The noise on the nursery. Garden chat with Chook, from Greenbourne Nursery

Updated: Jun 16

✦ As I write this, a cold snap is coming up from the south west. Winter is on its way. While a cold winter may sound like an annoyance to many, it is something our area needs here on the mid north coast.

I have had numerous discussions with locals about the abundance of garden pests and diseases that have burdened our plants for the last 18 months or so. The last two winters have been quite mild in regard to minimum temperatures and hence have allowed breeding cycles to continue and various pests to survive the winter period.

Stopping the birds from pinching the ripening fruit, Greenbourne Nursery as featured in Brilliant-Online
Stopping the birds from pinching the ripening fruit

A cold winter will hopefully disrupt this pattern and allow for a more successful spring period. It will also help to sweeten up our citrus and put a richer red pigment into anyone growing blood oranges.

Speaking of citrus, we can always tell when the sweet, tangy fruit begins to ripen - we start selling bird netting like crazy! Many are flocking in (pardon the pun) and purchasing the netting to stop the birds from pinching the ripening fruit. Bowerbirds, rainbow lorikeets and currawongs to name a few, however the most frustrating are the white cockatoos.

Many customers are telling me the familiar story of how the cockies will pick a fruit, take a single bite and then discard it on the ground beneath the tree. Some say they are just bored and some say they are searching for seed inside the fruit. One of our lovely regulars swears that the cockies are doing it to spite us, getting a little back for knocking down too many trees… maybe he’s right.

Apart from talking to plenty of folk here at the nursery, we have been working on our first batch of bare rooted roses. A true sign that winter approaches. The roses this season have obviously enjoyed the extra water this year as they are thick and strong with a great root system. Now that the rain is starting to let up a little, it is a great time to prepare the garden beds and either add to your rose collection or begin one.

I have found a way to do a little bit of garden catch up thanks to a lovely couple who drop in to the nursery all the time. With the excess rain that occurred a few weeks ago we all have tales of missed opportunities in the garden. The daylight length is getting shorter and many of us are not home until it is dark. The delightful couple I was chatting to were in a situation just like this, they told me the solution was simple - just garden at night!

They ran me through a few ideas that they had and used successfully. So, based on their recommendation I dropped into the hardware a few days later and picked up a 20 metre extension cord and a type of spot light that is mounted to a tripod. The setup allows me to move around the garden and find even the most hidden little nooks. The wife and kids laughed at and mocked me from the verandah as I began setting up… but I loved it. It was such a peaceful experience. Please give it a go and catch up on some gardening.

Ornamental Plant Recommendation

Jungle Warrior (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Jungle Warrior (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Commonly called the ZZ plant. This spectacular specimen is a well-bred offspring of the very popular Zanzibar Gem. The original Zanzibar Gem has been an incredible indoor favourite for many years. Now you can compliment the rich green colours of the original with the rich dark chocolate colours of the Jungle Warrior.

This plant is sure to become a collector’s treasure. It performs well in medium to low light areas. It is quite comfortable in rooms with no natural light. Requires minimal water (too much water will make it sick). Only requires a liquid fertilizer every second month. A great low maintenance plant for your home or for a delightful gift for someone who likes beautiful things but may not be overly confident with indoor plants. Get into your nursery and have a look at one soon.

Culinary Herb Recommendation

Perennial coriander (Eryngium foetidum)