Sunday, March 25, 2012

A few dislkes

There’s not a lot I dislike about gardening, here’s just a few of the things that niggle me.
First are the big multi national stores that get in truckloads of plants from the southern states for sale in Queensland and probably knowing very well that when they stop flowering that’s it and they will not survive. Take Cymbidium Orchids, they are for sale here in Brisbane especially on Mothers Day but what the purchaser does not know is that they will only flower when subjected to a cold winter.
Organic soil, I have learnt my lesson over the years and have found that the goodness soon goes out of this so called soil and all you have left is usually sawdust. Then you have the terrible shrinkage problems as later on the gardens have to be topped up with a good mix, which ideally should have the base of at least 70% topsoil and sand.
Garden talk back shows, where the presenter, if not sure of the answer to a question from a listener should not answer the question if he/she is unsure of the answer. An incorrect answer can sometimes do more harm than good. Don’t get me wrong there are some great presenters out there. 
Cheaply made garden tools. I bought a good branded fork, which is  a well-known and respected brand of equipment. I found its prongs bent almost immediately, made in China of course.
Lawn mowers not made for Australian conditions, mainly referring to the safety features found on the made in USA mowers, ‘painful’.
Garden Nurseries where they only stock plants which cater to the lowest common denominator.
Television make-over shows, I remember watching Jamie Durie on ‘Backyard Blitz’ planting a ‘Fictus’ in a small unit forecourt, they are all like that, look good for a TV grab, but in the future?
Garden designers who mass plant the same plant; let’s have colour and variety.
Those who think that native plants are the only answer to gardening in a drought.
The demise of the small nurseries, these are the ones that were not afraid to stock rare and interesting plants.
Garden owners who employ a garden designer and a landscaping crew and then without doing any of the ‘hard yakka’ themselves open their garden to the public through the ‘Open Garden Scheme’.
People who hire a personal gardener and in conversation talk about “my gardener”.
People who think you can’t use chemicals in the garden.
Television garden shows, which presents most of the program from the presenter’s back yard, it’s getting to be ‘cheap TV’ and perhaps a little boring.

Things we love about Gardening

My morning, midday and evening walks around the garden, I never tire of this routine.

Seeing a plant flower for the first time.

Sourcing a plant, which we do not have already growing.

Visiting garden shows.

Visiting garden centres, especially the smaller ones.

Meeting and making friends with fellow gardeners.

Seeing our landscaping and plant selection coming to fruition.

Keeping me fit, healthy and fully occupied in retirement.

Opening our garden to the public and meeting up to a 1000 great people in our backyard is an awesome experience.  It is months of hard work and effort to prepare for the open weekend, but well worth it and we have done it on the last ten consecutive years.

Garden photography.

Keeping my garden blog, my ‘photobucket’ album and my garden product review sites up to date. I get a real thrill knowing ten's of thousands of gardeners from well over 100 different countries have seen our garden through the blog and photo album.

Talking to Garden Clubs and sharing our passion, I have now bought a laptop and projector and give presentations on ‘Smart Sub Tropical Gardening’ and ‘A passion for Plants’parts one and two.

The fact that my wife also loves gardening, so it’s a passion shared.

Knowing that we have raised $30,000 for charity through opening our garden.

My web sites:

Repot Cattleya Orchids

Mix up a sterilizing liquid which will be used sterilize your cutting instrument each time you trim an orchid, this is to stop any root borne disease/virus from transferring from one plant to another.
Your planting media should be a mix of commercially available composted pine bark, medium size is best for all, then mix this with enough corse perlite to be seen throughout the mix without going overboard and then add a small amount of peat moss. Then damp down, only so much that the peat moss sticks to the bark.
If you are satisfied with your growing medium DO NOT CHANGE, I unfortunately did with disastrous results. I switched from the above mix to 'Absorbastone' and what happened was the roots got too cold in Winter and killed over half my collection.

I find that I can pot about 50 Orchids from one 40 litre bag of bark, cost of bark about $27 from your local produce store.
Remove any old stalks from the main plant, if the plant has split into different shoots then each of these can be split and will be new plants for you.
Make sure you have a container for the old shoots which can be disposed of.
Pack the mix into a squat pot with good drainage and with just a little long life fertilizer on the top.
Then all that will be needed is weekly watering and fortnightly fertilizing with a half strength liquid fertilizer.
Quite simple really.
Almost forgot, your biggest enemy (other than your self) will be the ‘Dendrobium Beetle’ who will love to visit and have a great big chew on your beautiful flowers, you must either spray or take the plant inside.

Monday, March 05, 2012

February 2012 Garden News

There’s not a lot of garden news for February.
We have had plenty of rain and very high humidity so the garden is very lush, there’s going to be lots of trimming to be done shortly.
We had two mini bus tours of the garden from ‘Pine Rivers Garden Club’, in all about 44 visitors.

Mount Gravatt Garden Club visited for the second time and saw the garden in a different (summer) mode.
We have enough sheltered seating for up to 50 people, put a couple of urns on and the laundry toilet is available for those needing it.
Some of the ‘Open Gardens Australia’ committee visited our garden on their way to a meeting at Wellington Point; I was informed later that the ‘Lagoon View’ garden that I had selected would not be recommended as they were also a retail nursery. I found this a bit strange as I had previously asked the CEO if it would be ok. Oh well it’s a shame as their display garden and the beautiful setting will make it one of the best gardens in South east Queensland.

A metre of compost put on parts of the garden and also a trailer load of garden soil.
We went to Meads Day Lily nursery and bought some new Day Lilys and a double Hippaestrum (pictured), they looked after us and I would recommend them if you need Day Lilys.

 And finally I captured a picture of our yard on Google Earth, here it is.