A garden created by Sharon and Craig Harris, recently opened to the public in Melbourne as part of SGA’s Open Gardens and Tours program, attracted a large number of visitors. Here we share the description of the garden and the owner’s hints.
As your summer crop is having a little bit of a last hoorah, it’s time to start preparing your garden for autumn planting. This month’s Patch has loads of tips and ideas of what to do NOW that will ensure your patch is ready to go. Wait until the heat of the day is off and then spend some lovely time in the garden.
Indigenous Australians enjoyed a diverse supply of interesting edible plants in the millennia before white settlement. Some, like macadamias, have been cultivated widely around the world for many years, but in the last few decades other lesser known “bush tucker” plants have been discovered by modern Australian chefs and gardeners. One of the estimated 5,000 edible plant species across Australia is Capparis mitchellii, commonly known as Wild Orange, Native Pomegranate or Mitchell’s Bumble Tree. The attraction of growing and eating these plants is not only their high nutritional value and unique flavours, but that they also provide habitat for native birds and insects and, therefore, a way of maintaining biodiversity.
In a previous article we explored ways that gardeners can lock up carbon in the soil. Although increasing soil carbon is important, it doesn’t address ways of dealing with greenhouse gases that are talked about less often, namely, methane and nitrous oxide. Fortunately, the approaches to reducing emissions of these gases also lead to better soil structure and fertility.
January is here! Wondering what to do in the garden? What vegetables and herbs should you plant? It’s the start of the New Year and whether it’s time for a little rest and relaxation after a manic December; or you have a New Year’s resolution to spend some quality time with your garden; it’s time to get out in your patch! While we have been distracted with festive things, our patches have probably suffered a little and are in need of some serious loving right now. We have loads of tips that will encourage your garden to flourish in the sunshine of Summer.
While most babies are cute, cuddly and adorable, this is definitely not the case for the offspring of the Black Sawfly Caliroa cerasi. The larvae, known to us as Pear and Cherry Slugs, are possibly the ugliest of all pests, and the mess they make to some of our favourite fruit trees is pretty unattractive as well!
There are two unrelated plants called artichoke – Globe Artichokes – Cynara scolymus and Jerusalem Artichokes – Helianthus tuberosus. Different parts of the two plants are eaten. The Globe Artichoke is a member of the Asteraceae family, is a thistle and the flower bud is eaten. The Jerusalem Artichoke is a sunflower and the tuber is the edible part. As well as providing food, globe artichokes are attractive plants in the garden.
In Glen Waverley, Melbourne, a committed gardener has created what many might view as a fairly traditional garden – white picket fence and roses – that is lovingly cared for using sustainable practices. It is now a show garden which has been open to the public in SGA’s Open Gardens and Tours program and previously with Open Gardens Australia. It is also a destination for the Victorian Salvia Study Group and the Heritage Rose Society of Victoria. It is insect and bird friendly as well as containing many edible plants.
Life really start ramping up festive wise at this time of year, and things are certainly starting to bear fruit in your patch, its December! Hopefully you’ve already put in loads of produce plants but it’s not too late to get some more growing, especially if you’ve had the pleasure of already harvesting some plants. Keep up the good work in the garden – despite the rising heat there’s still plenty to do this month in your patch.
And if you’re heading off on a trip this break, read our tips on preventing “holiday-itis” in the garden. It’s an all too common occurrence that can turn the most beautiful backyard into a garden grave in a matter of weeks! Give your garden the gift of a bit of your time this December… you’ll be so pleased you did!
If you’ve walked over a sand dune on the way for a swim on a summer’s day in Eastern Australia you may have noticed a succulent plant with a spectacular bright pink flower growing beside the path.
Chances are it was Carpobrotus glaucescens (also known as pigface, ice plant or angular sea fig). And you might be surprised to learn that not only is it native to Australia but it is also edible. The red-purple fruit has a flavour described by some as like salty strawberry or kiwi fruit and by others as like salty apples1. Its thick, fleshy leaves can also be eaten – raw or cooked (the roasted leaves may be used as a salt substitute) and the juice from the leaves can be used to soothe stings or burnt skin2. The juice from the leaves can be mixed with water and used as a gargle for sore throats and mild bacterial infections of the mouth. The fruit has also been used as a laxative3.