Gardening Books Feed

Gardening Book Review:A Lavender Affair by Marian French

 

Book review French

A Lavender Affair by Central Coast author Marian French
ISBN: 9781922444998 Shawline Publishing 2021


Chatting with author Marian French was a delight as she guided me through the creation of this precious historical reference and personal journal about one of the garden’s most beloved flowers, the lavender.

A garden reference book that is also filled with Marion’s insights, observations, and obvious love of the garden. The gorgeous illustrations by Robin Ross bring to life Marion’s warmth and make this a lovely addition to any gardener’s library. “A gardening book, yes,” Marian explains. “but with interspersed stories and trials that were encountered as we restored a derelict farmhouse and establish a flower farm.

Along the way, we met with tentative locals, dealt with perverse builders and ventured into beekeeping!” A Lavender Affair is the story of an Australian gardener, a Central Coast gardener, with a wealth of botanical wisdom and a lifetime of caring for our environment that makes her book a stand out in the historical memoir field but also a valuable resource for those wishing to perhaps grow their own patch of lovely lavender.



Growing Your Own Garlic


Garlic
Fresh garlic, straight from the garden is a divine experience and it is also the way to ensure you get the maximum health benefits possible. It is garlic planting time on The Coast and across temperate areas of Australia right now. Good news is, they are one of the easiest plants to grow and home-grown means more flavour and nutrients. This wonderful veggie can be planted in pots and garden beds and can be used fresh or stored for use all year-round. Garlic (Allium sativum), probably originated in the western areas of Asia, but it is such a long-cultivated plant that we cannot be completely sure. The Ancient peoples of Egypt, China and India, all have recorded histories of growing and using garlic as a medicinal and culinary plant with some even attributing mystical properties to it. Most commercial garlic is treated with a chemical to render it sterile, so you won’t be able to use those bulbs for propagation and it’s handy to know that there are two types of garlic, ‘hard-neck’ which has flowers and ‘soft-neck’ which does not. Soft-neck garlic will store for longer than it’s hard-neck friend, but I do like the flowers which are also edible, and the spikes make amazing, dried foliage material. Another factor you will need to consider is that you probably won’t end up with as large a bulb size as you find in the shops, but you will have leaves and you can eat those as well. Types to consider: Dynamite Purple, Spanish Roja, White Crookneck, Giant Russian, Melbourne Market.


Grow Your Own Garlic
Soil must be open, free-draining and well-prepared with compost. pH level sitting between 6.5 and 7.5 is best and whether you decide to grow in the garden or in pots, find a sunny spot. Garlic can be planted by seed but is mostly cultivated via bulbs. To do this, gently separate the bulb into individual cloves and only use the larger ones. Plant directly in their final designation into the soil with the tips just below the surface and firm down.
Garlic is not a fan of weeds so keep it tidy and water should be consistent but don’t drown your plant. They just don’t like to get soggy feet or humidity. Water seedlings a few times a week until they are a couple of months old and then back off to once or twice a week. Feed every second week with a seaweed-based fertiliser, as they love it and mulch with your usual veggie garden mulch medium but ensure you don’t crowd the plants as air flow and low humidly are important.
Harvest most varieties at around the five-month mark but this will depend greatly on type. You will know they are ready as the leaves will begin to wilt and yellow around this time. Lift gently, keep the leaves intact and hang to dry for a few weeks in a warm, sheltered spot to cure before storing in a cool, dry, dark place. The leaves are left on during the curing process so that all additional nutrients are pulled down into the bulb. Don’t forget to save some of those bulbs for next year’s planting. You can find garlic to grow at your local nursery or online: diggers.com.au or theseedgarlicshop.com.au and Giant Russian Garlic: naglesfallsfarm.com.au

Garlic Uses in the Garden & Beyond
Along with growing garlic, make this spray from it to combat pests in your garden. Blend together 4 cloves of garlic with 1 cup of water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid (not antibacterial), strain into 500ml spray bottle and top with water. Spray onto plants to deter pests. Test on a few leaves first.  Garlic is a brilliant companion plant for beetroot, carrots, strawberries, lettuce, and roses and provides a fair amount of protection from various pests, but it should never be planted alongside beans or peas as it will stunt their growth and production. For medical use garlic has been used as both an antiseptic and an antibacterial agent for over 3,000 years. Garlic is still used for these reasons in herbal medicine today along with treatments for digestive issues, respiratory diseases and for circulatory benefits as well.

Garlic Folklore
Firstly, don’t go giving garlic flowers to those you love because in the Language of Flowers and Plants, it means ‘Go away you evil one.’ Could be handy at other times though, so hold that thought. As much as we in Western cultures would like to believe that garlic has always been considered the great protector and many points throughout history support this, it’s just not always the case. While you will find that along with traditions, such as the roasting and sharing of garlic cloves on Midsummer’s Eve in France to use as protective amulets, garlic was forbidden in many cultures at times. It was looked upon as ‘unclean’ by religions including Hinduism, Islam and some sectors of Buddhism and Christianity at different times. The Ancient Greeks thought that garlic-breath was an offence in their some of their temples and so consumption was banned before worship.

The protection myths though are very plentiful and are probably related to the obvious health benefits that garlic shares. It’s not just Dracula and other vampires that are said to fear this plant but all demons and evil spirits. The Sanskrit name for garlic, ‘Ishunm’ translates to ‘slayer of monsters’ and it is thought throughout many folklores around the world that sleeping with a clove under your pillow will indeed protect you from such evil-doers while sleeping and from nightmares.

LOCAL GARLIC GROWING WORKSHOP 12th March 2022
Peter Donnelly of Coachwood Nursery, Somersby

Peter Donnelly  Coachwood Nursery
Getting along to a workshop at a nursery is the perfect way to experience growing anything in action as well as having the opportunity to ask questions. Another thing is this, you are not going to find local knowledge, tips, tricks and yes, secrets, online or in books. You will when visiting your local nurseries and especially when attending any dedicated workshop.  Central Coast local nursery Coachwood Organics & Coachwood Nursery has

a brilliant workshop coming up to help to help you Learn everything about growing Garlic successfully & organically. Join Peter Donnelly of Coachwood for his Growing Garlic Workshop. $29 at 3pm, 12 March 2022. Take home a range of different garlic varieties. Demonstration and guided tour. Bring a drink bottle, hat, and sturdy shoes. Students aged 12-18 welcome to join the class. Enquiries 0491 147448 or online www.coachwoodnursery.com

GARDENING BOOK REVIEW
Gardening for Everyone, Growing Vegetables, Herbs and More at Home
by Julia Watkins, Little Brown Publishers, 2022. 304 pages, ISBN: 9781472146922

Gardening-for-everyone

This gardening book is big on planning and in my book? That makes it a winner straight off the block. Julie Watkins focuses strongly on sustainability and very much on long term goals. Her advice is peppered with personal accounts of her mistakes and lessons and that makes gardening more accessible for those wondering about their own past challenges or current aptitude. The book is encouraging and to beginners and I feel expansive enough for more experienced gardeners looking for sustainability gardening practice information and inspiration. Big on beautiful photographs to light that spark in us all and a clever section called ‘Play’ that brings fun and creative ways you can add joy and usefulness in your garden spaces. My only little gripe here is that the title is not a good fit and being an author myself, I know this is usually a publishing house issue, not necessarily an author one. The contents and advice miss the mark with many gardeners as it focuses primarily outdoors and for those with no limitations. Other than that, a good and rather lovely sustainable gardening book.

GARDENING GUIDE FOR COAST GARDENERS THIS WEEK
(for temperate regions early autumn)
If your soil is still waterlogged from the recent rains then hold off direct planting but you can plant in seedling pots now and transplant later. You can plant the following now: Culinary herbs, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrot, cauliflower, chicory, cress, endive, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnip, peas, salsify, shallots, spring onions, silverbeet, swede, spinach, turnips, ageratum, alyssum, calendula, candytuft, carnation, columbine, cornflower, delphinium, dianthus, everlasting daisy, forget-me-not, foxglove, godetia, gypsophila, hollyhock, larkspur, nigella, pansy, polyanthus, poppy, primula, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, wallflower

Next Week: Rain and Flood Garden Rescue  

HAVE YOU GOT A GARDEN OR GARDENING TOPIC TO SHARE?
Down in the Garden is looking for Central Coast gardeners who would like to share their garden with us.

We are particularly looking for: Seed Saving, Evergreens, Tulips, Spring Bulbs, Water Feature Gardens, School/Children Gardeners, Commercial Kitchen Gardens, Medicinal Plant Gardeners, and Community Gardens but all gardens and gardeners are welcome contact: gardeningcentralcoast@gmail.com

Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden coordinator and along with Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM963. She is also co-host of @MostlyAboutPlants a weekly botanical history & gardening podcast with Victoria White.

Send your gardening questions, events, and news to: gardeningcentralcoast@gmail.com

Garlic newspaper
This article first appeared in Coast Newspapers the week of 7th March 2022


Let's Try Bonsai

I find out once and for all - are Bonsai a torturous way to display trees? 
Once the preserve of the retired and lifelong dedicated masters, Bonsai is enjoying a surge in interest and popularity as more people from all walks of life and ages are taking up this fascinating artistic pursuit. The weekend of the 5th and 6th March saw the long awaited ‘Bonsai Open’ held at the Mingara Recreation Club with over 100 trees on display, about 500 items available for purchase and three of Australia’s leading Bonsai experts Huge Grant, Jarryd Bailey and Andrew Edge demonstrating. It always promises to an event not to missed if you are at all interested in the art of crafting miniature trees. Hugh Grant BonsaiHugh Grant of Tree Makers

I spoke with Steve Reeve, President of the Central Coast Club which began in the mid 1970s and has currently over 100 active members about the history of Bonsai. “Bonsai is a Japanese word, but the art actually started in China around 1,500 years ago. Not long after that it emerged in Japan and then eventually made its way to the West with the GIs after the Second World War.” On the practice of Bonsai Steve added, “People often say that Bonsai is a cruel art, that it tortures trees, but you can see still living azalea trees in China that are over 1,200 years old and I can guarantee an azalea living in a suburban garden is not going to live over 1,000 years. Bonsai increases the longevity of trees and it’s certainly not cruel.” Steve also noted the sense of satisfaction one gets from learning to promote this longevity while enjoying the ability to put your own creative twist to the creation of a Bonsai. Perhaps in these polarising times, these are reasons why this living art form is rising again popularity. Bonsai asks us to slow down, to focus on growth, care, and design. It is an extremely mindful horticultural experience as a grower as well as viewer.

Bonsai Open demonstrator and judge, Australian Bonsai expert Hugh Grant commenced his bonsai journey at the Central Coast Bonsai Club when he was about 12 years old. His many years of bonsai study and experience are complemented by his Fine Arts degree, and he is now a fulltime bonsai practitioner, owning ‘Tree Makers’, located in the upper Blue Mountains of NSW. Whilst his business offers a large range of material, Hugh has a passion and preference for specialising in Australian Native trees and plants. He attributes his skill development to being a part of the bonsai community, constantly attending meetings, lectures and demonstrations and just generally hanging out with other bonsai enthusiasts. “For the most part, Bonsai centres around design and architecture as a practice, using horticulture as a technical application to produce the product, which is the bonsai tree. Going into it, (at 12 years of age), I just thought it looked cool. I guess my mind was focused on the design aspect, not knowing that I needed the technical ability to keep that plant alive. This is the problem most beginners face.” Once simple horticultural information about bonsai is obtained and followed it really is not a hard activity at all.

How to Start a Bonsai
Bonsai 2

After chatting with Steve and Huge my advice for beginners is to get to a nearby Bonsai club and immerse yourself or at least read a reliable book. It’s not a hard technique but it does require dedication and patience. Like your larger gardening endeavours, you need to consider the fact that every plant and situation does vary. Here is a simple rundown on the basics.

  1. Firstly, choose a tree you feel some affinity with. Have a look at the way this tree may look as a Bonsai as well to help with this decision. Starting from seed may mean a longer journey with your Bonsai so perhaps a seedling may be more to your liking. There is also the option to start with a young Bonsai and these are easy to obtain.
  2. Find a suitable pot and choose a style that you will create. Again, there are so many resources out there to help in your selection and most enthusiasts believe that the pot forms part of the art of bonsai so chose with that in mind. Bonsai pots have additional holes to enable the root ball to be wired to the pot for stability.
  3. Premixed general bonsai soils are available, and you can make your own but for the best results, you should be creating or obtaining a mix that suits your actual tree type.
  4. Roots are perhaps pruned at this point and depending on the size and maturity of your seedling or immature bonsai you most likely will need to need it to wire it to your pot.
  5. Looking at your style and depending on the season, you may wire branches to begin shaping your bonsai.
  6. Water the tree and place it in a suitable location for its type.
  7. Look after it! Bonsai need constant care, they are not ‘set and forget’ houseplants at all, in fact they are not really suited to indoor living. While some will cope, you need to remember they are trees, and so like most trees, they need direct sunlight and an outdoors aspect to thrive.

Central Coast Bonsai Club
Monthly meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month (except January) from 7.30pm until 9.30pm in the Tasman Function Room at Mingara Recreation Club. These meetings typically involve a guest speaker/demonstrator describing a different aspect of bonsai.nCommunity members are welcome to come and enjoy your first meetings without needing to be a member. We welcome people at all skill levels – be they absolute beginners through to advanced -and welcome all ages. We run 6 weeks bonsai courses at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. We also run full day guest Demonstration and Workshop days on weekends. centralcoastbonsai.com.au

Bonsai Resources

centralcoastbonsai.com.au

treemakers.com.au

edgebonsaistudio.com.au

montanebonsai.com


GARDENING BOOK REVIEW

The Ultimate Bonsai Handbook, The Complete Guide for Beginners
By Yukio Hirose

Bonsai book

Berkeley Books, 2020, ISBN: 9784805315026, 256 pages
I searched high and low for a foundation book on Bonsai that I felt confident in recommending, especially to those wanting to begin and this one made the top of the list. There are over 1,000 photos to inspire and inform with in-depth exploration of the many types of bonsai as well as tutorials focusing on their care. Great advice on selecting and displaying bonsai as well. Other topics include basic tree shapes and how to display them, tools, soils, and containers; transplanting, root trimming, watering, and fertilising along with propagation, pruning, wiring and support. The author, Yukio Hirose fell in love with Bonsai at the Osaka World Expo in 1970 and has been devoted to growing, selling, and teaching about bonsai ever since. He is the owner of Yamatoen Bonsai Garden in Kanagawa prefecture and is one of Japan's leading Shohin bonsai artists. An active instructor, Hirose offers workshops throughout Japan. He is an award-winning organizer of bonsai exhibitions and has served as the chair of the All-Japan Shohin Bonsai Association. This book is perfect for the absolute beginner but I’m sure that with its comprehensive nature, it would be a handy reference for the more experienced.

Planting Guide for Temperate regions early March
You can plant the following now: Culinary herbs, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrot, cauliflower, chicory, cress, endive, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnip, peas, salsify, shallots, spring onions, silverbeet, swede, spinach, turnips, ageratum, alyssum, calendula, candytuft, carnation, columbine, cornflower, delphinium, dianthus, everlasting daisy, forget-me-not, foxglove, godetia, gypsophila, hollyhock, larkspur, nigella, pansy, polyanthus, poppy, primula, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, wallflower

Next Week: Growing Your Own Garlic

HAVE YOU GOT A GARDEN OR GARDENING TOPIC TO SHARE?

Down in the Garden is looking for Central Coast gardeners who would like to share their garden with us.

We are particularly looking for: Seed Saving, Evergreens, Tulips, Spring Bulbs, Water Feature Gardens, School/Children Gardeners, Commercial Kitchen Gardens, Medicinal Plant Gardeners, and Community Gardens but all gardens and gardeners are welcome contact: gardeningcentralcoast@gmail.com

Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden coordinator and along with

Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM963. She is also co-host of @MostlyAboutPlants a weekly botanical history & gardening podcast with Victoria White.

Send your gardening questions, events, and news to: gardeningcentralcoast@gmail.com
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This article first appeared in Central Coast Newspapers ( The Coast News and The Chronicle) week beginning 28th February 2022


How to Create Your Own Home Nursery Business

Many of us have turned to our gardens in these times for peace but a few have also found prosperity out amongst the green leaves and petals as a booming botanical industry opens new opportunities.
Ninh of Umina Little SunshineNinh of Umina Little Sunshine

If you venture online, you can find plants and plant related merchandise increasingly sold by home businesses. Go to any weekend market and you are bound to find someone selling plants and more and more are creating thriving online garden centres. The most successful of these home-based plant people are discovering what the marketplace of any field already knows, specialising is the key to attracting customers. This week we meet two Central Coast locals who have used their green thumbs and plant passion to create income streams, but first, let’s explore what you need to consider if you wish to create a successful home nursery at your place.

How to Begin
It starts with you. What do you currently have in time and resources? Begin with this and then build up. I’ve met many home gardening-related business people and all of the successful ones began with either nothing or a very small foundation that they built upon. They gave themselves the opportunity to pace and meet the market. Going in hard and big, spending up on infrastructure and resources before you even know if you are on the right track is usually a big gamble that unfortunately leads many to disaster. What you can see is popular now, most likely will not be by the time you have established yourself in the marketplace. By starting small and building your business, you can find your niche without losing vast sums of money and time in the process. 

What Will You Grow
Most successful ventures start with a defined passion, and I believe this is because you are much more likely to give your all to something you truly believe in and want to be around every day. Even Bill Gates was just a guy who saw an opportunity in his love for computers. Which plant or group of plants do you really have the most interest in? If you can’t answer that question, then start researching and with your feet. Go and look at other gardens, find out all you can about plants that take your eye. Look at the current market and while acknowledging what is currently trending, look for similar plants or ones that could be a part of the current story that you feel drawn to but have the potential for longevity. Most importantly, what do you have the resources for? Let’s explore that.
Space
How much space do you have available and more importantly how much sun/shade and growing capacity do you have? Will you be planting seeds and selling seedlings or creating cuttings or will you be growing larger plants? Do you need racks, shelves, a greenhouse, shade house or garden beds?
Soil
You might be growing your plants in beds, the ground or in pots but either way, there needs to be consideration about what soil you have and from where you will get more. If you are going to be selling seedlings or potted plants, storage of soil will also need to be factored into your plant plans. Buying anything in bulk is cheaper, including soil but you need to know where you will keep it.
Water
I volunteer at my local community garden and one of the other gardeners, Graeme, has a wonderful saying, “Most people don’t have problems with their plants, they have problems with their water” and he is right. Water is seldom factored into gardening plans, and it’s not just how much water you need but where is it coming from? Taps that are inaccessible to areas of the garden make it hard to be consistent with your watering so you may need to invest in additional plumbing or at least heavy-duty longer hoses. A water tank is one outlay that you should be undertaking early in your nursery at home business plan.
Additional considerations
The legalities are rather simple. As long you are not employing anyone, you can have a home nursery, but you must not be blocking access to other houses or the street when you sell. Signage will need to be discussed with the council as well. I would suggest business and public liability insurance as a must. Selling will involve you finding ways to collect money and give receipts to your customers, and both can be handled by using services like Apple Pay, PayPal etc. It is also relatively easy to obtain apps and card readers to accept payments. If you decide to accept cash, be mindful that you will need to have a float for change.

Ninh of Umina Little Sunshine 2
Ninh of Umina Little Sunshine

What began as a gardening hobby in her childhood has developed into an amazing business for Umina resident Ninh after she discovered her talent for breeding rare houseplants. A few years ago, she made the move from Sydney to the Central Coast as her home nursery outgrew her available space. Ninh started collecting rare houseplants as she loved their beauty and after two years, decided that by propagating cuttings from her plants she could sell them then have funds to purchase more rare plants for her collection. She finds the process of creating a new plant from cuttings incredibly interesting and is passionate about crossbreeding and the chance of coming up with a new plant. Ninh sells her plants and cuttings to her established rare plant fanbase via Ebay: https://www.ebay.com.au/usr/ninluon_0 and you can follow her on Instagram as well as see more of her stunning plants: www.instagram.com/aroids_de_skyla I’m sure many houseplant enthusiasts will be swooning over the breathtaking and incredibly beautiful rare plants that Ninh has procured and breeds.

The Kariong Succulents
The Kariong Succulents

Alét and Rowena of The Kariong Succulents
This is another story of a passion gone wild. Rowena loves plants. She loves succulents. She loves them too much. In fact, her adoration of these juicy little gems outgrew their garden and home and so her husband Alét created a home nursery to claim back his living areas. Open most weekends and with a thriving Facebook page: www.facebook.com/succulenthills The Kariong Succulents attracts buyers from all over the state at times. Alét is responsible for the physical infrastructure of their nursery. He has built and maintains shelving and gardening hardware while Rowena busies herself with propagation and general gardening. I’m amazed at how well this business has grown in such a relatively small space. Nurses by weekday, plant nursery people in their spare time, they have the most delightful and sometimes rare plants.

GARDENING BOOK REVIEW
Book review
RHS Gardening School, Everything You Need to Know to Garden Like a Professional

By: Simon Akeroyd and Ross Bayton
Octopus Publishing February 2022 ISBN: 9781784728106

I am a Royal Horticultural Society book addict. Though they are written in the Northern Hemisphere, the knowledge shared does translate well for the most part. This book is a revised and updated edition and one I recommend to new gardeners particularly. From developing a complete understanding of plants and basic botany through to everyday garden care and problem solving, this book also contains inspiration for garden design. Gorgeous photography along with helpful and plentiful illustrations and an explanation of techniques in an easy to comprehend manner. A must for all gardeners from new to advanced but I would particularly recommend RHS Gardening School to those who want a gardening core education in a handy book.


GARDENING GUIDE FOR TEMPERATE AREA GARDENERS MID SUMMER
You can plant the following now: Culinary herbs, beans, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chicory, cress, cucumber, endive, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, marrow, mustard, onions (spring), parsnip, potato tubers, radish, rhubarb crowns, salsify, silverbeet, swede, sweetcorn, turnips, zucchinis, ageratum, alyssum, boronia, begonia, calendula, cleome, cyclamen, forget-me-not, nasturtium, pansy, poppy (Iceland), stock, verbena, vinca, viola, wallflower

Next Week: Growing in a Hanging Basket

HAVE YOU GOT A GARDEN TO SHARE?
Down in the Garden is looking for Central Coast gardeners who would like to share their garden with us.
We are particularly looking for: Home Nursery Businesses, Hanging Basket Gardens, Water Feature Gardens, School/Children Gardeners, Commercial Kitchen Gardens, Medicinal Plant Gardeners but all gardens and gardeners are welcome to have a chat with Cheralyn: 0408105864 

Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden coordinator and along with Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM963. She is also co-host of @MostlyAboutPlants a weekly botanical history & gardening podcast with Victoria White.

Send your gardening questions, events, and news to: gardeningcentralcoast@gmail.com
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Article first published in Central Coast Newspapers - The Coast News and The Chronicle 


Beautiful Australian Native Orchids

With over 800 species and around ten new plants discovered each year, there will be an Aussie Native Orchid I’m sure you will fall in love with! For cultural and showing purposes, Australian Native Orchids are placed into one of two groups. The first being the most popular with home gardeners and collectors for their relative ease of care. Accounting for around 25% of the native orchid population, this group is known as the ‘Epiphyte Orchids’. These grow upon trees and rocks. In botanical terms, a plant growing upon rock void of soil is further classified as a ‘Lithophyte’.
Orchids 1

The second group, the ‘Terrestrial Orchids’ makes up the rest of the population, which is 75% and although this group is much larger, it isn’t always as well represented in collections as they can be a lot more difficult to cultivate, and many are extremely rare to begin with. As their name suggests, they grow upon the ground.

Central Coast Native Orchids
What’s even more exciting is discovering and growing our own local orchids. These will be easier to care for and the success rate of cultivation will also be higher in general because they are at home here. Still, you will need to be mindful of their ‘micro-environmental’ needs. Just because it is a plant that is native to this area, doesn’t mean it can grow as happily in a shaded mountain-area as it will on the windswept full-sun coast.

Here are a few locals you might like to try growing at your place:

Tree Spider Orchid (Dendrobium tetragonum) grows naturally in trees and upon rocks along small, shaded waterways. In your garden, you will need a semi-shaded, sheltered moist spot. Expect the highly fragrant, spider-like flowers to appear in the springtime.  You will need good air circulation, and although it can be grown in a pot, does a lot better when mounted in a tree or upon a board. Keep moist throughout the year but a lot drier in the winter months.

Ironbark Orchid (Dendrobium aemulum) likes to grow on Eucalyptus trees but if you are growing in pots, use a course, loose bark and make sure that you keep the roots covered. Flowers are a brilliant white that turn pink as they are spent. It’s a late winter through to early spring bloomer which delights with a divine soft fragrance. They are happy in the heat, prefer some humidity but also need very good airflow. Ironbark orchids prefer full sun but will tolerant some shade. Ensure the medium is kept moist but be aware that they don’t like to be overwatered at all. A free-flowing growing medium is super important with this orchid.

Rock Orchid (Dendrobium speciosum) would have to be my favourite orchid. It grows as both an epiphyte and a terrestrial and is rather drought and heat tolerant. They must have good air-circulation and you should give them semi-shade, but they will enjoy full sun from late autumn and then throughout the winter. Rock Orchid likes to grow in a course bark, pine bark is recommended, and watering should be monitored because they easily fall victim to root rot if water is left to pool. As a general guide: water every 3 to 4 days in summer, decreasing to once every week or 10 days in the colder months.

How to Grow Epiphytes & Lithophytes
First, find a tree! No tree or desire to grow your orchid in a tree? That’s ok, you can simply use old branches, sticks and even rocks artfully placed in pots. Under this structure, you will need a medium and that is not going to be soil. Your epiphytes will recoil in horror if you plant them in dirt so fill your pot with a chunky medium like bark chips, gravel or charcoal. There are specialty orchid growing mediums which are made up of these things and having a look at them will give you the idea or a solution.

This is rather general advice so make sure you seek out individual care tips for your species. Feed your orchid with a specialised orchid fertiliser but at half strength, (because this is a native plant), from mid spring until mid-autumn. You will find that most of this type of orchid need daily watering through the hottest summer months then a couple of times a week in mild weather, to once a fortnight through the winter months.

Got a tree? Maybe a big rock in the garden? Just tie your orchid to it. Follow the rest of the instructions I have given but also make sure the position suits the species you have chosen. One tip I will share with you, don’t tie that orchid to a Paperbark Tree or other bark shedder.

How to Grow Terrestrial Orchids
For the strong of heart and the patient, these orchids will give you a challenge. I like to enjoy them out there in the bush, but if you want to give them a go, a good starting point is the Donkey Orchid species (Duris spp.) of which there are many, but all have a pair of distinctive ear-like petals. These are an easier than most terrestrial orchid to grow. All terrestrial orchids will need a situation on par with most native plants and if growing in a pot, use 3 parts Australian Native Potting Mix to one part perlite to increase drainage. Many terrestrial orchids are deciduous and will die back to their underground tubers in summer and flower from very early spring. Water well during the growing period but most need you to stop completely when they die back.

Looking for More Native Orchid Adventures?
Go for a walk in our natural bushland and see if you can spot some Aussie Natives but only take photos, not flowers or plants. Not only is it illegal, but you will also be contributing to the extinction of our flora. If you are interested in exploring more about legally collecting and growing these beauties of the bush, get in touch with a local Native Orchid group. One that services the Central Coast is: the Australasian Native Orchid Society, Central Coast and they meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Narara Valley Community Centre. www.anoscentralcoast.com for more information. Also check out the umbrella Australasian Native Orchid Society Website: www.anos.org.au The Australasian Native Orchid Society is dedicated to ‘promoting the understanding and appreciation of orchids growing naturally not only in Australia, but also neighbouring New Zealand, New Guinea and the adjacent western Pacific.’ The society members enjoy a type of plant-fellowship that includes breeding of species and sub-species, shows, culture, education, and field work.

GARDENING BOOK REVIEW
Guide to Native Orchids of NSW and ACT

By Lachlan M. Copeland, Gary N. Backhouse
ISBN: 9781486313686 Published by CSIRO January 2022
Orchid book
Even if you never grow an orchid in your life, this book is for all the plant curious out there. With 582 species along with over 600 stunning photographs to discover within its pages this is an invaluable field guide to an often-overlooked plant out there in the Australian wilds. As a garden writer, I can attest to the fact that many are not familiar with the native orchids of our land and don’t recognise what they may come across. Come and explore these beauties from all environments, even the mysterious underground orchids. Personally, I think every home should have this guide and I might be right as it seems to be selling out quickly!

GARDENING GUIDE FOR TEMPERATE GARDENERS MID SUMMER
You can plant the following now: Culinary herbs, beans, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chicory, cress, cucumber, endive, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, marrow, mustard, onions (spring), parsnip, potato tubers, radish, rhubarb crowns, salsify, silverbeet, swede, sweetcorn, turnips, zucchinis, ageratum, alyssum, boronia, begonia, calendula, cleome, cyclamen, forget-me-not, nasturtium, pansy, poppy (Iceland), stock, verbena, vinca, viola, wallflower

Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden coordinator and along with Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM963. She is also co-host of @MostlyAboutPlants a weekly botanical history & gardening podcast with Victoria White.

Send your gardening questions, events, and news to: gardeningcentralcoast@gmail.com
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This article first appeared in Central Coast Newspapers ( The Coast News and The Chronicle)


Quick and Easy No Dig Veggie Garden

At the moment it seems a lot of people are looking for ways to start a veggie garden quickly. I now have in ground and above ground constructed garden beds and this is one way I have tried very successfully in the past. It is quick, easy and will ensure your veggies thrive!

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one of my beds this week

POSITION
Vegetables need sun for best results, but the amount will depend on what you are planting. You can grow things like potatoes and other root crops along with leaf crops with a few hours of sun a day, but you will find that fruit bearing plants such as tomatoes and capsicums will need a lot more sun, at least 5 hours per day.

SIZE
How long is a piece pf string? Some tips to consider are to ensure you can reach into all areas of the garden bed without having to step into it and consider what you are actually will eat, need and are going to plant. You can find the garden area requirements of all plants on seed packets and on seedling tags, in good gardening books and online resources and with your local garden centre. 

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
A container of sorts needs to be created to hold the soil and this can be constructed from timber that hasn’t been treated in any way (including painted), as the chemicals will leach into your soil.
This construction is simply a square or rectangle and needs to be at least 30cm in depth, 60cm being optimal for a no-dig garden growing mix to suit the layers I will suggest. 
You can also create an above ground bed with large rocks and even brick blocks. Garden edging could also be used for leafy shallow rooted plants. 

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through my veggie garden gate this week


PREPARATION
Mark out the footprint of your garden. Lay down a thick layer (at least 10cm) of newspapers/cardboard and wet completely. If your garden will stand on concrete then create a layer of dried branches and sticks. Construct your garden perimeter with materials of choice.

SOIL
I’m sharing with you a ‘no-dig’ method of gardening and this means that you have not dug into the earth in your garden. To dig into your garden requires soil testing; heavy, deep digging and usually changing the soils natural composition to suit the needs of your introduced plants. A no dig garden is a great idea for many reasons that suit both you and the natural soil, but you need to understand that you have to add everything needed for your vegetables to grow and thrive. Just bags of potting mix aren’t going to cut it.

You can find a lot of ‘recipes’ out there and suggestions and here is one I have created myself that I’ve had success with in a 60cm deep vegetable garden, adjust for the depth of yours by increasing the individual thicknesses of the layers.

20cm of plain straw
10cm of dry leaves
an even dressing of blood and bone or slow release fertiliser pellets  
10cm mushroom compost

5cm layer of manure
a light sprinkle of lime
10cm of pea straw
an even dressing of blood and bone or slow release fertiliser pellets  
10cm mushroom compost

Top with worm castings

Leave for a week before planting seeds/seedlings

Cheralyn carrots
bunches of love, 
Cheralyn 🌻

For more 'how-to' information on vegetable gardening: 
'The Little Veggie Patch Co' Fabian Capomolla and Matt Pember 
'Yates Garden Guide' 
'Dig' Meredith Kirton
'Grow Your Own' Anger Stewart and Simon Leake 


🐝 Today in the Magickal Botanical Garden ~ 14th September

Garden today

In The Magickal Botanical Garden this morning - in go Cos Lettuce (for love, friendship and calm); all the Parsleys are doing great! (for protection, love and passion) Elderflowers soon! ( protection, healing, prosperity) oh and that’s my little outdoor office sometimes. Still looking for some lovely old outdoor chairs.


🌼 🌺 Pink Snapdragon ~ The Language of Flowers, Flower of the Day 🌹🌻


Pink Snapdragon
(Antirrhinum majus)
Some of the meanings of these delightful cottage flowers are truth~telling, grace, secrets and given to another ~ "I long for you". All Snapdragons also mean deceptiveness.


Snaopdragon webcards  Snapdragon  Snap


Botanical History
Snapdragons are a European native plant. The botanical name, 'Antirrhinum', comes to us from Greek. The word anti meaning 'like' and 'rrhinum' -'snout'. the flowers have been extensively cultivated to produce various sized plants as well as colours. Originally Snapdragons were only white and purple. An oil was produced from the seed in Russia that has the look and consistency of olive oil and used in place of butter.

Floristry
They dislike being overcrowded in the garden and so too in floral displays as they are very prone to mould due to their close growing individual flowers on each stem. Snapdragons are very sensitive to ethylene, (ensure spent flowers are removed that are near them and do not place near fruit or vegetables). Snapdragons could be used as both a filler and if longer cultivars are available, as a line flower.

Gardening Notes
These are classic annual flowers that bloom from Summer through to Autumn and provide a bright boost in colour throughout most styles of gardens, but they are regarded as a weed in some areas so please check with your local council as to the restrictions/suitability before planting.

Magickal Botanical
It is believed that carrying a flower in your pocket will make you more attractive. In Germany, hanging a bunch over a babies crib will ensure that they are not fearful when they grow up. In Russia, the seeds are believe to help protect against spells, curses, evil and witchcraft.

Spellcasting
Snapdragons are a good addition in spells that seek to cease gossip, deception and encourage truth. They can also be used to help keep secrets or to uncover them. Other uses (especially pink) ~ to increase attractiveness, to attract love and to boost energy.

Flower Oracle
Snapdragons (particularly pink) can indicate that a proposal of commitment (love, work or personal interest) is forthcoming. They can also let you know that you need to find the truth of a matter before you can move forward with any plans.

bunches of love,
Cheralyn 🌸

you can find more Flower Magick and Botanical History in 'Flowerpaedia',' The Book of Flower Spells' and any of the Flower 13 Flower titles written and illustrated by Cheralyn Darcey and published by Rockpool Publishing and available in all good gift, book, gardening and florist stores internationally 


🌼🌷🌳 Florasphere Gardening Book of the Month Review ~ Urban Flowers by Carolyn Dunster

Florasphere 55
🌼🌷🌳My Reviews are just my way of sharing this I love connected with with my passion for Flowers, Gardening & Creativity.
They are not critical reviews, just a friend sharing something with other friends that she found helpful, inspiring or fun. I'm going to share a favourite book each month and this one is real treasure!