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Garden Radio Round Up October 1 - 2

October long weekend is here and glorious gardening weather has come with it to Brisbane and Sydney.

I’ve just returned from South Australia this week, I witnessed the cyclonic storm that tore through the area and my heart goes out to everyone in the south cleaning up after the floods.

It saddens me that so many in the south were unlucky with the storm. But I was lucky enough to find a magical place created by a magical person that gives me hope for humanity! I meet Irene at her place in Mt Barker, South Australia, last week in her water-tank-house called Tickle Tank. It's an uplifting story of personal endeavour and a creative soul. The house consists of five water tanks with a garden around it. Yes she's a mosaic artist, and I love her passion for colour, the house and her family garden for her ten grandchildren. I want to be adopted into her family. Love her! You'd go crazy for this garden. It'll be on Better Homes and Gardens Australia soon, I'll let you know when.


Irene at her place, 'Tickle Tank' in Mt Barker, SA. Watch out for it on Better Homes and Gardens soon


It’s time to

Head out and enjoy the Spring Festivals

There are loads of garden happenings for you to enjoy all over Australia. Check out spring festivals happening in your area. If you are in Brisbane check out the Brisbane International Garden Show at Pine Rivers Park, Strathpine October 6,7,8 and 9.

In Sydney why not head up to the Blue Mountains? Leura Garden Festival is on again, starting this weekend, or climb to the top of the mountain - The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah celebrates the waratah this weekend, finishing Monday October 3.


Celebrate the waratah this weekend at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden



Set up outdoor areas for summer entertaining: treat moss and algae with Wet and Forget; spruce up timber decks using deck cleaner and a fresh coat of oil.



Tip prune early spring bloomers as flowers fade to encourage bushy growth and a better show next year. Hedge shears make this a speedy task.



Lilium bulbs offer gorgeous summer colour. There’s a huge range of colours and a range of sizes to suit pots or gardens.



Use a controlled release fertiliser on summer-flowering plants such as gardenias, hibiscus and hydrangeas to boost foliage growth and flower production.

A well-fed lawn stays thicker, greener and is more able to cope with foot traffic and irregular watering. Apply controlled release lawn food now.



Begin a fruit fly control program to protect stone fruit and tomato crops. Use a combination of traps and organic baits, exclusion bags or fine mesh netting.



Clivias are at their peak right now. These shade-lovers are an awesome inclusion in any garden. After waiting several years for seedling cliveas to flower we’ve hit the jackpot this year with a bed of different yellow forms and one amazing orange red variety.


Yellow Clivia in Graham's garden. Photo - Graham Ross

A closer view of the orange hybrid Clivia in Graham's garden. Photo - Graham Ross


Bush Garden

Eriostemon buxifolia 'Cascade of Stars' (syn: Philotheca buxifolia)

Prolific flowering compact shrub with spreading habit 15cm X 30cm.

The lightly perfumed flowers have pink buds opening to white starry blossoms produced en masse from late winter into spring.

Prefers full sun location in well-drained soil.

Suitable for gardens, rockeries and pots.

Attractive to bees and irresistible to nectar feeding birds and insects.


The genus may have a new name, Philotheca buxifolia. But we've known it as Eriostemon, and it's prolific flowering has made it one of my favourite natives. Photo - Graham Ross


Bug Watch

Eucalypt insect attack

Nothing quite compares to the grandeur and resilience of a mature Australian Eucalyptus tree. But in the first few months of the young tree’s life they are exposed to the risk of insect attack.

To protect these trees we need to take special care during the first 12 months after planting. Lurps, psylids, borers, scale and beetles have little trouble impacting heavily upon juvenile trees. But once the tree is about a year old the birds swoop in and keep pest numbers under control.

Deep water young trees with seaweed and spread a granular insecticide, like Richgro Bug Killa, around the base of the tree.


12 months of care will give your large tree the best start in life.


Just when you thought you knew all about citrus....

Martin from Kurrajong in NSW had me a little confused this weekend with a question about his citrus tree and shoots, sounding like suckers from the understock. But the photos revealed these shoots were coming from above the graft union.


Martin from Kurrajong is doing a great job with this citrus. But don't let it fruit this season. Pick the fruit off forcing the tree to put all that energy into growth and shape.

Shoots from a bud. Martin should prune off the thin one on the right.


They're not suckers at all. They are new growth from the bud. So Martin will need to balance the tree by pruning off one thin stem, feeding it up and deep watering with seaweed. Lots of blossoms should mean lots of fruit next winter. But i'd also recommend not allowing this tree to bare fruit for another 12 months to promote strong, healthy branches and a good shape.

Good luck Martin.


Come away with us

Singapore Gardens

Singapore is the City in a Garden – a mix of multicultural modernity and 19th century charm wrapped in beautiful tropical gardens. The new drawcard is the Gardens by the Bay project, and there’s another highlight – the Singapore Garden Festival. Join Linda in 2017 for an awesome Asian experience. Go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours to reserve your place on 1300 233 200 for more details on the tour.


Singapore Gardens By The Bay


Garden News

A champion of conservation in Sydney, Marie Byles

This weekend I have the pleasure of talking to Anne McLeod, author of the biography of an incredible selfless conservation pioneer who lived in my neighbourhood, and whom is responsible for the preservation of huge tracts of native vegetation in the Sydney area, Marie Byles.

In fact, Marie Byles became the first female solicitor in NSW and was a leading conservationist, responsible for reserving vast areas for national parks all over NSW.

Marie’s family emigrated in 1911 to the Sydney suburb of Cheltenham, and a barren sandstone quarry characterised by locals as ‘utterly useless’. Despite the rocky, scrubby nature of the site Marie’s mother created a beautiful environment, featuring much of the native vegetation surrounding the property. This, and the hard work of her father shaped the woman Marie would become.

The young Marie Byles was an adventurous soul. She was a keen rock climber and mountaineer, travelling overseas in the 20’s and 30’s to climb mountains in the USA, Scotland, Norway and New Zealand – she was only the second woman to summit Mt Cook at the time.


Marie Byles atop the summit of Mt Cook, January 1929. Photo - C/o Anne McLeod


Marie was a contemporary of other famous Australian adventurer pioneers like Miles Dunphy and Paddy Pallin, joining them on numerous hikes through the Wild Dog Mountains in what would later become the Blue Mountains National Park. Marie, and other members of the Sydney Bushwalking Club can be thanked for saving Blue Gum Forest in the Gross Valley from mining and clear-felling for farming land.

During the 1930’s Marie was instrumental in the defense of women against discrimination, and in the establishment of bushcare in the Sydney region – work that she would continue into her senior years.

‘The Summit of Her Ambition, the spirited life of Marie Byles', is available from good book stores all over Sydney, including the Childrens’ Bookshop at Beecroft, Megalong Books at Leura in the Blue Mountains, or through the authur’s website,



Glyphosate not cancer-causing

Allegations abound about the side-effects of glyphosate on peoples health and on insects like bees, even that it had been banned in Europe. But none of these allegations have ever been proven in the various research papers published on the subject.

I have talked about this issue before, and frequently had long discussions with experts in the passed on this show. Not once was a compelling case against the use of glyphosate put to me.

This week the independent research organisation, the American Environmental Protection Agency has released findings of their 20 years of research and ruled out glyphosate as a carcinogen, and deemed it safe to use if the manufacturer’s instructions are followed.

This research will be published by the AEPA before the end of 2016, and i will endeavour to put a link to the report on the Garden Radio Round Up when it comes to hand.