Blog Radio Round-Up October 10 - 11

Radio Round-Up October 10 - 11

Warm weather is a breath of fresh air. And nothing is more welcome to a gardener after a hot start to spring than a little rain.

We have hit the road again to broadcast this weekend from the 4BC studio in sunny Brisbane. We are here meeting lots of keen Brissie gardeners at the inaugural Brisbane International Garden Show.

Things to do this week:

Clean out the fireplace ash and spread it around rose gardens and vegetable patch.

Prune back wisteria as soon as it finishes flowering.

Wipe down indoor plant leaves with a mix of water and milk – they’ll gleam! Have a look at Linda's indoor plant care video

Apply complete fertiliser for acid-loving plants, like Kahoona from Neutrog, to gardenias, stephanotis and Brazilian jasmine to green up leaves. Pick off the worst yellow leaves.

Plant cucumbers, pumpkins, rockmelon, spinach, sweet corn, tomato, watermelon and zucchini. Try tropical yams, choko, okra, snake beans, squash and sweet potato.

Plant delphinium, petunias, marigolds and nasturtium.

Watch for unsightly sooty mould and scale. They feed off each other.

Bag or bait fruit trees to protect against fruit fly attack.

Lay a new lawn.

Give your fruiting plants a dose of ‘tea’

Brew a batch of comfrey liquid ‘tea’ for fertilising crops such as tomatoes, strawberries, eggplant, capsicum, and passionfruit. Half-fill a bucket with fresh comfrey leaves. Place a brick on top to weigh leaves down, then fill the bucket to the brim with water. Top with a lid and let steep. After three weeks the leaves will have broken down. Strain, add to water 1:2 and use when tomato flowers start to bloom. Place old leaves on compost. This ‘tea’ gives fruiting vegetables the potassium kick they need for better-tasting and bigger fruit. Apply fortnightly.

Groundcover to fill bare spots 

Hardy Summer Love (Acalypha reptant) at its peak and covered in red catkins Wild Iris (Dietes – bicolor, irioides, grandiflora and Smokey) at peak with spikes of Iris-like flowers Crucifix (Epidendrum cvs) Orchids with heads of gold, crimson, amethyst in gardens at their peak. They are easy to grow from a small piece of rooted stem and are popular at our Cake and Cuttings Days Mexican Firecracker plant (Russellia equisitiformis) is at peak, a waterfall looking groundcover which can hide an ugly wall quickly and without much attention. Now they are draped with red, salmon orange or better still, my favourite, lemon yellow flowers.

Bush Garden:

We talked about the Bottlebrush that are looking so wonderful at the moment in Sydney. On the way to the airport this week I drove past the red bottlebrush on the eastern distributor. These are most likely ‘Western Glory’. Many of these popular bottlebrush are varieties of Callistemon viminalis. They're in full flower and in all the colours of the rainbow at good native plant nurseries everywhere.


C. 'Harkness', which i had in my garden way back in the '80's  


I spoke to a listener recently who was looking for a plant to grow beside their salt water pool, a tough but attractive ground cover that will stand up to the salt water splash is not an easy find. But i think the Westringia, or Coastal Rosemary fits the bill perfectly. Our friend, Angus Stuart has a very compact, hardy variety called Westringia fruticosa 'Flat'n'Fruity'. Its grey-green foliage and small white flowers are attractive to butterflies and native bees, and that will help pollination elsewhere in the garden. It's also great for stabilising erosion-prone banks or just generally wherever you need something to completely cover the ground. It can also be grafted to form a weeping standard plant. It is very low maintenance with just a very occasional haircut needed. 


The prostrate Coastal Rosemary, Westringia 'Flat'n'Fruity' 

In the Veggie Patch:

Plant Chinese spinach (Amaranthus), climbing Malabar spinach (Basella), Egyptian Spinach and New Zealand Spinach Plant Capsicum, Chillis, Cucumber, Eggplants, Okra, Pumpkins, Squashes, Zucchini Roots – plant Sweet potato cuttings. If bush turkeys are a problem in your garden, like they are in mine, put down chicken netting on prepared soil and plant cuttings through holes at 300 centres. Get your salad greens in – plant heat tolerant loose leaf lettuces such as Darwin, Brown Cos and Oakleaf. And leafy greens – avoid European Brassicas, instead plant Kailan (Chinese Broccoli), Couve Trochuda (Prortuguese/Brazilian Cabbage), Ethiopean/Kenyan Cabbages and Collards

Flowering Shrubs to look out for:

Yesterday today tomorrow (Brunsfelsia spp) are at their peak covered in white, lilac and blue flowers Gardenias are just budding up for spectacular October/ November peak. They thrive in Brisbane, and I saw them in lots of front gardens on the way to the show at Strathpine yesterday. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) – is at its peak and covered in flowers Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepis umbellata) is at its peak – you can’t see foliage for pinky-white flowers. Port Wine magnolias, Magnolia (formerly Michelia) figo and hybrids ’Mixed up Miss’, and ‘Bubbles’  are all at their peak. You may not see them but you can't miss the fragrance.


Ever wanted to run to paradise? We will be heading to Sri Lanka in early 2016 where we'll enjoy the tropical beauty of this stunning destination, and the company of our dear friend, Michael Bates, Landscaper, horticulturist and our new tour leader. Sri Lanka has just about everything a traveler could want like incredible ancient sites, magnificent scenery, amazing wildlife, delicious cuisine, incredibly friendly and welcoming locals and lovely palm-fringed, white-sand beaches. Add to this a history touched by Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and a society with a strong and devout adherence to the Buddhist faith and we find an island-nation of incredibly rich diversity with much to offer. There are only 4 places left on the Sri Lanka tour, so don't wait to long to get your seat. We're having an information session at the Garden Clinic clubhouse for those joining us on the tour, and you're welcome to attend, so go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours. 


One of many Sri Lankan tropical gardens to immerse ourselves in on tour


We are only one month from leaving for the Japan in Autumn tour. We have had some sad news, one of our travelers has taken ill and can’t come with us. But this means we have one seat left! So if you would like to join me in Japan next month get in contact with Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours to reserve your place on 1300 233 200, or for more details on both of these tours.

Japan is breath taking in autumn colour

Garden News:

A young landscaper has taken out gold here at the Brisbane International Garden Show. Alistair Hutton, from A&R Evergreen, has created a garden called ‘Backyard Evolution’ that is an outstanding example of the sort of modern landscape design incorporating good horticulture that we have enjoyed at the Melbourne and Sydney garden shows over the years. Alistair joined me on air this weekend.

The garden had a unique theme and was inspired by Alistair’s love for his home town. The display moved through the evolution of Brisbane from a country town to a very modern, cosmopolitan city. Each of the phases of Brisbane’s development is represented by an element within the garden.

We loved the impact of the beautiful large bottle tree, which Alistair told us weighed 8 tonne! Quite a lift.

Graham Ross talking to Alistair Hutton from A&R Evergreen,in his show garden, 'Backyard Evolution' 


Nick in Penrith is over-watering his hedge, and the plants in the center are dying. This is a reasonably common problem as the center plants in a hedge tend to get over-watered. Just watch that the soil in the middle of your hedge isn't getting saturated. 

Charlie from Queensland has seeds from the Bird of Paradise he wants to plant. But if the skin on the outside of the seed is hard he will need to abrade the outside of the seed and soak in a solution of seaweed for a few days before sowing. Of course, you can plant them green and they should germinate quite well.

Rhonda was told she’ll never have grass on her place at …. But I think she’s been given some bad advice. Rhonda needs to head over to Tim’s Garden Centre and get some Eco- flow Gypsm to break the clay up first, then add nutrient, then lay a soft-leaf, shade tolerant, buffalo turf like Kings Pride. I’m very confident it will work for her because I had the same issue at my place after the builders reduced my garden to a rubble-heap. Now the turf is thriving again.

Kay from Caringbah called, her Gardenias are going yellow. She applied some Kahoona a month ago, but I think it may need another dose. Get hold of Eco-Hydrate, or Go-Go Juice, Kay. These products will help activate the micro-flora within the soil and release more of the nutrient from the Kahoona.

Jude in Beenleigh, Poinsettia looking very poorly, with flowers on the end of its’ bare branches. I need Jude to be brave and prune it down to the ground. Then she can water with seaweed once a week or so, and put it in the shade until the growth begins.

Gary from Mitchelton has started a charity getting young people out of unemployment and helping the elderly and less mobile members of the community by maintaining gardens and mowing lawns in and around the town. If you know someone who may be eligible to either help or be helped by Gary’s charity, “Access Place Mowing and Gardens”, call 1300 798 622

Jan on the Gold Coast thought she had a healthy coffee tree, but it seems she has a bit of an issue with pests- scale and mealy bug. Jan should try the new Richgro Beat-a-bug to get those critters of her coffee. It will help penetrate the protective meal covering those bugs effectively killing them.

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