Previous month:
June 2023
Next month:
February 2024

July 2023

Snip Snip! Winter Pruning

Why Prune?
Winter pruning
We are well and truly in the middle of winter now so that means that some of our garden trees and shrubs might be needing a good trim soon. Don’t stop there because lots of other plant types can do with the winter snip! While pruning can test the courage of the beginner gardener, who may be fearful of doing ‘the wrong thing’ and perhaps killing off their plants, following a few basic guidelines is all it takes to successfully get your garden into shape.
Why prune at all? While it may seem rather romantic to hold back the pruning for the gardener who has visions of organic, wild rambling vistas, most plants grow stronger, healthier, and more abundantly with a good cut back every now and then. Along with the removal of dead or diseased matter, pruning enables us to also guide a plant to the shape, direction and sometimes size that we may want. Thinning out plants to increase air circulation and light or to slow the growth of fast-growing plants are other reasons to grab the secateurs. It’s also an important task for those growing flowers and food, as pruning increases the production of both. While there are plants that never require any pruning, others will need to be regularly maintained and some can easily get away with a careful trim every five to ten years.

Winter Pruning
As a rule of thumb, younger plants can usually tolerate pruning at any time. This is because they are in a faster growth phase of their lives and can regenerating themselves quickly. Older plants should be pruned in the time that’s advisable for them and to be safe? Stick with these times for all your garden plant buddies. If in any doubt, check with your local nursery or a reliable published resource. Be careful when using books or online sites that advise you of the month you should be pruning instead of actual seasons as they might not be referring to Australia! The following is a small selection that may require some trimming attention late winter. Deciduous shrubs, apples, pears, European and Japanese plums, figs, persimmons, pomegranates, peaches, nectarines, cherries, quinces, winter flowering natives and give overgrown trees and shrubs the once over as well. When something has completed flowering or fruiting or is in a dormant state, it’s a good time to prune.

Pruning Tools
Bypass secateurs are an all-rounder tool that will see you through with most small to medium pruning jobs. They are best suited however to soft materials, twigs, and small branches. Moving up from there to thicker branches, anvil secateurs will be needed or a pruning saw, which will take you up to even bigger branches. If you can only afford two pruning tools, pick the bypass pruners and the pruning saw. Buy the best quality you can afford and look after your tools by always cleaning them after use and storing safely. Maintenance includes sharpening, perhaps oiling moving parts and replacing worn parts as needed. On that point, look out for tools with replaceable parts.

Safety First
Tools must be sharp and in good working condition and you must be familiar with the way they work. Eye protection is important as sticks and branches have a habit of snapping in all directions. Always work away from you and if using ladders to reach higher parts, make sure that you and your ladder are completely stable. Assume all plants are toxic so wear gloves for this purpose as well as cut protection, don’t touch your face while working and cover any open wounds you have with bandages. Wash any cuts or scrapes you acquire while pruning immediately. To keep plants safe, disinfect your tools as you move from plant to plant to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.


How to Prune
Aim to make oblique cuts, on a downward angle, just above an outward facing node or bud. When cutting larger branches, do so in sections by taking off the weight of the branch from the outer most tip bit by bit. Trying to cut a large heavy branch from a tree will usually end with the branch tearing once the weight falls. This will open the tree up to infection and could topple you to the ground with it.
Your first course of action is to remove all dead, dying and diseased parts, then move on to shaping or thinning of the plant. There are lots of different examples of exactly how to shape and prune your plant dependant on type to be found online or in publications. Examples include rose winter pruning - aim to open the interior by removing any crossing branches and try to shape the bush to even length branches. Deciduous fruit trees are usually pruned into a vase shape as this allows maximum light to fall into the middle of the tree.



WHAT’S ON FOR PLANT LOVERS
If you have an event to share contact: [email protected]

Pat Collins Boost your Immune System Sat, 22 Jul 2023 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
In this workshop, you will learn about many useful herbs that will boost your immune system along with other helpful information. We will cover a healthy diet, exercise, additives and lifestyle. We will enjoy together healthy treats to sample and create lots of useful items to take home.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/pat-collins-boost-your-immune-system-tickets-634553325077
Gardens Hosts for Central Coast Edible Garden Trail 2023

Would you like to be a Garden Host for the 2023 Central Coast Edible Garden Trail on October 21+22? They would love to hear from you! Do you have any friends you would like to put forward as Garden Hosts this year - we're looking for more lovely gardens to join us.
Please send recommendations to: [email protected]
Rachel’s Farm Special Screening, Avoca Theatre, 27th July
Be one of the first to see Rachels Farm at our special Q&A screening with Rachel Ward, Maree Lowes and Cheralyn Darcey. In this triumphant film, Rachel voyages from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture on her own rural property, to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food and climate. Tickets from Avoca Theatre: avocabeachtheatre.com.au

 

GARDEN PLANNER
Start digging in composts mixed with well-rotted mature into beds in preparation for Spring. You can plant the following now: culinary herbs, artichoke suckers, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, cabbages, carrots, cress, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, rhubarb crowns, silverbeet, African marigold, delphinium, dianthus, English daisy, gloxinia, gypsophilia, mignonette, spider flower, statice.


Cheralyn is a home & garden author and along with Pete Little, 

hosts ‘Home with The Gardening Gang’
8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM96.3
contact via: cheralyndarcey.com

She also writes the weekly 'DOWN IN THE GARDEN' page for the Coast News Newspaper and this originally appeared in The Coast News.

 

 









 

 


Gardens That Look After You

Healing gardensWhile we are constantly searching for ways to look after our gardens, the gift of gardens is that they are always quietly looking after us. We don’t even need to own a garden to benefit as Clara Rosa, Medical Scientist and President of Permaculture Central Coast shares, “I think gardens are incredibly healing and good for our health and there are a huge number of scientific studies into the area to back this up. Even Florence Nightingale mentioned in her nursing journals, the healing power of gardens and all over the world people have noticed that gardens, nature, and scenery have all these healing benefits.”
There are many studies that have proved you don’t even have to get into the garden to experience positive benefits including an improvement of mood and mental health. A Japanese experiment in 2019, (Physiological Benefits of Viewing Nature: A Systematic Review of Indoor Experiments. Hyunju Jo, Chorong Song,Yoshifumi Miyazaki), measured the physical changes in people with monitoring equipment including brain wave scanners. The participants were show scenes of a beautiful garden and then scenes of concrete walls. Clara said, “They saw changes in brain waves, reduction in pulse and blood pressure as well as a release of muscle tension.”
Have you ever noticed that dentist surgeries are often filled with artwork featuring nature and that many place television screens with nature programs on them for you to watch while you are in the chair?  Clara added, “This is because viewing nature has an analgesic effect upon us, which means you can actually use natural scenery as a pain killer.”

Living with Plants
Take it a step further and live with plants. You will see these benefits to your health increase even more. In 2010 Japanese researchers Sawada and Oyabu set out to measure the stress levels in people working in offices with and without plants. To do this, they tracked the levels of cortisol in the blood and amylase in the saliva of participants as these are both indicators of stress levels. They found that those working in offices with plants recorded significantly lower stress levels. Other studies have found that patients recover faster after surgery and feel less pain when sharing their recovery rooms with plants. Getting people outside if they are experiencing a panic attack or a frightening or stressful experience will enable them to get some fresh air but if there are plants around, it’s been shown to quickly calm them.

Gardening for Health
You don’t need to start big at all, even tending a few potted plants will bring you joy, health and increased happiness but if you can get your hands dirty? Then there are even more healing outcomes in store for you Clara noted, “There are microorganisms in the soil that act as an anti-depressant. They increase you serotonin levels and improve your immunity. Not to mention, when we are outside, we are going to improve our levels of Vitamin D thanks to the sunshine, and we are also going to better regulate our melatonin levels which is going to result in a better night’s sleep. Sleep is a really important part of your health.”
If you have no space for gardens or you would like company, community gardens, clubs and groups are there for you. They are a great place to learn, create and to connect with others. Along with various styles, techniques, and opportunities, many have additional programs and events on offer. To find your local Community Garden check out: communitygarden.org.au and the Central Coast Community Garden Network: facebook.com/CentralCoastCommunityGardenNetwork
To try Permaculture, which is more than just gardening, it’s a sustainable and holistic way of living, Permaculture Central Coast: https://permaculturecc.org.au

Plants for Therapy
While any plant you spend time with is going to make you feel better here are a few that are known for their special qualities.
Better Sleep: Lavender (Lavendula spp.) will help you get to sleep and have a restful sleep. Whether you choose to grow it outside a bedroom widow, have in inside in a sunny spot or use the essential oils from it as a room or pillow spray, lavender will lower your blood pressure and calm a racing heart.
Breathe Easy: Spider Plants ( Chlorophytum comosum) may be reminiscent of 1970’s bathrooms but they are one of nature’s number one air purifiers. They can suck up those nasties like formaldehyde lurking around your place quick smart and they are one of the easiest plants to grow loving filtered light spot inside or out.
First Aid: Aloe (Aloe vera) needs to be in every garden as the gel that is contained within the thick fleshy leaves is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial powerhouse. Use direct for sunburn and bites by simply rubbing on the thick gel. You can grow Aloe outdoors or indoors if you have bright indirect light.
Happiness Boost: Stephanotis (Stephanotis floribunda) is said to uplift the spirits with its heady perfume and is perhaps why it is a favourite with brides. Don’t stop at just this beautiful plant, there are many fragrant blooms that you might like to try. This flowering vine can be grown indoors or out and will need a trellis and indirect light.
Anxiety Reliever: Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is used to create a treatment for anxiety in Ayurveda medicine but just having it around will assist calm nerves and reduce stress vias its fragrance. Holy Basil is also a ‘super’ oxygenator emitting oxygen over 20 hours a day. Grow indoors in a sunny spot.

WHAT’S ON FOR PLANT LOVERS
Central Coast- Hunter Region Cymbidium Society 2023 Winter Show 14 – 16 July Home Co. Tuggerah
Visit a beautiful display of all sorts of stunning orchids. Top floor outside of Spotlight. Along with the judged show, there will be orchids for sale, and you can enter a raffle to win a beautiful cymbidium.
More info: www.centralcoasthuntercymbidiumorchidsociety.com
Gardens Hosts for Central Coast Edible Garden Trail 2023

Would you like to be a Garden Host for the 2023 Central Coast Edible Garden Trail on October 21+22? They would love to hear from you! Do you have any friends you would like to put forward as Garden Hosts this year - we're looking for more lovely gardens to join us.
Please send recommendations to: [email protected]
Rachel’s Farm Special Screening, Avoca Theatre, 27th July
Be one of the first to see Rachels Farm at our special Q&A screening with Rachel Ward, Maree Lowes and Cheralyn Darcey. In this triumphant film, Rachel voyages from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture on her own rural property, to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food and climate. Tickets from Avoca Theatre: avocabeachtheatre.com.au

GARDEN PLANNER
winter, temperate zones
Start digging in composts mixed with well-rotted mature into beds in preparation for Spring. You can plant the following now: culinary herbs, artichoke suckers, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, cabbages, carrots, cress, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, rhubarb crowns, silverbeet, African marigold, delphinium, dianthus, English daisy, gloxinia, gypsophilia, mignonette, spider flower, statice.

DUCKSCCN230713p029
Cheralyn is a home & garden author and along with Pete Little, 

hosts ‘Home with The Gardening Gang’
8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM96.3
contact via: cheralyndarcey.com

She also writes the weekly 'DOWN IN THE GARDEN' page for the Coast News Newspaper and this originally appeared in The Coast News

 








 


Following the Edible Garden Trails

 

Central Coast Edible Garden Trail
Central Coast Edible Garden Trail

Edible Garden Trails are a joyful event that helps gardeners showcase their techniques, passions and experience while opening the way for budding and more experienced gardeners to find inspiration, knowledge, and friendship. Usually held over a weekend in warmer weather, they are a relatively new form of Open Garden experience that focuses on growing your own food. The emphasis is on organic agricultural methods and often includes permaculture and sustainable practices. These self-guided trails enable visitors to experience a variety of gardens, in different sizes, created by gardeners with various interests and levels of experience over a short period of time gives the visitors an abundance of first-hand local knowledge that I’m not sure could be gained elsewhere. Plus, Edible Garden Trails are fun! Lots of fun.

There is nothing quite like the vibe of these trails that are springing up
not only here in Australia, but around the world. Often, they offer a chance to see first-hand how those working with gardening techniques that may be little outside mainstream are succeeding as well and to hop beyond the garden gate and check out what is working in your neighbourhood.
In 2018, Susanne Rixs, a life-long gardener who is passionate about home-grown organic food got 30 of her neighbours together in the Blue Mountains to open their produce gardens to the public. Ediblegardentrail.com Her vision was for this event to grow, “I’m hoping this will become a global phenomenon with people all over the world opening their gardens not just for show, but for sharing intelligent, thoughtful, sustainable food production techniques.” That wish is being granted with the Sydney Edible Garden Trail beginning after Bridget Kennedy visited the inaugural Blue Mountains Trail as she was looking for a way to create an annual fundraising garden trail to promote sustainable living and growing your own food. This year the Sydney Edible Garden Trail is on the weekend of 4th and 5thNovember 2023 sydneyediblegardentrail.com


The Central Coast Edible Garden Trail Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October 2023
CCEGT_Logo_apple_colourLast year more than 650 visitors joined the inaugural Central Coast Edible Garden Trail of 37 locations that included home gardens and community gardens covering much of The Coast - from Killcare to Gwandalan, out to Jilliby, Wyong and Watanobbi. Local Permaculturalists Anna Trigg and Sandi Eyles came together to create and manage our local Trail to highlight Central Coast food gardeners who are working with the earth and sustainability.
Like all Edible Food Trails, the Central Coast Food Trail is a ticketed event run as a not-for-profit organisation. “We have been quite excited that we raised a lot of money from ticket sales and more than we expected from our first year and so it meant that we could donate a whole lot of money back to the community.” organiser Anna Trigg shared. $400 was donated to each Community Garden across the Coast and to finance a hugely successful community outreach program designed by Sue Bradley of In8lygood and SWAMP Central Coast that brought together fifteen organisations across The Coast. The program that helped those living with disability to learn gardening with facilitators Kerrie Anderson and Matt Silavant.
So, what was the biggest take away from the inaugural Central Coast Edible Garden Trail? Sandi Eyles, trail organiser said, “It’s so lovely to help build community. We met so many amazing gardeners and visitors who helped create this beautiful warm and joyous community.” Both Anna and Sandi agreed that the event helped reinvigorate the permaculture and general gardening community on The Central Coast as well.
To keep updated on Central Coast Trail happenings, hop on over to their website: centralcoastediblegardentrail.org.au or facebook.com/CentralCoastEdibleGardenTrail
Along with lots more special features, Coastfm963, the official media partner of The Central Coast Garden Trail will have popular local home and garden program ‘Home with the Gardening Gang’ with me, your gardening writer Cheralyn Darcey and co-host Pete Little broadcasting live on the Saturday from one of the gardens.


Register Your Garden for the Central Coast Edible Garden Trail
The Central Coast Edible Garden Trail is looming for more gardens! Would you and your garden like to be on the Trail? It’s a wonderfully welcoming community of Central Coast gardeners who have a passion for sharing their experiences and love of all things botanical. Any sized garden and all skill levels are welcome, and you don’t have to be open both days, you can if you are keen but one day is ok with the team. The Edible Garden Trail is not competitive, it’s about sharing time, thoughts, and the love of plants. Getting more people growing. If you want to know more email [email protected]

Exploring Edible Garden Trails
While I’ll give you my experience with the Central Coast Edible Garden Trail, much of my tips are relevant to other such trails. With the Central Coast being so vast in area, planning is of essence for trail explorers. The organisers make it easy with maps being given to ticket holders in advance along with opening days and hours. The first thing to be aware of is that some gardens are open both days of the event while others only for one, so take that into careful account. Short descriptions of each garden are given, and they are highlighted in the weeks leading up to the event on social media. Make a note of techniques and plants that you want to see but also make sure you include visits to gardens similar in size and environment to yours. With the Central Coast having so many different micro-climates, from blustery seaside to frosty mountains, on to rich valleys and urban hot-zones, what can work in one area here might not in another. To experience ways in which gardeners in conditions very similar to yours are doing to tackle challenges is an opportunity too good to pass up.

WHAT’S ON FOR PLANT LOVERS
The Fungal Kingdom with Anna Durkin, 8th July

The July meeting of the Australian Plants Society Central Coast Anna will share her work as a Citizen Scientist in this field, educating us with her skill and knowledge and answering our questions about the fungal kingdom of the Sydney region. 1:30pm for. 2pm start, Philip House, 21 Old Penang Road, Kariong. Entry: $3 with lucky door prizes. Austplants.com.au/Central-Coast-Events for more details.

                                                                                           
RF_Tour_AvocaBeachTheatre_Post



Rachel’s Farm Special Screening, Avoca Theatre, 27th July
Be one of the first to see Rachels Farm at our special Q&A screening with Rachel Ward, Maree Lowes and Cheralyn Darcey. In this triumphant film, Rachel voyages from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture on her own rural property, to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food and climate. Tickets from Avoca Theatre: avocabeachtheatre.com.au




GARDEN PLANNER
Winter - temperate areas
You can plant the following now: Culinary herbs, artichokes, broad beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, cress, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, shallots, spring onions, silverbeet, spinach, ageratum, alyssum, calendula, candytuft, Canterbury bells, carnation, cineraria, columbine, cornflower, delphinium, dianthus, everlasting daisy, forget-me-not, foxglove, godetia, gypsophila, hollyhock, honesty, larkspur, linaria, lobelia, nigella, pansy, poppy, primula, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, viola, wallflower

 

Cheralyn is a horticulture author and along with Pete Little,
hosts ‘Home with The Gardening Gang’
8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM96.3
contact via: cheralyndarcey.com

She also writes the weekly 'DOWN IN THE GARDEN' page for the Coast News Newspaper and this originally appeared in The Coast News

DUCKSCCN230706p029