Saturday, 29 July 2017

Fungal Diseases that Affect Roses


Image Treloar Roses
Roses are the very devil for fungal diseases AND here on the Coffs Coast we have the most ideal conditions for them to proliferate.


Blackspot

This disease is caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae, and is the most prevalent disease problem facing rose growers throughout the world. The spores must be wet for at least 7 hours before they can germinate and a temperature of 18℃ is best for spore germination. The disease develops most rapidly at about 24℃ but temperatures of 30℃ and above inhibit its spread (although some research suggests that temperature above 36℃). Black spot causes defoliation that occurs when the fungus is allowed to spread uncontrollably and since the main function of foliage is to photosynthesise, creating nutrition for the plant for further growth, there will be weaker growth and reduced bloom in the season following severe black spot damage. 


Image Treloar Roses

Powdery Mildew

This is caused by the fungus Podosphaera pannosa, and is one of the most common foliar diseases of roses. The conspicuous white growth can affect all aerial parts of the plant, but mainly new soft growth. High relative humidity is favourable for infection but unlike many other fungal diseases, extended periods of leaf wetness are not required in order for the spores to germinate, which means that powdery mildew is often a problem during dry summers. Temperatures between 16-27℃ make conditions favourable for its development and spread.






Image Mark Windham & Alan Windham


Downy Mildew

This is caused by the parasitic fungus Peronospora sparsa and only attacks roses in ideal conditions. These are when there is constant high humidity (> 85%), low night temperatures and moisture on the leaves. The optimal temperature for spore germination is between 10℃ and 18℃. No germination will take place at temperatures < 5℃ and the spores are killed at temperatures > 27℃. Symptoms occur on leaves, stems, peduncles, calyxes and petals. The purplish red to dark brown irregular spots or blotches on leaves might be mistaken for spray burns or black spot.



Rust on Roses

Rust is caused by the parasitic fungus Phragmidium tuberculatum and some other closely related species and is considered the least serious of the common rose diseases. It appears as raised red-orange spots on the undersides of leaves and yellow blotches on the top surfaces. Rust thrives in cool, moist weather (18-21℃), especially in rainy, foggy or misty conditions. This disease will develop on leaf surfaces that remain wet for 4 hours (as can occur during summer).







Preventative measures to reduce the risk of fungal infections:

  • Plant roses in full sun - they should receive a full six to eight hours of sun daily.
  • Plant roses in an area with good air circulation and space them well apart.
  • Prune roses to remove dense growth from the heart of the bush (try to achieve a vase shape).
  • Water correctly - avoid over-head irrigation during the late afternoon/evening.
  • Choose resistant varieties - do some research and seek expert advice when choosing rose varieties for your area, generally speaking Rosa rugosa varieties are generally fairly resistant.
  • Assiduous spray program every three weeks during the growing season and use a variety of sprays.
  • Pick off and destroy infected leaves in spring to slow disease progression.
  • Collect and destroy fallen leaves to prevent black spot overwintering.
  • Apply a thick mulch of organic material.
There is some excellent advice to be found at the Treloar Roses website about rose care and problems with them.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Garden Comp 2017

Mary Booth's Courtyard Garden


The Spring Garden Competition is held early September each year and is conducted by the Coffs Harbour Garden Club (entry is free) and supported by Coffs Council. The competition is an exciting event on the Coffs calendar and garden enthusiasts really enjoy both entering and visiting the winning gardens (which will be open 16-17 September 2017).  

Categories

  • Waterwise Gardens - residential, industrial and commercial see this link for judging criteria for Waterwise categories.
  • Residential - small, medium and large gardens, garden maintained by person 75 years or older, rental property, relocatable home, whole complex of body corporate structure garden, patio courtyard or balcony, garden maintained by disabled person, most attractive front garden, vegetable large and small, new home/new garden, and lastly best garden feature.
  • Schools - whole school garden, native garden and vegetable.
  • Industrial/Commercial/Community - whole garden, tourist accommodation, caravan parks, resorts, hospitals, churches, clubs and commercially operated retirement estates and nursing homes.
Major points of consideration in judging are: Design, Condition and Selection of Plants, General Appeal and Lawn or mulch. 

For entries in Categories 1-8, 15 and Waterwise A and B the whole garden is judged - that is Front, Back and Sides.


How to enter

There will be on-line and paper schedules/entry forms available from 29 July 2017. The paper schedules (with entry form) can be obtained from Total Gardens, Mitre 10 Woolgoolga, Coffs Landscape Centre and the Botanic Garden from 29 July

Is your garden a winner?

As we know, it takes more than a few weeks to prepare a garden for competition - perhaps now is the time to start thinking about what needs to be done in your garden.  See this link for some hints. You can also always get great advice from any of our wonderful nurseries in the Coffs area, who are only too happy to assist.  We're particularly fortunate to have Total Gardens as one of our competition's major and most loyal supporters.  Julie, Paul and staff have vast experience and are always prepared to generously share information with competitors.

Key dates

Sat 29 July Competition launch (Total Gardens, 10am-2pm). Schedules/Entry forms will be available and entries will be accepted from this date.
Fri 1 September Last day for entry submissions (5pm close - no late entries accepted).
Mon 4 September - Thu 7 September 'Rocket Launch' School Growing Competition Judging.
Sun 10 September Judging Residential (Coffs Harbour City area and Orara Valley).
Mon 11 September Judging Residential (Toormina, Sawtell, Boambee and Bonville areas)
                                 Judging Schools plus Industrial/Commercial and Community

Tues 12 September Judging Residential (Northern beaches from Diggers Beach to Corindi)

Friday 15 September Presentation night (Cavanbah Hall, 191 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, 7.00pm. A light supper will be provided at no charge)

Entries Secretary: Maria Bell 6656 2429

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Optimum Time for Planting

Here in sub-tropical Coffs Harbour it is THE best time of year for gardening. 

Kate getting some 'help' from some very friendly birds........ wouldn't have been so good if a 'calling card' had been left Kate!
Kate Wall from GardenDrum has written an excellent article about this subject and can be seen here.

Climate and Weather


Gavin's Subtropical garden in Coffs Harbour


Where we live determines what type of plants can be grown successfully. OK, I realise this seems a bit simplistic however it is true - unless of course you're into greenhouses with heat pads when you live in a cool temperate climate and want to grow stunning orchids!

In Australia we do have extremes but not as dramatic as say, Philadelphia which has sap-sucking hot humidity in summer and sub-zero snow conditions during the winter (from personal experience of both and the sap sucking was of me!). With local Australian conditions taken into account, we still need to be mindful of plant choices. It is possible to create a mini micro climate to nurture a particular plant but generally speaking we do need to be mindful of our climatic zone in plant selections.

The Bureau of Meteorology has a wealth of information and you can see a range of climate maps showing rainfall, temperatures, frost, humidity and sunshine. This information is invaluable when designing or undertaking gardening in a new area - so many of us here on the Coffs Coast have come from other regions and perhaps learn the hard way that what worked really well 'down south' will struggle with local conditions.

There are six key zones across Australia, based on a set of definitions relating to summer and winter conditions. These zones are described below:


Tropical

Hot humid summer (average maximum temperature > 30℃) with a warm, dry winter. The primary area extends across the north of Australia from Carnarvon through Port Hedland, Broome, Darwin and Cairns and south to Bundaberg.

Sub-Tropical

Warm humid summer (average maximum temperature < 30℃, minimum temperature > 10℃ with rare frosts). Mild dry winter. This area includes the eastern seaboard from Brisbane south through Coffs Harbour to Sydney. Also includes coastal WA from approximately Geraldton to Carnarvon. It has a mild climate, with low winter rainfall and reliable summer rainfall.

Warm Temperate

Warm summer, cool winter (average maximum temperature < 30℃, minimum temperature > 5℃, with some light frosts). Includes inland Qld, some NSW tableland areas and the coastal region south of Sydney. These zones experience the distinct four seasons. The ocean moderates temperature in coastal areas overlapping this zone with subtropical ones. The rainfall is reliable year round.

Mediterranean

This zone shares many of the features of the Warm Temperate Zone except for rainfall which is predominantly in the winter with a low summer rainfall. It includes much of southern coastal Australia from Melbourne, Adelaide through to Perth. Winter is cool with an average annual lowest temperature of 5℃.  The summer is warm with a low humidity.

Cool Temperate & Alpine

Mild or warm summer, cold winter (average maximum temperature 0℃ to -5, with heavy frosts). Includes high areas of the NSW Northern Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, Canberra/ACT, Vic and most of Tasmania. Spring is a pivotal event and the summer growing season is short. Alpine areas experience snow.

Local Coffs Harbour garden


The Bureau have maps which show these areas and can been seen at BOM climate maps. Interestingly there are climatically similar areas of Southern Africa, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere and California, Florida, Mexico, China plus areas around the Mediterranean in the Northern Hemisphere which can be helpful when you wish to grow indigenous species from those areas.

For sound advice on plant selection perhaps the best place to start would be local nurseries. These people have vast experience on what grows best in your region. The internet is another great resource too, where it is possible to match up growing conditions with climatic areas. For instance I would just LOVE to grow Daphne however, it's just all wrong for our garden here but it thrived in our Canberra garden - by the same token, a Bougainvillea wasn't a goer in our Canberra garden but thrives here on the Coffs Coast.

Enjoy the research and then your plant selection!


Steve Parish - image Sally Browne, Girl Reporter

If you would enjoy further reading, Steve Parish on his Nature Connect website has written some fantastic articles on forest Ecosystems in Australia. You will see his stunning images capturing and defining the following ecosystems of Australia:

Australian Forests - An Introduction
Dry Sclerophyll Forests
Wet Sclerophyll Forests
Wet Tropical Rainforest
Subtropical Rainforest
Warm-temperate Rainforest
Cool-temperate Rainforest
Cloud Forests
Monsoon and
Dry Rainforest

All these articles can be seen at Steve Parish Nature Connect website.


    Monday, 10 July 2017

    Freestyle Food Gardening

    image GardenDrum - 


    Kate Wall from GardenDrum writes:

    '....... all of these plants - weeds, subtropical edibles and local natives, work so well in my style of food gardening - that being a forage through a somewhat wild but gloriously beautiful cottage garden laden with flowers, to find a good feed!'

    Could this perhaps be said about your garden? This article from Kate will be an interesting and justifying reason for some weed growth on your plot! AND I just love nasturtiums (pictured above with some dock) which are the flower of the month this July.

    Sunday, 9 July 2017

    Nasturtiums

    Flower of the Month July 2017

    KINGDOM: Plantae

    ORDER: Brassicales

    FAMILY: Tropaeolaceae

    GENUS: Tropacolum




    Tropaeolum, commonly known as nasturtium, is a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants. It was named by Carl Linnaeus in his book Species Plantarum, and is the only genus in the family Tropaeolaceae.

    Wikipedia says both the buds and seeds of the nasturtium plant are edible and commonly pickles yielding a flavour and texture similar to capers.

    Not sure where wiki gets its capers from but mine taste much better than nastursium seeds!

    Web Administrator: The following post first appeared on our website as the Flower of the Month in February 2016. This also has the link to a blog titled DNA REBOOT where the recipe for the pickled seedpods can be found if you want to give it a go. Also on that link are some rather nice images of Nasturtiums. 

    Let No-one Cast Aspersions at Beautiful Nasturtiums!

    Botanical name: Tropaeolum majus



    Although they can be vigorous to a fault, swathes of colourful nasturtiums give a garden an almost magical easy-care appeal. 

    Nasturtium have over 80 species of annuals and perennials. They are easy-to-grow, whose leaves and flowers are both edible.These plants, with their bright greenery and vibrant flowers are good for either containers or ground covers. Their pretty fragrance also makes them a good choice for cut flowers....... bet you didn't think of that? 

    With their large seeds and rapid growth habit these flowers are perfect to grow with children. They were the very first seeds my children planted - unfortunately they (the children) were so very, very diligent in their watering, the plot turned to mud. Not to be beaten by that minor setback, the kids used this area for their mud pie construction and 'who can get the most mud on them' play area. When their interest waned and they moved on to other exciting play activities, the area was left alone. Low and behold, the resilient Nasturtium seeds germinated, perhaps not as many as were planted, BUT! Just goes to show how nature will always endeavour to triumph over adversity - even my kids. 

    Nasturtium come in the 'warm' colours of red, orange and yellow with some pretty salmon-pink and also creamy yellow flowers with orange centres. The foliage is a lovely bright green with some variegated varieties too. Nasturtiums bloom (and are at their best) during summer and autumn.

    Tropaeolum tricolour

    Their appearance has variable foliage. They may be many lobed (example left), trifoliate or shield shaped and some are even tinted a blue-green. 










    Position:

    Plant directly either in full sun or partial shade (they bloom better in full sun) in moist, well-drained soil. The plants should appear in 7 to 10 days. Water regularly throughout the growing season (but not as much as my kids). If you are growing them in containers, they may need to be trimmed back occasionally over the growing season to keep them looking good.


    Nasturtiums are very easy to care for with the added bonus that they inhibit weed growth. If you don't like them in a particular position, it's an easy task to just pull them out. Drifts of nasturtiums planted in your garden are splendid for that special quiet morning walk where little droplets of dew sit suspended atop the leaves, just beautiful!



    For those of you who would really like to make full use of nasturtiums, please visit this link to find out how to make pickled nasturtiums seeds - now there's something really different!





    Thursday, 6 July 2017

    2017 Spring Garden Competition


    The Spring Garden Competition is held early September each year conducted by the Coffs Harbour Garden Club (entry is free) and supported by Coffs Council. The competition is an exciting event on the Coffs calendar and garden enthusiasts really enjoy both entering and visiting the winning gardens (which will be open 16-17 September 2017).  

    Categories

    • Waterwise Gardens - residential, industrial and commercial see this link for judging criteria for Waterwise categories.
    • Residential - small, medium and large gardens, garden maintained by person 75 years or older, rental property, relocatable home, whole complex of body corporate structure garden, patio courtyard or balcony, garden maintained by disabled person, most attractive front garden, vegetable large and small, new home/new garden, and lastly best garden feature.
    • Schools - whole school garden, native garden and vegetable.
    • Industrial/Commercial/Community - whole garden, tourist accommodation, caravan parks, resorts, hospitals, churches, clubs and commercially operated retirement estates and nursing homes.
    Major points of consideration in judging are: Design, Condition and Selection of Plants, General Appeal and Lawn or mulch. 

    How to enter

    There will be on-line and paper schedules/entry forms available from 29 July 2017. The paper schedules (with entry form) can be obtained from Total Gardens, Mitre 10 Woolgoolga and the Botanic Garden from 29 July

    Is your garden a winner?

    As we know, it takes more than a few weeks to prepare a garden for competition - perhaps now is the time to start thinking about what needs to be done in your garden. Advice can always be sought from any of our wonderful nurseries in the Coffs area, who are only too happy to assist.  We're particularly fortunate to have Total Gardens as one of our competition's major and most loyal supporters.  Julie and Paul have vast experience and are always prepared to generously share information with competitors.

    Key dates

    Sat 29 July Competition launch (Total Gardens, 10am-2pm). Schedules/Entry forms will be available and entries will be accepted from this date.

    Fri 1 September Last day for entry submissions (5pm close - no late entries accepted).

    Mon 4 September - Thu 7 September 'Rocket Launch' School Growing Competition Judging.

    Sun 10 September Judging Residential (Coffs Harbour City area and Orara Valley)

    Mon 11 September Judging Residential (Toormina, Sawtell, Boambee and Bonville areas)
                                     Judging Schools plus Industrial/Commercial and Community
    Tues 12 September Judging Residential (Northern beaches from Diggers Beach to Corindi)
    Friday 15 September Presentation night (Cavanbah Hall, 191 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, 7.00pm. A light supper will be provided at no charge)
             Winning gardens open to the public Sat 16 and Sun 17 Sept 10am - 4pm


    Competition Administrator:  Jane Durler 6656 1041

    Entries Secretary: Maria Bell 6656 2429 or 0418 695 113

    Tuesday, 4 July 2017

    What's In Those Little Sachets?

    Ever wanted to know what's in those little packets that are often included in quality cut flower bunches?



    AND do they make a difference to the longevity of your cut flowers? 

    Recently I was given some beautiful cut flowers presented as a bunch and attached to the very eye-catching and cleverly wrapped flowers was a little packet of 'cut flower food'. This prompted me to question, do they really work? and just what is flower food?

    From my investigations I have found that YES, these sachets do contain some vital ingredients to help keep flowers looking good for longer. The products have been specifically created to enhance the vase life of cut flowers (there may be slight differences between brands), however most products have similar core ingredients which are: 


    • Nutrients - often these are found as sugars that will help maintain the colour and strength of the flowers.
    • Acid - this lowers the pH of the water. A common acid that is used is a weak hydroxycarballylic acid.
    • Water absorption promotors - a class of compounds that enhances the stem's ability to 'drink' or take up water.
    • Water softeners - some products include this, but not all.





    Most of us do not understand the full benefits of using supplied flower food mainly due I guess, to there being no actual physical change to the water when it is added, so we become sceptical and think it's all a ruse! Coupled with the fact that the water needs to be changed regularly and there is usually only ONE packet of flower food supplied, you think WHAT, how does this work? If florists perhaps supplied enough little packets of flower food (bearing in mind that most vase water needs to be changed every three to four days) and yes, some flowers do last longer than others naturally which would need to be taken into account, perhaps we would treat these little packets with more respect and actually use them accordingly.



    There has been a previous 'Flowers for the Vase' post which has excellent ways to treat various cut flowers including a home-made cut flower food and gives details on how long to roughly expect various cut flowers to last in a vase.

    Floralife (a company who make a commercial flower food often supplied by florists) has some guidelines on how to care for cut flowers. 

    Saturday, 1 July 2017

    Black Soldier Fly - hermetia illucens

    If you have a worm farm and noticed that there are quite large larvae present this is most probably the critter - Black Soldier Fly hermetia illucens.

    The adult fly, which measures about 16mm has a life span of 5 to 8 days. It is very close in size, colour and appearance to some wasps. It has an elongated and wasp-like antennae, the fly's hind tarsi are pale, as are wasps' and the fly has two small transparent 'windows' in the basal abdominal segments that make the fly appear to have a narrow 'wasp waist'. The adult soldier fly has no functioning mouth parts and it spends it's entire life searching for mates and reproducing.

    Because they have no functioning mouth parts and do not eat waste and regurgitate onto human food, bite or sting they cannot be associated with the transmission of disease as the common fly does. 


    Life Cycle of Black Soldier Fly


    Soldier fly mating
    Adults mature and mate in the wild. Soldier fly adults congregate in small numbers near a secluded bush or tree in order to find and select a mate. After mating, the female searches for a suitable place to lay her eggs - she produces about 900 eggs in her short life of 5 to 8 days (all without eating!).


    To optimise their chances of survival, the females prefer to lay their eggs close to the food source rather than in it. About 100 hours later, the larvae hatch then crawl into the waste, which they then begin to consume voraciously.



    They start out white and gradually change to grey. They have the appearance of large segmented maggots and are often flat on the underside. One end is round and the other end tapers to a point.





    Under ideal conditions, the larvae reach maturity in about two weeks. Amazingly, in the absence of sufficient food, or in cooler weather it may take up to six months for them to grow to the pre-pupae stage. Soldier Fly basically pass through five stages. Upon reaching maturity, pre-pupal larvae are about 25mm long, 6mm in diameter and they weigh about 0.2 grams.


    Pre-pupal Soldier Fly empty their gut during their last moult and cannot feed further after that. At this stage, the larva has everything that it needs to sustain itself as it changes from pupae to adult fly. 


    Optimal Waste Munchers

    The Soldier Fly has attracted the attention of researchers because of their capacity to consume large quantities of organic waste including fruit, vegetable residues, offal, pig and poultry manures into high quality animal protein that can then be fed directly to chickens and fish. So voracious are the larvae and such are their numbers, that they can sometimes displace worms in worm farms. 

    If you are concerned that this is happening in your worm farm place thick layers of wet newspaper over the top of your farm or use a commercial worm farm blanket, along with the application of a worm farm conditioner or alternatively add some agricultural grade lime. 

    Harvesting Soldier Fly Larvae

    The larvae are very rich in protein, therefore an excellent food source for our chickens and ducks. Some researchers suggest that Soldier Fly larvae are the nutritional equivalent of fishmeal and a good replacement for it. It has to be said though, that the biggest issue with these little critters is their rather negative image - let's face it, they are not the prettiest sight in the world and we have to 'gird our loins' to handle them - the mere thought of handling larvae fills most people with revulsion. They are dry to the touch and have absolutely no odour, so are not unpleasant to handle. 

    In fact the pet industry has overcome the image issue by marketing Soldier Fly larvae, as live food to owners of fish, birds, frogs and reptiles under the more innocuous name of Phoenix Worms.

    As the larva of the Soldier Fly can be used to convert large quantities of organic wastes into a high quality animal protein that can then be fed directly to chooks etc there are more and more people encouraging them to breed up for that express purpose. If you are interested in farming Soldier Fly larvae a link here discusses how to achieve it. 

    Soldier Fly larvae are famous for their ability to climb a 45 degree ramp so make the harvesting process quite simple. The larvae will crawl out of their food source and make their way to a collection point having effectively sorted themselves by size (only those ready to pupate will make this journey) and having cleaned themselves on the way. 



    These are very interesting critters, and yes I have noticed them more during the warmer months in my worm farm.