Garden Clinic Blog

Keep in touch with what we're doing, there's always something going on. Our team has been busy gathering interesting, helpful and exciting stories for you to enjoy. Seasonal inspiration from our garden to yours.

What's in the Love My Orchids Pack?

What's in the Love My Orchids Pack?

This week we have an extra special gift to say thank you for joining us at the club – a beautiful Sarcochilus orchid – and a box full of orchid fertilisers to help you grow beautiful flowers. Strikeback Fertiliser from Neutrog, Orchid Indoor food drippers from Yates and Seasol. All this plus a Platinum membership, best get in quick



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What to do this week: Prune climbing roses

What to do this week: Prune climbing roses

Every suburban paling fence should be swaddled with a rose! Our fence at The Garden Clinic HQ is adorned with Crepescule, a glorious old rambling rose from 1904. It can be trained against a trellis or as we have done, along wires attached to the fence. Some people are intimidated by climbing roses, uncertain of how to prune them. It’s not difficult; all you need is a sharp pair of secateurs and long leather gloves to protect your arms.

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Star of the Season: Hellebores

Star of the Season: Hellebores

If there’s one flower that’s both shamelessly promiscuous and awkwardly shy, it’s the winter rose, or hellebore.

She loves cold temperatures, the crisp frost and chilling air that comes with winter. We find it incredible that her delicate beauty can withstand such bone-crunching cold. But she also loves the winter sun beneath deciduous trees that then provide her with essential summer shade when these trees come back into leaf.

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What to do this week: Plant ‘Crown Vegetables’

What to do this week: Plant ‘Crown Vegetables’

Asparagus and rhubarb are two long-lived plants you can grow from crowns planted in winter. The crown is a section of the plant with roots attached. Crowns are more expensive than seed but offer a shorter wait till harvest.Both these plants do best with an entire garden bed to themselves

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In the Vegie Patch: Sow tomato, eggplant and capsicum seeds indoors

In the Vegie Patch: Sow tomato, eggplant and capsicum seeds indoors

Last week we sowed five seeds of an oxheart tomato (Cuore Di Bue Rugantino) in small pots in a mini greenhouse sitting on a heat pad in our laundry.

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The Brilliant Banksia

The Brilliant Banksia

Do you remember the Big Bad Banksia Man from the pen of May Gibbs in her famous classic, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie? May had a soft spot for banksias and so do we. Their golden candles are a beacon for bees and a haven for birds. Grow it as a dense shrub to provide safe haven for little birds such as the blue wren.

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What to do this week: July Rose Pruning

July is rose pruning month if you live in a frost-free garden. It’s best to wait until frosts have finished before pruning roses because new shoots will be frosted and the rose plant will suffer. Take a small container of Dettol and a cloth to clean secateurs between roses.

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In the Vegie Patch: Time to sow tomatoes

In the Vegie Patch: Time to sow tomatoes

July is a good time to sow tomatoes. It takes 6 to 8 weeks for seeds to germinate and seedlings to grow big and strong enough to be planted out in the vegetable garden.

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Plant of the Week: Luculia

Plant of the Week: Luculia

The lovely Luculia is a wonderful addition to your winter garden. We have just planted two of them in a new east-facing position in our patch with morning sunshine near the front entrance to our home.

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A Camellia Update

A Camellia Update

This week all the delectable varieties of Camellia reticulata are coming into flower. Flowers are massive; some as large as dinner plates, up to 25cm across. Flowers have a ruffle of petals, and come in rich reds, deep pinks and crimson. These beauties flower later and longer than other camellias, blooming between early May and late September. Most varieties bloom for two months.

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What To Do This Week

What To Do This Week

As the cold weather continues its good to prune plants like bamboo, shell ginger, palms and canna. Feed native plants, in particular the hybrids, which will respond with fabulous flowering latte winter. Use a fertiliser specially for native plants. We love Bush Tucker (Neutrog). Cultivate between rows of vegetables using a single tine, made by removing two tines from a three-pronged cultivator. This opens the soil allowing air and water to penetrate and dislodges weeds.

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Winter Orchids

Winter Orchids

Dancing Lady (oncidium) is a captivating orchid, much more forgiving of bright light than the Moth Orchid. You can grow oncidium on bark slabs and in baskets and hang them in trees. With large fleshy pseudobulb and masses of roots, its prone to rotting if you over-water. Keep them between 18 - 22C during daylight and 10 – 18C at night and you will be rewarded with sprays of ‘dancing ladies’.

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What to do this week

What to do this week

The good news is that as winter arrives, weed growth slows. Here are a few jobs that will really make a difference.


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In the Vegie Patch … it’s time to plant rhubarb

In the Vegie Patch … it’s time to plant rhubarb

Winter vegetables are growing well in our patch despite the fact they don’t receive full day sunshine.


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Mad About Orchids

Mad About Orchids

Orchids, like our Stanhopea (Upside-down orchid) need feeding each month. So if, like me, you're mad about orchids take care of them now for the floral reward later. Here are some tips about three of my favourites to help make orchid care quick and easy.

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Winter Wallflowers

Winter Wallflowers

Wallflowers make the perfect winter and spring cut flowers; keep picking and dead-heading and they'll flower right through to spring.It is one of our favourite flowers, deliciously fragrant, a soft mix of mauve and apricot.

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What's in the Swagman Master Gardener Pack

What's in the Swagman Master Gardener Pack

An 8L Swagman sprayer, the best on the market, plus everything you need to create our famous Magic Mix: ECO Aminogro, Seaweed concentrate, ECO Neem and of course ECO Oil.

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What To Do This Week

What To Do This Week

This week in the veggie patch we're planting out and watching out for early winter pests.

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What to do this week: Graham's to do list

What to do this week: Graham's to do list

Time to build a compost system and turn the green waste your garden generates into a priceless resource.

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In the Veggie Patch: It’s time to plant strawberries

In the Veggie Patch: It’s time to plant strawberries

It is remarkable how the taste of home-grown strawberries is so much sweeter than the ones from the supermarket. Delicious sweet strawberries grow well in pots, vegetable gardens and ornamental garden beds.

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Time to Plant Flowers

Time to Plant Flowers

Stock, pansy, viola, poppy, primula and polyanthus can all be planted now.

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Persimmon: a Touch of the Orient

Persimmon: a Touch of the Orient

This small, upright, deciduous tree makes a fine autumn accent in any garden. Its spreading canopy, glossy green foliage, brilliant autumn colour, and a bounty of sweet, flavourful, bright orange-red fruit make it very desirable. Sadly the persimmon has gone out of fashion and needs to make a come-back.

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The Amazing Amazon lily, the Eucharis Lily

The Amazing Amazon lily, the Eucharis Lily

Also known as Amazon lily (Eucharis grandiflora), is a member of the Amaryllis family and was originally collected along the Rio Magdalena.

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Sydneysiders called on to look out for parthenium weed

Sydneysiders called on to look out for parthenium weed

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has urged the community to be on the lookout for parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, following confirmation of the first incursion of the weed in Sydney.

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Plums

Plums

As if the beautiful spring blossom of the plum were not enough to make it a lovely small tree choice for the home garden, it also deliver splump juicy fruit for eating, stewing, bottling, drying and cooking. The only question is which plum to plump for. Here we consider the options.

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Know your: indoor trophy plants

Know your: indoor trophy plants

The houseplant community has christened its collectible rarities ‘unicorn plants’.Linda is a unicorn hunter and grows her burgeoning collection in her indoor tropical jungle, occasionally giving them a summer holiday outdoors under the banksia.

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Meet Justin Buckley, Gardens manager, National Trust Victoria

Meet Justin Buckley, Gardens manager, National Trust Victoria

Rippon Lea’s fernery is a rare gem of 19th century Australian gardening, and a favourite spot for the Gardens Manager of the National Trust Victoria.

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Barewood

Barewood

Best known for sauvignon blanc, the Marlborough region in the north of New Zealand's South Island is also a centre of great garden making. Barewood is one of the gems.

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Plum clafoutis

Plum clafoutis

This easy batter pudding, fragrant with late-summer fruit, is delicious warm from the oven, and any leftovers are just as good served cold for a breakfast treat with a dollop of thick yoghurt.

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How to: stop snails invading precious pot plants

How to: stop snails invading precious pot plants

Keep both pets and snail-sensitive plants safe with these solutions.

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Star of the season: Empress of Brazil

Star of the season: Empress of Brazil

Empress of Brazil seems to have captured everyone’s imagination as they start to flower late summer. Learn more about this beauty.

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How to: make sweet chilli jam

How to: make sweet chilli jam

This recipe is easy to increase to meet your chilli surplus. Every year I team up with my father-in-law for our Chilli Jam Day - We turn six kilograms of chilli into 25 jars of delicious ruby-red sticky jam.

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How to: Make Potting Mix

How to: Make Potting Mix

Plants in pots need the right nutrients, water, air and a quality potting mix to live happily ever after.

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How to: cope with a deluge

How to: cope with a deluge

While subsoil drainage, such as drainage grates, gravel pits and sumps, are effective in light rain, heavy downpours overwhelm pipes and the water sheets across the landscape. Arno King has some tips top help cope when the heavens open up.

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How to: bake a honey and rosemary cake

How to: bake a honey and rosemary cake

Rosemary is a reliable stalwart in the herb garden. We love it finely chopped and pressed with fresh pepper on to steaks before barbecuing or sprinkled over roasting potatoes. This cake shows off rosemary’s sweet side.

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Visit: Collectors' Plant Fair

Visit: Collectors' Plant Fair

Take a treasure home! Talk to the experts. Grow a garden. Be inspired by Australia’s largest plant fair coming to the Hawkesbury in late March.

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Angel's Trumpet, Brugmansia

Angel's Trumpet, Brugmansia

It’s easy to see why the common name for the dramatic Brugmansia is angel’s trumpet. These sub-tropical beauties offer months of flowers and fragrance, all in an easy-care package.

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Berries

Berries

Growing berries is not a cinch - they have fierce thorns, troublesome pruning rules and require commitment (and hardware) to keep wildlife away from ripening fruit. But if berry-stained lips sound to you like a rich reward, take notes from Linda’s masterclass, and plant in winter.

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Caramel pineapple upside-down cake

Caramel pineapple upside-down cake

Sweet pineapple and toasty coconut are always a happy combination and they make this cake mouth-wateringly delicious.

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Know Your Hibiscus

Know Your Hibiscus

The flamboyantly tropical members of the family are best known, but these chorus girls of summer are not the family’s only gems.

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How to grow: Apples

How to grow: Apples

Pick delicious crisp apples from your own Garden of Eden! Apples are commonly grown in Victoria, Tasmania and cooler areas of western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales, and are becoming easier to grow due to improved disease resistance.

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Apples 3 ways

Apples 3 ways

More recipes for your apple harvest.

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Summer Trumpets

Summer Trumpets

Trumpet flowers create impact with their size, profusion and hot colour tones. Not for gardeners who prefer soft romantic pastels, these subtropical stunners are for those who love bold brassy colour and want to create a ‘holiday-at-home’ feel.

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Visit: Wildwood

Visit: Wildwood

A cool-climate garden of five acres gives Sue and Wayne Tapping room to grow the beauties they love. Here they share what’s keeping them busy this spring


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Gazpacho

Gazpacho

The freshness of fennel and lemon add a modern zing to our favourite cold soup for hot days.

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We're loving white

We're loving white

We're all white for summer

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Secrets of Bougainvillea

Secrets of Bougainvillea

Jeanne Baret disguised herself as a boy to join her naturalist lover on Louis de Bougainville’s great expedition. A fine botanist in her own right, Jeanne is now thought to have collected the first specimens of bougainvillea in the jungles of Brazil.

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Our list of summer jobs

Our list of summer jobs

In January, clip, snip, mow and trim. It's time for the post festive clean-up in the garden

In February, humidity is at its summer peak. The garden will need a helping-hand to get through the next few weeks and into the cooler weather.

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Meet: Jeremy Critchley, nurseryman

Meet: Jeremy Critchley, nurseryman

Jeremy Critchley’s Green Gallery Nursery developed a focus on indoor plants once he moved into an apartment and wanted something different.

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Great Dixter

Great Dixter

Is this old place England’s most exciting contemporary garden?

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