Gardening Australia episode 7 2022: Costa Georgiadis meets an inspiring teenaged gardener, Millie Ross explores a garden designed for wildlife, Jane Edmanson shows how to prepare for winter and Jerry Coleby-Williams meets a couple of young plant collectors.
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 7 2022
Jude & the Beanstalk
Costa meets a teenage gardener who is already growing enough to feed his family and share with the wider community, too. Jude, 14, says the productive garden started with a row of snow peas two years ago, but it soon expanded and now he’s out there every day. He loves seeing his family eating the produce from the patch. The tomatoes are supported by a trellis of string woven between stakes. There are several types of lettuce and endive in the salad patch, and Jude has already learnt to leave some plants to go to seed to provide for the next crop.
Jude sells any surplus greens at a local shop. “It just resets you,” he says of spending time in the garden – he’s out there every day after school. “But it’s not so much of a chore, it’s a joy,” he adds. His mum Mary Bennett has seen the project give him drive and determination, and as a way of dealing with lockdown just as he’d started high school. Jude is also involved with other green thumbs as a volunteer with the Farm it Forward movement set up by Manu Prigioni nearby in the Blue Mountains.
Top Tip: Sweet Peas
Sophie shares some tips on planting sweet peas. Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus cv.) range in colour from white through pink and blue to red – and as well as their beauty, they bring their lovely perfume inside your house if you pick them for a vase. The more you pick them, the more flowers the plant will produce. Once you’ve grown sweet peas you can save the seed to grow again.
Sophie collects all the leftover plants at the end of each season, harvests the seed and re-sows them in March or April. The seeds need to be moist to germinate so you can speed up the growing process by soaking them in water overnight or putting them in a plastic bag with a bit of moist sand or soil for a few days ahead of planting. If the soil is moist, any fallen seed will often start growing where they dropped in previous seasons. Plant them a couple of centimetres deep – up to 20cm apart. It’s ok to plant them quite densely, but watch out for powdery mildew on the leaves in humid weather.
Whisper Garden – Gardening Australia episode 7 2022
Millie explores a suburban garden that has been designed with local wildlife in mind. On a large suburban block in Melbourne’s south-east, this house resembles many of its neighbours from the front. But out the back is a different story. The garden backs onto the bushland surrounding the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne and it has been plants to extend the habitat of the wildlife living there, linking this garden to theirs.
The owners call it the Whispering Garden, because they find moving through the garden quietly is the best way to hear the environment and to see the animals living there. The garden was a blank slate when they moved in. They ordered 18 dump trucks of mulch to cover the dusty sand and weeds. Over the next 5 years David and Shari planted between 800-1000 plants a year – all tubestock.
Animals living at the nearby Cranbourne gardens include the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus), which now range into the Whisper Garden. Suitable habitat includes tussock grasses. Other plantings include sheoaks and Banksias for the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos, which often stop and feed here for several days. By choosing smaller trees, they have created a forest feel on a small scale.
Jane shares some ways to prepare your garden for the cooler weather – and start planning for spring. Autumn is a good time to prepare your garden for winter, especially in cold climates where weather is more severe. Planning ahead will also help prepare your garden to be up-and-growing when spring hits.
Collector Couple – Gardening Australia episode 7 2022
Jerry visits a pair of young plant lovers whose love of aroids and cacti is becoming quite an addiction! The house and conservatory and garden are packed with plants – there is not a spare bit of space left. Jazmin said she bought a monstera first – and Jacob didn’t’ really like it – but a week late,r he wanted to go and buy another. They soon discovered lots of variegated types and became hooked.
“We just kept buying new plants. It got to the point where we were challenging ourselves to buy a new plant every day,” says Jacob. They learnt to care for them along the way. One rare philodendron was for sale at a local nursery and so intrigued Jacob he camped out for the night to make sure he was first in line to buy it. But the jewel in his crown is a Philodendron imbe cultivar with variegated leaves. “I like it because it’s like four different plants in one – each leaf is speckled differently.”
The couple has just started collecting anthuriums, and some plants have flowers and seeds coming, which they’re excited about, so they’re hoping to produce some new hybrids. As well as aroids, they also collect ferns and cacti, which sit outside. Some have an unusual ‘monstrose’ form. “You never know what to expect when you get a monstrose cactus,” says Jacob.
Plants in Space
Tino shows how best to space different plants, for different outcomes in different situations. All plants have a certain habit and growth rate. Labels and packets will give you this information so you can plan how much space they need for their roots and leaves to grow healthily without too much competition.
When planting vegie seedlings, follow the label to ensure the best quality harvest. Cramming them in too tightly will restrict access to nutrients, giving a smaller crop that is more prone to pests and diseases.
Crops such as carrots need more space under the ground to extend their roots fully. If you sow seed too thickly make sure to thin them out as they grow. Pumpkins need space to spread out on top of the ground. Groundcovers can act as a living mulch to block out weeds. Sometimes you can plant them a bit more closely to create compete soil coverage.