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What are you ‘lichen’ this Christmas?

What are you ‘lichen’ this Christmas?

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Create your own Tasty Herb Pot

Follow these steps to create a beautiful herb pot that makes either a great addition to any home or a lovely living gift this Christmas. The selection of herbs is up you and can be customised to what you use most.

STEP 1

Visit your local garden centre and collect small pots or punnets of the herbs commonly used in the kitchen, potting mix and a suitable pot to house them all. In this project I have used a terracotta strawberry pot that are available at most retailers in various sizes. I have also included some seasonal annuals in this planting for a bit of colour (plus the Viola flowers can be used to brighten up salads!) 


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"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is right now."

— Ian Shears -Manager Urban Landscapes City of Melbourne

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Monkey Grip (Hanging Pots)

Monkey Grip was designed with space conscious living in mind. With more and more people living in town houses and apartments due to proximity to cities and work, housing is becoming smaller and more compact. Monkey Grip is a system of linking pots which utilise space not currently available to common house pots.

The pots are designed to hang from typical structures found within in the home, such as beams, rafters, handrails and standard plant hanging hooks. Each pot then joins to the other to form a chain of potted plants, creating a beautiful column of foliage and minimising clutter on the floor.

The pot’s unique shape not only enables the plants to be linked together to form a chain, but also houses a water reservoir in the bottom with a simple wick system that allows water overflow to be saved and wicked back to the roots of the plant; minimising water consumption in today’s water conscious society.

The pot’s unique joining system pays homage to the children’s game, ‘barrel of monkeys’ and are designed to be used with standard plants to ad beauty, or to grow herbs and edible plants.

Available in a range of colours.

For more see www.adamcornish.com

Dimensions: W 250 x D 250mm x H 500mm

Material: Polyethylene 100 precent recyclable

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Book Release - Yates Garden Guide (43rd Edition)

As the first gardening book I ever personally owned I have quite a soft-spot for the Yates Garden Guide. Their latest edition - the 43rd in their 125 year history in Australia should be ‘required reading’ for all novice gardeners and a trusted reference tool for even those with the greenest thumbs.

Each edition is tirelessly bought up-to-date by the team at Yates, headed up by trusted gardening personality Judy Horton to cover the most recent changes in gardening styles, new release plants and pest and disease control - something that is always evolving.

I cannot think of any other inexpensive publication (RRP $39.95) that covers quite as much general information for Australian gardens. With this information you will be well equipped to get out into your gardens as well as get the best out of your plants, products (fertilisers/sprays etc) and of course your time.

This latest edition also features a pictorial history of Yates over the last 125 years as well as showing the different garden styles that have come and (thankfully for some) gone over the generations.

Check it out at your local garden centre or book store :)

  • RRP $39.95 
  • ISBN: 9780732289867 
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Australia
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Mealybug

Description: Mealybugs are one of the harder common insect pests to eradicate in either the garden or in potted plants. Their pale pink bodies are covered in waxy threads and powdery wax and often get diagnosed as a fungal problem.

Damage Caused: Mealybugs suck on the plants sap system and weaken the plant considerably. They can generally be found on concealed areas of plants such as where leaves sheath around each other (eg. Centre of Clivea, Agapanthus, Flax) or in forks of plant growth. They can also live in the potting mix of potted plants where they adhere to the roots. As they produce a waxy substance they are often mistaken for a fungal disease.

Ants can generally be found around Mealybugs, protecting them from natural predators such as ladybirds in return for a feed on the sugary substance (honey dew) they excrete from their bodies. 

It is also this honey dew that feeds a fungus called ‘sooty mould’ that blankets the leaves in a back, sooty film. Removal of the mealybugs will remove the source of the honey dew and thus diminish both.

Control:


Green: Oil sprays can beneficial in reducing numbers (eg. Eco-Oil, Pest Oil) sprays are useful for both vegetable and ornamental gardens. Oil sprays work by smothering the pests, blocking their breathing (which they do through their body) and killing them. Application to the entire plant (including undersides of leaves is crucial when using these types of products, as they require you to get the spray onto every pest for successful control. Just a few sheltered pests re-populate a plant quickly if the conditions are right.

NB Do not apply oil sprays in temperatures exceeding 25°C as this will likely burn foliage.

Orange: Generally only ornamentals are treated with systemic insecticides (eg. Confidor, Maxguard),which penetrate into the plants sap system which the pests feed on. They are highly efficient at killing these pests and last on average two weeks in the plants system. With this pest a re-application is recommended after two weeks. As they are systemic the spray does not have to make contact with the pest itself to work and insects can be killed in areas of the plant not reached by the spray (though thorough application is recommended)

NB Care should be taken when spraying these above chemicals is they harm foraging bees. As a rule I only use these on plants that are not currently in flower to avoid the risk to bees that are so vital in the garden. Saying that these sprays are invaluable for treating pests in situations such as hedging where contact with individual pests is not always possible.

Red: Not required for this pest.

Mealybug on Dracaena

(Image: Mealybug on Dracaena marginata)

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City of Sydney hand out 2030 free trees

Image courtesy City of Sydney

(Image courtesy City of Sydney)

The City of Sydney handed out 2,030 free trees to encourage Sydneysiders and visitors to help green our global city now and into the future on the morning of Monday, 29th August.


The native seedlings, including Banksias, Tea trees, Wattles, Bottlebrush and Eucalypts, were given away at Customs House and Martin Place.


The giveaway marks the impending release of the State of the City 2011 Report, the third annual report back on the City’s 2030 Sustainable Sydney program. A free talk and workshop will be held in Sydney Town Hall at 6:30pm on Wednesday 31 August to share our progress so far.


“Cities are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, and the City has set ambitious targets to reduce our emissions by 70% by 2030,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP


“More trees and greenery in our gardens, backyards, streets and parks will help us get there and this giveaway is part of inviting people to join us.
“We hope these free seedlings will inspire residents, businesses and visitors to plant them and help us create a greener future.


“There are already more than 40,000 street and park trees in inner Sydney and our villages and we have bold plans to increase the tree canopy by 50 per cent over the next 20 years, beautifying our streets and homes, improving air quality and helping to cut power bills.


“Trees naturally cool hot urban areas and by planting and replanting native and exotic trees, we can cool parts of our city by up to 6 degrees and lower air conditioning bills. Increasing the tree canopy will be an important step in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent.”


Green spaces are vital to Sydney. There are more than 400 parks and open spaces managed by the City and 93 playgrounds with swings and slides, including an all-abilities playground at Sydney Park. The city has 13 ovals and sports fields and provides 120 sporting stations at City and external facilities each week for 26 different sports.


“By 2030 the number of homes in the inner city and surrounding villages is expected to increase and in an increasingly urban environment these green spaces help reduce pollution and allow people to connect with nature,” said the City’s chief arborist Karen Sweeney.


In the past 12 months the City has completed several major park upgrades with many more now underway including:


• Completion of the $9.4 million upgrade to Rushcutters Bay Park and Community Tennis Facilities with 32 new trees and palms, five resurfaced tennis courts, a
new kiosk building, new lighting, pathways, park furniture, stairs for access to the foreshore, improved stormwater management and restoration of the heritage Reg Bartley Grandstand with new change rooms and toilet block.


• A stunning $9 million dollar facelift for Prince Alfred Park – one of the oldest parks in inner Sydney, with hundreds of new trees and plants including rainforest species, succulents, shrubs and grasses, citrus trees, figs, native palm trees, passionfruit vines and climbing frangipanis. The upgrade also includes five new tennis courts, basketball courts, children’s play areas, family picnic areas, walking and cycling paths and energy efficient lighting. Work is well underway on the highly anticipated heated swimming pool, due to open in 2012.


• Completion of a major revitalization of Sydney Park including the popular Village Green, new grass mounds and fig trees for shade, an all-abilities playground, accessible toilets, fitness equipment and a kiosk.


• Three new community gardens and two new street verge gardens approved in the past 12 months where herbs, flowers, fruit and vegetables will be soon be grown. The City is working with another group on a new community garden in Hugo Street, Redfern, with community consultation about to begin. These new
gardens join the 15 community gardens already flourishing. • We’ve renewed pocket parks including Walla Mulla in Woolloomooloo, Pinkstone Reserve and Lillian Fowler Reserve in Erskineville, and Ethel Turner Reserve in Paddington. Improvements include new plants, trees, furniture, lighting, toilet blocks, paving and exercise equipment. We’ll be consulting on further park improvements over the next 12 months including South Sydney Rotary Park in Alexandria, Janet Bierne Reserve in Beaconsfield and Reconciliation Park in Redfern.

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Citrus leaf miner in action. These are the tiny larvae of a moth that attack the new growth of citrus plants. The mother moth lays her eggs on the new growth of citrus plants and the larvae tunnel between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. Protect new growth with a regular spray of horticultural oil such as Eco Oil.