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Radio Round Up April 2 - 3

The streets are awash with glorious purple. Tibouchina, commonly known as purple glory bush or lasiandra are eye catching!

These glorious purple flowers dazzle just as the summer-flowering show-offs are tiring. The flowers are showy, but the felty, deeply veined foliage of tibouchina is also part of their charm.

We love them around period homes in the company of other old-fashioned favourites like Echium, Pelargonium and Raphiolepis. The showy flowers suit tropical gardens too, mixed with Plumeria, Hibiscus, Phormium and Allamanda for year-round colour.


Don’t like purple? Try Queensland-bred ‘Peace Baby’s is compact and is covered with brilliant white flowers all through the warm weather.


Its Time To: April


Salvias are at their best. Long-flowering beauties include S. ‘Waverley’, ‘Santa Barbara’, ‘Embers Wish’ and ‘Love and Wishes’ pictured above.


'Love and wishes' salvia. Photo – Robin Powell



Push garlic cloves (organically grown is best) knuckle-deep into compost-enriched soil in sunny, well-drained gardens or pots. Harvest in 6-7 months.

Choose autumn foliage plants while they are showing off their best colors, Look for shrubs, perennials and climbers if you haven’t room for trees.

Sow seeds of sweet peas in a sunny position into soil sprinkled with a handful of lime. Provide a teepee of stakes for support. Water in.

Consider planting a grevillea to provide valuable nectar-laden flowers for local birdlife through autumn and winter. We love G. ‘Peaches and Cream’ and ‘Superb’.



Take cuttings of fuchsia, daisy, lavender and coleus. Remove lower leaves, dip into hormone gel and insert cuttings into pots filled with moistened propagating mix. Cover with a mini green house to protect cuttings.

Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of perennials and strappy leaf plants, like agapanthus, day lilies, dianella and lomandra.



Snails and slugs love cool, moist conditions, and can decimate strappy leaf plants like hostas, acanthus and leafy vegies so bait, trap or squash these slimy invaders.

Rusty pustules on the undersides of geranium leaves and frangipani can be controlled with Eco-fungicide or Yates Rose Gun Advanced. Collect and bin any fallen leaves to contain the spread.

The Bush Garden:

Easter is the perfect time to prune your flowering gums, and don’t they just love it. Counter-intuitive, I know. But the flowering gum will give you more flowers and maintain better health and vigour with a good, hard autumn prune. Don’t be shy! And don’t fall off your ladder.

It’s also a great time to divide your kangaroo paws. This isn’t necessary every year, but if they’re looking a bit clustered, and if the foliage is going black and inky, then it’s time to divide and conquer! Your little Kangaroo paw is not actually one plant. It’s a clump of several plants, so you can pull it up, separate the new plantlet from each of the old fans and re plant.


A little Kangaroo paw pedicure in Linda’s coastal garden. Photo – Dan Wheatley



Fury Friends? Not these hungry little caterpillars!

The Australian White Cedar, Melia azedarach, is a lovely tree, and is very important to us in Australia. It’s one of the few native deciduous trees.

But there’s one problem. It’s prone to attack by a very hungry little critter – the caterpillar Leptocneria reducta. This caterpillar bombards the tree with plague-like numbers and they eat the leaves of the tree until they’re all gone.


”Help”, cries the Australian White Cedar under attack from this caterpillar. Photo – Matthew Keighery


The cabbage moth are particularly voracious during autumn . The larvae of this grub will eat all seedlings in the cabbage family (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi) so be prepared for an early-autumn influx!


The dreaded Cabbage Moth.


The best control are, eco neem from OCP, Yates Natures Way Vegetable Derris dust, which is based on a natural plant root extract, has a one day withholding period for edibles and is virtually non-toxic to humans, bees and wildlife (but not fish). Another effective Cabbage moth control from Yates is Dipel or Success, both of which are biological insecticides and virtually harmless to humans. Success Ultra has a one day withholding period.

The cabbage moth is very territorial and she won't lay her eggs where other moths are, we have found installing a solar powered 'fake' butterflies to hover around the Brasscia plants does the trick. Other strategies include netting the whole bed with fine insect control netting, placing a few laminated white moth cut-outs on sticks around the garden or egg shells with eyes drawn on.


In the Veggie Patch:


Soil preparation is vital for a successful veggie patch, and its now or never to do it, as Autumn is the perfect time to plant. Water in a pro-biotic like Go-Go Juice from Neutrog. It’s like an acidophilus yoghurt for your soil, putting in all the good bacteria your fledgling veggies are going to need to thrive through the winter months.


Graham mixing up some Go-Go Juice on his new TV show on 7, 'Great Gardens of the World'. Photo -



Plant cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi. Plant garlic by pushing cloves into the soil to a thumb’s depth. Perfect time to plant a salad bar of lettuce. And, of course, don’t forget to plant lots of coriander. It won’t bolt to seed in winter like it does in spring and summer.


Come away with us:

The Top End tour is leaving later on this year and there are only a few seats left. It promises to be on of the best tours on the 2016 program. We travel in style across the unforgettable landscapes of the Kimberley, Kununurra, Katherine and Kakadu. Come with us and see gorgeous gorges, waterfalls and ancient rock art. We get to know the wildflowers along the way with expert guide Angus Stewart. It will be an unforgettable journey through the spiritual heartland of Australia.

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.


The Top End Tour takes in some of Australia's best natural heritage


Garden News:

Linda talks to the CEO of Foundation & Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Debbie Mills

There’s lots happening in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney this year. After all, it’s the Gardens’ 200 birthday this July! Debbie Mills joined me on air today to talk about what’s on.


Save a Species Walk

To demonstrate the Botanic Gardens’ commitment to the conservation of Australia’s vibrant flora and distinct heritage, between 15th and 17th April, 3 teams made up of staff from the Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands will complete The Save A Species Walk , with routes totalling more than 300 km, highlighting 11 threatened plant species and attempting to raise $44,000 to save them.


Save the species walk. Photo - Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney


The Margaret Flockton Award Exhibition

The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the contribution that the Royal Botanic Gardens’ first illustrator made to scientific botanical illustration. Now in its 13th year, our annual international exhibition sees the world’s finest contemporary illustrators compete for a $7000 prize and up to five awards.

The Margaret Flockton Award Exhibition will be at the Maiden Theatre between Sat 9 April - Sun 1 May, daily 10 am-4 pm. Free Entry.



Australia’s leading annual botanical art exhibition Botanica returns to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney in 2016 with works by the best of Australia’s botanic and natural science artists.

It will be held at Lion Gate Lodge 9 April - 1 May between 10 am and 4 pm


Collectors Plant Fair:

Next weekend! Sydney’s treasured garden event returns to Hawkesbury Race Club

Foundation & Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens will be at the Collectors Plant Fair bringing rare plants that are simply not available anywhere. And there will also be over 70 specialist nurseries coming to Hawkesbury Racecourse to unload the most wonderful range of plants – long lost plants, rare & unusual and just plain easy to grow. From frangipanis, roses, perennials, succulents, trees and shrubs.


Collectors Plant Fair is back next weekend! David Kennedy will be there for Clover Hill. Photo - Linda Ross


There will be beautiful food including Mexican and Vietnamese street food stalls, Italian coffee of the finest quality for those of us who love a good latte, and an a la carte luncheon at the Hawkesbury Race Club restaurant.


Speaker sessions

Inspiring speaker sessions are on the agenda this year at Collectors’ Plant Fair with guerrilla gardener and Brett Whiteley’s muse and life partner, Wendy Whiteley; a talk about Garden Making in Sydney from talented Sydney garden designer, Myles Baldwin; creative garden maker from Noosa, Cheryl Boyd will talk to SMH garden editor, Robin Powell about making her stunning garden, Stringybark Cottage; and a botanical art installation will be created before your very eyes. Artist Tracey Deep will show us how we can create beauty from natural found materials.

Tickets are available on line at a discount or you can purchase tickets at the gate. Children enter the fair for free. Speaker sessions are $35 + fair entry, but you will save by getting in early and booking online. Go to the Collectors Plant Fair website or follow them on Facebook for more details.