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Radio Round Up May 14 - 15

Another gloriously mild autumn weekend ahead for sydney and Brisbane with no rain in sight.

But with the extgended warm weather comes pests that would normally be in decline with the onset of winter.

So it's time to get out there and protect your little treasures. Let's get started.


It may be warm but the autumn colour is fabulous. Acer japonicum attaryi


Its Time To:


Tibouchinas are colouring gardens with rich royal purple hues. The large range of tall shrubs to compact, pot-friendly ‘Groovy Baby’, means there’s one to suit almost every garden.



Get garden beds ready for planting winter roses and deciduous fruit trees. Dig in plenty of compost or manure and fork it over well.



Treat mum to a potted flowering plant for Mothers Day. Perfumed Zygopetalum orchids, early cyclamens, spider-flowered chrysanthemums or elatior begonias are all charming choices for indoors.



Fallen autumn leaves should be layered into compost bins, or piled into bags and left to rot down into valuable leafy mulch.



Makrut (kaffir) lime is a good choice for a large pot close to the kitchen door. A leaf or two added to a curry or stir-fry turns ordinary extraordinary. Liquid feed monthly for a steady supply of young leaves.

Select camellias in bud and flower.

Pretty-up the herb or vegie patch by adding winter-blooming calendulas, Iceland poppies or dwarf marigolds. They’ll add colour and attract beneficial insects.



Tender plants should be protected from early frosts with frost cloth (available in rolls from nurseries and hardware stores) supported on stakes or frames.



Clear weeds as soon as you see them. Five or ten minutes weeding quickly deals with these space invaders.


The Bush Garden:

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’

Considered by many as the best ground cover grevillea of them all.

A broad spreading hybrid grevillea to 6-7m across but only 3-4cm tall, becoming a very dense leafy mat of foliage and flowers.

Very hardy in many soil types. I’ve seen magnificent specimens growing along the railway line embankments at Robertson station in the Southern Highlands of NSW growing in poor clay soils and full sun.

Leaves are dark green and variable with new growth purpley-red with deep red one-sided toothbrush flowers from late winter to November.


Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’. Photo - Alfred Sin


It is one hybrid of a very large group called the Poorinda grevillea hybrids created by Leo Hodge in Ellaswood, Eastern Victoria in the mid 20th century.

Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ is able to withstand sunny spots in warm temperate to sub-tropical areas in a wide range of soils as long as it’s well drained.

Leo was an interesting character born in 1904 and had lived his life as a dingo trapper, sheep farmer, and later, as Peter Olde says in his brilliant publication titled ‘The Grevillea Book’, Leo was later a pioneer horticulturist in Victoria. He marketed his Poorinda hybrids, incidentally an Aboriginal meaning ‘light’, and they are believed to be accidental seedling hybrids although there is some belief they were the result of intentional hand pollination on his farm called Poorinda in East Gippsland, Victoria.



Powdery mildew on Hydrangea

Powdery mildew is a common and quite widespread fungus that affects lots of broad leaf plants like hydrangeas. It's carried on the wind and seems more prevalent prevalent this year than it would ordinarily be, probably as a result of the unseasonably warm weather. It multiplies rapidly in the warm and thrives in overcrowded garden beds where the air circulation is poor. Identify it by the characteristic grey-white, powder-like mildew on infected leaves. Affected foliage withers, become distorted and dies.


Powdery mildew on hydrangea leaves. Photo - Graham Ross


But don't worry, it can be controlled by spraying with a cobination of Eco-fungacide and Eco-oil, choosing disease-resistant cultivars, avoid overcrowding plants in shady areas of the garden, don’t use overhead irrigation late in the afternoon, and keep the area clean of plant debris that may carry the spores.  


In the Veggie Patch:

This year we're throwing out the text book and planting things we would normally not put in like lettuce! Of course, this doesn't mean we're not putting in all our winter favourites like parsnips, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, leaks spring onions, beets, and loads more.

We'll be planting purple cauliflower this weekend. Their rich, luminous violet-coloured flower heads look as good as they taste.


Purple cauliflower heads look as good as they taste. Photo - Graham Ross

Broccoli and broccolini needs to go in now. We like broccolini because it’s less susceptible to aphids, it's just delicious to eat (stalks and all). Best of all you can cut and come again with this one so it's good value too.


Come away with us:

Singapore Garden Festival with Linda Ross

Singapore is the City in a Garden – a mix of multicultural modernity and 19th century charm wrapped in beautiful tropical gardens. Appart from your room at the stunning Park Royal on Pickering Hotel the new drawcard is the Gardens by the Bay project, and there’s another highlight – the Singapore Garden Festival.


The stunning 2 billion dollar Gardens By The Bay. Photo - Joyfull /


Melbourne Cup Roses with Carolyn Dwyer

Go behind the scenes at The Race That Stops The Nation (TM). Special visit to see the Flemington racecourse rose garden before the race, when the roses are looking their best. Highlights include the Coombe Melba Estate, Cloudhill Garden, Werribee Mansion and the Victoria State Rose Garden.


The stunning roses at Flemington race course will be in full flower for The 2016 Melbourne Cup. 2015 cup winner Michelle Payne riding Prince of Penzance. Photo - Scott Barbour / Getty Images


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.