Category Archive: Gardenworld News

We Love Indoor Plants

By James Wall

We love indoor plants, or any sort of plant that can in any way be grown inside a house, for both pleasure, and to clean air. 

One of our more creative staff members, Greg, has just planted out 10 classic indoor plants in 10 classic pots. 

Pansy flowers perfect as a garnish.

If the food in The Gardenworld Cafe was not already delicious by itself, today it was beautifully garnished by our chefs. They have used freshly picked pansies – plants from the viola family. Pansy flowers are actually edible and are sometimes seen in salads,along with other edible flowers such as nasturtiums and calendula. This time they have combined them with sprigs of rosemary, to make the perfect garnish. It is a simple idea for your next dinner party.

The cafe is open 9 to 5, seven days a week and has a huge range of both sweet and savoury dishes, The sausage rolls and gourmet pies are baked in house, along with most of the main meals. The selection of cakes includes an amazingly tasty vanilla slice !

Pansies also make great pressed flowers which can be used on gift cards. Of course the big old phone books used to be perfect for this, but you ca also buy a flower press.

Pansies are in full flower right now, but you won’t find that many for sale in the nursery because the little seedlings are best planted the autumn and winter to be flowering at their best right now. You can buy them in advanced pots for some instant colour.

Local Tip: Get to the cafe before 12.15 for lunch and you are almost guaranteed a seat. For large groups, bookings are advised. Call Dani on 9769 1019.

‘The Block’ hits Gardenworld…

One of Gardenworld’s resident design teams, Phillip Withers Landscape Design have been working really hard over the past week on a terrace garden on the hit television show on channel 9 – the ‘The Block’. Phillip, is pictured centre, with Maxine and Karstan. Outdeco screens are available at Lotus Watergardens and online.

They put together a garden with the wonderful Maxine and Karstan which was about being fun, entertaining and lively. It contained Pops of colour through decorative screening and patterned pots to enhance the space, along with vertical gardens with all sorts of plants from luscious foliage through to the colourful succulents, even the additional Japanese string balls to hang from the roof to create different eyelines…

Phil explains that “The design looks to frame a different view from every room, so it was all about creating a set of photos to enhance this both from the exterior and from the interior to capitilise on the central garden space.

So if you enjoyed the design as much as we did, be sure to get down to Gardenworld where Phil has created a mini replica of all the ideas created with Maxine and Karstan on ‘The Block’ and Phil and the team would be happy to talk to you about creating something like this in your very own home..


Australian Garden Show – Sydney 2014

It’s been a busy month or so leading up to the Australian Garden Show Sydney (AGSS), with 3 designers located in the Landscape Design Studio at Gardenworld making the journey to Sydney to complete 3 individual gardens for the Australian Garden Show Sydney.

Brent Reid and Kim Earl from Candeo Design and Phillip Withers of Phillip Withers Landscape Design are now back in the studio creating gardens all whilst coming down from the excitement of winning 2 Bronze Medals, a Gold Medal and ‘Best Balcony Garden’ at the show.

Phillip Withers put together an absolute gem called ‘My Island Home’, featuring a timber beach hut and a waved and curving bridge surrounded by tall palms and colourful succulents which mimicked the Great Barrier Reef. You could have imagined being on a beach anywhere in the world as the garden transported you to a place of relaxation.

Brent Reid created a hiding spot with ‘Cache’, a stunning garden in which you could retreat from the world and slow down the pace of life. A giant Bronze snail called Joseph hid in the textural planting and added character to the garden while a steel arched arbour created a sense of intimacy. It really was an escape from the world with a bit of fun giving it a light hearted and joyous feeling.

Kim Earl’s balcony garden was aimed to entice people living in high population residential areas to look at their outdoor space in a new light. Planting on differing levels showed how you could create a garden on a balcony and cantilevered bar turned the space into a usable area. Reinvesting in green spaces within the cities was paramount, and what’s an outdoor area if not complete by being able to enjoy it.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t ideal however the growth from last year’s show (the augural year) to this year was amazing. AGSS had more gardens and stall holders than the previous year and the infrastructures put into place to assist people getting to the show were unfaultable.

Watch out for next year’s show, if this year was anything to go by it’s going to be a cracker!

Blueberry Burst – extra large fruit.

Blueberry Burst has been bred in Australia. It has large fruit size and is high yielding. It is early in season to flower and early to fruit. What we really like about it is that it is an evergreen, so won’t drop it’s leaves.

It is said that the fruit can be as large as a one doller australian coin. Harvest time is stated to be August September for a cooler Melbourne garden. This is early and we’ll be interested to see how local home gardeners go.

The extra large fruit size has been obtained by traditional plant breeding methods, which has taken the plant breeder many years to perfect. Different blueberry varieties with different characteristics are cross pollinated until

The fruit is a crisp skinned, sweet fruit, harvested over 3 – 4 months resulting in a constant supply of delicious, healthy fruit, filled with blueberry’s renowned anti-oxidants.

This variety is an evergreen, “naturally dwarfing” variety growing to 1.0m high x 0.75m in width. It is self pollinating and because of its low chilling requirement can be grown anywhere in Australia. This variety has been growing in trials in both warmer and cooler climates in Australia with great success in all climates.

Some Growing Tips for achieving the ulimate blueberry crop.

Select a site that has full sun for most of the day. For Melbourne,  with high summer temperatures with multiple days over 36 degrees,  ensure plants receive shade from the afternoon sun and then move plants back out to full sun for Autumn, Winter and Spring. This could be achieved by growing in front of a west facing fenceline, or growing in a pot that can be moved. Otherwise, mulch well in summer, and water at the base of the plant early in the morning of a 36+ degree day. Don’t wet the leaves during the hot day, or they will fry.

For best results, the breeder recommends that Blueberry Burst® be grown in a pot or tub as this gives you more control over the pH, and gives good drainage. Blueberries are acid loving plants like camellias and azaleas. This requires a potting mix with a lower pH which we sell here in the nursery. You could also use aged pine needles as a mulch to aid in this process. pH 4.5 to 5.5 is what you are after.

Potting media could be 50% course pine bark mulch and 50% of our premium quality Camellia/ Azalea potting mix, mixed  together. For warm dry regions the addition of pine bark may not be necessary, however it is still worth considering to keep a well aerated pot which will extend the life of your Blueberry in a pot considerably.

Feeding - Use a good 3 month slow release fertilizer or organic fertilizer such as composted cow manure every 3 months and add a good liquid fertilizer with added trace elements twice through the growing season. A good high potassium liquid fertilizer every 2- 3 weeks applied to the potting mix throughout the growing season will assist with fruit size. Plant health is very important for best results. A good, strong, healthy plant with foliage free from disease is very important to achieve beautiful fruit. Do not allow plants to lose their leaves from poor nutrition or disease.

Watering - Because the potting media is free draining, in warm weather plants should be watered every 2 days (Give plants up to 6 months old 1.5 litres and mature plants 2- 3 litres of water per plant or until water dribble’s out of the pot base). In Winter this can be reduced by 50%. Do not over water. Avoid watering plants over their foliage, as this will help to avoid promoting conditions for leaf fungal diseases. A helpful saucer under the pot can be very handy in summer, or a even drip line for when growing in the ground.

Pest and Disease - All Blueberry varieties are susceptible to fungal leaf diseases under high humidity and high rainfall, including blueberry rust. Apply a good copper fungicide like ‘Kocide’ or ‘Yates liquid copper’ to protect against this. So if we get weeks of drizzly rain, a preventative spray may be wise to consider.

Check for Caterpillar damage on a regular basis and control when necessary with ‘Dipel’, a low toxic solution.

Monitor for scale insects. The first sign is ant activity in the bushes, as ants seek out the sugary secretions of the scale. Use white oil or try pouring a small amount of soapy water onto the infected area for control.

Finally, when all those berries arrive, protect from birds, possums, kids, mums and dads and everyone and everything because we all love blueberries !

Good Luck

Watercress – king of the superfoods ?

Nasturtium officinale is the botanical name for watercress.

Watercress is one of the oldest known leafy greens eaten by humans. It is a perennial plant native to Europe and Asia. It is semi aquatic and often grown in hydroponic systems. Others recommend growing it in ponds, with fresh water constantly flowing through. I find it grows well in a pot just under my tap. That way every time I turn the tap on, it is likely to get some water. It is much better home grown as it is difficult for supermarkets and fruit shops to handle logistically.

The truly amazing thing about watercress, is that this week it was listed as the number one food for nutritional value. According to USA’s  National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, watercress is at the top of the list for healthy food. It ranked twice as well as kale, and is highly valued because of its high levels of vitamins A, C, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Who would of thought this peppery little round leaved leafy green would pack so much of a punch !

Here is the list as compiled by Jennifer Di Noia, PhD. You can read the full report here.

Item _________Nutrient Density Score
Watercress ______100.00
Chinese cabbage__ 91.99
Chard __________89.27
Beet green ______87.08
Spinach ________86.43
Chicory________ 73.36
Leaf lettuce_____ 70.73
Parsley_________ 65.59
Romaine lettuce__ 63.48
Collard green ____62.49
Turnip green ____62.12
Mustard green___ 61.39
Endive ________60.44
Chive _________54.80
Kale __________49.07
Dandelion green__ 46.34
Red pepper_____ 41.26
Arugula________ 37.65
Broccoli ________34.89
Pumpkin ________33.82
Brussels sprout___ 32.23
Scallion _________27.35
Kohlrabi ________25.92
Cauliflower ______25.13
Cabbage ________24.51
Carrot _________22.60
Tomato ________20.37
Lemon _________18.72
Iceberg lettuce ___18.28
Strawberry _____17.59
Radish ________16.91
Winter squash___ 13.89
Orange ________12.91
Lime _________12.23
Grapefruit _____ 11.64
Rutabaga ______11.58
Turnip________ 11.43
Blackberry_____ 11.39
Leek __________10.69
Sweet potato ____10.51

Please note: raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry didn’t satisfy the criteria required for this particular test.

Gardening with soul – the movie

Love, faith…and compost.

This movie started today at the Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick. It is sure to be a gardeners favourite and an inspiration to anyone under the age of 90. If Sister Loyola can do all this in chilly New Zealand, there is no excuse for us younger Melbourne winter gardeners.

This lively, beautifully shot documentary is filmed almost entirely in the small community of Island Bay on the southern coast of Wellington and follows a year in the garden with 90 year old Sister Loyola Galvin, the main gardener at Home of Compassion. Sister Loyola’s optimism is infectious and it’s fed every day by her love of gardening. Themes of faith, aging and compassion sit alongside the practicalities of community life, issues within the Catholic Church and the importance of good compost in this intimate, funny and moving portrait of a woman approaching the end of her life.  

The following was written about this movie by Jo Randerson (NZ International Film Festival):

As the main gardener at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, her daily tasks include heavy lifting alongside vigorous spade and wheelbarrow work, which she sometimes performs on crutches. Loyola and the other Sisters of Compassion follow the vision of Mother Aubert to ‘meet the needs of the oppressed and powerless in their communities’. 

Filmmaker Jess Feast (Cowboys and Communists) has been following Sister Loyola over the last year, charting her journey through the seasons which included her 90th birthday. Through her garden, we begin to understand Loyola’s commitment to nurture all living things, especially those which ‘don’t get a good start’. From her early work as a nurse with sick or stillborn babies, to her role as a nun raising children with disabilities, we see Loyola’s incredible energy and faith in her God to carry her through the difficult times.

The lively, beautifully shot documentary (edited by Annie Collins) is filmed almost entirely in this small community on the southern coast of Wellington. With music by local musician David Long, and full of the sea- and garden-scapes that have informed Loyola’s life, Gardening with Soul uncovers a local legend and her community for the wider world. It is a conceptual triumph for Feast. Any belief we might harbour that becoming a nun is avoiding the real world is turned firmly on its head as we witness this extraordinary soul steer a sharp course through all weathers, trying to shine love on everything she sees.

Ticket prices: Adults $19, Child $13.50, Concession $14, Senior $11

More information: Classic Cinemas

Winners Of our Gardening With Soul competiton:


My favourite plant has to be the Venus Fly Trap. I was first given
one as a child and it was the perfect plant/pet combination. My
brother and I used to search the window sills to find dead flies to
feed it. They also remind me of one of my favourite movies : “Little
Shop Of Horrors” – while the plant was still cute of course.


My favourite plant is the jonquil.  In the depths of a dark and depressing Winter, up pops their vibrant flowers with the most intoxicating scent.  It is a lovely reminder that Spring is on the way.


my favourite plant is a Lemon Scented Gum. I grow it in a container in front of the entrance door to my house. Every time I go in or out I rub one of the leaves between my fingers and get invigorated by the fresh, strong aromatic smell. I use the leaves for tea or put it in the bath water. It also looks quite pretty: its new leaves are shiny and reddish, and the stems have little hairs that make it look red. Last but not least, the lemon scented gum is easy to care for – it has few pests, doesn’t mind being cut back, and keeps growing happily as long as it gets well watered in summer!

Gardenworld goes yarn bombing

The call came out from Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood. Find us some trees to yarn bomb. If you don’t know what yarn bombing is, its when some fanatical knitters, crocheters, stitchers and quilters get together and cover everyday objects with yarn.

It was not easy to find a tree with a reasonably thick trunk, yet still able to be wheeled through a door way. We managed to find four lovely Ficus macrophylla from one of our growers. Of course you would know these trees as Moreton Bay Figs. That’s right, those massive trees you see in parks that are decades old. In fact I remember my last trip to Sydney when I saw the giant fig at Government House. It’s around 169 years old !

Moreton Bay Fig

Moreton Bay Fig planted circa 1845

But back to the yarn bombing. The Eastland Park is a combined project, by local knitters from Domain Gracedale, Waldtreas Village Aged Care Facility, Wyreena Arts Centre, BUPA Aged Care Croydon and The Yarn Corner.

It is on at Eastland Shopping Centre from now until the 15th June. There is a list of activities for adults and kids on their website here.

Now you might think Ringwood is a long way from Gardenworld, but not any more. Driving the Eastlink Freeway, I get from Gardenworld to Eastland in about 20 minutes. The traffic is usually free flowing. For anyone in Ringwood’s surrounds you can get to Gardenworld in the same time, but you’ll have a different type of yarn when you get there. We’d love to see you !

If anyone wants to buy one of these magnificent 5 year old Moreton Bay Figs, they are available for $495 including Melbourne Metro delivery, but only while the 4 trees last, and only if you have a very big backyard.



The Cherry Blossoms of Japan

Bu Bonnie-Marie Hibbs

For many years I have admired Japanese landscape gardens and, in particular, the beauty of the cherry blossom season. Fortunately, earlier this month I was lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms. Throughout my two weeks of travelling around Japan I saw my fair share of cherry blossoms. After landing in Tokyo and having a good night’s rest I set off on my first official day sight-seeing, visiting two gardens.

One of the gardens I happened to stumble across when making my way to the stationCurious, I decided to take a look. The name of the garden is Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu’. The design and layout of the garden is what you would title as a ‘Stroll garden.’ There is a central lake which the rest of the garden is focused around. Rock and land formations have been styled to mimic and take certain aspects from the natural landscape. 

Some many consider the garden to be quite simple, but for such a ‘simple’ garden there is a surprising amount of history behind it.  The land that the gardens are currently flourishing on today was once a part of Tokyo bay; it was in 1655-1658 that this land was reclaimed and the gardens were constructed on. Unfortunately, Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu garden suffered significant damage on September 1st, 1923, when the Great Kanto Earthquake struck. Most of the trees that were once flourishing were reduced to ash from the fires that broke out. Amazingly, in April of 1924, one year later, the gardens were re-opened to the public and completely restored.

‘Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens’ was the next garden that I visited. It was quite overwhelming the amount of people there to celebrate the start of the cherry blossom season. Thousands of people had picnics laid out under the shadows of the cherry trees. Hundreds of people were taking photographs and some simply enjoying a pleasant day out strolling around the gardens. The amount of cherry blossom petals that were falling made it look like the ground was covered in snow it was beautiful.

I have made a small list of just some of the plants that were featured in this garden.

Unfortunately, not all of these plant varieties are available in nurseries around Australia but there are lots of great alternatives these days.

  • Chaenomeles speciosa (Flowering quince)                                       
  • Prunus serrulata var. serrulata
  • Malus halliana (Hall crabapple)                                                           
  • Prunus lannesiana cv. Hisakura
  • Rhododendron ponticum                                                                               
  • Prunus lannesiana cv. Sekiyama
  • Prunus campanulata                                                                                     
  • Prunus cv. Grandiflora
  • Prunus pendula cv. Pendula                                                                     
  • Prunus cv.  Albo-rosea
  • Prunus speciosa(Oshima zakura/cherry)                     
  • Prunus x yedoensis cv. Yedoensis
  • Prunus lannesiana (Carr.) Wilson                                                          
  • Prunus x subhirtella cv. Subhirtella
  • Prunus x kanzakura cv. Kanzakura,                                                          
  • Prunus campanulata
  • Prunus x kanzakura ‘Rubescens’                                                              
  • Prunus jamasakura Sied. ex Koidz,
  • Prunus ‘Youkouzakura’  (Sunlight/Sunshine Cherry)          
  • Magnolia liliiflora (white form)
  • Narcissus pseudonarcissus (wild daffodil, lent lily)
  • Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
  • Davidia involucrate (Dove tree)   

Please come down to the nursery and have a chat. We have a great range of ornamental trees available in the bare root season, which will start the second week of June.


Chaenomeles speciosa Orange form

Pieris japonica

A rewarding time for citrus.

By James Wall

After years of nurturing my precious citrus trees, this year the trees are paying me back.

Yes,  they do need regular watering, feeding and sometimes protection from horrible critters like Leaf-miner and Gall Wasp. Yes, they do grow rather slowly. Yes, Melbourne can be a little cold for some varieties.

But YES, this year I am getting loads of fruit and……..loving it.

Mandarin Japanese Seedless

This tree is only about 1.5 metres and already fruited last year. It consistently fruits in April, and the fruit are of a good size. It is my favourite citrus tree.

Mandarin Imperial

This tree has grown bigger than the Japanese Seedless and has more fruit, but the fruit are much smaller and are only starting to colour up now. On reflection I may have been wiser to give this tree a couple of liquid feeds coming out of summer to try and beef up the fruit a bit.

Orange Washington Navel

Its been a few years, but at last there are some thumping big oranges that have formed on this tree but they are still green at the moment. I saw this variety at a friends place down in Seaford a few years ago, and after tasting one straight off the bush, I just had to grow one at my place.


The tree is still only 1.5 metres, but it is really starting to thicken up, after about its fourth or fifth year.

It is the world’s most popular citrus as it is sweet, has a thick, easily removed rind and is nearly seedless. The fruit also breaks into segments nicely.

This variety was originally a mutant from Brazil, brought to the USA by a Presbyterian missionary. It really launched the Californian citrus industry in the late 1800s.

Lemon Meyer

This tree is a phenomenon ! It had been their many years before I moved in and has been declared one of the best lemon trees in the street. There are so many lemons all at once, that unless I bottle them, many of them will be given away at the nursery. I guess one of the advantages of Lisbon and Eureka lemons is that they spot fruit throughout the year rather than glut at once. They usually have bigger thorns though ! They are also true bitter lemons unlike the Meyer which is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or orange. It originated in China.

Lime Kaffir

Ok, so everyone uses the double leaves for Thai, Laos and Cambodian cooking, using them like bay leaves. There is also the zest which just smells amazing. I actually like to take the weird knobbly fruit and use it for juicing – yes, thats right I am a kaffir juice sinner !  It’s not that sour, but it does make me feel rebellious !


Ok, so all I can say to budding citrus growers is be patient. At first its seem like a long haul, but when you think that these trees will fruit almost every year now for the next 2o years of so, it is a most satisfying species of tree to grow. 

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