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Home Explore 2021-02-01 Gardening Australia

2021-02-01 Gardening Australia

Published by Salasiah Binti Mohd Taib, 2021-01-21 17:09:34

Description: 2021-02-01 Gardening Australia

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DESIGN Troy recommends researching the shade and maintenance PHOTOS BRENT WILSON, ALAMY, ISTOCK f cool areas needs of plants, and their size, before planting them, and says he would have been spared a lot of heartache if he had done this. PLANTING KEY clumping single trunk “Some plants, including sago palm (Cycas revoluta), dragon tree sun semi shade shade (Dracaena draco) and Mauritius hemp (Furcraea foetida), make frost tolerant drought tolerant a great statement and are virtually maintenance free, whereas Dwarf sugar palm (Arenga engleri) yucca, bamboo and giant bird of paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) can be a major headache on a suburban block,” he says. “Tropical 2.5–3m 4m plants often sold as indoor and patio container plants, such as Nikau palm (Rhopalostylis sapida) cordyline, croton and dumb cane (Dieffenbachia amoena), can be moved into shady parts of the garden in warmer months.” 5–8m 1–2m European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) Tropical flowers, including frangipani and hibiscus, are the icing on the cake in frost-free gardens. They can also be grown 2–5m 2–6m in feature pots, which can be moved to a protected verandah in Spindle palm (Hyophorbe verschaffeltii) winter. Just as flamboyant is red angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia sanguinea), which has striking trumpet blooms and the ability to 6m 3m withstand light frosts, unlike other forms of brugmansia. Chinese fan palm (Livistona chinensis) When Troy discovered bromeliads 12 years after starting his 9m 3m garden, they transformed his gardening style, as he could attach Foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) them to trees, grow them in pots and use them beneath trees for winter leaf colour. They take light frost, but other tree dwellers, 5–10m 3–5m such as staghorns and elkhorns, need frost-free conditions. GA Walking stick palm (Linospadix monostachya) 50 F E B R UA R Y 202 1 G A RD ENIN G AUS TR A L I A 1–2m 1m Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) 3–4m 2–4m Windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) 5–10m 2–3m Bismarck palm (Bismarckia nobilis) 6–12m 3–4m CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT In his garden on the NSW Central Coast, Greg Walsh has planted philodendron, cordyline and iresine underneath palms and brugmansia; European fan palm and bleeding heart; silver Bismarck palm; red berries hanging from a walking stick palm.

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ics yoonurtsaomilinatseesRroiields ? Builder’s rubble, cement wash-off and beds that may have been contaminated with cement-like material, a test will heavy metals can all spoil your quest confirm if high pH is a problem. A reading of 9 or above is serious, and the soil for a thriving garden. JOSH BYRNE should be dug out and replaced. explores your options for identifying metals & chemicals Sand testing problem soils, and limiting your exposure The presence of heavy metals, such as uccessful gardening starts with on building sites and, once covered with lead and cadmium, as well as pesticide- understanding your soil. Texture, soil, readily forgotten. Even small amounts related chemicals and hydrocarbons, is depth, fertility and pH all have an can form barriers to root development if common in urban environments as the result of previous industrial land use and influence on the types of plants beds are confined and root space is tight. the use of products that contained these substances. For example, there were that will happily grow in your garden, and On new builds, it’s worth inspecting the high concentrations of lead in most paint until the 1970s and it can often be found these factors can vary greatly from site to site after the builder has finished to check in soil alongside older buildings, where the paint has deteriorated. site. Another consideration is the history for leftover material prior to garden beds Persistent chemicals, such as those of the land and whether there is a risk of being set out and new soil brought in. in organochlorine pesticides that are used to control termites and ants around contaminants, such as debris and residue Cement residue from concrete and homes and sheds, remain in the soil for a long time. Hydrocarbons from oil can from building activities, or more serious mortar is another problem. Cement is also end up in gardens from road run-off, minute dust particles or illegal dumping. concerns arising from the presence of highly alkaline and, when present in soil, These substances are unlikely to be at heavy metals and residual chemicals. it raises the pH to the point where plant concentrations where they will present problems for your plants, but they aren’t Soil contamination is an unfortunate growth can be severely stunted. One of good for you. It’s important to understand the history of your site, especially in older reality in many urban environments, as the main ways this material ends up in suburbs or areas that may have a legacy of industrial activity and chemical use. well as some rural areas. It doesn’t mean soil is when tradies wash down their tools While some plants can take up and you shouldn’t garden on these sites, but it and wheelbarrows. If the location where accumulate contaminants, the main risk of exposure comes from physical contact is important to understand the issues and this is happening is over a future garden and ingestion of contaminated soil. This can come from working in the garden, or the risks. Here are some of the common area, then the soil will be affected and eating root crops and ground-dwelling problems and ways to identify or test for plant growth compromised. This is them. Once you know ‘what lies beneath’, particularly problematic on small sites, you can either remediate the soil, or where wash-down space is limited and choose to garden in raised beds. cement residue will be concentrated. rubble & residue To avoid this problem, barrows and tools should be scraped clean and any surplus In garden areas, building materials or cement-based products set aside to dry their residue are a nuisance at best and before being binned. If on-site washing PHOTOS ISTOCK a hindrance to successful plant growth down is necessary, it should be done over at worst. Leftover brick and rubble from an area that will be paved, rather than construction or demolition are common above a future garden bed. If you have 52 F E B R U A R Y 2 02 1 G A R D E N I N G AU S T R A L I A

KNOW-HOW SAFETY IN NUMBERS The following places offer a soil testing service. Visit their websites for info on how to gather samples and the forms you need to fill out. Vege Safe is a service offered by NSW Macquarie University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; $20 donation recommended. research.science.mq.edu.au/ vegesafe Toxtest is offered by Southern Cross University’s Environmental Analysis Laboratory in Lismore, NSW. Soil can be tested for 33 heavy metals and minerals. $108. toxtest.com.au Soil Doctors in Perth, WA, can undertake soil-nutrient analysis and recommendations, $249 (per sample); a soil heavy metal test, $59 (one mailed sample); or a garden survey, $399 (1.5-hour visit). soildoctors.com.au LEFT If you suspect that your soil has been contaminated with cement residue, which raises soil pH, carry out a simple test using a pH kit or pH meter to determine if further action is required to rectify the problem. vegies with soil residue on them, or from tips for SAFE GROWING kids ingesting soil through hand-to-mouth contact. Poultry also shouldn’t be exposed Having elevated levels of heavy metal and chemical contaminants to areas of concern, as some contaminants in your soil doesn’t mean that you can’t garden, but it’s important can bioaccumulate (become concentrated) to take sensible measures to limit your exposure. in chooks and be passed on through eggs. MINIMISE CONTACT Wear gloves BUILD IT UP Grow vegetables in If you’re concerned about the possibility and a dust mask when gardening, and raised beds or containers that are of contamination in your soil, you should avoid bringing soil into the house via filled with clean soil. If you’re installing consider getting the soil tested to see if your clothes and shoes. raised garden beds, consider lining the levels are within safe limits. There are AVOID HOT SPOTS Some areas may the base with geotextile (permeable) a number of analytical laboratories around have higher levels of contamination fabric to prevent the original soil the country offering this service (see box, than others – for example, along the mixing with new, clean soil. top right). They will provide instruction on fence lines and near buildings, where SMOTHER IT Cover the soil with a how to collect samples from your garden pesticides and lead-based paints are thick layer of mulch to reduce contact and how to submit them for testing. GA more likely to have been applied. and avoid dust blowing around.



CURIOSITIES noseON THE We love flowers for their PHOTOS ALAMY, ISTOCK OPPOSITE sweet perfume, but not e magni cent ower everything in the garden of the giant titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) comes up smelling of roses grows up to about 2.5m and smells like a dead possum. – some plants are decidedly stinky. ABOVE AND RIGHT TIM ENTWISLE takes us on a tour of e strong, musky scent of the root of Fritillaria the plant world’s odorous underbelly imperialis (‘Rubra Maxima’ is pictured here) will linger Think of a summer evening, with a waft of frangipani long after you’ve dug it up; or pittosporum flower in the air. Or reflect on when like the other species in the you last passed a blousy rose perched at nose level Stapelia genus, the single and were unable to resist taking a sniff. Plants are as bloom of S. gigantea uses much about scent as they are about colour and form, but there its rotting- esh scent to are times when they’re decidedly on the nose. Take the giant lure ies for pollination. titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) bloom and what I would describe as its ‘dead-possum’ aroma. Or Rafflesia arnoldii, left some brave visitors disappointed. Unpleasant-smelling another huge flower from the jungles of Indonesia and Malaysia, relatives include Bulbophyllum putidum and B. foetidum. with a similarly unpleasant odour, all the better to attract flies and carrion beetles. Then there’s its close relative, Sapria Whole genera can be tainted by their odours. The blooms himalayana, which has generally smaller but smellier flowers. of almost all Stapelia species are described as smelling like rotting flesh. And the genus Sterculia, which is named after A less well-known stinker is Bulbophyllum fletcherianum. This the Roman god of manure, includes species where all parts orchid’s aroma is so strong and revolting that collectors have of the plant emit foul or, at best, unpleasant scents. vomited in their attempts to bring the plant into cultivation. With leaves up to 2m long and nearly 50cm wide, and ‘pseudobulbs’ the size of grapefruit, it’s one of the largest orchids in the world. It grows in just a few ravines in southern New Guinea, mostly attached to trees and rocks. The collector of the first material distributed to botanic gardens in Australia was lowered by rope down a cliff face but could barely make it back after throwing up from the stench. Those at the top reacted similarly, and only after one of them snapped off the flowers and threw them into the ravine could they safely transport the plant back to Australia. It takes humidity and temperatures over 30˚C to bring out the full odour, so plants flowering in Sydney and Melbourne have G A RDENING AUS TR A LIA F E B R UA R Y 2021 55

CURIOSITIES Then there is the cabbage family, Brassicaceae. When I was TOP TO BOTTOM PHOTOS ISTOCK ,ALAMY a youngish child, we grew our first crop of broccoli at a holiday e odd-looking star sh house just out of Castlemaine, in central Victoria. We left the harvesting a little late, and I was so taken by the yellow flowers fungus or anemone the plants had produced that I cut off a few of the heads and stinkhorn (Aseroë rubra); put them in a vase. We returned a few weeks later to the stench the strange Hydnora of rotten cabbage wafting through the house. africana ower smells like dung to attract the beetle All Brassicaceae will stink if you leave them in a confined it relies on for pollination; space for too long, and that applies as much to the vegetative like durian, opinions are plant as it does to the flowers. The leaves of the aptly named divided about the olfactory New Zealand shrub stinkwood (Coprosma foetidissima) have merits of the fruit of noni that same rotten-cabbage-like smell. (Morinda citrifolia) – it smells like vomit to some, some real stinkers but in several places in the Paci c, it’s mixed with Some plants have quite evocative and specific odours. The other foods and eaten for needles of the North American white spruce, for instance, its reputed health bene ts. reputedly smell like cat urine. In a similar vein, the root of the beautiful Fritillaria imperialis has the unfortunate musky parasitic and odd-looking desert plant Hydnora africana, which aroma of fox urine, which continues to linger long after the attracts dung beetles to pollinate the flowers, to the well-named plant has been removed from a garden bed. genera of stinkhorn fungi, such as Phallus, Aseroë and Clathrus. It’s not just the exotic plants, of course. Given the fresh I haven’t even mentioned plants that my more polite botanist tang of a lime or lemon, it may seem odd that Australian friends describe as smelling ‘manly’, such as the ornamental representatives of the citrus family, Rutaceae, have a stinky pear (Pyrus calleryana), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) reputation. Examples include Zieria arborescens, which is also and the male flowers of the carob tree. called stinkwood, and many of the Boronia species, some of which invite my ‘smells like dead possum’ descriptor. All scents have their uses to the plant and, when emitted from a flower or fruit, usually attract an animal of some kind. In the emu-bush family, the smell of Myoporum floribundum So, while certain odours may be odd or offensive to us, there after rain resembles wet socks, according to some. The same is sure to be something out there that likes what it smells. GA is true of lantana, which, although not an Australian native, has become well established in many areas. Its floral scent is offensive to some, including, it seems, many in Malaysia, where it’s called bunga tahi ayam, the chicken poo flower. A ripe fruit is usually an olfactory treat – think fresh peaches and mangoes – unless it’s the tropical durian, which emits a smell of decay to attract orangutans from many kilometres away. The fruit of noni (Morinda citrifolia) and Ginkgo biloba also have acrid aromas, which are often described as similar to vomit. Again, opinions are divided. Despite Morinda citrifolia sometimes being called ‘starvation fruit’, because it should only be eaten as a last resort, it is popular in Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific, albeit when mixed with other foods and taken largely for its reputed health benefits. Then there are plants (or plant-like things) that smell and look unpleasant, from the dung-fragranced flowers of the 56 F E B R UA R Y 2021 G ARDENING AUS TR ALIA

ADVERTISING FEATURE Three minutes is all it can take to lose your home and family to fire Did you know that more Australians die in residential fires Prepare and practise your home fire on average than by all natural hazards combined – and most escape plan – possibly the most of these fires are preventable?1 important plan you’ll ever make Keep your family safe with What makes a house fire so devastating is the combination of Design a home fire escape plan to fire, smoke and the production of poisonous gases. These factors suit your home, and talk about it with combined have the power to kill quickly and silently. Traditionally, fire services try to get to a fire within eight minutes from when they everybody in the house. Involve your are reported2. However, it is often considered that the materials commonly found within homes today are more combustible than children in the planning, and practise in the past, and it takes less time for a ‘flashover’ event to occur3. Five minutes is all it could take to lose your home and family to fire. regularly. Follow these helpful hints Fire Safety Thankfully there are some simple things you can do to help protect for your home escape plan: your home and your loved ones. • Practise your escape plan Products A working smoke alarm could save your life at least twice a year According to the Department of Fire & Emergency Services in • Crawl low if caught in smoke Western Australia, your sense of smell is diminished when you are asleep. With most deaths occurring at night, a working smoke alarm • If safe to do so, use windows as is your electronic nose and will alert you if there is smoke from a fire. A small fire can engulf an entire home in five minutes4. A correctly an alternative escape route positioned working smoke alarm will warn you if a fire starts in your home, giving your family minutes to escape. • Cover broken glass with a blanket or doona We recommend that all Australians follow these simple rules: • ONCE OUT, STAY OUT. Pick a safe meeting place outside • Test your smoke alarm monthly by holding down the test button until you hear a loud alert tone, then release your home, such as next to your letterbox • Replace your batteries every year if it is not a smoke alarm with a sealed lithium-ion battery. (Mains-powered smoke • If your clothes catch alight, stop, put your hands over your alarms have back-up batteries that may need replacing. Check the manufacturer’s instructions)5 face, gently drop to the ground, and rock and roll on the • Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years, regardless of the type of smoke alarm you have. floor until your clothes stop burning. A Install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket Fire blankets and extinguishers can be used to put out small fires in the home, especially in the kitchen, garage or shed. • A dry-powder fire extinguisher (DCP) is the most common type used around the home. • Keep fire blankets in the kitchen where they can be easily reached. • Check that the fire blanket packaging and fire extinguisher carry the Australian Standard mark • We suggest a fire blanket of at least 1m x 1m. BC D A. Quell wireless interconnect smoke alarm B. Quell ‘Worry-Free’ kitchen smoke and carbon monoxide alarm C. Quell carbon monoxide alarm D. Quell fire extinguisher 1. Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC in partnership with Risk Frontiers: bnhcrc.com.au/publications/biblio/bnh-5807 2. frv.vic.gov.au/response-times 3. Understanding flashover: fireengineering.com/2010/06/22/278458/kiurski-flashover/#gref 4. Department of Fire & Emergency Services: dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/fireinthehome/Pages/default.aspx 5. Department of Fire & Emergency Services: dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/fireinthehome/Pages/default.aspx

amazing maize It was a bit of a Jack & the Beanstalk moment for JACKIE FRENCH when tall crops of maize erupted from the horse manure mulch on her garden The first large garden I ever grew was mulched with manure from pick the cobs young, when their a racing stable. As I forked up tassels are still green. Once maize cobs are fully mature, you need to load after load into a green truck, grind, crack or pound the kernels, the grooms joked that I’d have the fastest or process them in one of the many vegetables in Australia. Most of the pile of other ways devised for maize crops. stable tailings was months old, but some Maize is an excellent crop if you was fresh. And the seeds in some of the want to grow your own chook feed, horse droppings were still viable, because although once the kernels are hard about three months later, what I thought and dry, you need to crack the corn were sweetcorn seedlings began to poke before giving it to the hens. I put our up across the vegetable area. They grew, dry maize kernels into the food processor close together means you should get better pollination. Scattered kernels with and grew. They kept on growing until they for a few seconds to break them up. empty spaces comes from poor pollination. were almost twice as tall as I was, each Blend them for longer or use a flour A warning: if you keep your own corn seed, don’t grow maize and sweetcorn thick stem having long, pointed cobs – not grinder if you want fine cornflour, or together, as they may cross pollinate. Their offspring will be edible but unpredictable. just one or two per plant, but three or four, a coarser mix for cornbread or polenta. Most red, purple and multicoloured corn varieties are a form of maize: gorgeous or even more. I’d never had a crop like it. Cracked maize is excellent in slow-cooked to look at, but tough to eat unless treated. I pretty much lived off the vegie garden soups or stews. Treat it like dried beans, You’ll never get sweetcorn succulence from maize, no matter how young it’s back then. I picked the first cobs just as the which need long, slow cooking to be tender. eaten. But you will get perhaps four times the crop, or even more, and maize is often kernels had formed, still pale green, and Maize used for flour or animal feed more tolerant of heat and drought than sweetcorn. You’ll also feel extremely smug boiled them. They were delicious, tender keeps for years if you let it dry, unlike every time someone looks over the fence at your crop towering way above head and sweet. The next lot I harvested were sweetcorn. Leave the cobs on the plant height, and exclaims, “Wow!” GA turning yellow, and were not so tender, but until the stems die. An old trick is to push FROM TOP, AND RIGHT Dried cobs can be processed for chook feed; still good. Two weeks later, the cobs were each cob so it points downwards, so the Jackie, then 21, among her rst maize crop; maize plants grow taller than sweetcorn. filled with rich yellow kernels, each hard rain washes off while the cobs are drying, PHOTOS ISTOCK, JACKIE FRENCH, ALAMY enough to break a tooth. I had accidentally and the kernels inside don’t rot. grown maize, not sweetcorn! Maize is closer to the original wild corn, pollination success bred to give lots to make cornflour, polenta My accidental maize grew so well because and corn syrup, as well as hundreds of of the richly manured soil. Like sweetcorn, other corn-based products, including stud maize needs frequent feeding to grow tall mix and other animal feed. and produce many fat cobs. Also, grow If you want to eat maize boiled without it in a clump, not in one or two long rows. needing a visit to the dentist, you must Corn is wind pollinated, so growing plants 58 F E B R UA R Y 2021 G ARDENING AUS TR ALIA

AT HOME WITH JACKIE wtohBeUrYe To get started with maize seed, try the following varieties: Manning White Produces large cobs of white kernels that can be eaten fresh when young, or left to mature to make cornflour. Available from The Seed Collection, (03) 8719 0440, theseedcollection.com.au, or from Greenpatch Organic Seeds, (02) 6551 4240, greenpatchseeds.com.au Reid’s Yellow Dent Large stalks yield big yellow cobs, which can be roasted for eating, or dried for stock feed. Available from Eden Seeds, (07) 5533 1177, edenseeds.com.au You can also buy maize from produce stores that sell it as bird food.

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® the cleverest fertiliser on the planet Microbes Healthy soil contains billions of beneficial microbes and fungi that carry out a myriad of functions to keep soils healthy and conducive to plant growth. Repeated use of chemical fertiliser actually kills good microbes and makes soils progressively poorer. Non slow-release fertilisers are also the biggest polluters of our waterways and areresponsible for algal blooms that destroy fish and aquatic plant life. Troforte addresses these issues by providing a complete plant nutrition system in a product you would use as you would any other fertiliser. The Troforte concept is an innovative new approach to the cultivation of almost all plants, with particular interest on edible crops, to ensure that harvests are healthy and nutrient rich, through the use of a proven biological coating on specifically designed mineral base fertilisers containing up to 60 minerals, in natural forms (ores). In turn, these minerals work together with the suite of beneficial soil microbes and fungi to maintain ideal nutrient availability and to biologically feed the soil which ensures that it is “living”, and thus more disease-resistant. The biological coating on the natural and nutrient rich mineral base contains a suite of Australian cultured beneficial micro-organisms that allow them to interact together synergistically to supply bio-available, and also controlled release nutrients to the plant, and stimulate beneficial biology to enhance overall plant growth. www.troforte.com.au

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YOUR PLANNER s wTOP JOB ONIONS & LEEKS I ’s ime ... It’s a tad too hot for sowing onions, been lying about for more than a year or Give the roots of sunburnt plants a good soaking, but wait until autumn leeks and green onions in the ground, two, replace it with a fresh pack to avoid before trimming off damaged sections but starting them in punnets will give the disappointment of poor germination. Move hanging baskets into shaded spots where they are protected from them a head start until conditions Fill your punnet with a premium seed- the harsh summer heat are cool enough to plant them out. raising mix, scatter your seed over the Soak indoor plants in a bucket of diluted liquid fertiliser to give them Single-cell punnets offer the easiest top, then cover with 5–6mm of mix. a nutritional boost option to germinate the seed and grow Place punnets in a spot that gets a few Feed potted bougainvilleas with a flower-promoting fertiliser seedlings on. Once they’re established hours of early morning sun, with shade Collect harlequin bugs (below) and (about 10cm tall), they can be tipped from late morning onwards, and keep green vegetable bugs, and drop them into a bucket filled with soapy water out and separated, ready for planting. moist. Once the seedlings are up, Sow pansy seeds into punnets kept The seed of onions and their close encourage rapid growth with regular in a cool spot ready for autumn planting relatives have a fairly short period of watering and an application of liquid Cut back long-blooming perennials, such as begonias, impatiens, diascias viability, so if you have a packet that’s fertiliser once a week. and salvias, and feed them to promote a beautiful autumn flower flush TIDY TIES Topip Strike tip cuttings of pelargoniums Forgotten plant ties can strangle plants, Trim long, whippy shoots from especially during summer growth when climbers such as wisteria, pandorea, trunks are expanding. Be on the lookout allamanda and star jasmine for old ties that are cutting into stems, and Seed and repair damaged lawns in remove them. It’s better to leave plants without ties, cool areas to give them plenty of time if possible, but if they need support, replace with soft to regrow before winter ties that are loose enough to allow some movement. PHOTOS ALAMY, ISTOCK look out for chinese lanterns Chinese lanterns (Abutilon spp.) are at their best at this time of year. The common name of these hibiscus relatives comes from the lantern-like, dangling, bell-shaped flowers that appear abundantly among the maple-shaped leaves (opposite). Late summer is a good time to look out for some of these long-flowering beauties to add to your garden. Abutilon hybrids have single or double flowers in a wide range of colours, including white ‘Boule de Neige’, yellow ‘Golden Fleece’, red ‘Nabob’ and many more, including dwarf and larger forms up to 3m tall. Abutilon megapotamicum is a low-growing, pendulous species with red and yellow flowers that makes a good groundcover or can be used to spill out of containers. Chinese lanterns are easy-care and love being pruned, but watch for the leaf-eating pests. G A R D ENIN G AU S T R A L I A F E B R UA R Y 202 1 63

cyec-plamens Potted cyclamens are getting ready to wake up from their summer slumber, so it’s time to give them a little freshen up. Take the corms out of their pots and clean off the old potting mix. Discard any corms that are soft or rotten. Fill a clean pot with well-drained potting mix, then position the corm with its top half sitting out above the mix. Water once, then place the pot in a dry, shaded spot. After the new shoots have started to emerge, feed with slow-release fertiliser and begin regular watering. Set up old umbrellas around the swm e garden to protect your tender plants during super-hot spells (above) BASIL Water camellias well during hot In all but the coldest periods to help with the formation of areas, there’s still plenty healthy flower buds of time to make another sowing of basil seeds Promote a second blooming of in pots or garden beds. summer annuals by trimming them Young plants produce and liquid-fertilising every two weeks sweeter leaves, and generous seed-sowing Identify and prepare any gaps in will give you plenty of the garden so you have them all ready basil to pick for pesto for your autumn planting or salads, or for pairing with tomatoes. Check out spring-bulb catalogues to choose and pre-order some exciting EARWIGS Woau ch additions for your garden Sneakily eating at night, earwigs chomp holes in Prepare beds for sweet pea planting leaves, flowers and fruit on a range of plants, and by digging in a handful of dolomite for shelter during the day in leaf litter or other debris. every square metre They’re most troublesome in southern states and Water cymbidium orchids with chilled are easily identified by the pincers at the end of their water or ice cubes during hot weather to assist in initiating winter flower formation bodies. Clean out possible hiding places, then place Add a water feature to help the garden traps made from rolled-up newspaper, corrugated feel cooler during the summer months cardboard or paper-stuffed pots near threatened Take tip cuttings from gardenias to propagate new plants plants in the evening, and check in the morning for Give indoor plants a quarter turn earwigs taking shelter. Oily tins, such as empty tuna every week to ensure they receive even amounts of light from nearby windows tins, are said to be very attractive to these pests, too. 64 FE B RUA RY 2021 GARDENING AUSTR ALIA

YOUR PLANNER TOP JOB ic sINoFwEB&RUApRlaYnt… asian greens ●● GIVE H a basil ●●●● Take out the shears or secateurs and tidy Check plants for pests, too. Popular beans (french, climbing) ●●● your hedges to trim any rampant growth. lillipillies are quick-growing screens but Even hedges planted last spring should many varieties are affected by psyllids, beetroot ●●●● be trimmed now to encourage the plants tiny sap-sucking insect pests that cause to bush up. This encourages many more unsightly bumps in the leaves. Scale broccoli ●●●● side shoots that will eventually make a insects are common, too. Give affected more effective screen. After pruning, plants an all-over trim to remove the brussels sprouts ●●● fertilise with organic pellets, water well most obvious damage. Put affected and renew a layer of mulch on either prunings into the bin, not the compost, cabbage ●●●● side of the hedge, without allowing it to and spray the plants with an oil-based directly contact the trunks of the plants. spray to suffocate pests that remain. capsicum, chilli ●● carrot ●●● cauli ower ●●●● celery ●● chives ●●●● cucumber ●●● eggplant ●●● kale ● ● ● ● WATCH kohlrabi ●●● FOR WEEDS leek ● ● ● ● Stand still at this time of year and you can almost lettuce ●●●● see the weeds growing. Go on regular weed patrol parsnip ●● to pull out any undesirable seedlings and keep on top pumpkin ●● of things. Remove and bin flower or seed heads from radish ●●●● established weeds before putting the remaining silverbeet ●●●● material into the compost. Avoid putting persistent spring onion ●●●● bulbous weeds, such as oxalis, nutgrass and onion squash, zucchini ●● weed, in the compost. An organic herbicide is swede ●●●● useful for spraying weed PHOTOS RACHEL HENDERSON, ISTOCK, AB BISHOP seedlings in paths and sweet potato ● courtyard areas. sweetcorn ●●● tomato ●●● turnip ●●●● KEY tropical ● subtropical ● arid/semi-arid ● warm temperate ● cold temperate ● G A R D ENIN G AU S T R A L I A F E B R UA R Y 202 1 65

Edible ga de preserve summer flowers Set up props to support branches You can enjoy your favourite summer heavily laden with ripening fruit (above) blooms right through winter by drying the colour of the blooms. If you want some of them. Strawflowers or paper to dry multi-petalled flowers, such as Clear crops and weeds from raised daisies are obvious candidates, as their zinnias, or save special bouquets, it’s garden beds and top up the soil with papery petals give you a head start, and worth seeking out some flower-drying a fresh, organic-based layer they hold their colour so well. Lavender crystals, which can be purchased is another. As well as decorating vases, online or from florist suppliers. Put fruit that’s been attacked by fruit sprigs of dried lavender can be used to fly or codling moth in a plastic bag and perfume drawers and wardrobes. Also Of course, the most important rule leave in the sun to destroy the pests popular are rosebuds, achillea, statice is to be sure you have the strength of and gomphrena, and the seed pods of character to discard your dried flowers Keep up the water to sweetcorn honesty and nigella. when they fade or become covered and tomato crops during this month in dust or infested with insects. Rest of hot weather Most flowers can easily be air-dried assured, they make great compost! by simply hanging them upside down in Pick off zucchini, squash, cucumber a protected spot for 3–4 weeks. A dark and pumpkin leaves that are affected by room or garage is a good place for this powdery mildew to help reduce spread because the lower light helps preserve Scoop out seeds from favourite chillies and dry them on paper towels to store for sowing next spring Cut spent yellowing artichoke plants to the ground and they will send up a cluster of new shoots from the base Sow pre-soaked seeds of silverbeet, which will give you leafy pickings right throughout winter Empty compost bays and spread on vegie beds ready for cool-season crops Pick and enjoy ripe raspberries (below), and cut off the harvested canes at ground level

Available at YOUR PLANNER sa e HERB SEEDS Collect and save ripe seeds from herbs such as parsley, coriander and basil. If the seed heads need more time to fully ripen, protect and contain them by covering with a paper or tulle bag. Bomboniere bags are ideal as they have their own drawstring closure, and they allow the air through so the seed heads can dry out after rain or watering. When the seeds are ready, cut the stems just below the bag, empty out the seeds, and then clean off any plant debris. Make sure the seeds are completely dry before putting them into a labelled paper bag or airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place. Parsley LILY CATERPILLARS CUTTING EDGE These striped munchers are incredibly destructive to Introducing... plants such as lilies, crinums and clivias, eating their The new Neta Cutting Tools range! Secateurs, Snips, Loppers, Shears and Saws, that are light-weight, easy to use, and designed for practical gardening. way right down to the leaf bases. They start feeding at the leaf tips, so check plants regularly and squash young grubs before they grow into eating machines that can demolish your plants. Woau ch PHOTOS ISTOCK, ANNA SCOBIE netagarden.com

In e opics pain s me Take cuttings from acalypha (above), crotons and mussaenda PEBBLES Cut back shrubs now so they have Painting pebbles is such a fun and creative time to reshoot before the dry season activity to do, by yourself or with children, and the finished art pieces can be used Fertilise mangoes and top up their to decorate inside the home or out in the mulch, if necessary garden. There’s no limit to what you can create with a few colours. Try making cute Empty water-holding saucers under little insects, such as bees and ladybirds, pots, and other containers, to prevent or cats, lions and other animal characters. mosquitoes breeding Flowers, funky patterns and mandalas are fun, too, or make labels to identify herbs Sow some seed of quick-growing and mark where you’ve sown vegie seeds. sunflowers in punnets to transplant later into bare patches in the garden Prune any overgrown plants that are taking over your garden beds and swamping the pathways Dig around the base of yacon plants to harvest a few of the early tubers Check mulch layers after downpours and replace any sections that have been washed away by the rain Fertilise water chestnuts by wrapping manure pellets in newspaper and burying them in the mud beside the plants Grow desert roses (Adenium spp., below) from seed gathered from their dry pods, but wear gloves when handling them because all plant parts are toxic BLACKBIRDS PHOTOS ISTOCK, GAP PHOTOS, GAP PHOTOS/VICTORIA FIRMSTON Introduced to Australia in the mid 19th century, European blackbirds love to scratch mulch out of garden beds. Foil them by laying and firmly pegging down chicken wire beneath the mulch. Protect the roots of new plantings by placing good-sized rocks around the base. Blackbirds also attack soft summer fruit, and the best way to exclude them is by completely covering the trees with wildlife-friendly netting during fruiting. If the birds are a real problem, think about changing your garden design to reduce lawn areas. 68 F E B R UA R Y 2021 G A RDENING AUS TR ALIA

YOUR PLANNER 70 All you need are some artist paintbrushes, artist acrylic paints in a range of colours, and some pebbles. If you don’t have any pebbles lying about at home, you can pick some up from a garden centre or landscape supply yard. Make sure the stones are clean before you start, and always wait for each layer of paint to dry before putting another colour over the top. Once you’re finished, coat the pebbles with varnish to seal and protect the paint from wear and water damage. Woau ch

STEP-BY-STEP TAKE GREVILLEA CUTTINGS Grevilleas can be quite difficult to grow from cuttings. Here, PHIL DUDMAN demonstrates a few important steps that will greatly increase your strike rate. 1 1 CHOOSE the best propagating material. Avoid stems that have flowers growing on them. Vigorous new growth is ideal; ideally, it should be young but firm enough to snap if bent. 2 2 TRIM soft, floppy growth at tip. Prune the base of the cutting just below the third or fourth node (leaf joint) from the top. This is where the roots will form. 3 REMOVE any lower leaves, keeping one or two at the top. If the remaining leaves are big, cut in half. This helps to reduce moisture loss from the cutting. 3 70 F E B R U A R Y 2 02 1 G A R D E N I N G AU S T R A L I A

YOUR PLANNER 2021 Autumn & Spring Bulb Catalogue 45 4 SCRAPE OFF some of the bark at the base of the cutting, on both sides. Wounding the tissue of woody cuttings like this exposes more of the green sapwood that carries the cells that potentially divide and form roots. 5 DIP the base of the cutting into some rooting hormone gel or powder to encourage quicker root formation. 6 PLANT the cuttings into small pots or cell modules filled with moistened propagation mix. I used a 50:50 blend of perlite and coir peat. Make a hole in the mix with a pencil or stick before planting each cutting. 7 COVER cuttings to protect them and maintain humidity. 6 I put the cell tray into a cheap plastic propagator box from the garden centre, or you could cover the pots with a plastic bag fitted over a simple wire frame. Keep the cuttings in a warm, shaded spot, and check them regularly to see if they need more water. Be patient, as it Free Mail Order Catalogue can take many months for the roots to form. Kevan & Lyn Chambers 7 294 Chambers Road PHOTOS ANNA HUTCHCROFT BOYUP BROOK WA 6244 Email [email protected]

GARDENING ON YOUR radio For more details about coverage in your area, phone 139 994 or visit reception.abc.net.au TV NSW ACT THIS INFORMATION IS CORRECT AT THE TIME OF PRINTING BUT IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Gardening Australia ABC Radio Sydney ABC Radio Canberra resumes Friday, Feb 12 at 7.30pm Saturday 9am Saturday 8.30am on ABC TV ABC Radio Central Coast SA Gardening Australia TV returns to the screen on February 12. Until Saturday 9am ABC Radio Adelaide; then, you can get your gardening ABC North & West; ABC Eyre fix on our website by catching up ABC Central West Peninsula; ABC South East SA on complete episodes and exploring fact sheets on everything from Saturday 8.30am Saturday 8.30am DIY projects and plant profiles, to recipes and garden design. ABC Illawarra ABC Riverland Visit abc.net.au/gardening You’ll also find inspiration on our Saturday 8.30am Saturday 7am Facebook and Instagram pages: facebook.com/gardeningaustralia ABC Mid North Coast; ABC Broken Hill instagram.com/gardeningaustralia ABC Co s Coast Saturday 9am February 12 Saturday 9.30am, Thursday 9.30am Statewide; ABC Radio Adelaide; Costa Georgiadis wanders along Sydney’s ABC Newcastle ABC North & West; ABC Eyre iconic Bondi to Bronte walk with the gardening Peninsula; ABC South East; team who maintains it, Tino Carnevale visits Saturday 8.30am ABC Riverland; ABC Broken Hill a garden masterpiece designed with an artistic touch, Jane Edmanson visits an inner-city ABC New England North West Sunday 11am rooftop haven for bees, Jerry Coleby-Williams profiles food plants that over-produce, Saturday 8.30am, Thursday 9.30am TAS Josh Byrne visits a kitchen garden designed to supply a restaurant, Millie Ross shares ABC North Coast ABC Radio Hobart; garden tool wisdom, Clarence Slockee creates ABC Northern Tasmania a wetland with water-loving native plants, and Saturday 8.30am we meet the renowned conductor and Artistic Saturday 9am, Tino Carnevale Director of the Victorian Opera, Richard Mills, ABC Riverina and Joel Rheinberger who has a passion for growing orchids. Saturday 8.30am VIC Gardening Australia now broadcast with Aud o Descr ption, wh ch descr bes ABC South East ABC Radio Melbourne; mportant elements for people with a ABC Victoria Wednesday 10am, Saturday 9am mpa rment It be turned Saturday 9.30am off needed Vis t he p abc net au ABC Western Plains ABC Central Victoria Visit iview.abc.net.au to watch previous Thursday 9.35am fortnightly, episodes of Gardening Australia Saturday 8.30am Thursday 9.30am NT ABC Gippsland ABC Radio Darwin Monday 10am Saturday 9am ABC Mildura-Swan Hill ABC Alice Springs; Tuesday 9.40am 106.1 ABC Tennant Creek ABC Ballarat Saturday 8.30am Wednesday 10.20am fortnightly QLD ABC Goulburn Murray ABC Radio Brisbane Tuesday 9.40am Saturday 6am ABC Southwest Victoria ABC Gold Coast Thursday 7.20am fortnightly Saturday 6am ABC Wimmera ABC Sunshine Coast Thursday 9.40am Monday 5.50pm WA ABC Southern Queensland ABC Radio Perth; ABC Great Saturday 9am Southern; ABC South West; ABC Gold elds Esperance; ABC North Queensland ABC Kimberley; ABC Pilbara; ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt Friday 10am Wednesday 2.45pm, ABC Tropical North; Saturday 9.05am ABC Capricornia; ABC Wide Bay; ABC North West Qld; ABC Western Qld Friday 10am ABC Far North Friday 10am, Saturday 8.30am Download the ABC listen app and listen to live radio streams of gardening programs across Australia. 72 F E B R UA RY 2021 G ARDENING AUSTR ALIA

IN THEPATCH PHOTOS ISTOCK, JESSIE PRINCE Horticultural editor and devoted food grower PHIL DUDMAN shows you what to plant, pick and tend in the edible garden this month G ARDENING AUS TR ALIA F E B R UA RY 2021 73

IN THE PATCH i NT NOW BRASSICAS The cooler months are coming and it’s exposure to direct sun, to avoid plants sow 2–3 seeds per cell and remove all time to prepare the patch for a seasonal becoming long, leggy and weak. Find but the strongest seedling for growing changeover. Brassicas dominate the a spot that gets 3–4 hours of direct on. Keep seedlings cool and moist, and domain, and early action is the key to early-morning sun, which is the least liquid-fertilise them once a week. getting good results, especially for those intense, with shade from late morning. that are slow to mature, such as cabbage, If you prefer to buy seedlings, that’s cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. When starting seed in single-cell great – you’ll get a few weeks’ head start! Some varieties need four or five months punnets, moisten the seed-raising mix, Pot up and care for them as described of cool weather to come to fruition, and dribble seed into shallow drills about above and wait until the temperature while it still feels too warm to be growing 7–10mm deep, and backfill. Soon after starts to cool before planting out in the them, plants started now will ensure you they germinate, prick out individual patch. Once they are in the ground, be have a delicious midwinter harvest. The seedlings and plant them in small, prepared to protect plants with shadecloth trick is to put extra effort into keeping individual pots. For multicell punnets, on days when the heat returns. them cool until high temperatures ease. PHOTOS ALAMY, GAP PHOTOS, ISTOCK Direct sowing into warm soil is likely to lead to disappointment. Brassica seed won’t germinate in the heat, and keeping soil adequately moist will be a challenge. Even if they do germinate, the delicate little seedlings will surely suffer terminal heatstroke in the patch on a hot day. Sowing in punnets is the way to go, because containers can be moved about to control conditions. They don’t need direct sunlight to germinate, so you can place punnets in a cool spot under a shady tree, or in a cool room indoors. Once they come up, normally within a week, they will need 74 F E B R U A R Y 2 02 1 G ARDENING AUS TR AL

PICK it NOW SUMMER HARVEST If you’ve suddenly found yourself with a Drying is fairly CLOCKWISE FROM TOP glut of tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, stone straightforward, too. Hang herbs in an airy spot to dry; slice stone fruit or other goodies from the garden, Many herbs can be hung fruits and dry in the oven or a dehydrator; make the most of your abundance by in small bunches in an jars are perfect for showing off preserves. preserving it to enjoy later on. airy spot under cover. Most vegetables and Fermenting and pickling are loads of Freezing is the quickest and easiest fruits are best dried in fun, and the tangy and sour flavours they way to preserve a harvest – that is, if you a dehydrator. produce can make a great addition to have space in your freezer. Most fruits meals. Salt, vinegar (for pickles) and clean, and vegies will keep for up to a year when If you tend to grow a lot sterilised jars are the main components frozen. Tomatoes can be washed, dried of food, a little dehydrator unit for home that are needed for these ancient forms and thrown into plastic bags whole, then use is a worthwhile investment, and the of preserving. Lots of vegetables can be used when needed for making sauces. cost can be shared among a bunch of preserved using these methods, and Stone fruit, such as peaches, are best cut local food-growing friends. there are heaps of recipes to play with. up, laid on paper-lined trays and frozen, before transferring to freezer bags for Alternatively, try drying some of your You could consider canning or bottling storing. Excess beans should be topped excess in a regular oven set to the lowest your excess produce in old-fashioned and tailed, then halved, washed and laid setting. Slice fruits to a thickness of about mason jars. The lids and jars must be out on paper towels to dry for 20 minutes 5mm and lay them out on trays lined with sterilised first. Once they’re filled and the or so before tossing them into bags. baking paper. They usually take about six seals and lids go on, the jars are placed hours in the oven. Store in clean jars. in heated water for about two hours. This forms a vacuum, creating a perfect seal. Bottling kits and specially designed water-heating units are readily available, and the jars, seals and lids are re-usable. G ARDENING AUS TR ALIA F E B R UA RY 2021 75

MINT CONDITION A delightfully aromatic and flavoursome herb, mint has many culinary and medicinal uses, and can be grown just about anywhere, writes JUDY HORTON Picking mint fresh from the garden to brew a soothing, restorative British and European colonies. Other mints growing tips herbal tea, or to throw into a are found around the world, including in Australia. A wild-growing mint (Mentha Mint is an outlier among Mediterranean herbs because, unlike thyme, rosemary, salad or flavour a favourite dish arvensis var. piperascens) is said to have oregano and many others of their ilk that is one of life’s great pleasures. been harvested in Japan to extract its thrive in dry climates, mint loves moisture. Mint has been grown as a medicinal natural menthol oil since recorded time. In the old days, it was often grown under and culinary herb for thousands of years. The two best-known varieties used a dripping tap. Modern plumbing might be The name is said to derive from Greek for medicinal and culinary purposes are better, but the message holds true: mint mythology, referring to a nymph called peppermint (M. x piperita) and spearmint thrives in a dampish, but not soggy, spot. Minthe. The Roman armies took mint with (M. spicata), but there are dozens of These are adaptable plants that can be them as they conquered Europe, helping others, as well as hundreds, possibly grown in most parts of Australia. Mint will its spread to Britain and eventually to the thousands, of cultivars and hybrids. die back in cold winters but come back to 76 F E B R U A R Y 2 02 1 G A R D E N I N G AU S T R A L I A

IN THE PATCH POPULAR CHOICES CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT e small-leafed Corsican mint in a Spearmint (Mentha spicata) The most common variety, spearmint terracotta pot; apple mint seedlings; is used to make tea and mint sauce, spearmint, the most common variety. and is an essential ingredient in many OPPOSITE Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. An old washtub planted with di erent M. s. var. crispa has curly leaves. mint varieties makes a great feature. Peppermint (M. x piperita) Peppermint is the main variety used for medicinal purposes. It supplies the oil for mint lollies, cough drops and headache-relieving rubs. The Citrata group includes grapefruit, lemon, eau de cologne and orange mints. Apple mint (M. suaveolens) This vigorous grower combines the flavours of mint and apple. Corsican mint (M. requienii) Forming a mat of tiny green leaves, it gives off a strong peppermint scent when crushed underfoot. River mint (M. australis) This native plant is traditionally used by First Nations people to relieve coughs, colds and headaches. PHOTOS GAP PHOTOS/NICOLA STOCKEN, ALAMY, ISTOCK life in spring. It enjoys full sun in cooler of the clump, then run over the mint with al areas but grows in semi-shade where it’s a lawnmower to slow it down. This also warmer, so is ideal for a covered patio. promotes lots of tender, tangy new shoots. common names mint, spearmint, peppermint While mint seed is available, it can be pests & disease botanic name a little tricky to germinate. It’s far easier Mentha spp. to reproduce the plants by splitting up Mint plants are generally trouble free, but plant type clumps in spring or digging up rooted can be affected by sap-sucking white flies. perennial herb runners that spread out eagerly from the These tiny, moth-like insects gather in plant. An even simpler method is to place great numbers on the underside of leaves, 15cm–80cm 50cm–1m cut sprigs into a glass of water on the and fly up in clouds when disturbed. Hose full sun, semi-shade windowsill and wait for roots to develop, off, or spray an insecticidal soap or natural then carefully transplant into small pots. pyrethrum under the leaves. Snails and spring, summer, caterpillars occasionally attack the foliage early autumn Mint spreads quickly by underground but are usually controlled easily by hand. runners, and curbing its enthusiasm is suitable often the main challenge. Confining mint Mint rust is a fungal disease that develops to a container is the best way to avoid rusty spots on leaves, and it can gradually problems, and a self-watering pot will spread to seriously weaken the plant. Cut supply the constant moisture it so desires. off, bag and bin as much as possible of the Also, be prepared to regularly divide and damaged foliage, then apply liquid potash re-pot plants when they fill the pot, to keep or feed fortnightly with a potassium-rich, them healthy and actively growing. If your flower-promoting liquid plant food. Keep in-ground mint becomes really invasive, any rust-affected plants away from other dig out unwanted runners from the edge mint plants to avoid infecting them. GA GARDENING AUSTRALIA FE B RUARY 2021 77

es e BOUNTY As summer crops start winding down and your thoughts turn to sowing for winter, there are ways you can clear space in the patch for soil preparation, while still preserving what’s left of your bounty. SOPHIE THOMSON shows how she ripens her late tomatoes, and PHIL DUDMAN has a cute way to dry and store chillies 78 F E B R U A R Y 2 02 1 G A R D E N I N G AU S T R A L I A

PHOTO LUKE SIMON IN THE PATCH

IN THE PATCH A t Sophie’s Patch in the Adelaide Hills, the first sneaky frosts of the year can sometimes appear as early as April. Once the cold weather hits, growth on tomato plants comes to a grinding halt. With this in mind, towards the end of February, Sophie pulls up some of her plants and finishes ripening the fruit under cover. This frees up space in the vegie patch for preparing soil to plant winter crops, such as cabbage and cauliflower. Sophie picks off any fruit that are showing even a smidgen of colour, and takes them to the kitchen to continue ripening. She removes the ties on the plants in the patch, then pulls them out, roots and all, shakes off the dirt, and hangs them upside down in a warm spot under cover. Sophie finds that she gets a much higher rate of ripening when the fruit are left attached to the stem, rather than removing green fruit from the plant. There are always a few fruit at the end that remain green, which she u em e to make a delicious cake. Find the recipe at sophiespatch.com.au TIES

PHOTOS LUKE SIMON pull out WHOLE PLANT hang up PLANT G A R D EN IN G AU S T R A L I A F E B R UA R Y 202 1 81

IN THE PATCH 1 2 3 4 82 F E B R U A R Y 2 02 1 G A R D E N I N G AU S T R A L I A

PHOTOS ANNA HUTCHCROFT, ISTOCK STEP BY STEP 5 DRY & STORE CHILLIES G A RD ENIN G AUS TR A L I A F E B R UA R Y 202 1 83 Chilli plants are loaded at the end of summer. One way to dry and store them is to thread them onto some cotton, so they can be hung up and displayed. 1 GRAB scissors and a sewing needle threaded with strong cotton. Harvest your chillies, keeping the stems intact. 2 THREAD the needle through a stem. 3 TIE a knot, then thread the needle through the stem of another chilli. 4 CONTINUE threading until you’ve created a long string of chillies. 5 HANG the chillies outside in a spot that’s sunny but protected from rain, where they can dry quickly. Bring them in later, if you wish, for the decorative element they add to a room.

MAILBOX I’ve noticed that we are garden, as they supply Almost all insect numbers, including OTO ISTOCK seeing fewer butter ies colour and movement, butterflies, have suffered in the extreme in the garden. We used and contribute to the heat of Australia’s past two summers. to get orchard and blue triangle biodiversity. How can The thin-skinned little caterpillars tend butter ies regularly but have I make my garden more to shrivel on these very hot days, along not seen either this year. What attractive to these lovely, with the foliage they feed on. has contributed to their decline? delicate creatures? Could it be that more people are Also, as you suggest, increased insect growing vegies and are unhappy Freda Stallworthy, control in home gardens will be adding with caterpillars chewing on their Shoalhaven, NSW to a reduction in butterfly numbers. As peas and beans? I believe that a contrasting point, the changing climate butter ies are essential to the MARTYN ROBINSON is actually allowing certain tropical insect SAYS The presence or species, including some butterflies, to live further south in areas where they were absence of butterflies is only occasional visitors before. dependent on many factors, which vary in different parts There are several things that you can of the country. In Sydney, for do to help increase butterfly numbers in example, people have been your garden. Butterflies generally need an telling me they have noticed a welcome adult food source as well as somewhere increase in butterflies recently. to lay eggs so their caterpillars can grow, The species you mention would not lay and sunlight to give them energy, as they their eggs in the vegie patch, although the depend on sun for body warmth. Plants orchard butterfly will lay on citrus plants, such as daisies, lavender, buddleja and hence its name. The blue triangle butterfly other butterfly nectar sources take care lays eggs on members of the laurel family, of the adults. To complete the job, do a among others, and the widespread control bit of research into the butterfly species of weedy camphor laurel has contributed you wish to attract and the plants they to a reduction in numbers, although they like to lay their eggs on, and grow these were probably artificially high in the in a sunny spot. All you have to do then heyday of this invasive tree. is wait for the butterflies to find you! UNLOCKING A FORGOTTEN TALENT During lockdown in Melbourne, I encouraged my husband to take up painting, which he hadn’t done for about 50 years. John’s a woodworker, but he had some spare time with galleries and craft markets closed. He painted rocks to leave at a local park, where we’ve walked hundreds of laps recently. The first butterfly lasted a week, the second two days, and the third disappeared by the time John had done a second lap of the track. Now, as well as butterflies given to family and friends, we have magpies painted on broken marble from a garden table. He’ll leave more rocks at the park, and hopefully they will stay longer. While woodwork will again become John’s priority, the paintbrushes won’t be lying idle. Anna Tilbrook, Ashwood, Vic Editor’s note: See page 68 for more rock-painting inspiration. 84 F E B R UA RY 2021 G ARDENING AUSTR ALIA

Q Recently a special Q I saw this small plant growing bloom caught my in Gracemere in Queensland. eye. It appears to be Can you please tell me its name? a double nasturtium, Felicity Coleman, Petrie, Qld growing on a small plan on a bank. I have never MARIANNE CANNON SAYS seen a double one befor and hope the bees have This is called yellow bulbine, snake pollinated it so I can co flower or cat’s tail (Bulbine frutescens). the seed. Is there a spec In summer, star-shaped flowers appear to do this? I enjoy the many colour combinations on top of long stems above a clump of as a result of cross-pollination of my nasturtiums, fleshy green, linear leaves. Originating and a favourite has very pale cream petals. in South Africa, it grows up to 40cm tall in spreading clumps and likes full Joanne Millar, Warner, Qld sun to part shade. It’s drought-tolerant, so is good for footpath landscaping, MARIANNE CANNON SAYS Double-flowering but it requires protection from frost. nasturtiums are not unusual. Seeds are available in a jewel write and win! mix, in shades of yellow, orange, red, salmon and cerise, and there’s a creamy-yellow variety called ‘Milkmaid’. Got something to say? Share your thoughts, ask a question, slip us a tip and show us your best shots. Bees generally do a good job of pollinating nasturtiums, The pick of the crop each month wins a six-month but it’s easy to do by hand. Simply twirl a cotton bud or small subscription to ABC Gardening Australia magazine artists’ paintbrush inside a flower as soon as it emerges, to (current subscriptions will be extended). collect as much pollen as possible. By doing the same to the other flowers on the plant, you will be transferring the pollen [email protected] (letters) from one bloom to the next. It’s not even necessary to identify [email protected] (questions) the male or female parts, as they are so close together. Your Say, Gardening Australia, nextmedia, Hand-pollination ensures you get the same flower colour Locked Bag 5555, St Leonards NSW 1590 and type, without cross-pollination – or you can experiment with cross-pollinating other varieties. Cover and label the FACEBOOK pollinated flower immediately with a paper bag or some light facebook.com/ABCGardeningAustraliamagazine material, such as muslin. Tie it off with string or a twist tie. Eventually, the seed will drop into the bag when it’s mature. INSTAGRAM @gardeningaustraliamag #gardeningaustraliamag Anna Tilbrook from Ashwood, Victoria, has won a six-month subscription to ABC Gardening Australia magazine for sharing the lovely story about her husband painting rocks (opposite). We love your work, John! G ARDENING AUS TR ALIA F E B R UA R Y 2021 85

MAILBOX THANKS, MILLIE! I made the weeding tool that Millie Ross showed us how to construct on Gardening Australia TV recently. It’s the best tool ever. The only part I had to buy was the hose clamp – the rest is recycled. I love the program and have come to understand so much about soils, plants, good and bad pests, and the tools of the trade. Gianna Fallavollita, Newcastle, NSW Your Insta posts I have the strangest chrysanthemum. It was covered in flowers in the usual Clockwise from top left Potatoes from charlies.patch have been way when I bought it. When they died, harvested from a pot, which was topped up with mulch and soil as I chopped them off and replanted it, the plant was growing, to create a little potato tower. Meanwhile, a and the new blooms are around the bottom, leggy aeonium grown from a cutting is thriving after being nurtured near the soil. Any idea how this happened? by onelastmorsel and it sparkles in the rain, and nicolalovesgardens has a gorgeous frangipani in flower on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, Leia Prime, Ipswich, Qld we.love.gardening is enjoying a bountiful blackberry harvest. JENNIFER STACKHOUSE SAYS It appears 86 F E B R UA R Y 202 1 G A RD ENIN G AUS TR A LI A from your photo that the problem is fasciation. This is a condition where stems or flowers show thickened, abnormal growth that appears fused together. It looks as though the flowering stems on the upper part of the plant have been removed (perhaps pruned with secateurs or possum teeth), while the shoots at the base have grown together, then flowered as a clump. Mites or herbicide are often the initial cause, damaging the growing tips, which leads to the abnormal growth. As your new flowers appear healthy, I don’t think the plant is suffering from a disease problem called big bud that attacks tomatoes and chrysanthemums, causing deformed flowers. Big bud is a virus spread by leafhoppers, and affected plants should be removed. Although your plant looks healthy, it’s generally not a good idea to grow vigorous plants like chrysanthemum under a lemon tree, as they compete with the citrus for nourishment and water. Prune the chrysanthemum back after flowering and move it to a new spot. As it regrows in spring, support several stems with stakes. If the plant is under attack by possums, cover it while it’s small using an upturned wire wastepaper basket.

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CROSSWORD 5 across A take a break! Put the kettle on – it’s time to relax! Solve our puzzle to be in the running to win an Earthlife gardener’s pack 123456789 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WIN 18 19 20 21 a garden pack 22 6 down B 23 24 SEE OPPOSITE 25 26 27 133 SOLUTION NEXT MONTH 28 29 30 31 32 CROSSWORD COMPILED BY STEVE BALL PHOTOS ISTOCK 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 7 down C across 31. Genus of holly (4) 8. Donkey (3) 32. Western Australian willow myrtle (6) 9. Tree related to birch, usually growing 1. Green garden vegetable (7) 34. Circular building with a dome (7) in moist ground (5) 5. Tropical flowering shrub with bright 36. For your information (abbrev.) (3) 16. Develop, mature (5) orange or red flowers (9) (Picture A) 37. Long-tailed primate native to 19. Grassed area between the front 10. Marsh plants with firm stems (5) Madagascar (5) boundary of a block and the road (6,5) 11. Piece of old cloth (3) 38. The tree Eucalyptus populnea (6,3) 21. Valuable fibre obtained from agaves, 12. Prepared (poultry, a crab etc.) for 39. Primula veris or … (7) bromeliads and other plants (5) cooking or eating (7) 23. Available only at a certain time 13. Drooping, nodding (botanical) (6) down (of plants, fruit etc.) (8) 14. Genus of wax plant (4) 24. Piccabeen or … palm (8) 15. Frame for drying clothes (5) 1. Salad vegetable (6,5) 27. Barely enough (7) 17. Atriplex hortensis or garden … (6) 2. Chilled version of popular hot drink (4,3) 28. White compound used in cookery, 18. Apple grown from seed (6) 3. Highly alcoholic green liqueur (8) medicine etc. (6) 20. Wading bird with a long, curved 4. Basil or rosemary, for example (4) 29. Animal introduced into Australia that beak (4) 5. Grey and white bird of the family is dangerous to native fauna (3,3) 22. Small fly (4) Columbidae (6) 30. Low, woody plant (5) 25. Evergreen tree yielding an aromatic 6. Prickly pear or … fig (6) (Picture B) 33. One component of brass (4) seed that is used as a spice (6) 7. Climbing plant of the buttercup 35. Male cat (3) 26. Mallet or gavel, for example (6) family (8) (Picture C) 30. Pomegranates have lots of them (5) 88 F E B R UA RY 2021 G ARDENING AUS TR ALIA

WINEap1raotchfkl7sife ea$7ch9.w8or0th CROSSWORD COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS: OPEN TO AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS ONLY. COMPETITION OPENS 18/01/2021 AT 00:01 (AEDT) AND CLOSES 07/02/2021 AT 23:59 (AEDT). SEVEN LUCKYgive your garden a mineral boost WINNERS WILL EACH RECEIVE AN EARTHLIFE PRIZE PACK WORTH $79.80. TOTAL PRIZE POOL VALUE IS $558.60. WINNERS DRAWN ON 09/02/2021 AT 14:00 (AEDT) AT 205 PACIFIC HIGHWAY, ST LEONARDS NSW 2065. WINNERS NOTIFIED BY TELEPHONE AND IN WRITING. PERMIT NUMBERS NSW LTPM/19/05228, ACT TP 19/04879. FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS AVAILABLE AT GARDENINGAUSTRALIA.COM.AU.Earthlife o ers a range of fast-acting, no-dig, waterwise soluti PRIVACY POLICY AVAILABLE AT NEXTMEDIA.COM.AU. PROMOTER IS NEXTMEDIA PTY LTD; ABN 84 128 805 970; 205 PACIFIC HIGHWAY, ST LEONARDS NSW 2065.Whether you garden on clay or sand, in pots or indoors, Earthl products help to revitalise your soil and plants for lush growth 132vibrant owers, and healthy fruit and vegies. Gardens can beco stronger and healthier, ready to handle the extremes of our clim how to enter solution January 2021 crossword We have seven Earthlife gardener’s packs to give away, valued at $79.80 each. Every prize pack contains a 2.5kg bag each of Flower BEGON I A S AP L I NG Blend, Garden Delight, Veggie Mate and Garden Mate. To enter, unscramble the highlighted letters in the crossword (opposite) U Y ADMONR S and email your answer to [email protected] with ‘Earthlife’ in the subject line. Include your name, street address, C AP E R J O I N T SWE L L email and daytime phone number. Competition closes February 7. KRC I L AEMO WINNERS e Sustainable House Handbook by Josh Byrne (November 2020) T Barrett, Ellen MOW I N G A R T I C H O K E Grove, Qld; C Crook, Mildura, Vic; S Grant, Meridan Plains, Qld; M Hutcheon, Clinton, Qld; E Patton, West Wyalong, NSW. Koshi wind chime (November 2020) BCSOXOT L S Courtland, Forrest eld, WA; R Henchel, Yarra Glen, Vic; L Priest, Northbridge, NSW; J Rosha, Capel, WA; B & J Whitmee, Goondiwindi, Qld. Seasol hamper R AK E S I S L AND (November 2020) N Carter, Co s Harbour, NSW; J Etheridge, Eumundi, Qld; S Gollan, Croydon, NSW; B James, Blackmans Bay, Tas; L Myer, Mans eld, Qld; OU TA L Nakagawa, Wirlinga, NSW; R Rendell, Tulka, SA; L Treverton, Melton West, Vic. LOCUS T I NF ANT GE IU AB L OOM TATER E R S AC RWA HORSEM I NT ABE L I A U YG L OMB T A EXTRA EDD I E UT TER SONNDRSE I PROT EAS ADHERED January’s unscrambled word: apricot G A RD ENIN G AU S TR A L I A F E B R UA R Y 202 1 89



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