Gardening Australia episode 40 2020 – Christmas Special: Gardening Australia celebrates gardening as an antidote to the challenges we have faced this year. We find out how the nursery industry kept up with demand and what exciting new projects you’ve been working on at home!
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 40 2020 – Christmas Special
Lockdowns and isolation have brought more people to gardening than ever before. We meet some ‘COVID gardeners’ to hear how gardening has helped them get through some of the most challenging times.
The Plant Plant
Josh explores how the nursery industry has kept up with vegetable seedling production during the unprecedented demand during lockdown. Josh is visiting Benara Nurseries in Perth, one of Australia’s largest wholesale production nurseries, to find out what it takes to get veggie seedlings to the market.
Marketing and Sales Manager, Carole Fudge, says “Vegetable [seedlings] is about three quarters of our production – we produce just short of 20 million seedlings a year. That’s purely for the home gardener, that’s not for the commercial vegetable growers in the country, and that’s just for west Australia.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, garden centres became busier than ever and this had a huge impact on seedling demand. “We went from wondering if we had to close the business to suddenly producing 5 times what we were producing before… we had to stop producing flowers to make room for the vegetables… we’ve never produced that many before!”
Home Sweet Home
Costa lends a hand to a centenarian gardener who’s been cultivating her beautiful backyard since 1950! After 70 years of gardening, Phyllis Thompson still enjoys planting, watching her garden grow and painting gnomes. Moving to her property in 1950,
Phyllis carved out her garden from the clay and weeds of her suburban block, and first planted a frangipani, then fruit trees, vegie patches and a wide range of flowers including her beloved roses. She says, “In those days, we didn’t have a lot of money so you made use of what you could find. We didn’t have anything expensive, just as long it was a flower or a shrub that was enough.”
Maintaining the garden at 100 years old now is a little harder as “you get a bit tired sometimes, but you sort of put that aside and keep going anyway.”
Gardening in 2020
The Gardening Australia Team look over what they have learnt, and what they have been most grateful for, during 2020.
Dig for Victory
Jerry shares useful lessons from a wartime campaign that saw home gardens repurposed for local food production.
My Garden Path – David Trood – Gardening Australia 2020 – Christmas Special
We meet nature photographer David Trood who embraced having less work and extra time in 2020 by documenting the creation of his dream vegie patch. David Trood has been travelling the world for 35 years, creating images that inspire people to connect with nature. But in 2020, he was stuck at home like the rest of us! David says,
“That ended up being a good thing because it gave me the opportunity to fulfil a dream I’ve had for a long time of having a garden that I can grow my own wonderful, colourful, natural, fresh, organic food.” David set work building raised garden beds, a greenhouse and shed to accommodate lots of food production and experimentation, to counter the issue of food security that became more pertinent during lockdown.
“It all began with a bare hill and an idea. A weedy hill actually, secluded deep in the Australian bush far away from any town and even further from a city. When I moved back to Australia from Denmark about 18 months ago, I knew pretty much zilch about gardening. Started by putting up an electric fence to keep the cows out.”
Jane finds out what it takes to produce tonnes of delicious cherries in time for Christmas. In Victoria’s Yarra Valley with a view of the Warramate Hills, 20,000 cherry trees are thriving. There are 38 different varieties that ripen at slightly different times, and Jane is here for picking time, which lasts from early November to late December.
Peter Foster has been a fruit grower all his working life and manages this 50-hectare property. As a commercial crop, they are known to be difficult to grow with too much rain causing the fruit to split. Cherry growers go to a lot of trouble to keep their cherries dry to prevent this water damage, even using helicopters to dry them off.
The cherries are picked by hand before moving to an automated sorting machine that washes the fruit and trims the stems. Cameras take 3 photos of each cherry to monitor colour, size and defects and they’re monitored by hand to ensure strict quality control. They are then packed into boxes, ready for sale.
From the Ashes – Gardening Australia 2020 – Christmas Special
Costa checks in with in the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens in the wake of the bushfire season.
Tino meets a gardener who turned a traffic island into an edible haven to beat the isolation blues. Nina Hamilton is a mother, gardener and wedding photographer living in the suburbs of Hobart. When COVID-19 hit Australia, her work stopped, and she had to home school her 6-year-old son.
“I was worried about work and money coming in, and also worried that if we went into lockdown and quarantine, where I was going to get my fresh food from.” Her gardening skills came to the rescue as she started working on a small garden in the middle of her cul-de-sac street. The council had given residents permission to use the traffic island for growing vegetable 6 years ago, but it had become overgrown and unsightly. So, Nina gave it a makeover.
Nina first had to pull out lots of grass and then gradually build in beds around the circular space. All the materials, from bricks to soil were donated by neighbours, the council, or found nearby. The garden is now flourishing with broad beans, leafy greens, and even organic purple garlic donated by a passer-by!
Leaf an Impression – Gardening Australia episode 40 2020
Sophie shows us how to make tasteful Christmas decorations, using inspiration from your own garden! Dried flowers are best for this project and you can use a flower press or follow Sophie’s DIY method. You can use fresh flowers, but they may eventually go mouldy due to the high moisture content. An alternative quick-dry method is to lay fresh flowers out on a baking tray, and pop in the oven on a low temperature with the door open, or by pressing them between sheets of paper towel.
It’s important not to use fleshy flowers like camellias as they are difficult to dry out completely. For flowers with a thick base like calendula, pick the petals off first.