Succulents: Chlorophyll With Character

My first flower memory is of a cactus. I was about three years old and peering up into a huge, red Epiphyllum flower. It sprouted from an old, much-loved plant belonging to my Grandmother. My sister still grows a cutting from the plant Nan acquired during the Great Depression (around 1929). It’s been in my…

Hibiscus Leaves Helped Save Australian Lives

I’ve just found a letter written years ago in response to an article I wrote about edible members of the Hibiscus family (the Malvaceae). This refers to rosella leaves (Hibiscus sabdariffa), an icon of Australian backyards, and also peasant food or famine food in Bangladesh, Thailand and Burma. Rosella leaves helped Australian prisoners survive the…

Freedom 2014

To me, freedom is access to water – clean rainwater, harvested from my roof, and recycled water generated by my sewage system which I use to grow organic food.

Thrifty, Fertile and Illicit: 4BC Horticultural Intervention

So there I was with Noel Burdette, in the pre-dawn darkness of Brisbane’s Cannon Hill. Groggy but organised, and with only a smartly dressed security guard as a witness, we got stuck in. Long ago we’d decided that the front garden at 4BC Radio, home to the voice of Brisbane’s gardeners, needed a little buffing up….

In Production Today, March 2014

The most widespread recorded drought in Queensland’s history has meant most of my gardening effort continues to be spent on watering and soil improvement. At least I’m able to keep fruit trees productive and perennials alive. Beds which would normally be filled with seasonal annuals can remain dug, mulched and bare until useful rain arrives. But…

Dry soil after the storm

After the storms that hit Brisbane yesterday you might expect that I could give watering a rest for a while.

Citrus: Avoiding The ‘Danger Zone’ To Achieve Abundance

Trish & Malcolm have finally solved their citrus fruit drop problem. Autumn is an important season for citrus maintenance, especially if they’re growing in areas with summer rainfall. This is because heavy rainfall leaches nutrients through the soil and citrus are really quick to show they’ve got deficiencies. For a quick nutrient fix: To four…

After The Floods

If you need fresh food in a few days, start growing sprouts. You don’t need a garden or any gardening skill to succeed, just view this beginner’s guide first: http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1857237.htm When the time comes to re-start growing food at home on freshwater flood-affected ground, pay some attention to your soil first. View flood recovery at:…

‘Bellis’ – A Model 21st Century Garden

‘Bellis’, Brisbane’s award winning sustainable house and garden, is now seven years old. Last October this place won a national Save Water! Award in the Built Environment category. Since its inception, this 810 square metre property has collected over 7 megalitres of rainwater and recycled over 3 megalitres of sewage water. In the ornamental subtropical…

Review ‘Eat Your Garden’, By Leonie Shanahan

Review: ‘Eat your garden’, by Leonie Shanahan; Publisher: PI Productions Photography; ISBN 9780975217764; 2010. “If they (children) grow it, they will eat it”. Schools are where Australia’s gardening culture is most rapidly developing, and this is thanks to children. Why? They are generally more keenly aware of 21st century global environmental issues than many adults…

Save The Mary!

THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY FLOATILLA Today we drove to Traveston Crossing to take part in the dryer parts of the third anniversary floatilla. Nicholas de Boos, a photographer friend from Sydney, came along too. Here are some impressions of the day.