Sunday, 30 September 2012

Fruit tree grafting

Instead of having to find space for numerous varieties of fruit trees, why not think about grafting different varieties onto one tree. For example; a very common type of multi-graft apple tree is the Johnathon/Golden /Red delicious graft. I have one of these trees , and have since grafted a Coxs Orange Pippin and a Bramley seedling apple to it. The tree is no more than 3 metres tall, and about 4 metres wide.
I was a given a piece of Cox budwood from a friend, whos garden was subsequently destroyed in the 2009 bushfire. We have since shared some delicious Cox apples from my tree.
A site worth investrigating is the Heritage Fruit Society who will be able to provide you with the best fruit material, and advice.
You could even go along to some of their activity days at the historic Pettys Orchard in Templestowe, Melbourne.
Many food plants can be grafted, such as egglant, tomato,citrus,nut trees etc.Have a go !

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

HARLEQUIN BUGS-Didymus versicolour

Harlequin Bugs are just starting to hatch and grow in gardens all around the city.
The population seemed to explode last year, and  many clients reporting their gardens invaded by these bugs. They love to hide and shelter in rubbish and long grass. As the weather warms up they start to emerge and breed.They cause a lot of damage to food and ornamental plants. They suck the sap, disfiguring the plant, and also spreading disease. They can ruin apples and other fruit.
Unfortunately hens and other birds dont seem to like them. In days gone by, an spray of nicotine was recommended. However, I have been using a spray recommended by Peter Cundall; with great results. It is crucial that you have a look in the garden now and look for the juvenile bugs. Turn over piles of wood; keep grass short near the veggie patch and orchard. The Mallow plant ( also a common weed) is a particular favourite of  the Harlequin bug. Wherever you see it , remove it.
You will see the bugs early in the morning basking on fences and plants. When they are in these clusters ,they are easy to target.
Mating adult Harlequin bugs

Harlequin bugs-Juvenile stage
What you need is a spray bottle, and a strong solution of dishwashing liquid.Give them a thorough spray, and they should be killed quickly. Another gardening friend taps them into a bucket of boiling water.
If you arent getting success, give me a call and I will be happy to help you with this

Friday, 7 September 2012


Come along to the Wandong Hall, for a great little Spring Garden Workshop. I will chat about soils, composting and getting the best out of your patch

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Time to sow onions

Now is the time for sowing long keeping brown onions seed. They are started easily from seed, and need to be planted and grown before the days lengthen too much. They need a sunny spot in moderately fertile soil.

King Parrots

These amazingly coloured parrots appeared a few years ago, and seen quite tame. They usually appear the same time in the mornings, and wait for some seed. Their colours are incredible; the males , females and juevenilles differing from each other. They usually live in forested areas and are seed eaters. It is not advisable to feed them bread or non natural foods, as it is detrimental to their health
King parrots (green/ red) with Eastern rosellas(blue /red)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


After a 'proper 'winter, most of us in Victoria are looking foward to Spring. The days become brighter and warmer, the insects re-emerge, birds and animals with young , and most of all, the roses start to bloom.
 This Abraham Darby pillar rose is a beauty. At a height of about 2.5metres it is easy to maintain and produces many delightfully perfumed blooms.
A thorough winter prune, and a good dressing of organic material and fertiliser  will make the roses look spectacular for the next 6 months.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Gourmet mushroom varieties are often hard to get and are quite perishable. This is a great idea. see link above