✦ The noise on the nursery. Another Garden chat with Chook, from Greenbourne Nursery.
Dive straight to these recommendations
Hello everyone and what a fantastic few weeks it has been. There has been a real buzz on the nursery with lots of people in attendance. The weather has obviously been the catalyst for the positivity as our yards are happily welcoming us all back in with nice dry lawns under foot.
The mornings have been cool and crisp due to the lovely clear skies then by about 10:00am the gentle warmth of the sun has empowered the air to reach delightfully comfortable temperatures.
Here on the nursery the good weather has allowed us to get back into our routine. One of our favourite regular activities is to invite our beloved local garden clubs on to the nursery for a morning of fun, information and giveaways. All the members from all the clubs are always so friendly and appreciative of the time we are able to spend with them.
The best way to describe these clubs would be as ‘friendship groups’. It is great watching these people walk around our nursery with smiles as they engage with each other. Some are catching up for their weekly get together whereas some haven’t seen each other for weeks.
One common thing that you notice however is how they all have a similar bond of friendship and unity toward each other. A friendship bond that may be on the surface based around a similar interest in horticulture, however when you talk to them and listen to their stories you understand that these people are all linked by similar interest in being kind and friendly.
There is nothing better for a nursery (or any business really) to have friendly people walking around laughing and engaging with each other. It creates a fun and friendly atmosphere that encourages others to attend our little jewel on the highway. To all of the garden clubs that attended our nursery over the last few weeks, I again thank you for all the joy and positivity you brought to our nursery - you are all welcome here any time!
Ornamental Plant Recommendation
Ajuga (Ajuga repens, Ajuga australis)
Here are a variety of plants which, in my opinion, are totally underused and undervalued. Ajuga will bring a great colour contrast with the rich purple and burgundy colours they produce. It is a plant that thrives in those semi shaded spots that can sometimes be problematic when finding the right selection to suit the area.
Most are low growing ground covers so they will move and spread but not dominate an area. Once established they are very hardy and you only really need to keep the soil a little moist in the summer period. Through the spring months you will also be rewarded with small purple flower spikes they will create extra interest.
The plant is great when used as a border, and the really low growing varieties such as Ajuga australis do really well between pavers as they are tough and don’t mind being trodden on from time to time. They are best planted in full sun to part shade. I have found that when they are planted in the milder periods of the year like early spring and through the autumn the plants really take well to the soil and establish themselves extraordinarily well.
I was given them originally by a lovely folk who had heard me complain about an area that I was struggling with. It was in between pavers in one of those inconsistent semi shaded areas. Let me tell you it is now thriving, it is spreading well and also allowing me to break off pieces and plant in other similar areas. When you are at a nursery it is sometimes one of those items you won’t stop and look at unless you have had or heard of a good experience with it, so please now stop and look at the Ajuga and certainly consider it.
Culinary Herb Recommendation
Mushroom plant (Rungia klossii)
While growing mushrooms from the kits is certainly fun and quite an experience, it can be somewhat problematic when finding the ideal location, getting the boxes to repeat crop and getting the moisture levels in the growing media just right. Sometimes it’s just easier to pop down to the shop and buy a bag full. However, if you love that mushroom flavour and would like a little bit of a ‘mushroom cheats version’, then you should discover the mushroom plant.
Now here is a vegetable herb that you very rarely see sold fresh in shops. It is a small perennial shrub that produces rich, thick green leaves that taste like mushrooms. They are a great addition to cooking when you require nutrition and mushroom flavour in your meal. They are best lightly fried in oil and then added to the meal cooking process toward the end. The plant itself grows great. It prefers growing in the full sun, down to partial shade. Performs really well in nice compost rich soils and due to the nice thick leaf pallet it doesn’t need too much water, just treat it like most herbs and watch the soil moisture levels in the summer. The plant will grow up to about 80cms, it likes continual pruning to stop it getting spindly, which is perfect if you are consistently pruning it for the frypan.
Fruit tree recommendation
Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Pomegranate is considered a superfood. The rich red pigment in the pulp that surrounds the seeds of the fruit is incredibly high in anti-oxidants. There are plenty of herbal supplements on the market with pomegranate in them, however the best way to get the true benefits from the fruit are to grow the plant and eat the fruit as fresh as you can. The pomegranate has a rich European heritage and naturally has grown in quite tough and difficult conditions in cultivation for centuries.
It is not uncommon to see old rental properties throughout the suburbs where there is an old, neglected tree in the back corner performing quite well, they are the original survivors. The edible part is the rich red pulp surrounding the seeds that has a sweet, sugary flavour with a subtle tangy after taste. The plant is deciduous thus going dormant over the winter. It performs well in most climate zones, it is a very versatile plant to grow. In cultivation it will benefit from compost rich soils that will promote extra vigour and fruiting. It is a small tree with attractive autumn foliage colour, and large red flowers in the late spring. So apart from producing delicious healthy fruit it will also make a colourful autumn addition to your garden.
So, everyone please go and get out there into your garden centres and enjoy this lovely winter weather.
Be sure to spend as much time with your lovely families and friends as possible. Smile as much as you can and get involved with different groups and associations. If you feel like laughing then laugh loud because it is certainly contagious.
Our friendships and our relationships with each other are so important, and it can all start with and be a simple as a smile. I’ll see you out here at Greenbourne Nursery for all your garden questions and advice or just for a friendly chat.
Happy Gardening - Daniel “Chook” Fowler
Ph: 02 65 85 2117
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