The rise of the Instagram gardener

What has the world come to that we are reducing everything to a series of words pre-empted by a hash tag? #gardening #pot plants #indoors  #foliage . Whatever the less social media savvy might think, social media is very much part of the modern world. It’s here to stay and is influencing and shaping modern gardening in a positive way.

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How to grow and use caraway

Caraway is used to flavour a whole lot of food that we eat, like havarti cheese, rye bread, sauerkraut and caraway seed cake in Britain. What may surprise you is that the roots can be cooked as a vegetable like parsnips or carrots and also that the leaves are sometimes eaten as herbs, either raw, dried, or cooked, just like you would with parsley. Continue reading

Care for a black walnut?

“Care for a black walnut?” I’ve got plenty, with plenty still to come. I also have a nifty nut collector made by the folks at Garden Weasel. What a treat to discover a yard device that requires no engine and makes no noise, that is so simply designed and yet works beautifully. Continue reading

How to grow and use pandan

Have you heard of the pandan plant? Chances are if you have eaten a South-East Asian meal you have already tasted it, and perhaps unknowingly savoured it. Referred to flatteringly as “vanilla of the East”, pandan is an essential ingredient in many Asian cuisines. Continue reading

How to grow and use turmeric

Turmeric, Cucurma longa, is a tropical rhizome you can grow in both subtropical and cool subtropical areas like Sydney. You can even grow it in a pot in cooler climates, as long as it’s protected from frost and extreme cold. In cooking it is used for colour and flavour. Continue reading

How to grow spaghetti squash

One of the most widely celebrated April fool’s jokes of all time was a story broadcast in 1957 on the highly respected BBC current affairs show ‘Panorama’ about the annual spaghetti tree harvest. The TV segment showed a Swiss family supposedly harvesting spaghetti from their own trees. The segment is now available to watch on YouTube (see below). Continue reading

Bay tree – a winter essential

Each year one of our neighbours, James, arrives on our doorstep with a big leafy branch. Not an olive branch – we are all on good terms so need peace offerings need! No, James is bringing prunings from his bay tree, which he cuts back each year to keep it under control. I lug the branch inside, strip the leaves and dry them to use in the kitchen. Every time I use a handful I am grateful for his generosity. Continue reading