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Radio Round Up December 5 - 6

What about this weather! Look out Australia. Here comes another glorious summer in the garden and another ripper harvest in the veggie patch.

With a little luck and a bit more elbow grease we'll be enjoying the fruits of our labour until Autumn. So lets get things rolling on the Garden Clinic.


It’s Time To:

Admire those glorious flowering grafted gum trees. Linda’s ‘Fairy Floss’ is looking cute as a button in her coastal garden.




Also to be admired is the humble crepe myrtle.

I recently noticed a grove of Natchez crepe myrtles, planted as street trees, in bloom at Glebe, in Sydney. Natchez is one my favourite crepe myrtle in the magnificent Indian Summer range. Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia) make an ideal choice as a flowering tree in the heat of Australia's mid- to late summer. Available in a multitude of flower colours, from white through to red, and in forms ranging from shrubs to trees, they also feature exfoliating bark that gives them ornamental value even during the dormant winter months. The Indian Summer Crepe Myrtles are beautifully complimented by their smaller-growing cousins Symphony of Colour by Chopin. Chopins are generally available as shrubs with some of the range being grafted onto 'standards' that are an impressive sight when in full bloom. The Indian Summer range is available now in good nurseries all over the country.


Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’


In all areas

A good soak is the most effective watering: bucket out the bath and shower if things get desperate.

Un-mulched plants dry out four times faster than mulched plants: top up thin areas with pre-soaked mulch.

Citrus can be watered with bath water as long as soap is marked ‘garden friendly’.

A pvc-pipe angled to the root system of citrus and tomatoes will deliver water where it’s needed.

Tidy up finished flowers, trim hedges, cut tatty leaves.

In colder climate zones

Plant summer vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins.

In the temperate zones

Plant a second crop of summer vegetables. For a family of four add a tomato, one cucumber, two beans, one eggplant, sweet corn, and one zucchini to extend the bounty into autumn.

Don’t forget to spray those beans with Success today to get rid of the catapillars.

Trim bottlebrush 5cm behind finished flowers to encourage an autumn flush.

When infestations of scale, mites and mealy bugs occur during very hot weather spray Pest oil in the early evening to smother the insects, then wash off the oil in the morning to prevent burning of the leaves.

In the subtropics

Cut untidy leaves from subtropical plants.

When you only have 10 minutes

Plant some autumn lilies. For a sunny spot we like nerines, belladonna lilies, autumn crocus and blood lily. Two tough lilies that thrive in shaded areas, under trees, and with root competition are clivea and the renga renga lily, which is a NZ native with sprays of white flowers.



Bush Garden:

Cedar Wattle, Acacia elata, is in flower now. I’m fond of this handsome wattle as it’s a reasonably long lived tree with attractive foliage, not likely to be confused with other wattles. It will grow to around 7-8 meters high, although will grow much higher in the wild.


The beautiful cedar wattle, Acacia erata


Native to the middle of the eastern parts of NSW from the Budawang Range north to the Bellinger River, it grows in rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest in various situations on the escarpment ranges.

Quite safe to grow in the warmer eastern states, Cedar Wattle does have the potential to escape into adjacent bushland under suitable conditions. As such, it is regarded as a significant environmental weed in Victoria and as an environmental weed in Western Australia and some parts of New South Wales.


White fly can be a real pain, especially on your new beans and tomato. The minute you spray with anything they’ll be off. You can also plant basil, and I mean lots of basil, evenly between things like tomatoes and most of those white fly will stay away. Sticky yellow traps help too. Get the Australian one, as the English ones are designed for glass houses and probably not the Aussie sun. Remember to cut them into strips so that they aren’t dangerous for birds.



Look out! Whitefly are about.


In the Veggie Patch:

Tim Pickles, from Tim’s Garden Centre in Campbelltown is already eating his Italian Tomatoes. He was organised this year and got them in early. But it’s not too late to plant tomatoes in your garden. Just get the larger plants, not seedlings, and that way you’ll get fruit before next Christmas!

Try an unusual, sweeter variety like Yellow pear. It’s great for kids, in fact my Grandson will eat them straight from the vine.



Not too late for tomatoes. But probably better to plant established plants this late in the season.


Garden News:

My friend and Better Homes & Gardens partner-in-crime, Karen Martini joined me on the Saturday show. She often joins my family in the kitchen. That is, we cook from her cook books most nights. So you can imagine my joy to learn that Karen has a new book coming out; ‘New Kitchen’. It was great to talk to her on air.

15 years ago Karen Martini’s kitchen pantry would contain very different ingredients than it does these days. It would have had none of the things that have made her the cook she is today: eclectic, not slavishly authentic, but always respectful and constantly interested in experimenting. These days its full of an incredible array of internationally diverse including spice, grains, oils: most of which many of us will not ever have heard of.

Karen’s new book, ‘New Kitchen’ is out now and I think it’s her best yet.

Stay tuned for one of our favourite recipes from the book during tomorrow’s show!



Karen Martini in her natural habitat, her restaurant 'Mr. Wolf' in St Kilda


Award winning landscape garden

The 2015 LNA Landscape Excellence Awards night was staged whilst I was in Japan. In my place Linda had the pleasure of presenting awards to the best landscapers in NSW & the ACT on the night. One of the award winners was Adam Eurell of Natures Vision Landscapes for work on the Mann Project. Adam joined me on the line during the show.

This award-winning project, designed by Michael Cooke, is a realisation of the owner’s lifetime ambition to re-build the family home on their original property in the Wamberal Valley.


Nature's Vision Landscapes award-winning garden, the Mann residence.

The landscape garden and residence took over three years to complete and includes many mature plantings, some of which came from the original garden. This required the landscape team to remove and nurture mature trees during the construction phase.

Trees were removed from their original garden position and located in a storage area on site. While the building construction took place the trees were kept alive and well, then later moved into position with cranes and machinery. Some of the larger trees were excavated into clay pans, which required extensive drainage works beneath the surface to ensure success.

Not all of the plants coming from the old garden could be removed. A large Bougainvillea was propped up while the pergola it had grown on was demolished. A new pergola and entertaining area were then built around it.

Another huge challenge for the team included an existing row of mature liquidambars that needed to be preserved whilst the asphalt drive was resurfaced. Keeping these trees in good condition, with many roots extending under the previous existing road-base drive, really tested the team’s mettle.

Adam’s gardening team continues to maintain this garden to ensure that it flourishes throughout the seasons. And we wish them all the best in the future, and congratulate them for an incredible effort with this project.


The Potted Garden

At Christmas nothing beats the Poinsettia. But there are Lots of colours other than the good old red ones. Nurseries have them in for christmes, of course. So why not check them out?


It's christmas time! Why not try a new poinsettia colour this year?


Planting now:

My good mate Max Redman, who is an orchid enthusiast specialising in Stanhopeas and also Snail creepers, has contacted me recently about his plants. Max has a quantity of plants ranging from small up to flowering size in a number of different crosses and clones for sale.

If anyone is looking for Stanhopeas now is the time to get them.

Contact Max on (02)9607 3022


Stanhopea are magnificent in full bloom. Photo - Ed Merkle


Come away with us:

We are heading to Ireland in July 2016. Everyone’s favourite Ross Tours guide, Michael McCoy will be your tour leader for this fun-filled visit. Ireland is a small country with a big heart helped along by a timeless landscape & friendly people whose lyrical nature is expressed through their warm welcome, gardens & folklore. Our 16 day garden tour takes in Dublin, Cork, Killarny, Ring of Kerry, Galway & Belfast. 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 magnificent Gothic castle at Kylemore Abbey, on route to Connemara from Galway.