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Radio Round Up October 31- November 1

Graham is back in familiar surroundings at the Sydney studio. 

But the news from the north, Brisbane especially, is that the Redback Spiders are back this year in big numbers. This is particularly problematic for gardeners, as these little nasties love to hide out in pots. Their bite can of course be deadly, so take care.

Bush Garden:

In the bush garden today it just has to be the Illawarra Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolius. Erupting in a Blaze of red flower right now, and is the perfect partner to both the Jacaranda and the Silky Oak, Grevillea robusta. The Illawarra Flame Tree is the same genus as the Queensland Bottle Tree, B. rupestris.

The Illawarra Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolius, stealing the limelight from the jacaranda in the background.


Citrus stink bugs: 

There have been so many questions on the Garden Clinic helpline, and even a few on air this morning, about stink bugs attacking citrus trees at the moment. These wretched pests will quickly infest a small citrus tree sucking all the vigour from the plant in no time at all. These bugs generate a concentrated citric acid that they spray to defend themselves, making them dangerous.


You've got stink-bugs! Photo - P Chen / 


There are lots of methods I know of to get rid of them. From old vacuum-cleaners to a stick and a bucket of metho. But the best way to avoid being sprayed by them is to avoid taking them on in hand-to-hand combat. I spray my citrus with eco-oil on a regular basis and never have a problem. In fact, I never have a single bug on the dozen or so citrus trees in my garden.

If you have an infestation of stink bugs use Bug Killa, or Beat-a-bug to get rid of them, then eco-oil to keep them off, and you wont have a problem. And we expect to hear from Yates this week about an exciting new product designed to control bronze orange bugs organically. Watch out for it. 

Lace bugs: 

Look out for lace bug, which are out and about in your azaleas, camellias, Viburnums and rhododendrons. There are a number of things that can be done. Richgro BugKilla works well. Sprinkle on the soil and the plant will absorb the chemical. There are also a range of beneficial insects from OCP called Backyard Buddies. These can be purchased mail order and sent to your door. Just release them into your azaleas and camellias. They will establish themselves in the garden and go to work eating the lace bugs.


In the Veggie Patch:

Lucky Queenslanders are already harvesting tomatoes! Down here in Sydney I’ve just planted the seedlings Linda raised earlier this year. If you haven’t done so already it’s time to get those seedlings in the ground.

Of course the success of your tomatoes will depend on how much preparation you’ve put into the soil, and how well-designed your trellis is. We have a few ideas about trellises you can look at in our latest tomato blog.

Plant out your tomato and bean seedlings in well-fed soil. Feed them up whilst growing with seaweed and soluble fertiliser, like Seasol & Powerfeed. Build a great trellis to support it. Tomatoes and beans are vines and need good support that keeps foliage off the ground and free from fungal disease. Look out for pests like white butterfly and fruit fly. Hang a trap like Eco-lure. But most importantly, don’t forget to get the Kids involved!


Get your tomato seedlings in now and you could enjoy the harvest later.


Journey back in time to the Middle Kingdom, a place where child emperors ruled, wonders of the world were built and the exquisite peony was the flower of royalty. The China tour explores the birthplace of ornamental horticulture as we know it. A fascinating tour in an incredible country

Enjoy guided tours of Beijng, Xi’an, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Visit the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Beijing Botanic Garden, Ming Tombs & Sacred Way, Great Wall, Kung Fu Show, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Terracotta Warriors, Shanxi Museum, Tang Dynasty Show, Longmen Grottoes, Peony Festival Garden, Guo’s Villa, West Lake cruise, Lingying Buddhist Temple, Humble Administrator Garden, Master of Nets Garden, Lingering Garden, Tiger Hill, Tongli Village, Shanghai Botanic Garden, Yu Yuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai Museum, Jinmao Tower, and Huangpu River Cruise.

Fully escorted by our trusted Chinese National Guide, Sam Liu who has escorted the tour for over 10 years, and Ross Tour Horticultural Guide, Paul Urquhart.


One of the many gardens to see in China 2016, Lingering Gardens in Suzhou.

If you would like to join us in China next year go to the Ross Tours website, or call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours on 1300 233 200.

Garden News:

Aussie hose best in the world: 

We spoke to Richard from GardenRite, maker of the only hose in my garden that can stand up to the Aussie sun, and the demands of being a gardener’s hose.

This hose is indestructible. It’s been left in the sun, run over by the car, and accidentally hit with spades and garden forks- nothing has pierced it. This was no surprise to Richard. He backs his hose with a 15 year warrantee.


Indestructible. The Aussie-made GardenRite Platinum Hose. 


The best news is that Richard makes these hoses right here in Australia. This not only means the money stays here but it reduces the lead times on orders.

So support Australian manufacturers and get the best product available at the same time.

The 12mm bore GardenRite Platinum Hose is 18m long and is available from independent garden centres and hardware stores. You can also visit the GardenRite website, or call them on 1300 883 520

Garden Awards at Liverpool:

I had the privilege this week of awarding gardeners in the Liverpool council area who had entered the Garden Awards Competition 2015 through the Liverpool City Council. There were awards for residential gardens, TAFE and school gardens, and even commercially maintained gardens in the Liverpool area.

What surprised me, and gives me a great sense of encouragement were the number of young people receiving awards, and the diversity of age and cultures represented at the award ceremony. Gardening really has a bright future in Liverpool.

I spoke to the Mayor, Ned Mannoun, about the great support this competition enjoys. He said that for councils spending money on gardens returns far more good will than other, more expensive infrastructure investments.  



Irene in Austenmere has Iris in pots. These need to be fed a little more than they would in the garden. Strike back for orchids, or sudden impact for roses will help. We sent some to her some Sudden Impact for Roses to help get those irises looking great.

Roma in Pymble has a sick miniature rose, it suffered badly in the recent heat. Her daughter cut it back hard and now the new growth has a small insect eating the foliage. I think it’s a leaf-cutting bee. Good news, because he is one of the many beneficial insects visiting your garden. This insect will eventually move on. Roses in pots will tend to be much hungrier than those in the ground. Feed them a little and often. We also sent some sudden Impact for Roses to Roma to help her out.

Frank in Malabar built his garden from scratch, importing clean fill from the neighbours. Because he has brought the soil in it hasn’t got a lot of nutrient in it. His pumpkin foliage is going yellow before the fruit become ripe. The only fertiliser he uses is chicken manure, which is quite acid. Here, I think is where the problem begins for vine crops like cucumbers and pumpkins. They don’t like things in the ground being too acid. Frank should bring in some cow manure and give those pumpkins what they need.

Daphne from Blainey, in the central west of NSW, has a Gleditsia sunburst and is looking for another one, but isn’t having a lot of success. She, like others has been told that her council has banned them. This is the result of some G. triacanthos varieties going to seed, and the germinated seeds reverting back to the parent tree, which is quite nasty But varieties like Sunburst should not be a problem. A good nursery or garden centre should be able to get one in for Daphne.