Gardening Australia episode 28 2021: Sophie Thomson visits an edible garden feeding a family, Jane Edmanson is weeding out invasive karamu, Clarence Slockee visits a green learning space, and Guest Presenter Caylee is back to create bottle planters with Costa.
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 28 2021
Lay of the Land
Jerry finds out how a mother and son duo have used clever design tricks to both maximise space and to creatively plant out an awkward block. We’re in Norman Park, an inner suburb of Brisbane. It’s here that a mother and son team have transformed an awkward, corner block and a ho-hum garden into a serene, miniature parkland. Laughlan (“Locky”) Rabbige is a successful professional landscaper by trade. When his mother and garden photographer Kim moved into a new place and wanted to completely redo the tired garden, she knew who to call.
“We thought ‘we’re doing him a favour’ you know, ‘it’s good to promote his work’, but it turned out he was doing us a favour – he’s so flat out with his work!” says Kim. Locky jokes “I’m paying back my school fees”.
“It’s a sloping, weird corner block and it’s the worst kind of block. All the good bits were subdivided over time, so really all that’s left is the front” says Locky. He says the first challenge was clearing the canvas. “There was an existing attempt at a garden, some stacked boulders and some weedy plants. The cost of removing them was high, so we backfilled and buried them in place”.
Millie rejuvenates a cymbidium orchid bursting out of its pot. Millie has a huge overgrown cymbidium orchid growing in a pot. To get it looking as good as new again, it needs to come out! Millie takes a hammer to the pot to liberate her pot-bound orchid. Cymbidiums needs to be re-potted or divided every 3-4 years. The best time to do it is after they finish flowering. Before splitting, Millie removes any dead or damaged growth, and any opportunistic weeds.
Millie looks for shoots of new growth to break off. She then divides the orchid into clumps using a pruning saw. Over time, the orchid bark has disintegrated into fine soil, meaning the roots have perished and can be removed. Use a good quality orchid mix, optimised for its coarse particles. Millie also adds coir peat for extra water retention. As she re-pots, she positions the new growing tips facing the outside edge of the pot. To finish the job, she gives the newly potted orchids a good drink and places them in sheltered position with bright, but indirect, light. In 3-4 weeks, you can start liquid feeding, ideally every fortnight.
Ligaya Garden – Gardening Australia episode 28 2021
Sophie visits an efficient, edible garden that feeds a family and provides a connection to culture. Malcolm met Jelina in the Phillipines where they discovered a shared interest in traditional herbalism, and their son Marlon was born there. Their garden is named Ligaya which means ‘the joy or happiness that comes from family and community’ in Tagalog, and it’s their guiding ethos. Growing herbs and food for health is also a continuing theme.
The family settled in South Gawler on a small block they rented before they bought in 2015. The block size is 360m2 but the growing space is a fraction of this, however it is well utilised. The front yard has a perennial food forest complete with fruit trees, wicking beds and a chook coop. The backyard is smaller, and it’s here where herbs and annuals grow in a hybrid aquaponics/hydroponics system. There are edibles in containers in both areas.
Malcolm: “We try and cram in as much as we can!” “To me it’s about food. Feed everybody and feed our future generations. Grow what we can, grow our own systems. I’m interested in how to be super-efficient with growing.”
Tino shows how to harvest globe artichokes. Tino likes to harvest Globe Artichoke before they start changing colour and have opened up too much. Perfect ones are still in “the globe” form. Use sharp secateurs to harvest, and once removed, go back to your stem and cut it back by about half. This will promote new flushes of growth and more artichokes next season!
Clarence visits the University of Wollongong to find out what it takes to manage a beautiful urban greenspace for people, plants, and wildlife. Bringing the bush to the city is a growing trend and for good reasons – health benefits, boosting biodiversity, reducing heat and air pollution – it’s necessary for creating healthy places to live and work.
But balancing the needs of lots of people, with those of plants and wild animals in an urban environment takes a lot of planning, maintenance and strategic decision making to successfully create a space we’re everyone feels safe and welcome. Most university campuses operate and look like a mini city, with multiple buildings, intensive infrastructure, and people from all over the world using the space all at once.
Weeding Out Karamu
Jane meets determined volunteers and experts leading the fight against an invasive weed on the Mornington Peninsula. Jane is investigating an invasive plant that is threatening our native bushland and wildlife, and meets the people who are fighting to stop it in its tracks. Karamu or Coprosma robusta is native to New Zealand and is also known as the New Zealand Currant Bush. It thrives in the cool, wet fertile areas of Australia. It started out as a garden plant but now it’s guilty of being an invasive weed in Victoria as well as a noxious weed in Tasmania.
Michelle Stacy is a farmer on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and is also president of the Main Creek Landcare Group.
Beaut Bottle Planters – Gardening Australia episode 28 2021
Guest Presenter Caylee creates hanging planters from repurposed materials with Costa’s help. You really can grow something in anything, no matter what space, resources or even gardening experience! Today, Guest Presenter Caylee is with Costa and they are going to knock up some creative containers – upcycled plastic bottle planters that can be perched, hung, racked or slung just about anywhere!
You can use absolutely anything to grow a plant in, but one easy-to-find option are the plastic drink bottles. Just look in your recycling bin (or your neighbours!) Give them a rinse and you’re ready to go.
Native Clumping Plants
Josh shows how to spruce up native clumping plants. Ornamental native grasses and clumping plants like Lomandras can start to look a little tired over time. A regular tidy up with rejuvenate them. Many clumping natives will end up with dead thatch through the centre. Josh pulls out the dead material in the centre of his Lomandra by hand, and it already looks a whole lot better.
Josh’s Ficinia nodosa is looking far more daggy, so it’s time for a serious chop right at the base with a hedge trimmer. You can also use hand tools. Leave only a few centimetres at the base and have faith they will bounce back.
Clumping plants like a Lomandra can become congested as they grow, so Josh digs out pups from the side with a sharp spade to split it up and create ‘new’ plants. Cutting the foliage off will reduce moisture stress on the plants, and these separated plants can be potted up or planted straight into the garden.