Friday, August 01, 2014

July 2014 Garden News

I have spent most of the month at my son’s house building fences, laying turf, building a raised vegetable garden ect. The end (almost) product is looking good, still a fair way to go but at least the red soil is now covered in grass and the house will stay a lot cleaner.

I ended up putting 'aussieblue' turf down, it arrived slightly frosted but came good.We started off the month with my third garden presentation to ‘Ormiston Garden Club’, that was the only presentation for July.
Our yearly trek to the garden Expo at Nambour was great as usual and we found some rare plants to bring home, it’s really well worth a visit.
I have had a few sessions with the dentist having three crowns and a bridge fitted, the worst part is still to come, that’s when I pay him.
The Cordyline Society held their July meeting at ‘Palms for Brisbane’ and as usual it was a nice friendly meeting.
In between all of this I still found time to do a couple of projects in my own yard and have another one planned.

I will be laying paver's with grass in-between where grass has not survived the 'great dry'.
After only raining three times in 12 months we finally had a small shower late July, it was 20 mills and every single drop counted.
It has been the coldest winter here that I can remember; the temperature went down to 2.4 degrees one morning.
The tropical plants have been hit hard with the dry and the cold, most of my gingers have lost all the above ground growth, just hope the rhizomes will sprout again.
My poor Heliconia Lingulata hit by cold and wind.
Some Cymbidiums from Thailand.

Some other plants .

Friday, July 04, 2014

June Garden news

June was a busy month as I gave presentations to ‘Forest Lake Garden Club ‘and ‘Bribie Island Garden Club’.
We also received bus trips from ‘Bribie Island Garden Club’ and Nambour Garden Club’, both were 50 plus visitors and although the garden was very dry they enjoyed their visit and left with some great plants.

Again another month without any rain, that means since last July 2013 we have had only one fall of 75 mills, one of 15 mills and one of 100 mills, it is such a struggle at the moment.
I am going to pebble and pave part of the lawn are as it is impossible to grow grass close to the Neem tree, it just sucks up any moisture that is available and the grass just cannot compete.

I have had little time during June to do much work on my garden as I have been spending the majority of my time at Scott’s place building retaining walls, fences ect, ect. All the things you do when you move into a new house on a bare block.
Of course Scott being in a wheelchair means he is limited to what he can do, so Dad does not mind helping out as much as he can.
His block is a large corner block and needed a three sleeper retaining wall with a 1.5 pailing fence on top. The first job was to dig the 40 plus holes, I started off with a two man post hole digger, then a one man with a larger engine to no avail, would not even penetrate the red soil by 10cm. Fortunately we found an excavator working close by and he agreed to dig the holes for us, even he had problems as his auger started to smoke, but he did it eventually thank goodness. The hole size was a bit larger than I wanted so each hole took at least two wheelbarrow loads of cement, all mixed by me in my old but trusty mixer.
I placed 100 x 100 hardwood posts as the main supports and then placed 75mm sleepers three high, all screwed on with 125mm screws.
Then came the fence, I used three 100x 38 rails with 100mm pailings, I hired a nail gun to attach the pailings onto the rails and then placed a further rail on top to finish it off.
Next was to place drainage pipe inside and cover that with graven, after that was done I could put about 220 metres of fill in and 30 metres of underturf soil in.
Now we are ready to put the turf down.

I have posted some pictures of Scott’s place as it will also be work in progress.

Monday, June 02, 2014

I thought I would elaborate more on what Judy and I do for garden clubs.

With garden presentations I have a laptop, projector and large screen which we take with us.
I now have three visual Power Point presentations at the moment; all go for approx 45 minutes to one hour depending on questions.
The visual presentations from first to last are ‘Smart Sub Tropical gardening’, ‘A Passion for Plants’ and saving the best for last ‘Bizarre and Beautiful Botanicals’. I am now compiling a new presentation entitled ‘A Garden Journey’.
We do bring up to seven trays of plants to sell at very reasonable prices and usually donate a nice plant for the clubs raffle.
We have travelled as far as Tweed Heads, Kilcoy, Maleny and Boonah Garden Clubs.
The feedback from the presentations has always been very good.
I have a very popular garden blog found at: it will also direct you to my Garden Product Review and Photo Album sites.
In regard to bus trips we are more than happy to accommodate visitors on bus tours.
We have had to raise the entry fee to our garden due to the high cost of public liability insurance.
Visitors are charged a nominal fee of $4.00 which goes towards covering the cost of the insurance.
We have two urn’s boiling when visitors arrive and have a large patio area where visitors can sit and have morning tea.
Most bus trips bring their own food; we are happy to supply milk, sugar, coffee and tea.
We let visitors use our laundry toilet.
We have large range of beautiful plants for sale at very reasonable prices.
We recommend at the very minimum a 1.5 hour stay, most clubs stay for the morning then depart for lunch.
Our contact email address is
There is plenty to see at our one acre garden and it does not really matter if clubs visit more than once as there are different things to see each season and I am always doing projects to make the garden better.
Judy and I do our utmost to make visitors feel welcome, that’s why we call our garden a ‘Giving Garden’.
After they finish with us I recommend they go to ‘Lagoon View Gardens’ nursery situated at Lagoon View Road, Redland Bay.
Peter and Genya Robinson are the owners and have created a stunning display garden situated between two beautiful lagoons.

I can honestly say this venue is well worth going to. Their phone numbers are 0408181970 or 0732068169.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

May 2013 Garden News

Well here it is, the first day of winter and I can tell you I am frightened.
Why you may ask?
Well since July last year we had no rain in August, September and October, has 70 mills in November and none in December and January. February we had 15 mills, so all summer we only had a tiny splatter of rain. In March we had 100 mills, none in April and 10 mills in May.
Winter is our dry season, the ground is dry and our tanks are virtually empty, that is why I am frightened, so many plants to try and keep alive.
Stafford Garden Club visited this month and we hosted a meeting of the ‘International Cordyline Society’where I gave a presentation 'A Passion for Plants'.
Only one other presentation this month and that was to the ‘Ascot/Clayfield Garden Club’.

I have not been able to do a lot in the garden this month as my disabled son and his family has moved into a new home which needs retaining walls, fencing, landscaping and all the other jobs that he cannot do. Of course Dad has volunteered to do it all. That’s what you have to do for your family.
It’s such a busy life at the moment.

Another garden problem is the pesky possum it having a great feed of our Custard Apple crop and is intent on not letting us get any. I have bought a trap but Mr Possum is avoiding it, preferring Custard Apple to any other fruit.

My youngest son and his family have just left and are touring Australia for the next two years, it's probably the best time for them before the children start school, we will miss them terribly, but will keep in touch through their 'This is our Australia' web site and Facebook page. Their two dogs will be living with us.
Link to their website.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

April Garden News

I suppose the big news is about our November Open Garden.
We received our information sheet from ‘Open Gardens Australia’ and to our shock the admission fee for our garden has risen to $10.00 per person.
We did realise that the normal fee was to go to $8.00 and were prepared to open for that price remembering that the Open Garden Scheme keep 65% of all gate takings that now go for administration purposes.
We then asked around and found that most gardens were opening for $8.00, ours was evidently a so called ‘special garden’. I suppose it was deemed that because of the numbers of visitors we get through the gate (we usually get between 600 to 900 visitors).
On principle we told ‘Open Gardens Australia ‘that we would open for $8.00 but certainly not $10.00 as after twelve openings we know our visitors and two of the most asked questions at the entry gate are “why is it so much” and “where does the money go”, Judy and I both agree that a $10.00 entry fee would see a lot of visitors just walk away.
‘Open Gardens Australia’ refused to compromise, so with regret we have pulled out of the scheme and I have resigned as a selector.
I am told (and know) how hard it is to get new gardens to open, but it seems they would rather lose our garden and its numbers rather than agree to a compromise.
It is very strange as ‘Open Gardens Australia’ would have received around $4,000 if we had charged $8 and had the usual amount of people through the gate.
I must admit to feeling a bit let down as we have opened through the scheme eleven times and now it's take it or leave it.
So that was that, we are leaving the scheme and  have now contacted the ‘Lions Club’ and offered them the chance to raise money for a specific charity, they of course jumped at the chance.
I have now heard that they are allowing gardens that were listed as $10 entry to reduce that to $8 entry, how crazy is that?
The Lions Club will also do the catering and run a raffle.
We will be opening our garden on the 22 and 23rd of November and it will raise money for the ‘Lions Club for a specific worthwhile cause.
Hopefully we will get some decent publicity; I will be promoting the opening as I usually do.
We had a bus tour through the garden on my Birthday, it was a church group from North Brisbane, they enjoyed the garden, no garden presentations this month but some coming up in May.

Stafford Garden Club also visited the garden, this was their second visit but as I always say “there’s always something new in this garden”.

I have again been very busy in the garden building Judy a new shade area to store her plants and a new storage bin for the potting mix.

April has been extremely dry with only 5 mills of rain. I am really worried about going into winter with some empty water tanks hopefully we will get some rain before too long.