gardening

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

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.



Gardening: Diagnosing a plant pest problem takes some legwork

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.



Gardening

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

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 (ecocenter.org) 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

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

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,