Daft about daffs

Also known as Narcissus, daffodils are so bright and cheerful in spring! Mass plant to naturalise in lawns or under deciduous trees in clumps for maximum effect.


How to grow:

Fertilise lightly with a bulb fertiliser when planting and also after flowering.

Feed: Fertilise lightly with a bulb fertiliser when planting and also after flowering.

Design: Daffodils look best when they are planted in clumps rather than in rows. The larger the clump, the better the effect. Planting them in groups of the same colour will create a pretty swathe of colour.

Pests: To keep snails and slugs at bay it is a good idea to use a little snail bait or beer traps regularly during growing season.

Store: Daffodils can remain undisturbed for many years. But, if digging is preferred, wait until the leaves have died right down and store in a cool, dry, ventilated place.

Tips: In warm climates, plant bulbs at double the recommended depth.

Tricks: If blooming does not happen one season, it is best to move bulbs to a new location.

Water: Natural rainfall should suffice. Keep bulbs moist during dry spells in autumn and late spring.


Originally published on homelife.com.au

SOURCE: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/home-garden/in-bloom-now-daffodils/story-fnivsv0u-1226722220178

Grow and know your herbs

Along with new leaves and brilliant blooms, fresh herbs are in abundance in spring.

For culinary purposes, a herb is defined as the leaf and tender stem of a plant that’s used to flavour food. In ancient times herbs were associated with witchcraft and their use frowned upon, even for curing or preventing illness.

Over the centuries, herbs have been used extensively for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, but we’ve also come to appreciate their culinary value – their fragrance, colour and flavour can awaken the palate, turning the most humble dish into a deluxe delight.


Varieties & usage

Chervil: The most delicately flavoured of all the spring herbs, chervil has lacy, fern-like leaves and a mild taste. Although it is mostly used as a garnish in Australia, chervil is also good with eggs and fish.


Chives: A member of the onion family, chives are available in onion and garlic-flavoured varieties. Particularly good with potatoes and in cream sauces.


Dill: Often associated with Scandinavian dishes, such as gravlax (cured salmon), dill has feathery fronds and a mild aniseed flavour. Also used in Greek and Italian cooking, it goes well with cheese and seafood.


Mint: The most common varieties are round and spearmint, but others including peppermint, apple mint and chocolate mint all have their own distinctive flavour. This herb is widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, where its fresh, cooling flavour complements the many aromatic spices.


Parsley: Due to its unassertive flavour, parsley is the most universally used of all herbs. While flat-leaf and curly parsley are common, there’s also a triple-curled variety with flat leaves that are frilled at the edges.


Salad burnet: This hardy herb is one of the first to rejuvenate in spring. Its pretty saw-edged leaves become bitter when mature, but young specimens have a tangy flavour that’s ideal in salads.


Tarragon: French tarragon is the best type for cooking as the yellow-flowering Russian variety is tougher and less flavoursome. Tarragon is a good match for white meats, particularly chicken.



When cutting herbs use a sharp knife or scissors to avoid bruising. You can also tear herbs – the leaves will rip along the veins and release more flavour during cooking.

For optimum colour and flavour, delicate spring herbs should always be added at the end of cooking.

When storing fresh herbs, wash and dry thoroughly, then pick the leaves and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. This way, the herbs are ready to go when needed and occupy less fridge space.

Some herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and mint, can be dried to preserve them. Hang small bunches of herbs upside down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place, or in a paper bag with ventilation holes in the sides. Chopped chives can be preserved simply by freezing them. Chervil and dill are not suitable for drying as they will lose their flavour.


Originally published on homelife.com.au.

SOURCE: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/home-garden/in-bloom-now-spring-herbs/story-fnivsv0u-1226727597209

Spring Inspirations

The tilt of the earth’s axis towards the sun increases during Spring extending the daylight hours and the warmth. Nature responds as new plants ‘spring’ to life, streams swell with run off from melting snow and once again we are lured back into the outdoors.

Spring brings with it a zest for life and new beginnings. Lets bring this feeling of excitement and anticipation into your outdoor room


Spring flowering Australian natives include:
—Isopogon anemonifolius or Broad-leaved drumsticks is a small to medium sized shrub with clusters of globular yellow flower heads. This plant is able to withstand drought and light frost. In coastal areas with exposure to sea breezes, they grow as a tufty ground cover whereas in more sheltered areas they grow as upright shrubs up to 2m high.
— Leiocarpa panaetioides or Wooly Buttons is also a yellow flowering shrub that attracts native birds. It has silvery-grey foliage with hemispherical heads of yellow flowers and grow in sunny locations in heavy soils. In the wild they can be found growing in grasslands and floodplains.
— Doryanthes palmeri or Spear Lilies have long, bright green, sword-shaped leaves that form a giant rosette. Their large reddish-brown flower heads grow in springtime on a 2–5m spike. Spear Lilies like well-drained soil and regular watering.


Limestone is a finely grained stone featuring remnants of sea life and shells often visible on its surface, making it an interesting option for wall cladding. A honed or highly polished finish will accentuate these unique details.

Glass panels are a sensible option for people with a small space or wanting an unobstructed view through to the space beyond. For pool fencing or protection from the weather, clear glass allows a transparency that makes gardens look seamless and larger. You can also explore tinted or textural glass options for varying degrees of privacy or sun protection.

Furniture, Soft Furnishings + Accessories

Day beds and casual dining settings are a great furniture addition for your outdoor room in springtime.

Why not introduce some wall art to your outdoor room. Large sculptural elements could be mounted on walls or hung from the ceiling as a focal point. You could even hang a painting; just ensure it is protected from the weather.

SOURCE: http://www.jamiedurie.com/site/Your_Outdoor_Room/spring_inspiration.aspx

Flowers and their meanings

Everyone loves a beautiful bunch of flowers, but the next time you plan on giving someone a bouquet don’t just go for the next colourful bunch, choose them based on their meaning.

POPPY – Symbolises both dreams and resurrection. In Australia we commonly associate it with remembering soldiers on Remembrance Day.

PEONY – Symbolises bashfulness, peace and female beauty. Give to someone who you highly value.

White roses symbolise purity
Red roses symbolise sacrifice, immortal love and passion.
Pink roses symbolise innocence and healing, great for a first love.
Yellow roses symbolise joy and protection.

DAFFODIL – Symbolises new beginnings, honesty and truth. They are the perfect flower to give as a token of appreciation.

TULIP – The red tulip symbolises the declaration of love. But most tulips symbolise opportunity, adjustment and aspiration.

APPLE BLOSSOM – Symbolises heady love, peace, sensuality and fertility. A beauty to plant in your backyard.

CAMELLIA – Symbolises desire, passion and refinement. Give a camelia to your sweetheart or to someone you hope to be your sweetheart.

DAHLIA – Symbolises a sign of warning, change, travel and adventure. Put on your mantle piece and they will temper your adventurous side.

LILY – Symbolises partnerships and lasting relationships as well as fertility and nurturing. Give to brides-to-be and new mothers.

PANSY – Pansies symbolise remembrance, togetherness and union. They are the flower you give when you are remembering someone who you have shared fond and memorable experiences with in the past.

SUNFLOWER – Symbolises spiritual attainment, flexibility and opportunity. A great house warming gift or for someone who is working towards something.


SOURCE: http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens/gardening/photos/p/17184298/flowers-and-their-meanings/17184533/

National Vegetable Championships 2013, Harrogate UK in pictures

The National Vegetable Championships are held this year at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show in North Yorkshire. More than 100 entrants are competing in 26 classes – including giant vegetables, some of them incredibly large, which are judged on weight alone.

 Judging at the National Vegetable Championships Judging the giant cabbages Derek Bath judging the onions Peter Morris and David Allison judging the Six Veg Collection Judging the Six Veg collection Rhubard rhubard Weighing the giant marrows Weighing the giant pumpkins A competitor stages his entry in the celery classes

PHOTOS: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
SOURCE: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2013/sep/13/giant-veg-national-vegetable-championships-2013#/?picture=417215552&index=0

Students Learning Through Gardening

gardenerPANAMA CITY — A special needs school in Millville plans to cultivate responsibility and education within its community garden. See photo, Master Gardener Judy Stevens helps Cody Blankenship plant a bean as Cameron Erskine watches at Margaret K. Lewis School in Panama City on Tuesday.

Margaret K. Lewis Exceptional Education Center is introducing about 95 percent of its students to an agricultural and gardening program and plans to plant its own community garden. Leaders of the program said the act of planting a seed and watching it grow allows for a wide range of educational opportunities.

“It’s a great way to go through and say you are responsible for this part of the garden,” said Britt Smith, principal. “Along the line they see what was just dirt or something you put in the ground become a beautiful flower or plant.”

Students began three weeks ago identifying types of plants and tools to prepare for gardening in the cooler autumn months.

At the forefront of the effort is a former MKL teacher, Judy Stevens, who has been seeking grants and other assistance from the community. So far she has received wheelchair-friendly picnic tables, donated by Eastern Shipbuilding, and a $1,000 grant through the local 4-H youth development program.

“We’ve really had a good time doing this and it has been beneficial to them already,” Stevens said. “Some of the kids seem to calm down. Digging in the dirt is therapeutic for some of them that tend to be more excited, so the more we get outside and dig in the dirt the more fun we’re going to have.”

Teachers also have been using the school’s Smart Board technology to identify different biological parts of the plant and regional soil types.

Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 20:59 PM.

SOURCE: http://www.newsherald.com/news/students-learning-through-gardening-1.208527
PHOTO: Andrew Wardlow

Australian Landscaping Conference

 The Australian Landscape Conference 2013 kicks off again on September 20th to 24th. This year the theme is “DESIGN FOR THE FUTURE: models from the Old World, challenges for the New”.

The conference offers an outstanding range of International and Australian speakers, held at the Melbourne Convention Centre. There are 15 remarkable presentations with 13 by key international speakers. Aniket Bhagwat from India, heads the leading firm, Landscape India; Anne Latreille is a key Australian garden writer; Juan Grimm is from Chile with an international reputation; Ken Smith is at the cutting edge of New York design; Louisa Jones is a world authority on gardens and landscapes of the Mediterranean; Paul Bangay is probably Australia’s best known designer with Simon Griffiths—a world class garden photographer. Raymond Jungles is a distinguished tropical designer based in Miami; Toshio Watanabe is a key authority on the gardens of Japan and Peter Watts has been a highly respected landscape architect and heritage administrator with a deep knowledge of the arts.

The rapporteur sessions enable comment and interaction. There is a marvellous designer gardens tour to the Mornington Peninsula, a Speakers Dinner and Workshops will feature as a new initiative.

For more information head to http://www.landscapeconference.com/AU/

Spring Gardening Trends 2014

The public has had their say in the People’s Choice Award, naming Phillip Withers’ garden, My Island Home the favourite at this year’s Australian Garden Show Sydney, held over four days from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 September in Sydney’s iconic Centennial Park.

His coastal design featured a coral reef made of colourful succulents, surrounded by a mix of exotic and native plants. At its centre, a winding timber boardwalk led the way to a stylish pavilion equipped with hammock and fire pit.

Sustainability, a key trend emerging for spring gardening this year, was incorporated into many garden designs, including that of Best in Show winner, Myles Baldwin, who announced his intention to recycle almost 100 percent of his display garden, Open Woodland, into new projects and sales to clients and nurseries.

The show, presenting progressive ideas on gardening, design and wellbeing, has proved to be an important event for landscape designers, giving their designs exposure both nationally and on a global scale.

“It’s a great way to get what I do out to the public. Everything I do is behind closed doors, so it’s always a bit of a problem to be able to sneak people into private properties. This is a great way to be able to get me out to the public,” said Baldwin.

During Sunday’s closing address, Event Director Anthony Bastic acknowledged the scope and scale of the event.

“This year’s show really catered to every age group, providing a place for outdoor enthusiasts to experience all the latest in gardening, design and wellbeing; for families to enjoy a day out together and kids to get their hands dirty in an imaginative space encouraging natural creativity,” said Bastic.

Now in its second year, the show’s content doubled for 2014 to include 30 display gardens from designers including Andrew-Fisher Tomlin, Peta Donaldson, Christopher Owen and Phillip Withers, a kids area and over 80 garden talks presented over three stages by experts in the field such as Don Burke, Wes Fleming, Jock Gammon and Richard Unsworth.

In addition to the daily schedule, Gardening Australia’s bearded gardening enthusiast Costa Georgiadis entertained crowds on his tours of the gardens, while visitors on Sunday took part in a rare chook auction inside the poultry tent.

Almost 100 exhibitors offered everything from grafting demonstrations, rare plants, vertical gardens, flower bouquets and landscaping supplies to outdoor sculptures, lighting and furniture.

Kim Truc of Ryde TAFE took out the award for the Australian Garden Show Sydney Future Florist Design Cup presented by Oasis Floral.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Andrew Stoner, congratulated the Australian Garden Show Sydney organisers, saying: “The quality and breadth of content at this year’s Australian Garden Show Sydney reinforced it is a leading gardening and lifestyle show, and a highlight of this year’s NSW Major Events Calendar, which is developed by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.”

“The standard of the displays this year was exceptional, with a comprehensive range of on-site activities in which the whole family could take part. The Australian Garden Show Sydney is a great spring event for everyone,” Mr Stoner said.

For more information visit http://australiangardenshowsydney.com.au

ARTICLE SOURCE: http://australiangardenshowsydney.com.au/australian-garden-show-sydney-reveals-spring-gardening-trends/

Bonsai shaping secrets

Enjoy Nature’s Wonders – How to Make a Bonsai

You gain many wonderful experiences from bonsai art. You may choose to
admire and appreciate a thoroughly-trained bonsai. You may also choose to
engage in bonsai art personally by planting seeds or seedlings, or collecting
wild plants, or simply begin with partially-trained bonsai. You will then receive
a lot more.

1. Roots
The roots along with the trunk are fundamental to a bonsai plant. They are
the starting point of making a quality bonsai. In root training, a surface root
structure, called nebari, is important to demonstrating the plant’s natural
beauty. You need to develop a quality nebari. What is more important than a
quality nebari is root pruning, which is intimately involved in the training of
the whole bonsai plant.
Remember it is more convenient to prune the roots during repotting.
2. Trunk
The trunk of a bonsai tree is the most appealing part to create the illusion of
age. Therefore, as a first step, you should start with developing a well-
formed trunk such as good taper (kokejun), initial rise (tachiagari), smooth
curves, etc. The other design elements, including branch location, foliage
distribution, leaf reduction and so on, can be established later on in the
design process.

  • Taper (kokejun)
  • Initial rise (tachiagari)

3. Wiring
Wiring is a method of bending trunks and branches using wires in order to
achieve various impressive shapes. When the plant is still very young, the
trunk is bent into the basic shape of a tree. Later on, as the plant grows, you
bend the first branch (ichi-no-eda), the second branch (ni-no-eda), the third
branch (san-no-eda), and so on until the final branch that determines the
shape of the bonsai plant. If you cannot achieve the ideal shape with one
wiring, you can do so in stages. By the time you complete the bonsai tree’s
final shape, you can finesse the details of the small branches with wires.
4. Pruning
Once you have completed the work of tapering (kokejun), initial rise
(tachiagari), and wiring, you can begin the final shaping of the plant. Pruning
reduces the volume of the tree in order to achieve the goal of “keisho-sodai”,
literally small size-great similarity. You need to prune the branches, the buds,
and the leaves.


SOURCE: http://www.bonsaiexperience.com/

Gardening Story

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