Blog Radio Round Up October 3 - 4

Radio Round Up October 3 - 4

October is an energetic month for gardeners but there’s much to appreciate on the way. 

This weekend we’ll be looking at some valuable subtropical performers and a big thank you to my horticultural media mate Arno King for being on the lookout for flowering favourites this week in Brissie. I look forward to catching up with him at The Brisbane International Garden Show

Things to do this week:

We all know the big retailers get ready for Christmas around October, and so do I. I'm planning a Christmas party colour scheme and planting to suit. My colour scheme will be blue, lilac and white this year – to go with all those hydrangea, agapanthus, frangipani and gardenia. I’m filling every bare spot or gap with a splash of colour.

Under trees? If you can’t find anything to grow under big trees, put in some bromeliads, masses of clivia or epiphytic orchids such as Cruxifix. Because they obtain their nutrition from the air, rain and leaf litter, they won’t worry about root competition.

Stuff a hanging basket with flower and foliage. Water often, especially if the wind is blowing. Fertilise regularly with a controlled release product like Yates Acticote Pots & Planters.

Make garden Christmas gifts now; perhaps a pot of herbs, grown from seed; a wreathe made of succulents or a terrariums filled with ancient ferns.


Photo- Luisa Brimble

Get ready to Prune

Depending on where you live Spring-flowering shrubs with arching canes, such as weigela, philadelphus and deutzia should be allowed to develop their natural form so don’t give them a short back and sides prune. Instead remove canes three years and older at ground level. This allows the new soft arching canes some room.


Summer stunners such as zinnia, cleome and sunflowers can be sown directly into warm garden soil or pots.

Lawn Care

Fill any bare spots, lawn gaps or dips with top-dressing and feed evenly with granular fertiliser. A light aeration will help compacted lawns get the drink they so desperately need.

Last Chance

Plant gorgeous reliable Lilium bulbs for Christmas colour. They’ll come back every year. We like pink one called Pearl Jessica but they’re all pretty special.

Bush Garden:

Bottle Brush

Do you struggle to grow plants in sticky clay soils? Or do you know someone who does? We often get asked what native plant will thrive in clay soils. And what to plant to create a little privacy with your neighbour. Considering many of have clay soils it's amazing how often we plant the wrong thing (camellia, murraya, banksia, grevillea). The beautiful Australian Bottlebrush (Callistemon) are in full flower now, usually bright blood red, but they do come in other colours and better still they THRIVE in clay soils.


Constantly flowering, Callistemon viminalis. Photo - Linda Ross


There is a huge range available so head to a native plant nursery near you to help get your garden on the right track! Here's a few Ross family favourites to get you started. They grow 1m, 2m, 3m and 4m and come on white, pink, champagne, red and purple. Make sure you lightly prune them every year after flowering and you'll be so pleased you did.





If you’ve noticed silver/bronze damage on new spring foliage and black droppings, you may see this tiny insect with lace wings on the reverse of the leaf. Richgro Bug Killa granules will control them. Don't forget to reapply, as it says on the label. Spring is usually the most prevalent period for this critter. 

Potted garden:

Hippeastrum bulbs are in full flower. Who needs tulips! They require absolutely no care and can be seen in neglected gardens – however if you feed regularly and divide and replant every 5 or so years, rewarded. Red, pink, salmon white and bicolours. One flowering at home is the rare and unusual Hippeastrum papilio which has handsome red, cream and green stripes. And Hippeastrum amarylis, with it's classic red flower. Happy in pots or in the garden.


Hippiastrum amarylis 

Look out for Flowering Trees

Yellow trumpet trees, Tabebuia chrysotricha and T. chrysantha just finishing, Tabebuia rosea coming into full flower across the city. They have no leaves so resemble giant candy/fairy floss on sticks. Pink and White Orchid Trees (Bauhinia variegata and white cultivar ‘Candida’) just finishing, Hong Kong’s national tree, Bauhinia blakeana is in full flower – it keeps its leaves and has no messy pods Fringe tree (Chimonanthas precox) flowering now



Flowering Shrubs

Orchid Shrub (Bauhinia punctata), has orange flowers appearing on shrubs Justicia adhatoa – is a tough hardy shrub covered in white spikes Bougainvillea is at its peak, and you can’t see the foliage for the colourful bracts. The dwarf cultivars (Bambino Bougainvilleas) make tough, colorful plants – purple, red, orange, white, pink and bicolours.

In the Veggie Patch:

Last chance to plant Rosella. Need to get them in before the end of September. They need to make plenty of growth, as once the shorter days come, the plants’ energy goes from foliage to flowers and the fleshy fruit. Plant snake beans. They thrive in the hotter wetter weather, are very productive and pest and disease free. Plant cherry tomatoes and warm weather tomatoes such as Thai Egg, Tropic and Scorpio. You need to bag tomatoes or they will be full of fruit fly larva. Luckily cherry tomatoes have thick skins and are rarely affected.

Why not try our rosella jam recipe


Rosella flower buds look great in a glass of champagne. Photo - 


If you would like to try rosella in your garden you need to get the seeds in now. You can get rosella seed from Greenpatch seeds or Green Harvest seeds.


What's on:

The Bilpin Flower Show & Spring Fair is on this weekend, one of my favourite country garden events. But this year they have a special guest you won't believe! Check their Facebook page for details.


Garden News:

Alan Jackson

I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have met some very talented young people. None more gifted than my guest, Alan Jackson, who was a student of mine when he was 17 years old. Alan has the largest collection of Japanese Maples In Australia at his nursery Maple Springs in Little Hartley. ‘Goyu koen’ is the name of his Japanese garden within the nursery, which was originally located in Katoomba in 1986. Alan moved a few years later to its current location in Little Hartley after finding the perfect location. Alan says there are five elements needed for a splendid Japanese garden; Earth, sand and stone; water; lanterns, pagodas and water basins; bridges and islands; and, of course, plants like Alan’s maples. It’s an absolute triumph, and I look forward to filming there soon. And you can visit Alan’s splendid garden now. Head to Baaners Lane Little Hartley, just over the Blue Mountains in NSW and follow the signs.

A new eBook all about Cucurbits.

What's a Cucurbit? There was probably one on your dinner plate last night.

We are pleased to announce the release of the long-awaited book by our friend, John Mason. The ‘Cucumbers Pumpkins Marrows and other Cucurbits’ eBook will provide you with a guide in everything that you will need to know about these very useful plants. Learn more about the different and sometimes unusual varieties that are available of these plants. It's the complete guide to this plant family as each section will provide you with the ideal growing conditions, culture, planting, pest and disease problems, harvest, varieties and some great ways to eat the fruit.

Cucurbits are plants that belong to the family ‘Cucurbitaceae’. This is a particularly important family of plants which includes a wide range of vegetables and other useful plants as well as environmentally significant plants. At one extreme, in some circumstances, cucurbits play an important role in soil stabilisation. At the other extreme, some cucurbits are considered to be serious weeds.

And you can get hold of John's eBook, ‘Cucumbers Pumpkins Marrows and other Cucurbits’ on the Garden Clinic website in the online shop, and if you are a Garden Clinic member you get a discount too. 


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 both of these tours.


Our favourite regular Queensland caller, Graham got a lesson on the birds-and-the-bees this morning. He'll be busy pollinating female pumpkin flowers later tonight, and hopefully increasing his yield of JAP (just another pumpkin) pumpkins. And I'll get Dan to post some of Linda's pumpkin recipes on the Garden Clinic website later this week so Graham can put his pumpkins to good use.

Big thanks to another Queensland caller with a Daintree Pine. The warm, humid climate of Queensland isn’t too good for conifers. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out.The Daintree Pine Gymnostoma australianum is a rare  Australian native that looks like a conifer and is a great alternative. And it's a big hit with the birds too. 

Rosemary has a Lilac, a real beauty with lovely perfumed flowers. Remember that lilacs are grafted onto privet root stock, so any suckers that come up need to be dealt with promptly. 

Thanks to our caller from Mcgraths Hill, her daughter has a new buffalo lawn and she is concerned that the hot weather will not be good for the grass. I think if she waters with a seaweed hose-on like Seasol it will be fine. 

Colin has a Blueberry Burst that is very popular with the birdlife, eating all his blueberries (a little like my Grandson). He really has no option but to net the tree. Bunnings apparently doesn't keep mesh in smaller sizes than 4m2. But Spotlight has mesh by the meter. Don't forget to put a frame over your tree to drape the mesh over. If you let the foliage grow through the net you will never get it off. 

Lex from Queensland has a bougainvillea and she wanted to know when to prune it. Prune bougainvillea after flowering as a rule, but Lex may want to prune hers now to get it back into shape. 

David has a climbing frangipani vine, Chonemorpha fragrans, which has a problem that I suspect is either in his soil or related to its position. The Frangipani Vine is not actually a frangipani (Plumeria acutifolia), but it is a beautiful vine with large, white, powerfully fragrant flowers. It is a tropical plant and likes a sunny position and a structure to grow upon.



The lovely climbing frangipani vine, Chonemorpha fragrans

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