Solarizing grass and weed patches

If you have a patch of grass in your yard that you want to remove (for making a garden, patio, etc.), here’s a way you can do that without breaking your back digging it all up. It’s a great option when dealing with a small to medium size plot but be warned, this method will need some time to work it’s magic. If your yard has been taken over by weeds and you just want to start from scratch again, this is just the ticket since it digs deep and kills off seeds too.   Click on the link below to find out more


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Herb maps of the world

If you like your Herbs, you will find these beautifully illustrated herb maps of the world (by truly fascinating.   I’m thinking we may have to suggest and request an Australasian map!   Click on each thumbnail to view the larger image direct from Baldwins website.

Africa_Herbs_Map_thumb  Baldwins-World-Tea-Map-thumb   Chinese_herb_map thumb  Europe-herb-map-thumb  South_America_Herb_Map thumb  Herbal Body Map - thumb


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November meeting reminder

Meeting reminder! Come join us this Saturday 7th November at 1:30pm for our monthly club function. This month, our guest speaker is Carmel Brown who is a renowned speaker on Begonias and is a prolific grower. Carmel will talk on propogation, care of Begonias and the varieties that are best suited for our SEQ climate. Carmel will also have some of her begonias for sale. As usual, we have our regular plant stall, birthday club, lucky door prizes and a delicious afternoon tea as well. We look forward to seeing you there – everyone welcome!

begonias_copyright free

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My Heliconia Struggle

Some excellent Heliconia advice based on personal experience, from Ian Wintle, The Giving Garden. Ian and Judy have an open garden coming up (21 & 22nd Nov) – Well worth a look!

My Heliconia Struggle

In my imagination I pictured my garden with many beautiful Heliconia’s all in flower both upright and pendant; in my mind it was certainly going to be a beautiful sight.

Over a period of time we bought over 60 different varieties, being told that all the varieties we picked would perform in the Brisbane area. We spent up to $75 for some of the better plants. All that was left was to wait for the flowers to come.
Well, we waited and waited and eventually found that only certain varieties would flower here and even then some of those would not survive a cold winter and some were runners that would eventually take over the garden.

All in all it’s been a disappointing and expensive experiment.
So, here in Birkdale with poor soil and little water I can give you some recommendations based upon my experiences which Heliconia’s will grow, and believe me if these varieties can survive in my garden they will survive in any Brisbane garden.

heliconiaHere are my recommendations:

  • Caribaea ‘kawachi’ has been a prolific flowerer.
  • Bihai ‘lobster claw’s’ one & two have also been good.
  • Bihai ‘yellow dancer’ has been good.
  • Orthotricas are perhaps my favourite heliconia, but are temperamental, hate the cold and do not reproduce well here, unfortunately we have now lost all of these due to a cold winter in 2014.
  • Augustas grow well ‘red holiday’ and ‘yellow christmas’.
  • The best of all Rostrata ‘parrots beak’, thank goodness it flowers well; in my opinion when in flower it is the most spectacular heliconia of all, it does get a bit ragged during winter but will come back.
  • Stricta ‘Jamaican dwarf’ has done well and always flowers.
  • Bihai ‘chocolate dancer’ is good.
  • Papsiana is good, also Hot Rio Nights.
  • Lingulata is one of my favourites, has a great yellow flower and has survived for a number of years the Red Tip version is also good.
  • Hirsuta ‘costa flores’ is a great looking heliconia and flowered spectacularly for me last year but was hit especially hard last winter’s cold, I am trying again, this time in a more sheltered position.
  • I soon dug out the strictas with the exception of ‘Jamaican Dwarf’ as they were ‘travellers’.
  • I will not plant any psittacorum’s as most tend to travel.
  • Richmond red foliage grows well but has never flowered.
  • Chartacea ‘extra sexy’ and ‘sexy pink’ are not worth trying, not at all cold tolerant.

I am not saying that given the right circumstances some of the ones that will not grow for me will not grow else where in Brisbane, given better soil than ours, plenty of water and a sheltered position they may do very well; all you can do is to keep trying.   Hope this is of some help

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Time for a cuppa?

(Care of Noel Burdette Growing Gardeners)

Time for a Cuppa? well nearly …. since the rain , my Coffee bushes (Coffea Arabica) are putting on a delightful show of fragrant white flowers. Coffee plants are very underestimated for use in the home landscape as they will fit into most tight corners with absolute ease . Coffee are vertical growing shrubs to three meters and will grow in dense shade and equally in full sun…and everything in between!  The foliage radiates Coffea Arabica_Bushout from a single trunk ( or sometimes multiple) and the creamy white ( perfumed) flowers spring forth from every leaf axil in tight clusters. They are drought hardy and resistant to pests and disease and are not overly fussy on soil type as long as it is free draining . You only need a good dose of patience as they are not the fastest of shrubs to grow , but are highly attractive and can make great privacy screens for inner Coffea_arabica_flowers_redcity gardens . They can even be successfully grown in medium to large sized pots. Making coffee from the pods/beans/ seed is an intense task and will require several plants ( around 10) for a good, honest brew …but growing them purely for their beauty and perfume is a reward in itself. , so the decision will be in your hands …or should that be cup ? 😉

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September – October Club Newsletter

GGCI Newsletter SeptOct 2015

SeptOctNewsletter thumb Large

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10 Best plants to propagate from cuttings

Cut down on the expenditure of buying new plants by propagating your own.


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Time to prune your Passionfruit

Have you pruned your passionfruit back since the winter?
Cut it back by about one third because they just love to put on new growth in these hotter months, and its from the new shoots are that you get the flowers and then of course the fruit.

passionfruit vine

Passionfruit doesn’t only taste good to humans – If you find your fruit ‘disappearing’, then birds and possums are indulging in the banquet you have provided them.   In partucular, Sulphur crested cockatoos love them. Try netting your vine next season, hang some CD discs amongst the vine or get one of those big plastic scarer hawk birds and hang it among your vine so it swings about in the breeze. Another trick people recommend is a couple of plastic snakes in or on top of the vine… this one is tricky in case you get confused and they turn out to be real snakes visiting the vine.

Credit:  Calliope Garden Club

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Help your garden bring in the good bugs!

(Care of Noel Burdette Growing Gardeners)

I’m always talking about bringing beneficial insects into the garden, so over the next couple of weeks, Ill be showcasing some of the best plant families to help you do this . Today we start with the Umbelliferae family. This is an extensive family that in simple terms includes plants in the carrot family. They are distinguished by their often flat (or rounded) flower heads made up of many smaller flowers in intricate patterns. For Cottage gardeners , the most common seen and grown is Queens Anne’s Lace . The most common in the family are the simple herbs such as Dill , Fennel , Flat Leaf Parsley, Chervil and Coriander. Members of this beautiful family will attract a wide selection of beneficial (predatory and pollinating) insects such as Mantis, ladybirds, Hoverflies , beetles, Bees, and predatory wasps to help keep all sorts of garden pests under control. Their presence will also bring incredible beauty to the garden and they make interesting cut flowers with their delicate flower heads.


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Double decker bulb planting

A little late to do now, but a good method to keep in mind for next Autumn. This time next year you could be looking at beautiful potted colour 🙂



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