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Garden Radio Round Up November 19 - 20

Partly cloudy conditions with some relief from the heat make it a great day to get out into the garden.

There are still plenty of things to plant, prune and feed in the lead up to summer. So take the radio with you and let's get started. 


It's time to

Feed your orchids. Strike Back for Orchids by Neutrog is excellent as it has plenty of nitrogen for strong leafy growth at this time. Apply fortnightly during November and December.

Lightly prune native plants to keep them from becoming sparse and woody. Prune callistemons to remove spent flowering spikes.

Apply a thick layer of mulch to garden beds to keep the soil cool and moist over the heat of summer and to discourage weeds. Choose a mulch that suits your style of garden - leaf mulch is great for shrubberies and native gardens, sugar cane mulch or lucerne for perennial beds and the veggie patch, and ti-tree mulch for showy annual beds. You may also use gravel or pebbles, especially on pot plants.

Cut repeat flowering roses back by a third after each flush of flowers. They’ll be flowering on mass again in just 6 to 8 weeks. Time them to re-flower for a summer garden party.


Cut repeat flowering roses back by a third after each flush of flowers. Photo - Luisa Brimble 


When you have an hour

Prepare the garden for summer. Check that watering systems are working efficiently and that there is adequate mulch on garden beds. Apply soil wetters, such as EcoHydrate and Hydraflo2, if soil is inclined to be water-repellent.

When you have 10 minutes

Set out lures to check for the presence of fruit fly. Lures trap the males and as soon as they are detected Eco Naturalure should be applied as directed to fruit trees to control female fruit flies. Replenish the Eco Naturalure bait weekly through the fruiting season, and after rain.

Want more spring jobs? Check out the article, It's Time To: November


Bush garden

Geraldton Wax – Chamelaucium uncinatum

Geraldton Wax have always been much sought after by gardeners on the eastcoast but troubled by the plants love of sandy, well drained loamy soils, low rainfall and its inability to adapt to heavy clay soils, poorly drained gardens with too much fertiliser and high rainfalls.


Geraldton Wax – Chamelaucium uncinatum.


Native to the town of Geraldton in Western Australia 400 km north of Perth, Geraldton wax grows on the roadsides and across the sandy wheatbelt landscape.

Botanically called Chamelaucium, the Geraldton Wax flowers have been sold internationally for their cut flowers for the floristry industry since the 1970’s and continue to be popular.

Flower colour ranges from white, cream, pink, to red and purple and are produced from spring to late summer.

Most Geraldton Wax can be grown as a light open hedge, specimen or feature plant or to attract fauna.

They are all attractive to bees, butterflies and beneficial insects.

While they grow in the open full sun in their native habitat, and will do so in the home garden, they also grow happily in the light shade of tall native trees.

They grow happily in Mediterranean and temperate climates to a height of 2-5m and a width of 2-5m but will retain their bushy habit when lightly trimmed after flowering in Autumn and then fed with a native fertiliser like Bush Tucker from Neutrog.

Chamelaucium ‘Basil’s Selection’, with its white starry flowers having an exceptionally sweet honey scent and grows to 1x1m in size.



Black Spot on Roses

To the rose enthusiast (especially those in the more humid parts of the country) the appearance of black spot can be an endless headache. However, with a few proactive health strategies for your roses, black spot needn’t darken your mood.

Controlling black spot in roses requires a multi-faceted approach. Rather than treating the symptoms in isolation, a holistic approach at managing the disease will yield better results.


Black spot taking hold on rose foliage 


1. Consider the weather conditions

Many fungal diseases proliferate in warm and wet conditions, particularly is the leaf remains wet for extended periods. Reduce humidity by avoiding overhead watering.

2. Select resistant rose varieties

As most roses are genetically susceptible to black spot it is important to choose resistant varieties that are well suited to your climate.

3. Choose your planting location carefully

Most roses require a minimum of five to six hours of direct sunlight each day to bloom properly, so it is best to avoid semi-shaded positions when planting.

4. Maintain good plant hygiene

Good sanitation is important to eliminate contamination by fungal disease. Remove and dispose of diseased leaves, including those on the ground, and put them in the rubbish, not the compost.

5. Keep your roses healthy

By improving the general vigour of your rose plants with generous applications of a specific rose fertiliser that includes potash, as well as improving the growing conditions, you can reduce, if not overcome, the incidence of pests and diseases.


Suitable products for treating black spot

Members of the Rose Society of NSW, and other Australian rose societies, have conducted trials of the rose fertiliser, Sudden Impact for Roses, which consistently show an improvement in overall health of the roses trialled, with increased resistance to fungal disease, resulting in a significant reduction in preventative spraying; up to 66%.Rose sprays with tau-fluvalinate and myclobutanil as the active ingredients (like in Yates Rose Gun, and Yates Rose Shield), will be effective in the control of black spot and insects such as thrips and aphids. OCP Eco-Rose is effective in the control of black spot because it contains a specially formulated potassium bicarbonate that alters the pH of the leaf, dehydrating the fungal spores. It can also be combined with OCP Eco-Oil for further benefit. It is good practice to spray roses after pruning in winter with lime sulphur, to disinfect them and clean up fungal spores and insect eggs. If untreated fungal spores can multiply over winter then germinate in spring in the warm, humid conditions.


Remember… prevention is better than a cure

High humidity combined with warm weather encourages black spot, so it is important to start treatment early. Start a program of preventative spraying every two weeks, beginning early in the growth season (October) and continuing through spring, summer and Autumn (April). Alternate each fortnight between Yates Rose Shield and a mixture of OCP Eco-Oil & Eco-Rose. A regular watering with a foliar seaweed tonic like Organix Ecoguard will increase the health and vigour of roses by thickening cell walls, making them inherently stronger. Even with the best hygiene practices, if your roses become stressed for any reason, they will get black spot. Healthy and well-nourished plants grown in the appropriate environmental conditions are always naturally better equipped to fight off pests and diseases. 


Garden News

RAS grants on offer

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation is on the search for motivated members of rural and regional NSW who are looking to improve their community through local projects.

Funding of up to $25,000 per grant will be available through the Foundation’s Community Futures Grants Program, an initiative that seeks to encourage those in rural areas to play a leadership role in improving their local NSW community.


Get along, cowboy! Time is running out to apply for next year's grants through RAS.


The Community Futures Grant has gifted over $500,000 to projects across NSW and will commit a further $90,000 in 2017. The majority of funds were raised during the Sydney Royal Easter Show, with a large portion coming from the sold out Ag Bag, the Foundation’s very own Australian produce Showbag.
RAS Foundation Executive Officer Kate Ross said the grant program was previously open only to youth under the age of 35 years; however it is now searching for motivated community members of all ages who wish to contribute to positive outcomes across their communities.
“The RAS Foundation is still focused on promoting and supporting youth. Several grants will be earmarked for young people, however to benefit all communities, we have lifted the age limitation this year,” she said.
“Past projects have taken many different shapes but have always had one thing in common; they help create healthy community connections and have brought people together to plan, volunteer and work with one another. We’ve funded projects to address rural mental health through to ideas that foster community rejuvenation, so the RAS Foundation welcomes all types of applications,” said Ms Ross.
Community Futures Grant submissions will be judged on several criteria including innovation, impact on the broader community and plans for implementation. Applicants must be located in rural or regional NSW and identify an existing local community organisation or group to partner with to deliver their project.
Communities have greatly benefited from the Grant and some excellent projects have been funded, including a mobile agricultural workshop for students in Coonamble, a natural outdoor play space in Gulargambone, a community arts hub and street rejuvenation in Trundle, and construction of a multipurpose community building in Comboyne.
Interested applicants can visit the RAS website to find out more about the grant and to complete the online application form.
Applications close at midnight on 15 January, 2017 and the recipients will be announced at the 2017 Sydney Royal Easter Show.



Michael Cooke’s new book, “Disobedient Gardens”

Landscape designer Michael Cooke presents five of his superbly designed gardens, including his own, which are illustrated by the lyrically beautiful photographs of co-author Brigid Arnott. The selected landscapes encapsulate the characteristics he considers vital in the making of a truly beautiful, liveable garden.


Photo - Brigid Arnott

They have a distinct 'voice' of their own, reflecting not only the personality and style of the owners, but also the longstanding relationship and emotional connection between the owners and Michael, who has maintained and developed the gardens over many years. Significantly, they all feature elements of wildness combined with a degree of order. These characteristics lend the gardens great character and texture: the landscapes may be magnificent, but they all have an organic quality, imperfections, amid a degree of 'disobedience' that makes them distinctive and compelling.

Come away with us

Gardens of Italy

Is Italy on your bucket list? If not, it should be. Renaissance and Baroque Italian gardens are extravagant exercises in philosophy, mythology, allegory, mathematics and glorious theatre. Put them alongside Italy’s gorgeous cities, art and gelato, add the unique camaraderie of a Ross tour, and you have an unforgettable experience.

Come away with Sandra Ross on this fantastic tour and enjoy the history and the grandure. 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