Gardening Australia episode 14 2021: Costa visits a magnificent heritage garden in the highlands, Jane Edmanson explains flower shapes, Millie Ross explores some pocket reserves that are full of tiny treasures, and Jerry Coleby-Williams shares his love of figs.
Gardening Australia has always provided practical, trustworthy and credible gardening advice to inspire and entertain. Inspiring, entertaining and full of practical advice, join Costa Georgiadis and the team as they unearth gardening ideas, meet avid gardeners and look at some of the most inspiring gardens from across the country.
Gardening Australia episode 14 2021
Bold and the Beautiful (Retford Park)
Costa visits an historic estate in the Southern Highlands that is being managed as an organic garden. Set on 34 hectares, the Italianate mansion has 10 ha of landscaped garden. The house was built by Samuel Hordern, whose family established what was once the largest department store in the world and after whom the Sydney Hordern pavilion is named. In 1964 James Fairfax bought the property and gifted it to the National Trust in 2016.
A formal fountain walk leads up to the main entrance, framed on either side with clipped spherical shrubs with contrasting silver, grey and green foliage. Head gardener Rick Shepherd says the choice of grey-leafed plants copes well with the hot, dry site. A grassy park area features a collection of oaks, which has been added to over many decades.
There is a Cretaceous garden featuring a huge Bunya pine, part of the Aracariaceae family of plants that date back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The estate is managed along organic principles, which can easily be adapted to smaller gardens.
A lot of green material used to go to a burn pile when Rick Shepherd first started working there. He thought this was a waste so started looking for other options; now more is composted, some is chipped or used directly as mulch, some goes to the chickens. They also stopped using chemicals.
FAQs – Gorse | Harvesting Turmeric | Bananas for Perth
Gardening Australia presenters answer commonly asked gardening questions.
Preventing Soil Disease – Gardening Australia episode 14 2021
Tino shows how to reduce the risk of spreading soil disease. Many pests and diseases are spread by fungi and microorganisms. You can reduce the risk they pose in your garden by rotating your crops and using bio-fumigants, such as mustard (Sinapis alba). When it’s dug into your soil, it can kill of pests and pathogens. You can help prevent the spread of soil-borne problems by stopping them hitching a ride on your garden stakes – especially timber ones.
Remnant Rail Reserves
Millie visits a tiny patch of land tucked in beside a railway line that is home to many tiny treasures – it’s like a pocket-sized national park!
As you travel on Melbourne trains, you might spot tiny patches of spring wildflowers, colouful meadows or lush woodlands stuck between dumped rubbish, industrial estates, roads and wasteland. Millie has spotted some on her work commute and today she can finally visit one and discover what they’re about. These reserves are normally off-limits to the public, but she’s been allowed access to a reserve in Melbourne’s outer north-west.
Metro Trains’ Biodiversity Manager Neal Masters explains that it’s an example of volcanic plains grasslands, which is a critically endangered ecosystem. Only 1% remains of the grasslands that used to stretch from Melbourne to the South Australian border. The fragments that are left are incredible valuable – this one is only the size of a couple of basketball parks but these tiny reserves contain a huge range of plants and animals, such as Growing Grass Frogs, Striped Legless Lizards and Golden Sun Moths. Some rail reserves are even home to mammals such as the Southern Brown Bandicoot.
This reserve includes at least one threatened plant: the arching flax lily.
Fabulous Figs – Gardening Australia episode 14 2021
Jerry shares his love of figs, exploring the wide range of plants that fit into this fascinating family. Jerry looks at the wonderful world of figs and some of the specific plants in this group. The common edible fig (Ficus carica) has been grown for its delicious fruit since about 9,000BC – possibly longer.
There are more than 850 species in the genus First, he introduces the iconic Moreton Bay Fig, now grown in parks across Australia. The fruit is pollinated from inside – where the flower is hidden. The tiny native Moreton Bay Fig wasp (Pleistodontes froggatti) enters a hole at the end of the forming fruit. The female wasp lays her eggs inside the fruit and pollinates the flower, then the hole seals up and the fruit develops.
Many species have co-evolved alongside figs, including psyllids (such as Mycopsylla fici) – sap suckers that feed on the tree and produce a white sticky substance called lerp, which is in turn eaten by birds and other animals.
The White fig is partly deciduous, which helps it shed any sap-sucking pests.
Raised Garden Beds
Josh looks at the benefits of raised beds and shows how to choose the right ones for your garden.