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Garden Radio Round Up May 20 - 21

Back in the studio this weekend with showers on the way all up and down the eastern states.

It's time to pack the travel bags: Chelsea Flower Show begins this week and excitement is building.

Log on to the Garden Clinic Facebook page and share your Chelsea memories with us.


Dust off the bowler hat, it's Chelsea Flower Show time again! Photo - AFPGetty


It's Time To:


Native limes are filled with citrus-flavoured pearls that taste delicious dotted onto desserts and cocktails. Plant now to ensure fruit for next summer.

Low-growing, mound-forming bankias such as ‘Cherry Candles’, ‘Birthday Candles’, and ‘Honey pots’ will ensure a supply of nectar for native birds throughout winter.


Delicious native limes. Photo - Daley's Fruit Tree Nursery


In the sub-tropics

Continue planting seedlings and seeds in the vegetable garden. Plant fast-growing vegetables such as rocket, radish or pak choi around slower growing vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce or broad beans to maximise cropping.


Bush Garden

Wollemi Pine ‘Hercules Friendship’ Goes To Japan

In April this year a special Wollemi Pine, called ‘Hercules Friendship’ was provided by John Siemon, Curator Manager at The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan to be planted in Japan to celebrate Ross Garden Tours 40th tour to Japan and the arrival of their 1000th traveler to Japan.

Graham Ross collected the plant, a cutting struck on May 27, 2014, from the second tree to be documented by Dr Cathy Offord in 1994 in the Blue Mountains Wollemi National Park.


Aproved for travel!


The tree was desoiled into a sterile mix of perlite and vermiculite as requested by AQUIS for quarantine purposes, and then taken to Ramm Botanicals for health checks and phytosanitary certification.

The tree was placed into a container and taken to Japan with Graham on the Qantas jumbo for a trip of a lifetime.

AQUIS confirmed that this was the first Wollemi Pine officially listed to be taken to Japan.

On arrival in Tokyo ‘Hercules Friendship’ had to undergo further inspection by Japanese Quarantine but was eventually given his clearance sticker, his passport to live in Japan.

The tree spent several weeks seeing the sights of Japan before arriving in his final resting place, the picturesque mountain village of Nikko and the gardens of the historic and charming 144 year old Nikko Kanaya Hotel.


Hercules Friendship seeing the sights of Japan, the Shogun's Temple. Photo - Graham Ross


On a cold 5C and rainy day members of the Kanaya Family and hotel management joined Graham Ross and the Ross Garden Tour groups to witness the planting, a symbol of the friendship between two countries and two family businesses established over nearly four decades.

From 200 million years ago this special, ancient and endangered Australian Dinosaur Tree had traveled a further 9436 kms to a new home in Japan to secure its species survival for future generations.

The entire story, as observed by ‘Hercules Friendship’, can be seen and read in 23 episodes on the Instagram site grahamross_betterhomes. On Friday 26th May the entire story will unfold, including the ceremonial planting, on Better Homes & Gardens TV, Ch 7 at 7pm and later on Yahoo 7.


Graham with 'Hercules Friendship', the Wollemi Pine tree, now residing in Nikko Japan.



Growing Wormwood with Crucifers

At the Garden Clinic we are always looking for ways to grow vegetables and plants organically, experimenting with new ideas that we hear about trialing natural ways to fend off disease and insect attack.

Sadly many don’t seem to hold up in practice and, from our international research, many don’t achieve scientific or horticultural success.

This can be for a multitude of acceptable reasons and we continue to trial the idea incase we’ve missed something. One recent example was the growing of Wormwood or Artemisia plants amongst crucifer vegetables like cabbages, kale, cauliflowers, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. Our aim was to deter the arrival of the dreaded Cabbage White Moth and the laying of dozens of eggs that would hatch into dozens of green caterpillars.

Wormwood is the bitterest herb known containing a number of very complex volatile aromatic oils. In ancient times, apart from extensive medicinal uses wormwood leaves and oil were used to discourage moths from attacking clothing in storage.

One of the oils is absinthe and used to make Vermouth.

Initially we placed cuttings of wormwood among the kale and broccoli seedlings and they struck within a week and started to grow quickly. In the first two weeks there were no signs of the arrival of the butterfly moth in the patch.

But in the third week on close observation there were dozens of caterpillars devouring the leaves of our crops. So veracious was the appetite of these critters that some leaves almost disappeared overnight.

We will continue to monitor the impact and any benefits that arise from growing wormwood with crucifers to discourage cabbage white butterflies.

One GCC member said he had success sprinkling the leaves over the plants, we will trial that next.


Wormwood growing at Powis Castle


In the vegie patch

Growing garlic

Garlic does best in areas with a cold spell of 10 degrees or below for longer than a month. Without this the clove may remain whole and not divide into little bulblets.

A warm winter is the main obstacle to growing garlic in Sydney. Last year we had no problems, with consistently good bulbs developing, and have fingers crossed for this year too. You’ll need to plant at least 36 cloves, which will require one square metre (6 plants by 6 plants at 15cm apart) to provide a family with garlic for a year. It takes seven months to grow so the garlic you plant now will be ready for Christmas.


Last chance to plant garlic this year before winter. Photo - Graham Ross


Come away with us

Sri Lanka: an island paradise

Ever wanted to run to paradise? We will be heading to Sri Lanka in early 2018 and you can join us. You will enjoy the tropical beauty of this stunning destination, and the company of tour leader and horticulturist, Paul Urquhart. Sri Lanka has just about everything a traveler could want like incredible ancient sites, magnificent scenery, amazing wildlife, delicious cuisine, incredibly friendly and welcoming locals and lovely palm-fringed, white-sand beaches. Add to this a history touched by Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and a society with a strong and devout adherence to the Buddhist faith and we find an island-nation of incredibly rich diversity with much to offer.

There are only 4 places left on the Sri Lanka tour, so don't wait to long to get your seat. Go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours for a brochure and more details.


Sri Lanka is the most unexpected tropical paradise.