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In The Garden This Week

Welcome to the new year folks. And welcome to another glorious summer in the garden.

We are waking early to water before the heat of the day takes hold, especially in the potted garden. Take care out there.

The best sun-smart and water-wise plants are natives. This week we have combined with Sydney Wildflower Nursery to bring you our Australia Day Pack with three natives and everything you need to give them the best start in your garden.

Join or extend your membership today and get your Australia day pack while stocks last.


Graham out early to safeguard the Agistache from the forecast heat.

Questions of the week

Q: What do I do about heat-scorched plants?

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to heat damage. So when heatwave conditions are forecast get ready to put up temporary shade over heat-sensitive plants in the garden.

When heat scorch occurs don't remove the damaged leaves as they will provide protection to the new shoots below preventing the damage from killing the plant.


Don't cut off the heat-scorched leaves, they're shading the delicate shoots below. Photo - Graham Ross.


Q: What is making the fine webbing all over my veggies?

This sounds like Red Spider Mites, a pest troubling veggies, fruit, shrubs and indoor plants right now. They are not true insects but related to spiders and scorpions.

Control with common insecticides only kills mite predators, the good guys, encouraging mite spread. Mites breed in big numbers in hot dry weather with one female laying 2-300 eggs at one time. These hatch out over five days creating plague numbers and damage overnight. They often appear with a fine webbing and leaves look sun-burnt.

Plants attacked include beans, cucumbers, zucchini’s, melons, squash, azaleas, roses, strawberries, camellias and all indoor plants.

Controls include beneficial predatory insects, like lacewings and ladybirds that can be released when infestations are problematic.

Remove infested leaves and place in bin. Spraying with a strong jet of water to remove pollution and dust can discourage pest using a seaweed solution hose-on. Repeat treatments are always necessary. Spraying with insecticidal soaps like Yates Naturasoap, or horticultural oils like Yates Pest oil on ornamentals or OCP’s organisms and botanical Neem Oil on edibles and ornamentals will also help their control.


Webbing caused by red spider mite. Photo - Planet Natural


Q: My tree surgeon wants to fill the hollow in my big tree. Is that a good idea?

Not any more. We used to make this terrible mistake all the time, but now we know better - hollows are critical nesting habitat for native birds.

Graham discussed this on air today. he said, "When I was a teenager interested in tree surgery, as it was called then, we looked at old trees, gums in particular, for seemingly dangerous holes high up in the trunk, or trunk cavities high in the tree. We thought they were a no no and worked tireless in street trees, parks and private gardens dispensing what we thought was a good idea.

"It wasn’t, it was an ignorant idea lacking knowledge of Australia’s unique flora. It was a stupid idea borrowed from the French and English.


Powerful owl have very specific needs regarding the hollows they choose to raise their chicks in. Photo - Michael Bianchino


For a million years our native wildlife has used these holes as generational homes. Not just possums but birds of every persuasion especially the iconic and endangered Powerful Owl.

"There are few of these birds left because we are still ignorantly chopping down valuable heritage homes, old gum trees.

"In a private property get a licensed, reliable arborist, definitely not some dude who calls himself a tree surgeon with a few mates and a couple of chain saws. Get your trees assessed, if you’re worried, by the best qualified arborist you can afford.

"In suburbs like where I live we’re battling to save a small valley, Byles Creek, from developers wanting to remove these trees. There are a few suburbs like mine battling over development and tree loss. Even our new Mayor, Phillip Ruddock, is inside to stop the tree loss.

"I’ve written the forward to two beautiful books written by Georgia Cameron with truly inspiring magical Photographs by Michael Bianchino. One of his images on Radio Roundup shows the face of a baby owlet sticking its head out of one of these native tree holes I used to block up or prune off. Not any more but this specific tree is endangered from developers.

"Where does that owlet go if the tree goes? Into extinction, that’s where."

The image, and many more can be seen in the book ‘Saving Byles Creek Valley & Beyond’. There are only a few copies left at Beecroft Children’s Book Shop, Hannah Street, Beecroft. Call them on (02) 9481 8811 to get your copy before they sell out.




What's on

Graham's Great Gardens of the World

Next Friday night, 26th January, 7TWO will repeat Graham's first Great Gardens special from 2016.

The Special contains vision on three of my favorite gardens, Monet’s Giverney, Hampton Court Palace & Gardens and Singapore Gardens by the Bay.

Don't miss it. These stunning gardens are three of the very best in the world. Tune in to 7TWO at 7.30pm on Australia Day, January 26.


Gardens by the Bay, Singapore


What's New: plants to love this week

Small growing tropical hibiscus

Meet 'Robin Jean' from the Hibiscus rosa sinensis 'Aloha' range from Ramm Botanicals. It likes slightly acidic soil, hates the wind, and is perfect for large pots and tubs. Feed regularly and trim lightly in October/November to stimulate budding as flowers are produced on new growth.


Hibiscus 'Robin Jean' from Ramm Botanicals


On the road: Travels this week

Welcome home to our Tasmania travellers

The annual Tassie tour was a fantastic success with the highlights including Wychwood, Old Wesleydale, and the stunning purple fields of the Bridestowe Lavender Farm.

If you would like to join the fun in 2019 register your interest at


Great gardens of Italy and Sicily

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.

Places are filling fast, so call the Ross Tours office on 1300 233 200 to book


Agrigento Temple, Concordia


You can see more of our 2018 tours on the Ross Tours website. Stay in touch by subscribing to our monthly postcards and print out any of our tour itineraries. Can't find the destination you'd like to travel to? Send us an inquiry - we may have a tour going there later. Call Ros or Royce at the Ross Garden Tours International office for further details and to book your seat.