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Garden Radio Round Up March 11 - 12

The deep watering provided to our gardens from Recent rains was in perfect time for autumn planting.

Soft soils and cooler conditions make it perfect gardening weather, so lets all get out and enjoy the garden today.

Today we are celebrating the Blueberry in preparation for this Wednesday March 19th, which is National Blueberry day. PlantNet, together with the Garden Clinic are celebrating the Blueberry and supporting Garden RELEAF day, as are many garden centres around Australia.


Photo - Melpomene/Shutterstock


Garden RELEAF focuses on the benefits of plants and gardens to enrich our lives. Garden centres will be exploding with colour, plenty of fun activities and informative events across the day (and for some the week end).The aim is to encourage people to get into their garden and get planting – or take someone to a garden to just enjoy it. PlantNet are also giving away Blueberries to schools all over Australia. You can check the website for specific information on or go to

The public can also purchase Blueberry Burst from or from Bunnings

Of course, we have a treat for you this weekend - together with PlantNet we have some Blueberry Burst plants to include in our Garden Clinic Platinum membership when you join the Garden Clinic this weekend. Click on the Join link to get your Blueberry Burst from PlantNet.


Bush Garden

The Queensland Firewheel Tree, Stenocarpus sinuatus

These stately trees brighten autumn with their wheel-like inflorescence, aflame in reds, yellows and oranges. The sinuatus of the botanical name refers to the wavy margins of the tree’s leaves. The tree can reach 30m in the bush but is usually no bigger than 9m in a garden. If you have the space, plant one in a sunny or partly shaded area, in well-drained soil.


The incredible flower of the Queensland Firewheel Tree, Stenocarpus sinuatus is coming out right now


The Potted Garden

Blueberry Burst

More reasons to grow your own food - the fantastic dwarf-growing blueberry with fruit the size of a grape! The luscious fruits are produced in large quantities in late winter and early spring. We believe these plants are best grown in pots. They reach a metre high and almost as wide and will thrive in areas that don’t have cold winters.

Blueberry Burst will prefer quite an acid soil (pH 5.5), so a half and half mix of azalea potting mix with good quality coarse pine bark is ideal. Add a slow release fertiliser, and remember that such a free-draining mix requires watering almost daily.

Full sun position, and harvest should start in earnest in the third year.


Photo - Kozoka/Shutterstock



Mealy Bug

These pearly-white, fluffy little sap-suckers tend to attack plants under stress. Like aphids they secrete a honey-dew that black sooty mold grows on. Then in come the ants to eat it, and here is where the trouble starts. The ants can carry mealy bug from plant to plant making your small problem a big problem in no time. Mealy Bug like to hide in those protected places, like inside palm fronds. So if you see one or two its best to have a closer look. An infestation could be brewing, and it could be below the surface.


An up-close look at the mealy bug.


Mealy bug is especially common in ornamentals especially indoor or balcony plants like the Hoya pictured below. It's suffering from mealy bug attack and if left untreated will result in the fungus, black sooty mould appearing as a result of the insects coming to feed on the honey dew residue mealy bugs produce.

The fungus will smother the leaf breathing spores and the plant will eventually die. Controlling the insect early is important.


Mealybug attaching Hoya in our garden. Photo - Graham Ross


Mealy bug Controls

Dab a little methylated spirit on the clusters of mealy bug with a cotton bud, then spray with pest-oil or eco-oil weekly to smother the remaining insects.

For bigger infestations mix eco-oil and eco-neem. You may even like to use a toothbrush and scrub them off first. Afterwards spray with a surfactant like Yates Natrasoap.

It's also important to get to the bottom of why the plant has an infestation beginning to develop, like poor nutrition or growing position, and address it. So feed up your plant to increase its vigor and naturally ward off pests

OCP also produce a line of beneficial bugs to release in your garden to help control numbers of pest like mealy bug in your garden. Check out the 'Backyard Buddies' on the OCP website.


Come Away With Us

Lake Maggiore: jewell in Italy's north

Italy’s famous three lakes are Como, Garda, and the beautiful Lake Maggiore. Stresa, the town on the shore of Lake Maggiore is the grand dame of the most western of these, Lake Maggiore. The town grew after the Simplon Pass opened in 1806, and really took off a century later when the railway arrived. Stresa became the chic holiday resort for Europe’s nobility. Consequently, the hotels on the waterfront exude a Belle Epoque glamour, with iron curlicues on the balconies, intricate stucco decorations, and chandeliers in the lobbies.

Ross Garden travellers stay in the elegant Palace Regina, which was built in the early years of the 20th century. Potted geraniums trim the curved balconies above a balustrade terrace where guests can take breakfast looking over manicured lawns and blooming roses to the shimmering lake.

We are returning to Italy in late September where we will see Stresa, Lake Maggiore and the beautiful Isola Bella. To book your place on the Gardens of Italy tour go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours on 1300 233 200.


Lake Maggiore looking out onto Isola Bela. Photo - Robin Powell