Updated: Nov 9
✦ Garden chat with Chook, from Greenbourne Nursery: The noise on the nursery…
It feels so good to be writing this article with a bright sun and blue sky looking at me through the window of the nursery. It is amazing just how much a bright day can lift your spirits.
While the rain has been a little bit overdone lately, it really has been the miserable cloud cover in between that has caused all the issues. Who doesn’t love falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof… the rain is great. However, the garden needs the power of the sun in between those sessions of precipitation. And now it is back, it is a glorious yellow ball of fire surrounded by a blanket of blue and it is going to fix everything.
Ornamental Plant Recommendation…
Kangaroo Paw ‘Bush Diamond’ (Anigozanthos hybrid)
Bush Diamond is the first ‘white’ kangaroo paw plant. The flowers it produces are medium in size with a dominantly white colour tinged with pink. The plant is one of the naturally compact varieties only reaching a height of 60cm. Due to the compact nature they are suitable for pots as well as the open garden bed. This variety has the ability to flower on and off all year round when supplied with good sunshine levels.
To get the best out of the plant, remove the old flower stems as they die off. This way the plant will be able to put a lot of its energy into creating new flower stems. As with all Kangaroo paws they require really good drainage to perform well. With all the extra rain around we have found out, from talking to our customers, that any Kangaroo paw plants in raised beds, top of the gully or on a generous slope have been doing really well and have not had any issues with excess water.
Sprinkle a small handful of a good quality slow release fertiliser around the base of the plant in Autumn and Spring. The compact Bush Diamond range works great when mass planted as all the proud flower stems bob up and down in a light breeze. There is a great range of these Kangaroo Paws for you to enjoy at your local nursery.
Culinary Herb Recommendation…
Vietnamese Mint (Persicaria odoratum)
This is an easy to use herb that enhances other herbs when added late in the cooking process. It is dominantly used in Asian cuisine as it compliments well with the flavours of the region. The plant is a spreading herb that does well in moist areas, away from the hot afternoon sun. It works great planted under larger trees and shrubs that allow filtered light through their foliage. It is quite vigorous in the warm season, so continually harvesting the plant works really well.
The young leaves have the best flavour which is best described as a spicy basil / coriander flavour. The herb partners best with chives, chilli’s, basil, mint and garlic to name a few.
I have numerous large pots of the herb dotted around the garden in the slightly shadier locations.
It spills over the edges of the pots and looks quite attractive with its fiery red stems and dark green leaves. The long-pointed leaves look as though they have been stamped with a dark horse shoe as each leaf has a marking on its mid drift. It is an easy to grow, spicy herb that is becoming more and more common in our Australian herb gardens.
Fruit tree recommendation…
Red Tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea
The first time I saw a mature Tamarillo tree in full fruit I truly thought it was some sort of mutant tomato plant. From a small distance the hanging fruit looks like giant clusters of Roma tomatoes hanging proudly, with the giant oversized leaves flapping in the breeze. On closer inspection I was amazed at quite a prehistoric looking plant that grows and yields fast.
The flavour is best described as a tangy cross between a passionfruit and tomato. They have quite a tough skin which can be peeled off to reveal the tangy pulp within that contains very small seed that is eaten with the pulp. The plant is a small evergreen tree up to about 3 metres.
As mentioned the leaves are large and papery in feel. The plant has a soft tissue which can cause problems in high wind areas, best planted away from strong wind corridors.
Enjoys regular feeding with an all purpose fertiliser 3-4 times a year. I have personally found that they are best treated as a short- term perennial plant. I usually get good value out of the plant for 4-5 years before the plant begins to deteriorate. It is certainly an interesting plant to grow in your garden that will surely get conversation started.