Gardening Australia episode 4 2021: Jerry Coleby-Williams has tips for living with possums, Millie Ross celebrates our love of pears, Josh Byrne grows colourful natives in pots, and Guest Presenter Luke Mitchell joins us with a lesson on restoring old tools.
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 4 2021
Designed for Life
Costa visits a blissful backyard built with a contemporary artist’s creative and community spirit. Bridget is a contemporary artist known for her striking jewellery and artwork, often made using recycled and repurposed materials.
“I look at insects and plants and nature, so I guess a lot of my work is based around that,” she says.
Bridget lives on a 500sqm block that is packed with plants. Her garden starts on the street verge – partly because it’s her sunniest spot – “but also it’s a way of connecting community,” she says. People are encouraged to help themselves to herbs and other plants and her community work earned her Lane Cove Resident of the Year title.The front garden is packed with established ornamentals – such as a camellia and japonica – as well as edibles, including an aquaponics system.
The backyard used to be shaded by a blackbutt tree that has died. The trunk has been left as habitat, but the crown removed, making the garden now sunny enough for a whole new series of raised garden beds and a frame covered by a huge tromboncino zucchini.
FAQs – Cultivars | Flame Trees | Herbs – Sun or Shade?
Jane explains cultivars, Clarence sheds light on our iconic flame trees, and Sophie explains how much sun is needed for tasty herbs.
Living with Possums
Jerry has all the tools and tactics you need for living in harmony with possums in the garden. The common brushtail possum is found in every capital city and urban numbers are rising, so Jerry meets an expert to learn more about them. Ecologist Dr Darryl Jones from Griffith University said Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) are very widespread, however it’s important to remember that the native marsupials are protected.
They are active in urban areas because we have introduced more foodplants as well as pathways for them to move around – fences and phone lines. Their predators have also changed – there are fewer owls and native carnivores but more foxes, dogs, cats and cars.
WA Natives in Pots – Gardening Australia episode 4 2021
Josh creates colourful potted combinations of unique Western Australian flowering plants. Some are too big to grow in suburban gardens, but Kings Park Plant Breeder Dr Tony Scalzo says many will grow in pots.
Many pots are suitable: terracotta, glazed, plastic or cement.Most commercial growing mixes designed for native plants are suitable to use, Tony says, but others are fuss-pots and do best when extra material is added to improve the drainage. You can use sharp sand or perlite. He adds 10% perlite – or 1 litre of perlite for 10L of potting mix. Many varieties are suitable too. For his first pot he combines yellow verticordia with blue lechenaultia.
To improve the drainage even more, Tony puts some little thumb pots upside-down in the bottom of a glazed ceramic pot. He part fills the pot, positions the plant, making sure the top of the soil around the roots sits 2-3cm below the rim of the pot, and backfills around them. He gently firms it down (not too hard) and mulches with inert clay balls. Many native plants like a sunny position and watering every other day, or more in hot weather.
Toora Pear Party
Millie joins a small town’s big celebration of the heritage pears that put them on the map. The town doesn’t attract many visitors – except on one day of the year when people come from miles around to celebrate their love of the pear. Toora is home to one of the country’s biggest heritage pear orchards, which is owned by the community and cared for by locals, such as Meryl Agars.
The garden started with just three heritage pear trees, donated by a local lady who asked the council for ‘a little bit of land’ to put them on. The town was instead gifted 4.5 acres, so in 1996 a whole lot more trees were sourced and planted. Now there are about 100 trees. The Pear Party usually happens every March on the long weekend, when anything and everything you can do with a pear is there.
There’s pear picking, face paint, preserves, art prize, pear ice cream, and pear-and-spoon race! The day is the main fundraiser to keep the orchard going.
Web Extra – Pears – Gardening Australia episode 4 2021
Millie talks to pear expert Neil Barraclough from the Heritage and Rare Fruit Network.
Tino has advice on dealing with blossom end rot.
Nanna Plants – Gardening Australia episode 4 2021
Sophie profiles old fashioned perennials that are timeless choices for the flower patch. Sophie profiles old fashioned perennials that are timeless choices for the flower patch. The classic cottage garden style that Nanna might have had is slowly returning to favour; it’s old-fashioned, generous and brings a smile to your face. Sophie explores some plants in her garden that fit the scheme – gorgeous to look and really hardy too.
Caring for the Old
Jane learns about caring for ancient trees in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, and how they are given a new lease on life even after they fall.Arborist Jim Shugg says the team has to balance allowing trees to follow their natural form with the need to allow for the access and safety of visitors. Trees play a very important ecological role, Jim says, with characteristics that young trees don’t have, such as hollows, fissures in the bark, complex canopies – and these make a wonderful habitat for a range of organisms.
Soil biome under old trees continues to increase with richness as the trees age One of the old river red gums in the gardens features in an old photo from about 1875, when it was already a mature tree. It’s called the Cockatoo Tree because its hollows have been used for nesting by Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos for decades. A Cockspur Coral Tree near the Herbarium, possibly planted in the 1880s, has been pollarded each year – the branches cut back each year to growth points, which keeps the tree compact.
Older trees often start to decline from the top down and these can be ‘retrenched’ by reducing some of the top growth, mimicking what happens in nature. Engineering solutions can also be used – such as metal braces and ties to support the weight of larger branches.
Mr Fix It – Pruning Saws – Gardening Australia episode 4 2021
Guest presenter Luke Mitchell joins us with techniques for making your old tools as good as new, starting with tuning up a rusty pruning saw.