Category Archive: Gardenworld News

May in a Melbourne Garden.

By James Wall

We have been watching the citrus trees with great interest lately. There are lots of orange and yellow fruit starting to ripen. There are mandarins, oranges and lemons aplenty. The Japanese seedless mandarin hasn’t fruited this year, but the Imperial has done well. The important thing right now is that the trees do not dry out as this will affect the quality of fruit. Also, if they look hungry, feed with something like Thrive fruit and flower. This will help fatten up the later fruit. Fresh orange juice here we come!

 

Plectranthus Mona Lavender

For flower power, the Plectranthus Mona Lavender is looking sensational at the moment. It takes a shady spot and rewards with masses of lavender coloured flowers.

There are leaves starting to fall, but I see this as a positive. The trees are shedding some baggage so as to better survive the winter. Its loss is our gain, because leaves make a wonderful mulch. To speed up the process, you can run the mower over them just to break them up a bit. In a month or so, add some chicken pallets or blood and bone to really speed up the whole compost process. By late spring, this stuff will be like black gold.

Our worm farm got a makeover the other day. We took out the lower tray, picked out some of the worms to put in the newly added top tray and then packed the castings around the base of some fruit trees. The juice was diluted and watered onto plants. This was all long overdue, and I couldn’t believe the weight of the tray. I guess every night’s vegie scraps have been going in there religiously – it just amazes me how much these worms churn through. In this day and age, there is really no excuse for adding this stuff to general waste – we have enough of that as there is.

I am going to feed a section my lawn this week and will be using fast acting Troforte Rejuev8tor. Our big Wolfhound called ‘Wolfie’ has worn out a few patches this last year, so Iam using this fast acting fertiliser that adds live microbes which will assist in making more nutrients available to the grass. The little balls are not coated which is why they will act quickly. I am careful not to use my hands, as moisture on them may trigger off the remaining microbes in the pack. Once watered in, these microbes will start acting immediately.

 

Perfume Princess

One of the exciting new plants coming out this year is Daphne Perfume Princess. It has large pink springtime flowers that clothe the stems of this robust shrub and fill the garden with an exquisite perfume. ‘Perfume Princess’ is well worth the wait, forming a medium sized shrub with an attractive rounded habit. We have had a few batches in, but they are selling fast. 

Also look out for a Corydalis Blue Line – a really nice little blue flowering shrub. It has interesting foliage and is one of those rarer plants that has a blue flower.

 

 

 

Grampas Weeder

Weeds have become a bit of a nuisance all of a sudden. There are some less toxic sprays around, including some with salt and vinegar and some with pine oil. It is good to use these rather than just the glysophate based weed killers all the time. Glysophate is the chemical in Zero and Roundup. If we use this everywhere all the time, you can be sure that some weeds will evolve and become resistant to the chemical. What do we do then? All chemicals should be used sparingly and carefully so as to keep your family healthy, and keep the environment healthy. Also try using the famous Grandpa’s Weeder – its perfect for flat weeds like dandelions.

I’ve just cut back a few scrappy perennials, liquid fed the garlic and planted some more spinach and Italian parsley. There are a few beetroot to harvest and some big chunky broad bean seeds to take their place. The baby banana plants I cut off the sides of the big plants are potted up  and look like they may survive. Life rolls on in the garden and I am enjoying this moment.

A new florist to welcome in Mother’s Day.

It is with absolute pleasure that we introduce our new florist Blair Edwards to Gardenworld.

Blair has a passion for flowers and has been putting together beautiful bouquets here since January. Prior to that he had a florist in Chelsea, so is well know by some of our regulars.

He studied under Dot Humphris and has also featured works in The Melbourne Flower Show and has done wedding, funeral and corporate work. You can also buy simple bunches and arrangements at good value prices. There is also a range of vases, soft toys, cards and works by featured artists on display.

So if it is a big bunch of flowers you are after, Gardenworld Designer Florist is now open at Gardenworld. Open every day between now and Mother’s Day.

Hours after Mothers Day: 9am – 5pm Thursday to Monday. Although closed Tuesday and Wednesday, bunches will still be available for purchase from the nursery.

A major revolution in mulch is here.

Here is a new mulch that was developed by the proud 4th generation farmer and agronomist Sarah Curry. It was back in 2009 and she was pregnant with her first child at the time and was thinking how messy and time consuming mulching can be. Those bales can also be very dusty – what else could she use – the mind started ticking……..Major's MulchIntroducing lucerne mulching pellets.

They are heat treated to sterilise any weed seeds and compressed into a pellet for easy application. Once wet they swell to 3 times their size and settle around plants and don’t blow away like traditional mulch can. These mulching pellets also act as a soil conditioner adding organic nutrients to the soil in addition to conserving moisture.

Because the lucerne hay is compressed into a small smooth pellet, there is no harmful dust or spores.

100% Lucerne Mulching Pellets are simply 100% organic plant material, which will break down over several months, releasing mineralised nutrients into the soil, enriching natural organic soil nutrient levels used by plants to produce flowers and fruit.

Adding organic nutrients to your soil is recycling the way nature intended

The products are packaged in 10kg recycled paper bags (multi-walled with a plastic internal layer) that has a wax coating to repel moisture. They need to be stored under cover but can handle some moisture. Less plastic means less waste.

Mulching Pellets are also available in 3kg Balcony Bags that have a carry handle which are ideal for small area gardens or mulching a few pots.

Application:

Simply spread over the soil surface so the pellets are just touching, one layer thick, and thoroughly wet to saturation point. Over a few hours the Mulching Pellets will swell to 3 times their size and crumble to form a beautiful fluffy thick layer over the ensuing days. Replenish as required.

Major’s Mulch also make a Complete Compost which is a rich blend of sheep manure, lucerne hay and small amount of wheat straw composted for 4 years. Its is pure organic matter ready to boost any garden soil. 

About the farm:

Majors Mulch is sustainably produced on our family farm “Major’s Point” on The Bland, near Quandialla in South West NSW. If you’ve ever driven from Melbourne to Brisbane, you would have driven quite near it while going through West Wyalong.

The Bland is an area of rich fertile sedimentary flood plain country where the Burrangong and the Bland Creeks meet (and occasionally & spectacularly spread out!)

 Local legend has it, that Major Mitchell whilst surveying “The Levels”, as he called it, became trapped by rising flood water and was stranded on a small rise now known as “Majors Point”, our home.

For more information, have a look at the very beautiful website……… www.majorsmulch.com.au

Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fibre, and land reclamation.

Velociraptor carves out a home at Gardenworld

By James Wall

Brandon Kroon is not your average young man. Although he is an artist, his paint brush is a chainsaw. Although he creates beautiful sculptures from wood, it is not obtained without the noise and drama of a Stihl chainsaw.

We have just loaded his latest carving on to the Gardenworld truck and head in for a coffee at the The ‘The Storehouse’ in Mount Evelyn. This part of the world is famous for its local nurseries, including native plant nursery Kuranga. The Storehouse sells all sorts of local produce, nuts and spices and features local artists. It also does a damn good coffee.

Brandon has been displaying some his carvings there for the last few months. Some of his other carvings, the rest of the world never actually sees, as quite often he is asked to come out to a property and work on a piece of wood that a client has saved for such an occasion.

We talk a bit more about wood, including cypress pine. A lot of them are suffering from dieback which I explain to him is from a canker caused by fungal spores. These are carried by the wind, water droplets or insects. It affects a large range of species. Ironically, this has actually kept Brandon incredibly busy, as a lot of these old dieing trees on farms still have very usable wood and the cypress wood is great for chainsaw carving.

It was in the National championships in January this year where our giant raptor was created. With contestants from all over the world, the standard was high. Although Brandon didn’t win the event, he is considered by many in the industry as an up and coming young gun.  The log he drew did have a bit of rot in it, which he had to work around. Obviously, the width of the wood limits design extremes. Of course it’s not just done with a chainsaw. A lot of the finer details are finished on tools like Dremels, and other wood working gadgets. To me the highlight is the eggs  that the raptor stands above. They add a bit of drama, and remind us that these bird related dinosaurs were hatched from eggs.

Once tied down in securely in the truck, it was back to the nursery. A couple of staff commented on the smell of the wood. They picked it was cypress. It was something I hadn’t noticed until now, but that unique woody smell was definately there.

Velociraptors existed some 75 million years ago. They grew to about 2 metres high, the same sight as this wonderful wood carving that has found a new home and is now on display with the rest of the dinosaurs at Gardenworld. Clive Palmer, eat your heart out !

Links:

Brandon Kroon

The Storehouse Facebook Page

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.

Update: In 2015 edible flowers are a growing industry and much of the demand is being driven by high end restaurants such as The Fat Duck while it is here in Australia. Read about a successful edible flower grower on the ABC website.

 

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.

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