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Garden Radio Round Up October 22 - 23

Rain is falling all up and down the east coast, and that’s just the thing for new plants in the garden.

Graham’s in Canberra this weekend so Linda Ross is taking a few hours out of her busy planting schedule today to bring you the Garden Clinic show. It promises to be a busy spring weekend so let’s get things started.


Linda's planting will have to wait until after the show!


It’s time to:


October and November is Pruning time for Grevilleas, large or small. As they are in an active growth stage at the moment, they will recover from the chop very quickly. Larger growing varieties such as 'Moonlight' or 'Honey Gem' can be taken back by 2/3 if required. The smaller, more compact varieties and ground covers can be trimmed and shaped to promote lush new growth and of course many more flowers. Sprinkle some slow release (low phosphorous) fertiliser such as 'Bush Tucker' about, water in and watch them take off.


Watch out

Fruit fly are about. Lure and trap them now. If you can get your neighbours to do the same you will double protection of the summer tomato bounty.



Pumpkins can be grown vertically over fences and trellis to save on space while still providing a plentiful harvest for next winter’s soups. And no they don’t need stockings to hold themselves up – that’s a myth.



Want to grow your own blueberries? Blueberry Burst is an Australian bred naturally dwarf Blueberry variety with extremely large fruit size, high yielding, early season flowering and early season harvest. Perfect for pots and easy to grow. They prefer an acid soil (pH 5.5), so a half and half mix of azalea potting mix with coarse pine bark is ideal. Add a slow release fertiliser, and remember that in summer such a free-draining mix requires watering almost daily.

Join the Garden Clinic this weekend and we’ll send you a Blueberry Burst plant plus plenty of other goodies to keep it healthy and producing fruit.

Join now!


Blueberries aren't as hard to grow as you may think. Photo - Kazoka / Shutterstock



Spring festivals are on all over. In NSW the Mayfield Garden Spring Festival has been running for a week and will continue until October 30. This enormous, beautifully crafted private garden must be seen to be believed. Treat yourself this weekend and head out to Oberon, just over the Blue Mountains.



Peony poppy pop up of their own accord each year. Of all the species in the Papaver genus, I think I like peony poppies the best. Perhaps you know them by a different name, for they are also called lettuce leaf poppies, bread seed poppies, and opium poppies. Yes, that opium.

These poppies are annuals, but on a well-grown peony poppy, the blossom can be just as large as the perennial Oriental poppy, and they bloom later than their perennial cousins. And most people don’t seem to know that you can deadhead peony poppies to get rebloom. Follow the stem of the spent bloom down to the first set of leaves and cut the stem just above those leaves. In many cases you can see the incipient flower bud forming where the leaf attaches to the stem.

They do best when direct sown. Most gardeners can sow in autumn, and they will sprout in late winter and be ready for thinning out late winter. Thin and replant. They can get quite big! Then cut seed heads off, saving some to resow next year.


Peony poppies in Linda's garden


Weird and wonderful

"Why are my strawberries hairy?"

Strawberries are one of very few fruit which have their seeds on the outside of the fruit. The phenomenon where the seeds turn into green shoots all over the surface of a strawberry is called “vivipary.”


Perfectly natural, the seeds on the outside of fruit become green shoots called vivipary.


Vivipary occurs frequently in some plants, but only intermittently in others, like the strawberry. Viviparous plants produce seeds that germinate immediately while still attached to the plant. So, the achenes (commonly called strawberry seeds) are actually sprouting/germinating right on the strawberry.

While this might sound like a great idea, the green shoots emerging aren’t as tasty as the red accessory fruit of the strawberry, and they aren’t as easy to ignore when eating as are the ungerminated seeds. The viviparous strawberry is still edible, however, and can still be eaten if you don’t save the strange strawberry to show around.


(Re)introducing the Chinese Cedar, Toonia sinensis

Here is the absolutely fabulous foliage of the Pink Chinese Cedar. There’s possibly no plant alive that is closer to flamingo pink than this. I call it Cedrela sinensis but the current botanical name is Toona sinensis. The pink is totally crazy, just for a few weeks and it was popular in cooler climate gardens but hard to find these days. Order from Yamina Rare Plants and pick it up at the Collectors' Plant Fair!


The new foliage of the Toona sinensis gives this tree one of its common names, the Flamingo tree.


Bush Garden

Native Hibiscus Alogyne heugelii

Alogyne, native to Australia, has flowers that are usually mauve, though white and yellow forms are also known. This native shrub likes warm, sunny situations in freely draining soils though it will tolerate part shade. Prune after spring blooming to encourage a rounded dense shape. Feed with a native fertiliser.

It’s very hardy and is untroubled by pests. Get them at the Sydney Wildflower Nursery


Alogyne seems to never stop flowing in Linda's coastal garden. Photo – Dan Wheatley



“The buds are falling off my gardenias”

I get lots of questions just like this about gardenias, especially at this time of year. Yellowing and dropping of gardenia buds is reasonably common and entirely avoidable. It’s generally due to irregular watering over the course of a few months. To avoid it keep the soil evenly moist and don’t let it dry out. Feed your gardenias with a flowering plant fertiliser, like Kahoona from Neutrog every 3 months, or once a season.


What’s on

Celebrate spring at Mayfield Garden

Little did we know, a world class private garden that is always open to the public is just over the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. And this week Mayfield Garden is hosting it's Spring Fair. What better reason to go west this spring and see what all the fuss is about. Head to Oberon, about 40 minutes from Lithgow, and Mayfield Garden is just out of town on the way to Rockley.


The stunning (and enormous) Mayfield Garden west of Sydney.


Time to book your Jacaranda Cruise

I can hardly wait for Sydney’s Jacarandas to grace us with their violet clouds of flower, like fireworks celebrating the end of spring. And the best way to see them is from the harbour.

Remember, This year our Jacaranda Cruises will leave from the King Street Wharf, not Circular Quay like in previous years. Still a few seats left, but they do fill fast.


Come away with us

Lavender fields of Tasmania

Lunch in the shade of a huge spreading oak, enveloped in the fragrance of arching rows of lavender in full bloom: this might be just the most beautiful lunch in the country. So join us for some aromatherapy of the botanical kind in Tasmania’s fragrant lavender fields. We’ve included some beautiful gardens to give you an inspirational short break.


A sea of lavender at Bridestowe, which we visit on the Lavender Fields of Tasmania tour.


If you would like to know more about the Lavender Fields of Tasmania tour, book your seat on one of our Jacaranda Cruises, or to enquire about any of our tours contact Royce or Roslyn on 1300 233 200, email us at, or visit