Australian figbird

There are a number of fruits that are only seeded by being eaten by figbirds and other fruit eating birds, being geminated when they are passed through their digestive system and then excreted onto the ground in a fertilised pool of droppings. Continue reading

Hail leaf damage

“No, not snails gone rampant!” says, Jennifer Stackhouse, but hail damage on renga renga lily from storms across Australia this past week, so expect to see damage appearing on plants .

Preserving cumquats

Mmmmm. You should smell my kitchen right now. I’m making cumquat marmalade and there’s a delightful svent from the gently bubbling mass on the stove. This wonderful aroma and, of course, the delicious marmalade spread on toast, make up for the pain of chopping up all that fruit. Continue reading

Ash tree dieback UK

Ash tree fungus threatens UK trees: From The Guardian (UK), Norman Starks, operations director of the Woodland Trust, urges his government to follow Australia’s strict quarantine approach to avoid introduction of a devastating fungus that could kill the nation’s ash trees. He warns that ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea), which has killed 90 per cent of ash trees in Denmark and is prevalent in other European countries, could be more damaging to the UK than Dutch elm disease was in the 1970s, as ash trees account for around 30 per cent of wooded areas across the UK. The damaging fungus has been found in a handful of cultivated trees this year. Stark blames the international tree trade for the spread of exotic tree diseases into the UK and recommends banning the import of live saplings. [Full story]

Celebrating the coconut

Ask someone to think of a tropical island they’ll usually conjure up images of palm trees, white beaches and crystal clear waters. If you’ve been lucky enough to spend some time in the South Pacific Islands you’ll know that these places actually do exist. Continue reading

Chelsea 2012 review & retrospective

Sometimes it is hard to crystallise your thoughts about an event especially when there is so much visual white noise around. I found that after visiting Chelsea 2012. I have attended three Chelseas now, each separated by a period of 2 years and each time I try to distil the essence of the show in terms of trends. Continue reading

Plants for shade in temperate Australia

Before considering what plants to grow, we need to look at the growing conditions. You need to ask yourself a few questions, like is the area shady all year or is the shade caused by a deciduous tree? If you answer when the tree is dormant, will there be access to winter sun for the north [southern hemishpere]. This significantly opens the range of plants that can be used. I personally find that if the shade from the tree is dappled or less during summer, then most plants will manage in this aspect, except of course those plants that demand full sun. Continue reading

Not so boring buxus

So what can you do with boring old Buxus? Vincent Dudley’s innovative “seriously cool modernist” pruning at Whitburgh House, Scotland. Photo courtesy Noel Kingsbury from his excellent blog.

How to grow Hippeastrum

As I write, strange spears are appearing from the soil in many areas of my garden. In a week or two these spears will burst into heads of large stunning flowers. Hippeastrums are a favourite plant of the warm climate gardener, with large flowering hybrids being most popularly grown. Continue reading