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Radio Round Up December 19 - 20

Welcome to another glorious morning in the garden. Beautiful sunshine this morning and the promise of another very hot day.

No time for the beach just yet though. Jobs, chores, things to do. There's no rest for the wicked this month. So let’s get straight into it.


It’s Time To:

Admire Gazania, euphorbia and pigface are three summer stunners that stand up to hot weather.


The native Pigsface, Carpobrutus rossii


Prune Azaleas need a trim after flowering to promote compact, disease-free growth. Remove tall, irregular, sucker-like growth that can cause the shrub to become leggy. Cut back may bush (spiraea), removing the oldest canes at ground level to encourage arching waterfalls of new growth.

Pick Hydrangea and agapanthus give a cool look to the Christmas table. To make hydrangea last longer, pick early in the morning and submerge the flower heads in water for an hour before draining and arranging.

Check How are the hoses? Fittings need replacing? When not in use roll the hose into a neat coil to avoid trip hazards and preserve the hose. Retractable hoses make the job easier.

Repot Divide and repot late-flowering cymbidium orchids.

Watch out Keep an eye out for lacebug on azaleas, identified by the silver cast of infected leaves. Insects peak in summer: try a Confidor tablet or Richgro Bug Killa granules beneath azaleas to control them.

Plant In summer choose tube stock or the smallest pot-size possible, to help establish root systems over summer.

Stake The huge and heavy heads of dahlias can break the fragile stems so offer support.

Last chance Mulch the garden before the summer scorchers arrive.


Bush Garden:


NSW Christmas Bush

I’ve been in Tasmania recently talking to growers of poppies, lavender and pyrethrum. Everyone I spoke to told me that harvest time has advanced 3 to 4 weeks ahead of usual. And it’s the same in Bush garden.

I’ve noticed this year that the NSW Christmas Bush flowers have started to drop already. Keep watering to keep those flowers on.


Christmas Bush, Ceratopetalum gummiferum. Photo -



Lilly Pilly ‘Tiny Trev’

We had a caller this weekend whom had planted a Lilly Pilly ‘Tiny Trev’ that isn’t so tiny any more. It’s all too often the case that cultivars are given names that suggest plants are miniature when they’re not. Tiny Trev, if let grow will be big, not tiny. It’s called Tiny Trev because it has tiny leaves. The good news is you can prune it quite hard. Fertilise it with a native plant food after pruning. And if you want it to stay tiny you just can’t let it go.



Small-leafed Lilly pilly. Photo - alybaba/


Lemon scented myrtle

Lemon scented myrtle, Backhousia citriodora, is native to the east coast of Queensland. It can also be called Sweet Verbena Tree. It is a medium-sized shrub or tree, to 8 m tall with a low-branching habit.

But it’s all about the fragrance.

The attractive white flowers are everywhere on the tree and produced in long-stalked clusters with numerous fluffy stamens, which are twice as long as the petals. The leaves are a fresh green colour and strongly lemon-scented. Backhousia citriodora makes a great addition to the home garden. It is easily maintained and can even be planted in pots and brought indoors.


the Lemon Scented Myrtle, Backhousia citriodora




Look out for Giant Pine Scale

There is a nasty white waxy scale infecting pine trees that has the potential to kill plants more broadly. Home owners are urged to watch out for a marshmallow-like residue on the trunk and branches of cut living Christmas trees.

The insect causing the scale, which has come from Turkey or Greece, is infecting trees on the Mornington Peninsular. It has broken out of its containment lines.

The insect can spread very rapidly. If you notice it on your Christmas tree call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.


Pine tree infected with Giant Pine Scale. Photo -


Mealy Bug

Mealy Bug gravitates to plants under a little stress. So after all this heat we will need to keep an eye out for these fluffy little pests.

Although a popular treatment at one time, I don’t recommend using white oil. It’s Full of impurities, which makes it white. Now of course we can use Eco-oil instead.

Sandra likes to use an old toothbrush coated in eco-oil to remove the bugs before spraying with Eco-oil to prevent them coming back.


In the Veggie Patch:

Johnsons Seeds continue to expand their range of World Kitchen seeds. Johnsons World Kitchen range first came out about 18 months ago with 80 exciting vegetable and herb seed varieties from around the world.

The new range promises to be a hit with home gardeners. They have extended the selection with more delicious new varieties like Snow Pea Yakumo, a purple flowering variety; Broccoletti Raab Rapini, with a lovely nutty flavour; Chinese Cabbage Blues F1, a mild flavoured and versatile veg that’s very quick growing; Leek Jaune Gros du Poitou, fast growing, thick and stocky; and Radish Jutrzenka, which is an unusual, rose coloured, egg-shaped raddish.

If you’ve taken advantage of our Christmas offer you may receive some of these Johnson’s World Kitchen seeds in your Christmas Hamper. They’re also available at Bunnings.


Come away with us

Singapore is the City in a Garden – a mix of multicultural modernity and 19th century charm wrapped in beautiful tropical gardens. The new drawcard is the Gardens by the Bay project, and there’s another highlight – the Singapore Garden Festival. Join Linda in 2016 for an awesome Asian experience. 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.


Singapore Gardens By The Bay

What’s On:

As a Garden Clinic Member you get to come along to one of our classes or walkaround events free. And we’ve got lots happening in 2016. We’ll be visiting Wendy’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay early in 2016 with Wendy Whiteley herself.

Of course, there are many other member-only events happening all through 2016. For details head to the events page.