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Net Gains

Net Gains

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Bountiful bougainvillea

Bountiful bougainvillea

As per my discussion with you via the phone last Friday, you indicated you were most interested to see our bougainvillea flourishing in the middle of winter. Read More
Lift your spirits

Lift your spirits

A couple of years ago, I heard Graham speaking about a new peony variety that was more suitable for the warmer climates such as Sydney. These peonies were called Itoh peonies and available from Van Diemen Bulbs (VDB) in Tasmania. Read More
Vision in white

Vision in white

This rose covered arbour was photographed at the beautiful Mayfield Gardens in Oberon. Do you know what it might be please? Read More
Avenue of Trees

Avenue of Trees

Can you please suggest a suitable tree for our long driveway? I’d like an autumn foliage tree, if possible. Everyone is planting ornamental pears, but I sense you’re worried about them long term. Read More
Indoor shrimp: Purple shrimp plant

Indoor shrimp: Purple shrimp plant

Many years ago, I saw an indoor plant in Hawaii they called a purple shrimp plant. Do you know what it might be and is it available here? It had patterned leaves and multi-coloured flowers.

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​Bug Watch: Helpful wasps

​Bug Watch: Helpful wasps

Early spring is the time to hang parasitic wasp (Encarsia formosa) cards up in new plantings of tomatoes and eggplant to protect these vegetables from white fly. 

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​Bug Watch: Woolly aphids

​Bug Watch: Woolly aphids

These insects are 2-4 mm in length, pear-shaped and often covered with white waxy filaments that give a fluffy appearance, as though they are covered with wool.

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​Mail Order Vegetable Seed Supplies

​Mail Order Vegetable Seed Supplies

We like to buy our vegetable seeds from trusted mail order seed companies, this way we get a considerable range of varieties for a lifetime of experimentation and flavour. Here are our favourites.

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10 things you didn’t know about fruit flies

10 things you didn’t know about fruit flies

Robin Powell reports from behind enemy lines on the fascinating, infuriating fruit fly.

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A lesson in clipped hedges

A lesson in clipped hedges

A hedge is many things. It can define areas of the garden; shield you from the curiosity of passersby; block ugly intrusions into your view; protect your privacy; offer favourite plants a green backdrop against which to dazzle; or simply give your garden a nestling sense of enclosure and cosy comfort. Here Graham Ross answers the most-asked questions on hedge cultivation and care.

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Best-ever roast potatoes

Best-ever roast potatoes

Want the best-ever roast potatoes? Simple, delicious and deeply comforting the humble roast spud is a must-have in the cook’s bag of tricks. Here are a few of our favourite versions.

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Bug Watch: Aphids

Bug Watch: Aphids

Check roses, citrus, cherry and peach carefully when you water, looking for clusters of small insects hiding under leaves or on new growth: aphids.

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Bug Watch: Aphids and Other Li'l Suckers

Bug Watch: Aphids and Other Li'l Suckers

Given the chance those annoying little suckers bothering your flower buds now can become an infestation later. But if you get in early enough you can manage the problem without using any chamicals, just a few little backyard-buddies. Its time to get out there and evict your unwanted tennants! 

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Bug Watch: Bindii and other annoying lawn weeds

Bug Watch: Bindii and other annoying lawn weeds

Regretting not spraying against bindii in winter? Bindii (Soliva pterosperma) is a low-growing annual herb with leaves like a carrot top. It produces a single flower at its centre that matures into a prickly seedpod that sticks in bare feet.

 

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Bug Watch: Blue banded bee

Bug Watch: Blue banded bee

This native bee is found in every part of Australia except Tasmania. It gets its name from the iridescent blue or white bands around its abdomen.

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Bug Watch: Botrytis

Bug Watch: Botrytis

Humid, still conditions are the perfect breeding ground for botrytis, a fungus that affects plant tissue.

 

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Bug Watch: Bronze orange bugs

Bug Watch: Bronze orange bugs

Bronze orange bugs are nasty pests that suck sap from young shoots, fruit and flowers of citrus trees.

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Bug Watch: Cabbage Moth

Bug Watch: Cabbage Moth

Female moths, which can be recognised by their mottled brown colour, lay their eggs under leaves. When the larvae hatch, the brown-striped caterpillars tunnel into stems.

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Bug Watch: Citrus gall wasp

Bug Watch: Citrus gall wasp

Bulging citrus stems indicate the presence of citrus gall moth, which lays its eggs in the bark at the ends of citrus branches.

 

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Bug Watch: Citrus leaf miner

Bug Watch: Citrus leaf miner

A silvery trail on foliage is the telltale sign of this pest. Eggs were laid in the leaf by the moth last year and the trail is the hatched insect eating its way out. Further in their lifecycle leaf miners curl the leaves completely in on themselves, and pupate into small moths. These are active at night, so are rarely seen.

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Bug Watch: Cup moth

Bug Watch: Cup moth

Cup moths are so-called due to the cup-shaped cocoon they attach to the tree branches, or surrounding leaf litter, of eucalypts, brush box and pittosporum. They are also known to attack apples, apricots and cherries.

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Bug Watch: Frangipani rust

Bug Watch: Frangipani rust

This is a fairly new disease (Coleosporium domingense syn C. plumeriae) in Australia. It is believed to have arrived from Florida in an infected frangipani cutting 15 years ago.

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Bug watch: Hawk moth caterpillar

Bug watch: Hawk moth caterpillar

This is the king of the autumn caterpillars, a voracious eater that grows into a sizeable creature up to 7cm longwith large spots along its body and a white-tipped spine at the end. It feeds on tender foliage, and can decimate a patch of impatiens or sweet potato in a couple of days. 

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Bug Watch: Lacebugs

Bug Watch: Lacebugs

Despite their name, Azalea lace bugs are also enemies of rhododendrons. Their attack is evidenced by widespread silvery mottling and sticky, brown patches on the underside of leaves. It’s best to spray now, at the beginning of the growing season.

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Bug watch: Lily caterpillar

Bug watch: Lily caterpillar

These voracious caterpillars can destroy a clump of clivias or other lilies in record time.

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Bug watch: Magnesium deficiency

Bug watch: Magnesium deficiency

When plants are low in magnesium, they move what they have from the old leaves to feed the new. Consequently older leaves begin to yellow from the sides to the centre.

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Bug watch: Peach leaf curl

Bug watch: Peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl is a parasitic fungus that causes new leaves on peaches and nectarines to become disfigured. 

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Bug Watch: Powdery mildew

Bug Watch: Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a widespread fungus that is carried by the wind. It multiplies rapidly in high humidity so thrives in overcrowded garden beds where the air circulation is poor.

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Bug Watch: Thrips

Bug Watch: Thrips

Thrips suck and rasp at flower petals causing discolouration. 

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Bug Watch: Two spotted mite and azalea lace bug

Bug Watch: Two spotted mite and azalea lace bug

These two insects feed under the azalea leaves, causing a mottled discolouration on the topside of the leaves.

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Bugwatch: Scale

Bugwatch: Scale

Scale insects are some of the most common garden pests around. They attract other pests and suck the vigour from your plants, but they are easy to control and even easier to prevent.

 


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Cuttings from the Garden World

Cuttings from the Garden World

Here's what's happening  in the garden world this winter.

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Fettucine of Gete Okosomin Squash Brown Butter and Fennel Pollen

Fettucine of Gete Okosomin Squash Brown Butter and Fennel Pollen

Peter Gilmore’s delicious ‘fettuccini’ uses golden squash as both noodle and sauce in a dish that’s much easier than it looks.


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Frost Watch

Frost Watch

Frost-sensitive plants such as hibiscus, frangipani, passionfruit, citrus, deciduous fruit trees, and some vegetables can be adversely affected by frost. 

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How to plant a bare-rooted rose

How to plant a bare-rooted rose

It's easy to be seduced by the colour, forms and perfumes of roses, but not as easy to successfully grow them. Here Mez Woodward shows us how to plant your bare-rooted rose.

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How to: arrange flowers

How to: arrange flowers

In this edited extract from A Tree in the House, self-taught florist Annabelle Hickson shares her key tip for arranging flowers beautifully.


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How to: brew compost tea

How to: brew compost tea

When I was a child all our neighbours and friends had a large tub - generally an old enamel washing machine tub - buried close to the vegetable garden. This was the ‘brew’ tub. Ingredients for the brew - compost, manures and seaweed - were widely discussed and benefits widely acclaimed. And it turns out these gardeners were onto something!

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How to: clip balls

How to: clip balls

Plants clipped into balls add form and structure to the garden, and beautifully balance wilder, looser planting. The repetition of shapes develops rhythm which holds the garden together, while the contrast with other shrub shapes adds variety and interest.

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How to: cope with a deluge

How to: cope with a deluge

While subsoil drainage, such as drainage grates, gravel pits and sumps, are effective in light rain, heavy downpours overwhelm pipes and the water sheets across the landscape. Arno King has some tips top help cope when the heavens open up.

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