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Garden Radio Round Up January 14 - 15

After a very muggy night in Sydney and Brisbane we look forward to a stunning day in the garden with a chance of a shower later.

It's time to protect all of your delicate garden treasures from the heat and sun, keep cool and enjoy the scenery.


It's time to:


Fragrant gardenia casts a magic spell over gardens. Pick for the bathroom.

Waxflower (Hoya sp) can be grown inside or out but prefers shade. Grow in small pots and keep on the dry side for a flowery reward every year.

Upside-down orchids, Stanhopea, have such a complex and usually fragrance that are both spectacular and short-lived. Enjoy them whist they last!

They are named 'Upside-down orchid' because they flower out of the bottom of the pot, so they are best planted in hanging baskets lined with a medium that the flowers can easily pierce, such as melaleuca bark.


'Upside-down orchids' flower out of the bottom of the pot. Photo - Graham Ross



Bearded iris can be divided after flowering. Discard the old central rhizome and trim leaves by 60 per cent. Replant the new rhizome on top of mounded soil in full sun. Remember: iris will not thrive near camellias, azaleas and gardenias.



Many soft-bodied insects, such as thrips, white fly and mealy bug, can be killed by suffocation with soapy water. Make your own or use Natrasoap.


What's in a name?

Lily names: Even an expert gets it wrong (sometimes)

The correct names of plants are as important as people's names. When I posted this photograph of a Lilium flower growing in our Garden Clinic clubhouse garden on my Instagram handle (grahamross_betterhomes) I researched it as L. 'Scheherazade' but the experts at Van Diemen Quality Bulbs in Tassie, where we obtained the bulb originally, corrected me saying it was L. 'Miss Lily'. When I checked the two varieties they are so close only the Van Diemen Quality Bulbs guys would pick it up. But for accuracy I'm correcting the name.


L. 'Miss Lily'. Photo - Graham Ross


Bush Garden

Acacia baileyana prostrata, Weeping Cootamundra Wattle

The weeping, prostrate form of Acacia baileyana has feathery silver-grey bipinnate foliage with masses of spherical flower heads 1 cm in diameter. It is an easy care plant, and the dense habit makes for even less maintenance as it deters weed growth. A great plant for embankments and as a general ground cover. It also looks great when grafted, as it forms a beautiful cascading form. Best in a sunny spot in a well drained soil, but can tolerate most soils. It's very waterwise and can take medium frost. Not particularly well suited to pots.


Weeping Cootamundra Wattle in cascading form. Photo - Graham Ross


Bug Watch

Hungry chewing bugs in summer

In summer tiny insects, caterpillars and bugs, attack hibiscus, abutilon (Chinese Lantern), ornamental gingers, Cliveas and begonias.

To stop the pests disfiguring the leaves sprinkle with Richgro Bug Killa granules and water in or spray with Eco neem, Confidor or organic Natures Way.

These hibiscus was treated after insect attack but within a week leaves came clear after treatment with Bug Killa.


Hibiscus insect damage halted after aplication of Big Killa. Photo - Graham Ross



The leaves of this Magnolia (syn:Michelia) doltsopa 'Silver Cloud' suffering sunburn. But on closer inspection there were also red spider mites present. They probably sucked the chlorophyll out of the leaves or at least damaged the leaf surface (cuticles) allowing the sun to burn the foliage. An adjacent mature identical specimen was undamaged.

Don't prune off any sun burnt leaves. Leaving them there to shade and protect lower leaves and stems from further sunburn. They will drop off when the tree is happy.

But the red spider mites need to be treated. Control with the release of Pete the predatory beneficial mite, or spray with Eco neem, Eco oil, PestOil, Yates Rose Gun or wet leaves as the pest likes it dry.

Sunburnt foliage should be left on. It will fall off by itself after providing some shade to lower leaves and stems. Photo - Graham Ross


Garden News

Mikey's online!

Our fine feathered friend, Mikey the powerful owlet is online. His new website, , is now live. To celebrate the publishers of his book, , have released the last 100 copies, and a stunning poster featuring Mikey photographed by Michael Bianchino. To get your book and poster either visit the website or head to the The Children's Bookshop at 6 Hannah Street Beecroft.


Bulb catalogue season is upon us

The Garden Clinic office is a-buzz early in the year with everyone anticipating the arrival of the new year's bulb catalogues.

Van Demons Quality Bulbs is always the first to arrive, with Tesselaar landing soon after. Both feature a huge range of bulbs available mail order with guaranteed delivery.

To get your catalogue check the websites, Tesselaar bulbs on or call them on 1300 428 527. Van Diemons Quality Bulbs can be found at Email them at or call (03) 6442 2012


We love catalogue time! Photo - Dan Wheatley


Come away with us

Gardens of Canada Coast to Coast

Canada is just brilliant. From vibrant Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island in the west to Quebec in the east, this grand tour across Canada is timed for high summer when flower borders reach their peak and snow melt swells the rivers. Stay in Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls and Quebec City. Spectacular scenery!

Join Michael McCoy on this fantastic tour when the gardens are at their best. To book your seat, or to enquire about any of our tours contact Royce or Roslyn on 1300 233 200, email us at, or visit


Beautiful Butchard garden in British Columbia, Canada