Toggle navigation

Radio Round Up April 23 - 24

Lovely gentle showers in Sydney, and mild conditions in Brisbane this morning is just what the doctor ordered for the Autumn long weekend. And there’s lots happening this Anzac Day.

A big thanks to all of you for listening to the Garden Clinic on Saturday morning. You’ve made us the number one rating show in the country and we couldn’t be here without you.


Two rose releases this weekend, and we’ll be talking to the growers responsible for their development

The first, a new rose of remembrance will be released by Knight’s Roses this month to recognise the contribution of the Australian Armed Forces during World War I, and the other is the first Australian rose ever planted on French soil. More later in the show.



 Fields of Fromelles, the first Australian rose to be planted on French soil.


Historic Retford Park in public hands

A huge win for Australian heritage was announced this week. Philanthropist and arts patron, Mr James Fairfax AC, has gifted his historic Retford Park home to the National Trust. This fulfils an undertaking made by Mr Fairfax in 2008 to transfer the property to the public domain and to secure its long-term preservation. Under the deed, Mr Fairfax has also provided for a significant endowment to ensure its ongoing upkeep.


What's on

Mayfield Garden is open to the public again today and daily until the 1st of May. And Oberon, west of the Blue Mountains in NSW, is just perfect at this time of year.

The Southern Highlands, south of Sydney, are glowing in the golden light of Autumn.

The Lipstick Maples have never been so red and the new Botanic Gardens on the corner of Old South Road and Kangaloon Road, Bowral are showcasing a spectacular rare plant fair as well there are 6 fabulous large gardens open.

Make a day of it and drive across from Bowral to Burradoo, Exeter, Sutton Forest and Bundanoon.


Its Time To:

All areas

Do the essential shopping - get the new tap/hose fitting/watering can you’ve needed for months.


Cold climates

Check for cabbage moth larvae on all brassicas. Spray with Dipel.

Order and plant spring bulbs.


Temperate climates

Feed lawns with a complete fertiliser to give them a boost before the onset of winter.

Deadhead dahlias regularly to keep them looking great. Spray any mildew with Eco-fungicide.



Plant annual seeds or seedlings, such as calendula, cornflower or lobelia.

Upsize potted plants that have outgrown their home into something more suitable. Ditch poor performers. Liquid fertilise all of them.

Need more light? Now is a good time to judiciously prune excessive branches of trees and that hedge, losing shape in the front yard.


Tropical climates

Push plants to one last growth spurt before the cooler weather by lightly pruning.

Spend 10 minutes a day weeding and mulch as you go to delay the inevitable next time.


When you have 10 minutes

Hyacinths store all the energy they need to grow in their bulb, so you can grow them indoors to enjoy their incredible scent, in a process called forcing. All you need is a forcing vase (available at nurseries), some charcoal pieces, water and a hycacinth bulb. Put the charcoal at the bottom of the vase to prevent the growth of algae. Fill the vase with water to 5mm below the bottom of the hyacinth bulb. The pointy end of the bulb should face up. Leave the hyacinth vase in a dark, cool place for 8 to 10 weeks. The water level should always remain just below the bulb: the roots will find the water and fill the vase. Bring the vase into the light when the hyacinth stem is about 50mm and enjoy the beautiful fragrance as the bulb blooms. Make it last longer by keeping it away from heaters and throw the bulb away when the flower is spent.


Have a go at forcing hyacinths this weekend. Photo -

The Bush Garden:

For many Australians, a glimpse of the frothy flowers of our national floral emblem - the Golden Wattle - strikes a chord of nostalgia; a potent reminder that yet another Australian summer is on its way. It’s the perfect time to plant a wattle to commemorate the fallen this Anzac Day.

The Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, has been an Australian symbol since Federation in 1901, and was officially included in the Australian Coat of Arms soon after. Sprigs were included with letters, knitted socks and cakes sent by loved ones to WW1 soldiers in Gallipoli and on the Western Front to remind them of home. In recent years, its influence has grown as a more significant emblem of 'remembrance and mourning', being worn by politicians and families at the recent MH17 commemoration events. Many awards also display the golden wattle, including the emblem of the Order of Australia. The Australian Institute of Horticulture's highest recognition is the Golden Wattle.


A stamp depicting our floral emblem. Photo – Boris15 /



White fly

The warmer than average temps have encouraged white fly in huge numbers. If you’re still growing your summer crops like tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers, taking advantage of the extended periods of summer-like weather, you are actually giving these pests the means to hang around longer.

Sticky traps are very effective for getting rid of white fly. But it’s time to get the summer crops out and plant up for winter.


In the Veggie Patch:

Every wondered why the veggies from the supermarket don’t taste as good as those grown in the garden? It’s all about time.

Wandering through the vegetable isles at the supermarket you won’t see too many things that you can't grow in your garden. What you will see is some very well-traveled produce! It may have traveled from a thousand miles away to your veggie isle. It may even have been picked weeks ago.

Sweet corn is one veg in particular that changes the minute it’s picked. The sugars that give the kernels their flavour begin to break down and the sweetness disappears.

So for freshness and taste nothing beats home-grown veggies.


Garden News:

Music at Mayfield

Mayfield Garden is one of the world’s largest privately owned cool climate gardens, extending well over 160 acres. This extraordinary private family garden is open for a few days each autumn and spring.

Nestled within a 5,000 acre working farm outside Oberon, NSW, Mayfield Garden has been designed to make the best of autumn and spring, and blends follies and features across a stunning landscape.


A stunning vista at Mayfield Garden. Photo -

The garden began to take shape in the mid-1990’s, inspired by the grandeur of English country garden estates. The Hawkins family and their garden team have spent many years shaping the family farm into a stunning legacy.

Since 2008, the entire garden has been open to visitors for select weekends each year. In spring of 2014, the garden embarked on a new chapter by opening its impressive showpiece the Water Garden to visitors year round.

This weekend the gardens will feature band music in the chapel, and Renae Martin and Gavin Lockley will bring you ‘The Enchanted Hour’ Saturday April 23. Tickets from the café.


Dr Clive Lucas talks about Retford Park House

Dr Clive Lucas OBE, President of the National Trust of Australia (NSW), joined me on air today to talk about the extraordinary generosity of James Fairfax, who this week has gifted to the National Trust his historic home, Retford Park House.

At the handover on April 19, 2016, Mr Fairfax said, “It has long been my wish that Retford Park be preserved so that future generations can see how the property was lived in and used.”

Set on 33 hectares in Bowral, Retford Park has been the country home of Mr Fairfax since he acquired it as a four hectare holding in 1964 for £15,000. Over time, he increased the holding to 120 hectares, but 90 hectares east and west of the heritage curtilage is now under development for residential purposes. A significant portion of the sale proceeds from the development will be gifted to the National Trust Heritage Foundation to provide income for the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of the magnificent property.

“Whilst I am giving the property absolutely to the National Trust, I express my hope that the property will be made available for public viewing on a specified minimum number of days each year so that future generations can see how the property was used and lived in. I also note that, as the owner of Retford Park, the National Trust will have the right to lease the property to suitable tenants, and I am pleased that I will be the first of those tenants,” said Mr Fairfax.

Dr Lucas said Redford House is the largest gift ever given to the National Trust of Australia (NSW). “This very generous gift from James to our newly established Heritage Foundation is a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements of the National Trust in conserving New South Wales’ built, cultural and natural heritage.”

Ultimately Retford Park will be the first and grandest heritage property to be visited on Old Hume Highway 31, National Trust Heritage Trail. Heritage enthusiasts will be able to visit Retford Park at Bowral, Harper’s Mansion at Berrima, Golden Vale at Sutton Forest, Riversdale at Goulburn and Cooma Cottage at Yass as a package tour of Southern Highlands Heritage.”


The jewell in the National Trust crown, Retford Park House. Photo - Ray Joyce Photography


Daniel Knight announces a new rose for Anzac Day

A new rose of remembrance will be released by Knight’s Roses this month to recognise the contribution of the Australian Armed Forces during World War I, and Daniel Knight joined me on the show to talk about it.

Daniel said, “I wanted to pay tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of those who fought. I also wanted to pay tribute to our relatives who had served. My Grandfather lost two of his brothers in France.”

When Daniel met French Rose Breeder Jean-Pierre Guillot about five years ago he suggested a new rose could be released to commemorate Australia’s involvement in the First World War.

“Jean-Pierre made me realise the significance with which the people of France still view the Australian contribution, and that the sacrifices the Australian troops made have not been forgotten. The Australian flag is still displayed in windows and classrooms in Villers Bretonneux in recognition of the town being liberated,” Daniel said.

“As to the name, I didn’t want to name the rose after a place, I wanted the name to bring to mind the feeling the people of Villers Bretonneux have for the people of Australia and I chose ‘We Will Remember Them’ from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Englishman Laurence Binyon published in 1914,” Daniel said.


The new rose released for Anzac day, 'We Will Remember Them'. Photo - Knight's Roses


The rose ‘We Will Remember Them’ is an impressive Hybrid Tea with large high-centred blooms worthy of a prime position in any garden. Growing to 1.7m x 1.2m, this rose produces prolific decorative blooms of rich yellow edged with bright orange. It repeat flowers extremely well in flushes throughout the growing season. It has long straight stems and a fresh sweet rose fragrance. The bush is upright, vigorous and hardy with good disease resistance.

Knight’s Roses will donate part proceeds from the sale of each ‘We Will Remember Them’ rose to the Office of Australian War Graves to contribute towards the maintenance of war cemeteries in France – a lasting and memorable tribute to our war dead.

Contact Knight’s Roses through their website, , phone (08) 8523 1311, or email

Don’t forget to tune in next week for your chance to win the ‘We Will Remember Them’ rose. I’ll have a few of them to give away.


A first for Australian rose growers

This is the first time an Australian rose has been planted on French soil - a vibrant red rose born and bred in Australia, called ‘Fields of Fromelles

One of the most horrific battles of the 1st World War was a major offensive to save the township of Fromelle in France on the 19th July 1916. Within 24 hours 5530 Australian soldiers died.

Villagers in the township still commemorate the liberation of their village by the Australian soldiers after 100 years. They have street names of ‘Adelaide’,’ Melbourne’, and’ Sydney’. They raise the Australian flag every morning, school children sing our national anthem after their own anthem. They honour Australian soldiers.

Time has revealed a dreadful discovery. A Fromelle farmer ploughing his field exposed a mass grave of soldiers from World War 1. They were Australian soldiers.

Our Government sent forensic scientists to identify these soldiers through their DNA and were successful in naming 144 soldiers of the 250 remains found in this site. These soldiers were laid to rest in a special Australian War Cemetery in Fromelle.

Australia’s leading rose hybridist, George Thomson was so moved by this discovery he registered a newly hybridised rose ‘Fields of Fromelle’ to honour these lost soldiers. This genuine Australian bred rose was exported to a Netherlands rose nursery to be produced and planted at the ‘Australian War Cemetery’ in Fromelles and the ‘Battle of Fromelle Museum’ in 2016.

We do thank George Thomson for this rose, such a simple gesture but with so much sentiment attached. To name a rose ‘Fields of Fromelle has awaken many memories of lost family members in that battle.

Contact Ross Roses for more information on (08) 8556 2555, or talk to your local nursery about ordering one in.


Come away with us:

Michael McCoy brings you Garden Marlborough

New Zealand’s gardens are amongst the best anywhere on earth. Throw in a warm kiwi welcome and Garden Marlborough, we have the perfect excuse to visit this beautiful region of the south island when the peony and wisteria are just heavenly.

Join Michael McCoy and see the best of New Zealand including: Christchurch Botanic Garden, Linton Giant House & Artists Garden, East Coast Garden tour, Urban Tour, Queen Charlotte Sound Cruise, Hortensia House, Hans Herzog Winery


Gorgeous white wisteria will be in full flower in Marlborough this year.


For more information on this incredible tour 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.