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Radio Round Up November 7 - 8

Here comes the rain again! The late afternoon storms in Sydney have been a blessing. Real tank-fillers. And the gardens have lapped it up. 

I’ve been travelling around Australia this week and it’s been wet, wet, wet all over. The sun is just coming out now and it looks like a great day in the garden

It’s Time To:


Mulch garden beds thickly to keep moisture in and weeds out over summer. Make sure the soil is moist when you lay the mulch.


Check for pesky azalea pests – lace bug, red spider and thrips. Thoroughly spray with the hose under the leaves to discourage them, as they do like dry conditions. A Confidor tablet planted in the soil will keep them at bay.

Take action against snails and slugs. Sprinkle Multiguard pellets around vulnerable plants, entice them to drown in saucers of beer, or drop them into a bucket of salty water on a damp evening when they are out in force.


Plant out dahlia tubers, and use stakes to keep them upright as they grow.


Prune climbing roses that flower once a year in spring. Cut back laterals to a few healthy ‘eyes’ and remove old canes at the base to allow new growth.


Repot orchids if they have become overcrowded. Use a sharp knife to divide the plants and to cut out any soft old pseudobulbs. Repot into clean containers with fresh orchid mix.

Bush Garden:

Krackatinny Garden, in Sydeny’s Western Suburbs has no lawn, only native trees and shrubs. I was filming there earlier this week before heading down to Adelaide, and I was reminded of what a great place it is. Looking particularly good at Krackatinny is the Lilly Pilly ‘Cascade’.


Lilly Pilly 'Cascaade'. Photo - Angus Stewart 


Cascade is a beautiful small shrub with mid-sized glossy apple green leaves with attractive red and pink new growth. Spectacular pink powder-puff flowers in summer are followed by pinkish fruits that are edible and attract birds. Has a lovely weeping habit, with many flushes of coloured new growth, and has a thick bushy habit. A great feature, screen, hedge or topiary plant that is also good for pots. It responds well to pruning, and is attractive left to grow naturally. Good for sun to part shade in most soil types. Tolerant of light frosts, and mostly psyllid resistant. Fertilise through the warm months once established. Let it get up to 3 – 4 meters and you’ll see the flowers- huge, golf ball sized flowers best.You will find it on Angus Stewart's website, Gardening with Angus


The Bronze Orange Bugs, A.K.A, Stink Bugs, are again out in force on your citrus trees. These prolific pests will damage citrus trees, often causing fruit to drop. Bronze orange bugs will suck the sap from the tree, flowers and fruit will subsequently fall and stems can turn discoloured and die.


The nymph form of the Bronze Orange Bug. Photo -Andy Burton  


It is best to start your pest management program in early spring while bugs are young. Spray products such as Eco-oil fortnightly to provide an organic defense. Apply good coverage to leaves including their undersides.

If infestation has already begun, or indeed taken hold, spraying with an insecticide is probably unavoidable. Use a naturally based insecticide with garlic, chilli and Pyrethrum, like Richgro Beat-a-bug, as a contact spray to knock them down, then treat the foliage with a horticultural soap to deal with the eggs left behind.

In the Veggie Patch:

Sweet corn lose sweetness quickly as natural sugars convert to starch in the picked cobs. Picked early it is sweet and crunchy. That’s just one reason it’s a ‘must-have’ in the home garden. Choose a sunny position with organic matter-enriched soil and plant seedlings in early spring in blocks not rows. This is because sweet corn is wind-pollinated and single rows decrease the chance of pollination, which will decrease your harvest.

Tomato seedlings need soil that drains freely, so make sure recent rain isn’t jeopardising your tomato plants. 

Carrot seed can be planted directly into soil now that there’s no risk of frost. We can also plant out all our herbs. Plant them now and they’ll be ready for Christmas dinner.



Turkey is a brilliant mix of great food, blue skies, Ottoman history, Roman archaeological sites set against a sparkling sea, and dotted with spring wildflowers and with bright displays of tulips. We’ll be touring Turkey in 2016 and you can join Libby Cameron and enjoy all Turkey has to offer. We’ll cover a lot of ground in 15 days but still have plenty of time to stroll, shop and relax with a pot of apple tea. 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.

Garden News:

Global waterfront design award for Barangaroo

Barangaroo Reserve and its lead designer PWP Landscape Architecture have been awarded the World Architecture News (WAN) Waterfront 2015 Award.

The Barangaroo Reserve landscape design project was selected from a field of more than 40 entrants and six shortlisted projects and chosen by an independent jury panel, who unanimously selected Barangaroo Reserve.


Barangaroo Reserve Sydney. Photo - Barangaroo Delivery Authority 


Barangaroo Delivery Authority CEO Craig van der Laan said the WAN Waterfront 2015 award was a prestigious win for the Authority and its team, for PWP Landscape Architecture and the extensive team involved in its creation.

“Barangaroo Reserve is a spectacular new place for Sydney and was the result of three years of dedication and hard work by many people. I am delighted the park is receiving global recognition through an award such as this.”

Judge Bryan Avery told WAN: “It’s a complicated project, that’s been approached with vigour and sensitivity… It has a humanity to it - setting an example to all of us.”

Barangaroo Reserve was also recently recognised by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), with the team of Peter Walker and Partners, Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW), Stuart Pittendrigh, Ron Powell and Tract consultants winning the prestigious AILA NSW President’s Choice in Landscape Award.

We congratulate the Barangaroo team on the WAN Waterfront 2015 award, and special congratulations to my friend Stuart Pittendrigh and his team on receiving the AILA NSW President’s Choice in Landscape Award.


A major leap forward in mulch  

Sarah Curry farms Lucerne on the family farm, “Major’s Point” on the Bland, near Quandialla, South West NSW. Sarah also makes a sensational innovative garden product that will mulch, retain moisture and feed your soil all at once, Major's Mulch

A few years ago Sarah realised how labour intensive mulching can be, pulling apart a bale, trying to gently wrap it in around the small new plants and push it in under the big established ones……oh and the flies and the annoying amount of weeds that then sprout up from the new mulch layer.

She also became concerned about what was in the dust billowing out of the bale as she tore it apart.

Sarah decided to find an easier, safer and quicker way to mulch and the concept of “Major’s Mulch” was born.

Majors Mulch is made from leafy green high quality organic Lucerne that has been steam treated, so there’s no weeds.

It will expand over your garden and still absorbs moisture readily, and the nutrient in the Lucerne will feed your soil at the same time.

Majors mulch has been a great success for Sarah and her family. And because it works so well in our gardens we’re happy recommend it.


Wayne in North Brisbane is moving house and wants to refresh his citrus in pots. They are going to be hard to get out of the pot. So all he’ll need to do is cut out about a 4cm gap. It’s better to try and take the potting mix out from the outer edge of the pot so as not to disturb the roots too much. Then Wayne can put in some good, fresh potting mix. Of course he’ll need to sprinkle a bit of Gyganic about to feed them up again. Good luck, Wayne

We received a call about the Wollemi Pine trees, Wollemi nobilis. This incredible, ancient tree is the success story of the 21st century. It’s one of the world's oldest and rarest plants dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. There are less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild, and they’re right under our noses in the huge heritage-listed wilderness west of Sydney. Thought to be extinct the small stand of trees was discovered by canyoner, and National Parks Officer, David Noble whilst exploring the area in the 1990’s. These days Wollemi Pine trees can be grown in anyone’s garden, and as our caller said, they are successfully reproducing in home gardens.


The only known stand of Wollemi Pine in the wild. Photo Jamie Plaza / Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney 


Another call about a Wollemi Pine. Betty is very excited about hers, it’s growing a female seed cone.


The female seed cone of the Wollemi Pine. Photo - Nakia


The female cone will get to something larger than a tennis ball, then it will break up and the seed will fall. It could take over a year. The male flower, or pollen cone is quite different in shape, more like a banana-shape. The seed is emitted in the same way a mushroom will release spores, in a cloud of dust.


The male pollen cone of the Wollemi Pine. Photo - Nakia

We are so please to bring this show to listeners all over Australia. From Tassie to Tamworth, Dubbo to Darwin. Sarah from South Australia sent me an email just yesterday. Thanks for your support. It’s great to hear from you.

Dianne has a problem with Onion weed, and I’m sure she’s not alone. I’ve used a Glyphosate herbicide quite effectively. But if Dianne wants to use a Glyphosate free method there are a few things she can do. Richgro beat-a-weed, whilst not chemical free, is a very safe herbicide with active ingredients vinegar and salt, or Amgrow Organix Weedblitz containing pine oil.

We had a caller with a Magnolia that is quite bare on the lower trunk. She wants to promote leaf growth down on the stem. I had a similar problem with my camellia hedge. What worked for me is a combination of Eco-hydrate and Harvest mixed together in a watering can and watered into the soil once a month. This method should work filling hedge-holes on camellias, magnolias and lots of other plants too.

Great to hear again from Daphne at Blayney today. She is looking for a fern or palm to go in a sunny spot in her garden. I think because of the climate in Blaney, the cold tolerant Kentia, or Lord Howe Island palm will go well. Also the Bangalo Palm, the Chinese Windmill, or fan Palm, Raphis will be quite happy, or the beautiful Bismarkia, which has great big blue fronds. The Bismarckia will need some room- its big! As far as tree ferns I think anything that grows well in the upper Blue Mountains, like Cyathea cooperi, Cyathea australis or Dixonia antarctica should be quite happy.


The Bismarckia palm. Like i said, it big! 


We had a few discussions this spring with listeners who have noticed swarming bees. They are a reasonably common sight in spring when a queen breaks away to start a new hive somewhere. It can become a bit of a problem if she decides to make her new hive in your home.

Best thing to do is to talk to an apiarist in your area by contacting the local bee keepers association. Not all swarms are useful, and not all apiarists will want to take them, as there is always the chance a wild swarm could spread disease.

If you are in NSW here is a list of Bee Keepers Association contacts:

Empire Bay: Chris 0414 926 332 (Ettalong Beach area)

Castle Hill: Bruce White (02) 9634 6792

Southerland Shire: Eric Whitby 0427 013 028

Taren Point: John Crouchley 0417 455 408

Illawarra Bee Keepers: Jeff Henning 0466 976 520 (business hours only please)

Parramatta Bee Keepers: Robyn Alderton 0401 897 730 (Collects swarms to re-home)

Bee Keeper Ashfield: Tony Redmond 0425 251 587