My Garden Path – James Brincat – Fact Sheets – Gardening Australia

SERIES 31 | Episode 29

We meet James Brincat, who is Area Chief Ranger for Parks Victoria, looking after a number of sites on Wadawurrung, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung Country: his remit includes Point Cook Coastal Park, Werribee River Park and Werribee Park, all about 30km south-west of Melbourne.

But it’s the 25 hectares of formally laid-out gardens, parkland and productive areas around Werribee Mansion that is where the horticulture happens and that’s what he loves.

The Victorian State Rose Garden is a major feature – the 5,000 roses are tended by a dedicated team of about 60-70 volunteers who come out each week to prune, weed and care for the plants – as well as meeting up and having a cuppa. “This place is one of the largest community hubs in Werribee,” James says. That is due in no small part to his open, friendly leadership.

James admits as a kid he had ADHD and this hyperactivity and lack of focus meant he got into some mischief. But he always loved plants and his family encouraged this. “Horticulture changed everything for me,” he says.

He studied horticulture after school and worked at Fitzroy Gardens, in charge of the hydrangeas. Next he moved to the Dandenong Ranges Gardens for what was to become Parks Victoria.

At the newly restored glasshouse at Werribee Park a new display has been installed that cleverly creates a tropical look using large-leafed non-tropical plants and ferns.

At Werribee Park he has fostered a number of community projects, launching a language-learning program for Karen refugees that evolved into a huge community-garden-style vegetable patch. It also led to a traineeship program that has given a positive direction to the lives of several young people in the area, including refugees. “I do love to pass on that horticultural knowledge to the next generation,” he says.

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Gardening: Fall is the best time to work in the garden | Columnists

It is official, with the cooler weather and the shorter days, that fall is here.

And with the advent of fall, now is the best time to get started in the garden.

Whether starting from scratch or just fixing up and adding to a preexisting landscape, the cooler weather is the ideal time to begin.

Planting now as the weather cools down will allow trees and shrubs to establish before the heat of the summer.

Gardening can be daunting at first, but there are so many benefits from both the act of gardening and the garden itself, it can be truly rewarding.

There some steps to follow to ensure success and achieve the desired goals for the garden. And with these steps, the two most important are planning and soil preparation.

There are many different aspects to take into account in terms of starting a garden. You must recognize the amount of sun you have, the water flow and drainage of any area you are planting and the amount of area you must plant within.

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What to grow

The next thing to do is determine what you want from the garden itself.

Planting fruit and vegetables require plenty of sunlight and space.

Planting ornamentals will depend on the desired look and what you want to attract in terms of wildlife.

What you want from the garden is key to how you proceed. Once this has been determined, then begin mapping out and planning what areas you plan to plant and cultivate.


A newly planted fig tree. Christopher Burtt/Provided 

There are many different types of gardens to choose from and many of these can be incorporated together.

Fruit and vegetable cultivation are one of the most rewarding aspects of gardening.

Planting trees such as loquats and figs provide easy access to delicious fruits not easily found in the local supermarket.

Vegetables such as spinach and broccoli cannot get more local than your own garden. Planting many of these will require plenty of sun. At least eight hours of full sun is needed for productive food crops.

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There is some work required in planning and coordinating harvests, so keep this in mind when deciding the purpose of your landscape.

Planting shrubs like blueberries also helps attract wildlife as well as provide fruit. Attracting wildlife is an exciting way to use any garden space.

Planting shrubs and trees such as wax myrtles and American beautyberry are a great way to attract birds to the yard. Continuous blooms from perennials and herbs attract an array of pollinators that help benefit everything around.


Continuous blooms from perennials and herbs attract different pollinators. Christopher Burtt/Provided 

These things can be done all while creating an interesting and alluring yard.

Creating an attractive ornamental landscape, with the proper planning, can create a personal paradise in which to enjoy and show off.

There are

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Gardening: Is your garden hose water safe?

You’ve been picking peas, harvesting herbs and watering watermelons all day.

Really? It took you all day to do three simple tasks?

It probably was the 100-degree heat — slows me down too.

Clarence Schmidt

Anyway, you’re dehydrated and need a drink of water. The house is 219 steps away. The garden hose is in your hands. Easy decision?

It could depend on the quality of your hose.

Gardeners want to grow crops as close to toxic-free as possible. Organic seeds, healthy soil, organic fertilizers and avoiding harmful herbicides and pesticides are all essential. However, one important item deserves more attention. Garden hoses.

Better known as agricultural streaming devices (actually, nobody ever called them that), garden hoses were not designed to supply drinking quality water.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Ecology Center ( tested over 200 garden hoses for water leaching and hazardous metals. “Municipal drinking water held in certain hoses for 48 hours was found to contain phthalates, BPA and lead, none of which were detected in water directly sampled from the tap.”

In June 2016, the center tested 32 garden hoses and their fittings for antimony, bisphenol A (BPA), bromine, cadmium, lead, organotin, phthalates, PVC plastic and tin.

If I had paid better attention in my chemistry class, I could tell you what those words mean. But there was this cute, red-haired girl …

OK, moving on …

For hoses tested for leaching, “municipal drinking water was held in the hoses for 48 hours, then the water was sent to a certified lab. A ‘faucet blank’ sample containing fresh tap water was also collected and tested for comparison.”

According to the center, “PVC hoses often had elevated antimony, bromine, lead, and phthalates. Non-PVC hoses did not have these contaminants.

“The hoses labeled ‘drinking water safe’ were free of significant lead, bromine, antimony and tin. However, 30 percent of them contained potentially hazardous phthalates.”

These chemicals and metals have been linked to birth defects, cancer, diabetes, hormone disruption and infertility, among others. Possibly even cyberchondria (worrying about all the worst possibilities after reading the internet).

Repeated exposure of even low levels may cause health problems, especially to children and pregnant and nursing women.

But it’s not just about safe drinking water for your kids, livestock and pets. What about your vegetables?

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University, and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, plants absorb very little lead in their stems and leaves. Also, “high levels of phthalates are occasionally found in organically grown vegetables, but phthalates are so common in our environment that it’s hard to prove they are due to the use of a garden hose.”

Always recite the alphabet while washing your vegetables. And hands.

Surprising to me was that half of the PVC hoses tested contained electronic waste (e-waste) vinyl contaminated with toxic chemicals. I’m delighted my old laptop has an afterlife and a future in cloud computing.

Be aware of hoses with the

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Gardening: Screening plants allow you to enjoy more privacy

Little Gem southern magnolia being used as a privacy screen.

Little Gem southern magnolia being used as a privacy screen.

Special to the Star-Telegram

Privacy is a prized commodity in today’s squeezed urban living.

Our little outdoor retreats are conjoined at the gas grills, and we’re trying to figure ways to isolate ourselves from those all around us.

Often that task falls to our landscapes, and fences come first. Certainly, wood fencing and brick or stone walls give great visual blockage, but they’re also, shall we say, rather like prisons. Plants can step in to soften them.

Vines are your best bets for relaxing the harshness of walls. But you’ll need to know how each type of vine climbs and which will be the best match for your particular structure.

Some types of vines twine around their supports, winding around wood or metal as they grow upward.

Carolina jessamine and the various honeysuckles are classic examples. They’re great on wrought iron or spiraling up wooden trellises, but they have no way to cling onto a rock or brick wall.

By comparison, other types of vines have suction cups or root-like appendages that hold them fast against almost any type of surface. English ivy, Boston ivy and climbing fig (“fig ivy”) are all in that boat. They can climb up a solid brick wall like adhesive tape sticks to flesh. That’s fine when it comes to brick or stone, but it’s not so good when it comes to window screens or siding.

Shrubs become the next big list of privacy plants, and that’s actually where most people spend most of their time thinking. “What types of shrubs would make the best privacy hedges?” they ask.

Let’s establish a few ground rules before we start taking names.

First, a plant needs to be evergreen. It’s nice to have some kind of shrub with colorful flowers in spring or fancy foliage in fall, but if it doesn’t have leaves five months each winter, it’s probably not going to make a good privacy plant. So, it needs to be evergreen.

And it needs to be adapted. There’s no point in planting a row of some sorry-dog plant that is just going to pout that we’ve asked it to grow in North Texas soils or climate. Oh, and did I suggest that it needs to grow to the height and width that you want without a lot of repetitive pruning and training?

Do a little homework on height. Take a piece of PVC pipe marked off in 1-foot increments. Have someone hold it up out where you’ll be planting your screen, and then you sit and stand in various spots in your landscape. See how tall the plant will need to grow to offer the privacy you need from the curious neighbors’ second-floor windows. This is a critical phase in picking the best possible plant.

I’ll leave the bed layout and planning to you and your landscape designer, but we can discuss plant choices and spacing. It’s generally best to set plants about

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Gonzales Garden Club gets back to talking about gardening through virtual meetings | Ascension

While the coronavirus has forced many people to cancel plans and activities, gardeners have had more time to tend to their flowers, shrubs and plants.

Members of the Gonzales Garden Club talked about the measures they took to keep their plants growing during a Sept. 2 meeting. However, it wasn’t their usual gathering.

After months of suspended activities, the Gonzales Garden Club turned to the internet for its first meeting for the 2020-21 season.

Fourteen members attended virtually with the promise that more members will access the video conferencing program next month. President Jamie Trisler followed the routine schedule of the pledge, prayer, roll call, old and new business and featured program presentation.

Members cited examples of the impact the pandemic has had on their gardens. Many said their time spent at home resulted in outdoor success. Some stayed away from plant nurseries and bought seeds online; others propagated from what regrew or had young loved ones bring them plants and mulch. A few ventured out to nurseries with masks as their only “essential” outings.

After recurrent family setbacks, Dale Bowman was able to “get all caught up” in her beds this summer. Janis D’Benedetto concentrated on vegetable gardening and grew “more than enough tomatoes.” Conchita Richey noted that she “worked in the garden the entire time. It was my salvation.” Gwen Heck said her five-year-old garden is now “the best it’s ever looked.”

The program this month was “Pollinator Plants” by member Mary Jo Pohlig. She presented photos of 26 of her plants that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and gave unique details about each, commenting on their growth habits and needs. Her favorite easy-to-grow pollinator plants are Mexican flame vine, purple porterweed and zinnias because of how much wildlife loves them. Other reliable sun-loving bloomers include begonia, cassia, cat’s whiskers, cigar plant, coleus, fennel, globe amaranth, hibiscus, hyssop, ironweed, milkweed, moon flowers, passion vine, penta, pride of Barbados and salvia.

Pollinator plants that acclimate to shade are black-eyed Susan, firespike, guara, impatiens and Turk’s cap. Prolific pollinator plants that spread are black-eyed Susan, lyreleaf sage, mistflower, ruellia, trailing lantana and yarrow.

Pohlig toured her garden in real-time using the camera and microphone of her iPad to transmit the images of her flourishing beds. Members were able to ask questions and get answers about Pohlig’s garden practices. “To have success with these kinds of plants, fertilize thoroughly in the spring then add doses of specialty fertilizers a couple of times during the summer,” she said. Besides using fertilizer and mulch, her best advice is to “find the right place for the right plant.”

In addition to membership in the Gonzales Garden Club, Pohlig belongs to the Ascension Master Gardener Association, Sundowner’s African Violet Society, African Violet Society of America, National Audubon Society and Louisiana Ornithological Society. She is vice president of GGC plus serves on committees that plan projects and maintain community gardens.

Member Barbara McCormick presented a floral design, which is customary at in-person monthly meetings. She used

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She quit her job for full time rooftop kitchen gardening : The Tribune India

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 28

Till a few months back, Vandana Walia Bali, a former scribe, was working at a private firm but she finally chose to quit her job and take to what had been her passion over the years.

Residing at Ekta Vihar Phase-II in Mithapur, this ardent nature lover is now not just growing her own seasonal vegetables, but also maize, lemons, mausami, loquat, amla, guava, narangi, mangoes and medicinal plants such as tulsi, aloe vera, ashwagandha, moringa, kadi patta and stevia – all on her rooftop and through an organic mode.

“We all need safe and fresh vegetables to stay healthy and build immunity, especially in the ongoing pandemic situation. But most of us do not have space to grow them. I have myself experimented and found that rooftop kitchen gardening can be the best solution since it gives a lot of space and allows plants to trap more sunlight. So, I am spreading this message across to everyone in my circle by frequently posting pictures of my harvest on the social media,” she said.

She shares more advantages, “This is also the safest and the shortest food chain as we just have to pluck the vegetables and bring them to the kitchen ourselves. So no extra hands touch these vegetables and hence no chance of any contamination.”

Bali shared her experience, “I have been growing vegetables for almost a year now on my terrace. I use soilless medium which is highly nutritive for the plants and light in weight for my roof. The plantation is done in portable farming systems made of high density polymer which is UV protected. They have a proper drainage system fitted in them, a frame on which we can install a green net to keep our vegetables safe from too much heat during summers or frost in the winter. I use drip irrigation system to water the plants and save about 75 per cent of water. While I am saving on water, I am also sure that my vegetables are completely free from pesticides and are 100 per cent safe.”

Now an entrepreneur running franchise centre for Jaipur-based company ‘The Living Greens’, she added, “During Covid, my terrace garden became a boon for me. I could feed my family with these fresh and safe vegetables even when there were no vendors coming. I also did not need to wash my vegetables with soda etc and keep them untouched for a day or so.”

Attempting to do some eco-friendly things, she has also been trying to make use of household waste as planters. Besides using bottles for setting up vertical planters, she has also used worn out tyres, old shoes, broken cups, etc as planters and decorated various corners of her living area quite aesthetically.

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My Garden Path – Will Salter – Fact Sheets – Gardening Australia

SERIES 31 | Episode 28

We meet garden and landscape photographer Will Salter, whose love of capturing both natural and beautifully designed spaces has sparked an interest in creating his own garden on Boon Wurrung Country.

His images often reflect the patterns in nature as well as more evocative landscape shots,

“Nature is my passion in both my life and my work,” Will says. “Many people don’t have a connection to nature but I hope, if I can capture it in an image, they will resonate with that.”

His love of photography started with a small Instamatic camera that he took with him when he spent a year as a jackaroo. He started a course in horticulture but transferred mid-way to photography.

For many years he worked as an adventure travel and overseas aid photographer. After starting a family and moving to Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, his focus turned to his immediate backyard instead. This led him to Musk Cottage, the home of garden designer Rick Eckersley. The pair became friends and Will says he has borrowed some visions and ideas from Rick’s garden and emulated them at home.

His current garden contains mature trees but the border plantings are only a year old; it is the third he has created and includes a mix of native and exotic plants.

Another designer he works with is Nadette Cuming, who created the Yalambie garden in Merricks.

Will’s number one tip for garden photography is to put the camera down and look around first, for sight lines and try to evoke a feeling.

Filmed on Boon Wurrung Country

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In the Garden | Getting burned | Gardening

We all have our favorite landscape plants, many of which have made our lists from years of tried-and-true performance in the landscape and a preferred ornamental presence.

It is always disheartening to hear that a favorite plant has problems that may warrant removal from the proverbial list. It’s even worse to learn that one of your go-to plants is now on the list of insidious, nonnative species that have become invasive in Illinois.

For me, burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is one of those plants. It’s now been well over a decade since I came to understand its invasive character, but it was a heartbreaking realization. I even had to see it for myself in the field before I would believe it.

Other than invasiveness, what’s not to love about burning bush? It has spectacular fall color, interesting twig character in winter and provides an entire growing season of medium-textured, green foliage. To top it off, it’s accepting of a wide range of site conditions and tolerates about any pruning regime a person could dream up.

However, this plant’s invasive habits far outweigh the benefits of planting it. It has the ability to invade forested ecosystems and crowd out native plants. In the right location, it can utterly dominate the understory. In the past, I’ve noticed it invading areas across southern Illinois and have seen it spreading in our area as well.

It tends to flourish in the urban-rural interface where there is enough unmowed and maintained area that seed from urban plants can become established. I live in a rural area near Monticello, and this plant is becoming a larger problem in my “neighborhood.” While burning bush cannot boast the overall shade tolerance of an invasive like bush honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), it is becoming a close second in my neck of the woods.

Recently, a native plant of growing landscape interest has caught my eye as a potential replacement for burning bush, from an ornamental standpoint. Eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus) is a native Illinois shrub in the same genus as burning bush.

As you might imagine, it has somewhat similar traits, boasting a nearly equal display of splendid fall color, along with a really interesting and showy fruit capsule. Beyond ornamental appeal, who wouldn’t love it simply for the fun name?

For decades, I have observed this plant in woodlands across Illinois, but never considered it in a landscape setting. In recent years, I have noticed it in several urban plantings and really admired its beauty along with the fond memories of the natural world it harbors. While it remains somewhat rare at nurseries, it is in cultivation and can be sourced at nurseries specializing in native plants.

Wahoo has very similar leaves and fall color to burning bush, but does get larger at maturity. It can reach up to 20 feet in height, so some classify this plant as a small tree rather than a shrub. However, it serves as a good replacement for burning bush in locations that

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Gardening expert reveals his top tips on growing veg at home

Gardening is an easy and enjoyable pastime that you can do alone or with members of your household, and growing your own fruits and vegetables also lets you avoid those busy supermarkets at the same time. 

Instead of sitting in front of the TV, why not get out in the fresh air, learn a new skill and improve your mental and physical health, all while growing food for your friends or family!

YouTuber Tony Smith recently shared some of his green fingered wisdom with Yahoo UK, telling us everything we need to know on how to get started in the garden.  

Tony Smith’s YouTube channel teaches you all the gardening hacks you need to get growing.

Tony covered a range of topics including how to plant potatoes in a no-dig garden, grow black tomatoes, and why something as simple as a piece of copper can keep those pesky slugs from devouring your cabbages. 

Tony says: “We are living in really strange times, this pandemic has affected us all in so many different ways and gardening has seen a resurgence.”

“There are a lot of people who can’t go to work but can get in their gardens, they can put food on the table when it’s scarce because of COVID.” 

“Planting food from seeds to put on your plate, there’s nothing better than that.”

Tony shows us around his breathtaking allotment in the North East of England by the coast, and explains how following a few simple steps can help you get the garden of your dreams. 

He explains how five years ago he started making videos to show his mother how things were getting along in the allotment. 

His mother is too old to work in the garden so he wanted to make sure she was up to date on its progress, and turns out so did his viewers, thus his YouTube channel was born. 

Each episode focuses on a different kind of growing in the allotment, using no-dig raised beds, a polytunnel and protecting your plants from weeds and insects. 

Tony says: “It makes you feel a lot better than when you came. You leave feeling like you’ve achieved something. All the pressures, the worries of the day are just lifted.”

As if Tony wasn’t giving us enough garden envy, he gives us a guided tour of his three bee hives.

Bees are a massively important part of a garden’s ecosystem, they naturally pollinate your flowers and vegetable plants, and best of all they produce delicious honey – another reason not to go to crowded supermarkets. 

Tony explains how to grow potatoes in a no-dig garden using plastic tubs of compost topped with a bit of straw to prevent weeds getting in. 

He says: “There’s nothing better than coming up to a greenhouse or polytunnel or a garden and cutting vegetables that you can take home and say you grew that. It’s just a fantastic feeling.”

Tony built raised beds in his allotment himself.

Tony gives us

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Non-stop Dahlia blooms and fall garden clean up – Gardening with Ciscoe

Dahlia’s give your garden a great color boost. Master Gardner Ciscoe Morris shares tips to extend the life of your blooms. #NewDayNW

SEATTLE — Few perennials can match dahlias when it comes to producing non-stop flowers. Their gorgeous blooms add beauty to any area of the garden, and if you get in half the trouble I do (How did I fail to notice those sheets drying on the clothesline when I turned on that sprinkler?) you’ll appreciate having the long-lasting cut flowers for use in Bouquets. The blooms come in almost every color imaginable with size varying from golf ball to dinner plate. Most local nurseries carry a great section of potted, ready to plant specimens. Keep an eye out for the rarer varieties with red or purple leaves. They’re exceptionally attractive with masses of colorful flowers that contrast beautifully with the wine-colored foliage. Plant your Dahlia in as much sun as possible in well-drained soil. To keep them blooming non-stop, keep the root zone well mulched and water regularly. Fertilize every 6 weeks by scratching a mixture of alfalfa meal and organic flower food into the soil around the root zone, and remove spent flowers regularly.

Most people dig and store their Dahlias tubers in winter, but I leave mine in the ground. After the foliage dies back in fall, cut the stems to the ground and mulch over the roots with a thick cover of evergreen fern fronds. The fronds are great insulators and they repel water, preventing the tubers from rotting in our cold rainy winters. Although I’ve lost a few in excessively cold winters, most survive to produce beautifully the following year. If over time, however, your Dalila begins losing vigor and produces fewer flowers, it’s a sure sign the tuberous roots are overcrowded and need dividing. Dig up the rootstock in fall after the leaves and stems turn black. Tap off the soil and dry the clumps in a frost-free area for at least 3 days before beginning the dividing process. First, discard any rotten or shriveled tubers. Next, divide the rootstock, either into individual tubers or into chunks containing a few tubers. Make sure that the tubers in the division are attached to a stem from the previous year, as those are the only ones that will produce growth the following spring. Wrap the divisions in several layers of newspaper and place them in open paper bags or cardboard boxes and store them in your unheated garage. Check the divisions now and then and if any tubers are shriveling, spritzer them with water from a spray bottle. If any long stems emerge from the tubers in storage, snap them off right before replanting in early May. Then relax. You’ll have more than enough flowers for the spectacular bouquets to make up all of the trouble you’re undoubtedly going to get into next summer.

Finally, don’t be too fastidious when it comes to cleaning up your mixed border for winter. By this time of year,

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