The State Library of Queensland and the National Library of Australia to copy, retain and provide public online access to the Bellis website the online publication of Bellis, Brisbane’s award-winning sustainable house and garden under the Copyright Act 1968 in the PANDORA Archive. The public will have online access to this website through the Australian Web Archive at the National Library of Australia which shall preserve it and make it available to the public in perpetuity.
Auntie Sheila. My alternative mother figure and counsellor, there for me when I needed one most. A thoughtful, academic, independent thinker who taught me how to reason and who’s sound second opinion was always available during the period when my family life was on shifting sands.
“You can’t grow a meadow garden in Australia”, stated an article in Horticulture Week (Rural Press, 1992). Really? I started working with Sydney Botanic Gardens in the same year, and their attempt at growing a meadow garden had been swamped by ryegrass and other annual weeds. There’s nothing like a challenge. By all means experiment with plants, but if you don’t understand how differently individual species can behave in a foreign climate and soils, be sure to do your research first, or get informed advice.
Now the mid-winter solstice is behind us, days are cool but lengthening, ideal for sowing watercress, dwarf beans and snow peas. The best news is there’s a long list of delicious food plants that can be sown now for your spring menu. Here’s sixty to get you started. Just think of all those recipes you can use them in!
How correct care can extend the safe, useful life of a tree: the role of bark boring beetle; the impact of poor pruning on tree health; the value of pruning to a branch collar; the risks of injecting trees with chemicals and painting wounds; the need to investigate for structural weakness; and assessing the potential expense of collateral damage to property if the tree collapses.
Basil: In a sustainable garden you can’t really ask for much more from a herb: here are four basils capable of growing through a subtropical winter in either pots on a balcony or in the ground. Four basils which provide all year round beauty, distinctive flavours and aromas, high productivity, and all of them attractive to pollinators and other beneficial insects that help to control pests.
The culture of winter gardening evolved in Europe, a response to their long, gloomy winters. By contrast, Australian winters are briefer, sunnier and filled with interest – if you know what to do. What is a European winter garden? What can an Australian gardener in a temperate zone do to keep their garden filled with interest? What can food growers grow during the coldest season?
How best to feed backyard birds? Professor Darryl Jones from Griffith University, Queensland, has written the first sensible, science-based guide to feeding wild birds in Australia, says Paul Sullivan, the CEO of Birdlife Australia.
What food plants can be sown or planted in the subtropical autumn? Autumn can be tricky because crops and pests are responding to our warming climate. Australian summers now last one month longer and winter has correspondingly shrunk. With meteorologists predicting 2020 to be the hottest year on record, the implications in a food garden are clear: some crops will be winners and others losers. Here’s how to keep the odds favourable in your garden.
Novice food grower? Whether you’re a fruit farmer in England, a market gardener in Thailand, or a home gardener in Brisbane, we all need economical, effective solutions to protect our food supply and within budget. And that’s the kind of practical advice I’ve been providing for over thirty years. Step into my world of low stress, productive gardening…flowers are included!
Chinese potato (Plectranthus rotundifolius) has so many common names there’s just one meaningful conclusion: it’s a productive plant valued by many cultures.
Cultivated in tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia, this perennial relative of coleus produces clusters of edible tubers about the size of a peanut and which have a nutty flavour. Sometimes referred to as a ‘lost crop of Africa’, Chinese potato can be easily grown in soil or containers, it’s cute and it’s definitely one warm climate heritage root crop you experiment with in a balcony garden.
Suddenly, a public health crisis has prompted more people than ever before to spend more time growing food than ever. We live in a nation of garden cities, our food gardens are an open invitation to dine – what could possibly go wrong? Keeping pests and diseases firmly in their place involves safer solutions, a little gentle manipulation and gardening together as a family.