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Garden Radio Round Up October 29 - 30

The garden will love the spring rain this week. And Graham is again reigning supreme on the air this weekend.

The cooler conditions are great for getting out into the garden too. So it's time to get out there and enjoy it, no matter where you are.

I've been in Melbourne last week where the persistent chill is making life difficult for the head gardener at Flemington Race course, desperately working to have those roses ready for the Race That Stops A Nation.

Back home it's all happening in the veggie patch. I've built structures to grow cucumbers and zucchini, and of course truckloads of tomatoes. Jump onto our Facebook page and tell us what your planting this weekend


The sun is out at Flemington today, welcome relief for the roses.


It's time to:

In all areas

Clean out the fireplace ash and spread it around rose gardens and vegetable patch.

Prune back wisteria as soon as it finishes flowering.

Wipe down indoor plant leaves with a mix of water and milk.

Plant cucumbers, pumpkins, rockmelon, spinach, sweet corn, tomato, watermelon and zucchini.


A healthy snack for the grand-kids, cucumbers are fantastic, floriferous and covered in fruit right through summer. Photo - Linda Ross


In the temperate zone

Watch for signs of lacebug which causes a silvering of the leaves. Sprinkle some Richgro Bug Killa around the base of ornamental plants to prevent the pest from moving in.

In the cold

Plant delphinium, petunias, marigolds and nasturtium.

Watch for unsightly sooty mould. Use Eco-Oil to prevent it.


Plant tropical yams, choko, okra, snake beans, squash and sweet potato.

Bag or bait fruit trees to protect against fruit fly attack.

Lay a new lawn.


Clear finished vegetables and flowers.

Check palm trees for the telltale sting marks from cane weevil borers.

Spray new shoots of frangipani with Confidor to prevent damage by the fruit-spotting bug.

Collect seed from dill and basil for next year.


Bush garden

Bottlebrush hybrid: Callistemon x 'Endeavour'.

(Callistemon citrinus ‘Endeavour’, syn: C. c. ‘Splendens’)

Released in 1970 during the bicentennial celebrations of Capt. Cook’s voyage and one of the best red flowering bottlebrushes ever.


Calistemon 'Endeavour' looking fabulous in Melbourne this week. Photo - Graham Ross


Grows in a wide variety of soils from sandy coastal conditions to heavier inland clay loams. Bush is compact with dense growth to 2-2.5m tall and 2-2.5m wide. Flowers are bright crimson red brushes 10-12 cm long and produced in spring and again in autumn. Should be lightly trimmed after flowering to keep bushy and encourage profuse flowering growth. Responds well to feeding every 2-3 months with a native fertiliser like Neutrog's Bush Tucker from spring to late autumn. New spring leaf growth is tinged pink. Ideal as a specimen shrub, screen or hedge.

Very popular in the USA and Mediterranean climates in Europe and the Middle East.


Bug Watch

Sports and Mutations

There are many plants that suddenly produce different leaves, flowers or fruit on branches seemingly spontaneously without an apparent reason.

It could simply be a double flower on a bush that normally has single blooms, or vice versa. Azaleas often throw flowers of different colours to the norm. If left they can become dominate. Occasionally in Japanese maples a stem will suddenly spear out of the canopy and grow to twice the normal height. These are sometimes referred to as a single stem ‘bud-sport’. Again if left can become dominate. Continued observation is the key here.


Blossom sport reverting back to the parent plant characteristics. Photo - Graham Ross


Even sudden changes of habit from an upright growth habit to plants suddenly producing weeping branches. The variations or mutations can be endless and generally should be removed as they often possess more vigour than the host plant.

Variations can also include a green shrub or tree suddenly producing variegated leaves, or variegated bushes growing shoots with green leaves. These can be reversions throwing back to the parent but need to be checked for origin.

Sometimes they are throwbacks to various qualities of either parent and are generally undesirable. Then again these rare changes can lead to spectacular and valued new variations. In fact keen eyed nurserymen and plant enthusiasts have discovered some of our most popular plants from observing and rescuing these mutations. They must be propagated vegetatively, that is by cuttings or buds, to remain true to type.

These include: - Swane’s Golden Pencil Pine, Coleonema ‘Sunset Gold (Golden Diosma), and Dorothy Perkins Rose ‘White Form’, and thousands of others.


Sporting in Azalea flowers. Photo - Graham Ross


Come away with us

Time to book your Jacaranda Cruise

Sydney’s Jacarandas are out and gracing us with their violet clouds of flower, like fireworks celebrating the end of spring. The best way to see them is from the harbour. So why not join us tomorrow, or next Sunday, see our beautiful harbour and hear the stories about Sydney's early days.

Seats are filling fast so book now before it's too late.

Remember, This year our Jacaranda Cruises will leave from the King Street Wharf, not Circular Quay like in previous years.


A great partnership. Sydney Harbour and the Jacaranda. Photo - Hamilton Lund