Phil Dudman

About Phil Dudman

Subtropical gardener Phil Dudman is a presenter on gardening talk-back radio, author of Down-to-earth Garden Design, co-presenter of garden2kitchen, and convenor of Landshare Australia. North Coast, NSW. You can also follow Phil on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter

Top 10 plants for subtropical shade

Finding the right plants to grow in a shady spot is a common challenge, but there are far more choices than you think. Here’s a bunch of my favourite subtropical beauties to get you started: begonia, bromeliads, anthurium, clivia, blue ginger, Malaysian orchid, caladium, zebra plant, Brazilian plume flower and bat flower. Continue reading

How to grow bougainvillea

The mere mention of ‘bougainvillea’ can send many gardeners into an immediate state of panic. And fair enough to… I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences and lacerations in dealing with them, mainly in a past life as professional gardening contractor where I’ve been asked to tame yet another bougie gone wild. But it doesn’t have to be this way, because with regular light pruning and training, it’s quite easy to maintain a bougainvillea to the size and shape you want, and when you do you’ll be rewarded with a most colourful and hardy performer. Continue reading

Top 10 easy to grow edibles

If you are new to edible gardening or just want to grow a few things to eat with minimal fuss, then try my top 10 list of easy to grow vegetables. And if you’ve got kids you’d like to introduce to vegie gardening, look for the ones with a ‘K‘, as they’ll like eating these ones straight from the garden too. Continue reading

Top 10 subtropical groundcovers

I reckon that ground covers are the unsung heroes of the garden. Just think of the work they do, covering and greening large areas of ground, filling gaps and borders, choking out weeds and generally beautifying the view.
I’ve decided to give groundcovers their time in the sun (or shade… depending on their individual preference) and have listed 10 of my top groundcover picks for subtropical gardens. Some of these are as common as muck, but then there’s a reason why they are common, and that’s because they are great performers, and they need to be. Continue reading

How to grow Asian greens

I’m a huge fan of Asian greens, vegetables like wombok (Chinese cabbage), pak choi (Chinese white cabbage), bok choy, tatsoi (Chinese flat cabbage) and kailan (Chinese broccoli, also spelled gai lan). They’re so good to have on hand for soups, salads, stir-fries or to simply steam and top with little drizzle oyster sauce and sesame oil. When they’re picked fresh from the garden, they’re something else… super crisp and packed with vitamins and minerals. Continue reading

Top vegies for shady gardens

Many of us picture the perfect vegetable garden in full sun. Fair enough; most vegies perform at their best when they are exposed to around ‘six hours full sun a day’. If you’ve got a small backyard that is surrounded by buildings and trees, it’s difficult to find a spot that gets six hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be enjoying a fresh home harvest. Continue reading

Top 10 vegetables to grow in pots

If you want to grow some of your own vegetables, and you’re short on space, then growing them in containers is a great option. But it’s not the only reason. If your soil is rubbish, and you hate digging, then it’s easy to create beautiful soil for growing in pots… and I’ll be sharing my recipe for a super soil mix a little later on. If you’ve never grown anything before, then grabbing a few pots, filling them with mix and planting out some established seedlings is the quickest and easiest way to get a start. Continue reading

On the verge of a greener community

With all the doom and gloom of environmental disaster coming at us from every angle, it’s easy to get stuck, feeling like there’s nothing you can do to change the big picture. That’s when it’s time to go back to that old saying… ‘Think globally… Act locally’. If you’re a gardener, you are already making a positive impact on the world, simply by growing plants and nurturing the soil, and if you are growing some of your own food, then there are environmental benefits there too. Continue reading

How to make a worm tower

I love worms and all that they do… and I’m sure you do too. Earth worms are super, but I especially love composting worms… I mean, what is there not to love about these quiet achievers… every day, going about their business of converting all sorts of organic waste into the most beautifully rich soil conditioner. They don’t ask for much… just a little moistened cardboard or a fresh banana skin from time to time. Continue reading

How to create a dog-friendly garden

Can a dog, a garden and a gardener live in harmony? My immediate thought is no. Dogs love to dig in places where you don’t want them to… and they naturally have an insatiable attraction to smelly things like blood and bone and animal manures, which I use a lot of in my garden. Continue reading

How to grow sweet corn

Fanatical food growers like me are always raving on about the superior flavour of home-grown produce… and we’re not joking… all of it is true… and it’s especially the case when it comes to sweet corn. When you eat corn freshly picked from the garden… it’s incredibly sweet, crisp and juicy. Continue reading

Must-have fruit trees for the subtropics

For a guy who is passionate about growing his own food, I have surprisingly few fruit trees. My vegetable and herb garden is extensive… and I couldn’t live without that, and I do have a highly productive lemon tree, along with an espaliered hedge of other citrus, an overgrown mango tree, a grape vine, a fig, a mulberry and a few paw paws. But the more I take the quality of the food I eat more seriously, the hungrier I get for more of my own fresh homegrown organic fruit. Continue reading

To grow, or not to grow BAMBOO?

To grow or not to grow… BAMBOO? It’s a big question, because in most gardening circles, bamboo has a pretty bad rap. I’m sure many of us have seen or heard the horror stories of running bamboo, escaping gardens, under neighbour’s fences, even under concrete pathways on its merry way to causing heartache and misery. I have many times, and in the past had to deal with a number of invasive issues for clients when I worked in professional garden maintenance and construction… and it nearly killed me… but still, I love bamboo. Continue reading