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Garden Radio Round Up April 1 - 2

A very wet week in Sydney and severe flooding in parts of South-east queensland and Northern NSW.

Our thoughts go out to those affected by the floods, and the families of those lost in the flood waters.

No rain in Melbourne this week, though.

Congratulations to the Phillip Withers Lansdscape Design team winning BEST IN SHOW at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show with their garden I See Wild.

The Phillip Withers Landscape Design team, with the support of Antique Perennials, Cactus Country, Alpine Tree Removals, and Pop and Scott Pots has bucked the conventional trend at MIFGS with a very natural looking landscape, light on built elements and with an extraordinarily varied plant palette. Mature natives are mixed in with giant agave feature plants, virticle ticle fence-post cactus, and edible plants at the inner boudaries make this garden a sensory experience. I See Wild is well worth the price of admission to MIFGS and we congratulate Phillip and his great team. Well done!


Phillip Withers award winning garden, 'I See Wild'. Photo - MIFGS


Bush Garden


You can use bottlebrush as a feature tree to attract birds and bees; in a regularly spaced row to screen neighbourly views; as a groundcover over an embankment; or as a low hedge at hip-height.

Encourage an autumn flush of bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) with a little native plant food. Trim the finished flowers 5cm behind the brushes to keep them compact and long-living.


Bottlebrush C.viminalis 'Captain Cook'. Photo - Graham Ross



Borer season

Check for borer damage on all deciduous trees, paying attention to the trunk at soil level. It‘s easier to check when trees are dormant and bare. If you find evidence of borer, like a hole in the trunk with sawdust known as frass. Using clothes-hanger wire to insert into the hole and catch the borer really is the best method to get rid of this bug and save your tree.


Borer holes are quite obvious. Catch the critter early and you could save the tree. Photo - Nebraska Forest Service.


Make a bee hotel

Autumn is also the time of year for native bees to begin nesting, getting ready for the colder weather ahead. Native solitary bees will search for small holes in trees, walls and structures to hide in, cap off the ends with mud or resin and shield against the winter chill.

Get the kids involved this school holidays. It's easy to do and helps give our little native pollinators somewhere safe to rest over winter.


Providing a home for native bees over winter can be great fun, and looks great in the garden.

Come away with us

Stonefields a rare pleasure

Paul Bangay is one of Australia’s most high-profile garden designers. His country garden, Stonefields, an hour or so from Melbourne in the hills between Daylesford and Ballarat, is featured in his new book, Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens, among other large projects in Australia, New Zealand and the Hamptons in New York.

Stonefields is rarely open to the public. Every two years the gates open to benefit the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, an event that drew 8000 visitors across a spring weekend this year. Bangay also hosts occasional tours: no more than 24 people, and Ross Tours was lucky enough to visit last year on a sunny morning when the irises and white rhododendrons were blooming, the wisteria was only just starting to fade, and the viburnums and dogwoods looked lovely.

We will again visit Paul Bangay's Stonefields on day 4 of the Victoria tour this November.

To join Robin Powell and the group on this fabulous tour go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours on 1300 233 200.


Paul Bangay's Stonefields


Garden News

Hercules Friendship on it's way to Japan

There was a time around 60 million years ago when the Wollomi pine was common across the world. Now the tree will again grow in Japan. Graham is on his way there now with a small Wollomi Pine tree (Wollomi nobilis) to be planted in Nikko to mark the 1,000th Ross Garden Tours International traveller to Japan. The tree has been named Hercules Friendship And you can follow it's progress on Graham's Instagram feed.

Graham writes, "G'day my name is 'Hercules Friendship', please follow my journey for 2 weeks. I'm going on a big holiday, actually I'm emigrating to a new land leaving my family behind in a gully outside Sydney. We haven't been to this new country before, I'm very excited. For the last week I've made friends with Camellia, hibiscus, & lots of autumn leaves, they've joined me today with my closest mate Ginkgo, we've been the best companions in OZ for 60 million years making coal & diamonds but don't look a day older. They've all come out to wish me Bon Voyage, they're all true blue garden buddies really. David Nobel found my mob in 1994 & it's been great fun in the RBG since. More to come on my flight of discovery. Stay tuned as I find new friends."


Hercules Friendship the Wollomi Pine tree is on the way to Japan today. Photo - Graham Ross