you should listen to the podcast.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Drying Flowers Back In Vogue


Dried Flowers and How To Do Them

Did you know that dried flowers are back in fashion?
Perhaps, like me you thought that never went out of fashion, but do you dry your own on do you buy dried flower arrangements?

No prizes for guessing that those brightly coloured flowers are actually bleached in vats of bleach first, then because all the pigmentation (chlorophyll) has been removed it is practically falling apart.

The next step, the foliage is plasticised and dyed. Not something you want to display in your home

The process behind these dyed flowers is incredibly toxic and is usually down outside Australia.

Dry Your Own.

Some Australia flowers dry naturally in full colour such as golden everlasting, Australian paper daisy (Rhodanthe chlorocephela) , Billy Buttons (Pycnosorus globosus).
Billy Buttons-dried by hanging upside down

Dried Rhodanthe sp.


Did you know that you could even dry your dahlia flowers?
Choose the more tightly formed varieties with darker colours perform best. 

Some hardier flowers and foliage can be left to dry in the vase such as banksias, eucalypt foliage, and kangaroo paw.


Hang upside down in a dark area with plenty of air flow so no mould or mildew develops.

I'm talking with florist and educator, Nadine Brown, florist educator and business mentor of the Ivy Institute 

Why not have a go and drying flowers from your garden?
PLAY: Drying flowers_29th July 2022
If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Drinks and Tricks with Horseradish


Tricks with Horseradish

My father was a big fan of this vegetable or perhaps it should be called a herb?
He loved it grated on various meats, ‘clears out the sinuses' he always exclaimed.

Not too many gardeners are familiar with horseradish and even though it's a perennial vegetable that's easy to grow.
  • Perhaps because gardeners and others aren't too familiar with what you do with this, ahem root vegetable. 
  • Well that's right,  horseradish is actually classified as a root vegetable even though you can use it as a seasoning and in drinks.
In drinks I hear you exclaim, what is it?

Growing horseradish

  • Firstly, to grow horseradish, get yourself a crown or a plant from the herb section of your garden centre.
  • Planting in late winter is perfect.
  • Choose a sunny but permanent spot.
  • Dig in plenty of of well rotted manures and compost.
TIP: Horseradish can takeover a garden bed left unattended for a few months. 
Grow it in a very large pot or keep it in a spot where it can't spread too easily.


If you're grating horseradish, it loses its pungency fairly quickly, you can store it by making a horseradish cream or in vinegar.
  • TIP: Corinne freezes the root in pieces. Then grate as needed.

Cocktails with horseradish.

If you’re into experimenting try grated horseradish in white sauce or in a savoury martini or even a bloody mary.
Infuse it in vodka to make a savoury gibson style martina.
Just flavor a cup of vodka with a small amount of grated horseradish for a few days to give it that extra kick.
For more details listen to the podcast.

I'm talking with Corinne Mossati founder of the gourmantic garden website 

If you have any feedback email or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Sustainable Floristry Means Sustainable Cut Flowers


Sustainable Floristry

Have you ever thought about what happens to the tons of flowers that are sold around Australia for weddings, funerals, special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries? 
Hydrangea flowers for sale
Perhaps some of the lucky recipients might compost them when they're finished or at least throw in the in the green waste bin, but what of the others?
Did you know that approximately 10% of flowers that are sold in Australia are imported from overseas?

May not sound like much but do you know if the flowers you buy, are they imported or locally grown and does it matter?

A lot of flowers that are past their use by date end up in landfill, which I suppose means that they might decompose there but what of the mountains of wrapping, floral foam and other packing that the flowers come with?

According to the Sustainable Floristry Network "Excess packaging, plastic props, floral foam, and exotic blooms flown halfway around the globe are rationalised away because that’s what clients expect."

The next problem is that imported flowers are often sprayed with a glyphosate based chemical to prevent customers taking cuttings of the plant, before they arrive. then they are sprayed with the carcinogen methyl bromide, after entering Australia.

Imported flowers include Roses, Carnations, Orchids, Tropical Foliages and Chrysanthemums are these sourced from places like Kenya, Thailand, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Holland and Vietnam.

Nadine recommends that cut flowers should be bought when in season. Easily done by asking the florist where the flowers are from.

Marianne (radio host) speaks with 'Sustainable Floristry Network" ambassador and floral educator Nadine Brown of about the meaning of sustainable floristry.
Listen to the podcast

So ask the question when you next buy flowers, are these flowers locally grown?
Check out the sustainable floristry website

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Nematodes on Plants: Friend or Foe?


Nematodes part 1: the backstory

Did you know that there are 1,000,000 species of nematodes that have been identified? 
Galling from root knot nematode on tomato plant

Nematodes live in our environment and although microscopic, unsurprisingly, are related to earthworms 
  • The majority of nematodes aren't plant or crop destructors.
However, the few that attack the cell walls of plants can cause serious damage from which the plant/crop usually doesn't recover.
  • Then there's the problem of identifying what's going on with plants that are affected by nematodes.
  • Have you ever had plants that seem to wilt despite you watering them religiously? 

What they look like

Nematodes are a round worm but because they are unable to be seen by the naked eye, I would describe them as thread like with a large head and mouth.

Arm yourself with a hand held magnifying glass and have a look at the roots of plants that you suspect have been attacked by nematodes. You should be able to see them then.

Coffee tree nematode
If nematodes are on your plants the symptoms range from perhaps they’re just stunted and don’t seem to grow much, r like the coffee tree pictured, continually looks like it's wilting despite the watering it receives. Another symptom is yellowing of foliage.
Once the plant has been dug up, nodules on roots will be evident. However, other factors create nodules on roots as in nitrogen fixing plants such as plants in the Fabaceae family.

What could be the problem? Wilting symptoms can be attributed to a range of other factors.

So let’s find out by listening to the podcast

Your host  of Real World Gardener, Marianne is talking with Steve McGrane, agriculturist and horticulturist.

Part 2 is when  we tackle the many, many ways you have to control the bad nematode, namely root knot nematodes.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Nematodes pt 2

Root Knot Nematodes:Control

So if you have correctly identified that your plants are affected by root knot nematodes, what can be done about it? Remember, they look different to nitrogen fixing nodules on roots of plants.
tomato nematode

Controlling nematodes

1.Cultural Control by
  • rotating your plants-nematodes only survive 1 year in the soil.
2.Growing plants that help reduce nematode numbers
  • Asparagus, peanut plants, Corn, Garlic, marigolds.
3.Biofumigants such as green manure crops, especially
  •     Mustard plants release isothyocyanates.
4. Neem Oil drench

5. BeneficialNematodes
  • EcoGrow supply beneficial nematodes.  
6. Chytosan found in the shells of insects or animals like prawns.
  •  Steve recommends crushing some prawn shells into your compost: will also control other fungal problems.
Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Your host  of Real World Gardener, Marianne is talking with Steve McGrane, agriculturist and horticulturist.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Success with Germinating Native Seeds


Germinating Native Seed

Australian plants have evolved over thousands of years to respond to a variety of climatic extremes, from fires, to droughts to floods as well as being grazed by native animals.

Wattle seeds need boiling water treatment
Such a long, long time  for plants to evolve as well as being isolated from the rest of the world has meant that a high diversity of flora abounds, so that it would be unusual to think that everything grows the same way.

Australian plants have developed various  adaptations so that the seeds of which can grow in the most suitable environment for that species of plant to survive. 
A suitable environment often means seeds don't germinate until a bushfire removes competing plants giving the seeds more access to sunlight and nutrients.
Then they only have a short window to germinate. 
The hard seed coat is therefore a protective layer that allows the seed to stay dormant for great lengths of time, even years before germination.

So how do plants keep germinating and what tricks have native seeds to keep them alive until conditions are right?

There are specific requirements for some seeds and in fact a wide range of native seeds require you, the gardener to break their dormancy before they germinate. Some are more difficult than others.

So what are some of the treatments to break native seed dormancy?

Boiling water or hot water treatment is recommended for hard-coated seeds such as Acacia (wattle)and Hardenbergia  species .
This involves boiling some water and waiting for a minute so it's just off the boil,  then soaking the seeds for a few to eight hours. The time varies depending on the seed.

Smoke chemical treatment or smoke treatment to break the dormancy of native seeds.
Wildflower seed starter granules or similar, are vermiculite or another bio material that contains the smoke chemicals from the burning of bush materials.
The way you use it is to sprinkle some on top of the potting mix after sowing the seeds, and on the first watering, the smoke chemicals are released over the seeds.

You can also put some of these seed starter granules in the soaking water of the seeds in the hot water treatment method.
  • Flannel flowers
    Not all seeds need smoke chemical treatment, but there's a few that benefit from using it, in fact are difficult to germinate without it. 
    • Sturt Desert peas comes to mind, also Dianella, Philotheca, Xanthorrhoea, Actinotus, Callistemon and Banksia.
As a general rule, sowing and smoking should be done when you would expect the seeds to germinate in nature.

Both these methods basically speeds up what often takes months or even years in nature to get seeds to germinate.

TIP: Be aware of the germination temperature that seeds need to germinate.

But what other tricks are there?
Steve talks about germinating Davidson plum seeds using the hot water treatment in the podcast.  

So let’s find out more.

PLAY: Germinating native seeds pt 2_20th May 2022

I'm talking with Steve McGrane, horticulturist and agriculturist.

I hope that’s given you some idea about perhaps why some of the native seeds are more difficult to germinate than regular seeds.

In fact not everything germinates the same way, and here lies the problem.

That’s why a bit of research into the seed type you’re trying to germinate goes a long way.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Pruning Native Plants with Success


Pruning Native Plants

For some reason, many gardeners have been reluctant to prune their native plants, thinking that if they did, those plants might never recover or worse, just drop dead.

Then there’s the gardener that’s reluctant to prune something that they’ve just planted because after all, they paid good money for that plant, so why should I cut off the top third as soon as I plant it? 
Seems counter intuitive doesn’t it?

If we look back at when native gardens first started to be in vogue in the 70's, this might have been true of many of the cultivars that were grown back then.

Plus, there was the theory that native gardens should be somewhat wild and untamed, much like they are in the bush. 
Grevillea 'Lollipops' photo M Cannon
All this did was result in a messy looking 'wild' garden which fell out of favour rather quickly, although not quick enough for some.

Grevillea 'Superb' photo M Cannon
Fast forward to the 21st century, and by now, many native plants have been selectively bred or hybridised to produce much healthier, stronger native plants that not only can be pruned but should be pruned to look their best.

So how should we prune our native plants?

Steve and I are not saying that you need to clip everything into a ball to make it look like a formal garden.
Not at all, but you do need to clip plants to reign them in so you have some control over their growth.

General rule: Prune after flowering

A good tip for plants that have a specific flower time such as Golden Penda.
Plants that flower for most of the year like Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon' or 'Grevillea Ned Kelly,' or Peaches and Cream.  

In these cases, leave the flowers during the winter months when food is scarce for nectar feeders such as birds and possums. Prune off one-third of growth at the end of winter.

Steve's tip: As soon as you get your plant home, give it a light prune or even a tip prune depending on the size of the plants. Do this often, every 6 or so weeks to make the plant more bush.

Marianne's tip: Some plants respond to constant tip pruning and become more like a shrub than a tree with a straight bole of around 2 metres, for example, Ivory Curl tree or Buckinghamia celsissima.

It might seem risky, but if you only prune lightly, then you’ll be rewarded with a much better looking plant.

Some native plants respond to being pruned close to the ground such as Callistemon (although not too often), Melaleuca 'Claret Tops,' and Breynia cernua.
Look for varieties that suit hedging.

To find out more, listen to the podcast.
PLAY: Native pruning_22nd April 2022

I'm talking with Steve McGrane, Horticulturist and agriculturist.

If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Achieve Longer Lasting Flowers in the Vase


Tips For Longer Lasting Flowers in the Vase

Flowers are so uplifting and whilst they’re lovely in the garden, in the home, you’ve got them to enjoy for longer.
After all, you’re not watching your flowers that are in the garden for very long.
  • There are plenty of 'old wives tales', and just plain outright myths about  what to do to your flowers to make them last past 3 days in the vase. 
  • Ever heard of putting a copper penny in the vase water? Well it's sounds like it could work but in reality, it doesn't do anything for the flowers.
  • What about dissolving an aspirin in the water? That's sheer nonsense.
  • So how can you make the most of your cut flowers?
I'm talking with Nadine Brown, florist, floral designer and educator of
who shares her tried and true tips from over thirty years of experience in the flower business.
  • Some of those tips you may have heard before on my Real World Gardener program and one of them is that flowers are ethylene sensitive.
  • That means flower sellers on the roadside are not just selling your flowers, but a whole bunch of ethylene laden flowers that have been covered by exhaust fumes. 
  • That also means that your fruit bowl of bananas, apples and pears are also emitting ethylene which hasten the demise of your precious flowers if they're nearby.

Nadine recommends that 
  • The best place to buy your flowers is from the grower or from a florist.
  • The next best tip is clean fresh water every couple of days is the next best thing for your flowers.  
    • If you recut the stems on an angle as you do that, then you're increasing the vase life of your flowers. Doing this under water prevents air bubbles from blocking any uptake or food or water too.
    • Filtered water isn't totally necessary.
  • Coming second those first tips is a spoonful of vodka!!

Is scalding the stems a myth or fact?

You probably have heard of scalding hydrangea stems by placing those woody stems in boiling hot water for 30 seconds to a minute, then straight into cold water.?
Perhaps you thought that was a bit of fuss over nothing?

The truth is this works for woody stems such as hydrangeas and roses, plus a few others like lavender and poppies. Not all flowers though.

Using boiling water or scalding, expels air bubbles or trapped air from the stems, which as before, blocks uptake of water and nutrients.

For more tips listen to the podcast and watch the tutorial that Nadine has generously provided on 'Care and Condition for your flowers.

The link for the Care and Conditioning tutorial is just one of over 50 tutorials in Nadine’s membership library,

So let’s listen to the podcast.

PLAY: Tips for longer lasting flowers_10th June 2022
If you have any questions you can email us or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Climber Heroes and Climber Shrubs: What Are They?

Conomorpha fragrans


Climber Heroes

This design series is about plants that are categorised as non-general lines.

Every week I’ve been saying that were talking about plants that you won’t necessarily find in your big box store or possibly even in your nursery so you may have to search for them.

These plants are so worthwhile that because they provide year round interest with their foliage colour, texture and contrast, not just their flowers.

Today perhaps some climbers fit the bill

Peter refers to cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which means that overnight winter temperatures are down to about 5 degrees.

Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

Peter mentioned these climbers
  • Hoya carnosa
    Conomorpha fragrans often called climbing frangipani although it has nothing to do with the frangipani genus-Plumeria. The flower does look similar to the frangipani flower and are highly scented.
    • vigorous habit requiring a solid support
    • in cooler areas plant against a north facing wide. Deciduous in cold areas.

    • Dombeya ianthotrycha (tropical garden society of Sydney)-a winter flowering climber with large paper thin leaves. Flower colour is a muted red with a hint of orange. Can be trained as an espalier or a bun shaped shrub.

    • Hoya carnosa or wax flower, better in pots with specialised potting mix. If planting in the ground, must have well drained soil.
      • TIP: don't cut those flowering spurs off -  this 

    Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show ) is talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design.

    Climber Shrubs

    This design series that covers everything from mixed shrub borders, sub-shrubs, climbers, hero trees to best garden bromeliads but use plants that are non-general lines.

    I have to say, Peter Nixon, RWG’s contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

    Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.
    Hibiscus geranioides

    Climber shrubs-what are they and how could I use them as 'garden fixes’ in my cool subtrops garden ?

    In fact if you were search for the term climber-shrub, you would be hard pressed to find it on the internet.

    Seems like a contradiction because climbers need support to climb whilst shrubs are free standing. But what about those plants that climb over themselves to form a sort of mounding shrub?

    Some of these types of shrubs are self-striking which might be called suckering.

    Insta examples from Peter Nixon

     Juanaloa aurantiaca -  or commonly called Golden Fingers because the flowers look like a little bunch of lady finger bananas.  Minimum winter overnight 6-7 degrees C

    Gmelina philipensis - 'Parrot Beak'. A deciduous shrub with unusual yellow flowers that resemble a parrot beak.

    Hibiscus geranoides-native to Australia. Loves a 'La Nina' type of weather. Interesting foliage texture

    Bauhinia tomentosa-sulphur flowering semi-deciduous  shrub to 3m with a cascading habit.

    Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast. Marianne (host of Real World Gardener radio show ) is talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design.

    Friday, 20 May 2022

    Bright Shade Planting But Not In The Gloom


    Bright Shade Planting

    This design series is about plants that are categorised as non-general lines, in other words, plants that are not production grown that then become available in several different sized pots. This series is also about year round interest in the garden even when plants are not in flower. Imagine opening the back door to look at a sea of just green with no distinguishing features! A tad boring don't you think?

    Instead, think of plants with different sized and shaped leaves, that might also have contrasting colours.

    Plants we mention in this series, you won’t necessarily find in your big box store or possibly even in your nursery so you may have to search for them.

    These plants are so worthwhile that because they provide year round interest with their foliage colour, texture and contrast, not just their flowers.

    So you’ve got some shady areas that’s under trees. This spot is usually thick with the roots of the trees so will be difficult to plant anything there that will survive the root competition, or will it?
    This is where you have to think outside the square and look at plants that don't need to grow in too much soil.

    Cryptostephanos vansonii

    What are you going to grow in these root ridden shady areas?

    Peter mentioned

    • Calanthe sylvatica-a ground orchid-good for moist shade
    • Philodendron marshalliana-has storage stems and not a climber.

    • Syningia bullata and S. Canescens and S. cardinalis other syningia sp-small cordex that can regrow from.
    • Cryptostephanos vansoni

    I say every week that Peter Nixon, RWG’s contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

    Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.
    I'm talking with Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design.

    Have a listen to the podcast.

    Mixed Shrub Borders Are In Again


    This is a series about foliage colour and contrast and textural contrast  for year round interest. The focus is also on non-general lines instead of production grown planting. In other words, plants that may not necessarily be easy to find but so worth the effort. We kick off the series with mixed shrub borders.


     Are they a thing of the past or a living process that still has relevance for the modern smaller garden?

    Hibiscus capitolia 'Apricot Sport'
    This kind of design style has been used for hundreds of years because it has great garden appeal.  There is no reason for it be considered irrelevant or 'old hat,' simply because it is so adaptable. It can be either formal or informal, full of colour and contrast or not, annuals, perennials and shrubs.

    Today though, it's all about the shrubs and is a start of the design series that covers everything from mixed shrub borders, sub-shrubs, climbers, hero trees to best garden bromeliads.

    I have to say, Peter Nixon  and Real World Gardener's contributor for this series, focuses largely on what he calls cool sub-tropical garden or ‘cool sub-trops’ which he refers to often.

    Don’t be put off if you live in a different climate because often plants adapt to a variety of climatic conditions and are worth a try.

    Peter mentions the following shrubs as his 'best.'

    Posoqueria longiflora

    • Tibouchina multifida-not more than 1.5m in height.
    • Hibiscus capitolio  'apricot sport'-double flowering hibiscus, slightly pendulous. 2.5m in height.
    • Posoqueria longiflora-commonly called Japanese Needle flower. Has perfumed flowers with a long white tube, height to 3m in semi-shade.
    • Brunsfelsia macrantha, 
    • Acokanthera oblongifolia - Bushmans Poison, 
    • Gardenia grandiflora ’Star’, 
    •  Rosa sanguineus, 

    • R. chinensis ’Ten Thousand Lights'

    Let’s find out more, I'm talking with  Peter Nixon of Paradisus garden design.,