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How To Prepare YOUR GARDEN FOR WINTER VEGETABLES

Why The HEALTH OF YOUR SOIL Is So Important

ENJOY THE SHOW!

QLD Garden Expo

The Mental Health Power Of Petals


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Contents CONTENTS

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Enjoying the show: The Benefits of Garden Expos

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Stephanie Alexander: The Cooks Apprentice

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The Health Of Your Soil: How To Keep Your Garden Flourishing

How to organise your Get The Most Out Of Your like aMix BOSS Potting

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Mental Health Power Jay - Z the Prolific 222. The ofBusinessman Petals

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Gorgeous Ginger

The lowdown on Business Systems Recipe: Tomato Bread Soup

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KnowBloom: Thy Growing Customer Autumn And Caring For Your Roses 7 Reasons you should own

Winter Getting yourGardening: own business Your Garden Into Shape This Season

6. No Excuses - Why 37

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Entrepreneurs should take Ten Gardening Blogs You holidays Need To Read Now

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Growing Winter Vegetables 11 417. 7 Amazing office gadgets you From In how Your Own willSeedlings wonder you lived Backyard without

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Plastic: Not So Fantastic

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Editor In Chief There are plenty of reasons to step out from under the umbrella of the harsh summer sun and into the cooler days of gardening in autumn and we’d love to share some ideas with you in issue two of Blooms magazine. Now is the perfect time to don the gardening gloves and start prepping your special patch of soil that will bring you and your family joy over the coming months. Whether it be planting flowering annuals to add colour around your home or growing your own nutritious vegetables to fight off winter colds, I’m hoping Blooms magazine will offer the inspiration you may be looking for. We are very excited to have Brindabella Country Garden Roses as a contributor sharing their thoughts on growing and caring for your roses this autumn Nothing compares to fresh ginger to make any meal next level and the health benefits truly make this a wonder plant. Carolyn Exelby, tourism manager at the Queensland Ginger Factory share why ginger is so versatile. Other great info included in this issue: • How to Grow Winter Vegetables • The Mental Health Power of Petals • The Health of Your Soil • Top Ten Garden Blogs As you can see Autumn is the new Spring and a great time to get active outdoors. I hope our contributor’s tips and tricks help ignite your passion for gardening and self-care. Our article on mental health is something close to my heart and I’m sure everyone has had family or friends that anxiety and depression has touched. Our purpose here at Blooms magazine is to inspire, educate and offer support on your gardening journey. Thanks for taking the time to read…

Sharon Cooper


CONTRIBUTORS

Brindabella Country Gardens Roses Brindabella Country Gardens Roses is a 4 acre English Style garden filled with divinely perfumed roses, just perfect for you to visit to select your favourites to buy for your garden.This beautiful spot originated 25years ago when the Toowoomba property was still a bare paddock. The Grays’ dream of the original concept: “A Nursery in a Garden”, has been transformed into a magical display of fragrant roses, cottage perennials, and rare plant specimens all on view as you wander through the garden. Watch a short video: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=lbgjdxPzny8

QLD GARDEN EXPO Queensland Garden Expo is a ‘must see’ in 2019 for green thumbs and novice gardeners alike. Held in the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Nambour from 12th to 14th July, this three-day expo is Queensland’s premier gardening event attracting 40,000 + visitors from all over Australia and New Zealand. Some of Australia’s leading Gardening experts take part in three days of lectures, demonstrations, and workshops.The Sunshine Coast Branch of the Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland Limited held the inaugural Expo 34 years ago, with the aim of providing the general public with expert advice and information on a range of gardening subjects in an enjoyable and accessible format. Guided by a dedicated group of volunteers, the event quickly grew over the ensuing years to become the 3 day event it is today. qldgardenexpo.com.au

The Ginger Factory The Ginger Factory has been showcasing this stunning spice for 40 years at the Yandina complex, but the area has been well-known for producing high-quality ginger since the early 1900s due to the warm conditions, high humidity and plentiful rainfall. Visitors now not only enjoy learning more about ginger and how to grow it at home, but can take time to explore the lush rainforest on site, take a ride on the boat or train, and taste the array of products at the café and ice creamery.


If you have a garden in your library, everything will be complete. – Marcus Tullius Cicero


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FLORAL DESIGN, GARDEN CLUBS AND ARTISTS


E N J OY I N G T H E S H O W

THE BENEFITS OF

Garden Expos For any gardener, no matter how passionate or skilled, a day out at a garden expo is a wonderful experience. Inspiration abounds, with the spectacular displays, expert presentations and the latest innovations, all at your fingertips. Great garden shows cater for all ages and abilities, with the central focus to inform and encourage the community to enjoy their own gardens. Novice gardeners can also gain a great deal of confidence from seeing first-hand how specific plants are grown and immersing themselves in the world of gardening. Event Manager for the Queensland Garden Expo, Marion Beazley, firmly believes in the benefits of garden expos for the numerous positives not just to the individual, but to the community. 8

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“Gardening events can give gardeners the opportunity to get information specific to their particular interest, promote the health and wellness and environmental benefits of gardening, and give gardeners current information about a range of topics. All this in an enjoyable ‘day out’ format,” she said. “Gardeners can play an important part in how we interact socially, protect the environment, respond to climate change and promote activities that support health and wellness. Gardening events along with other media can play a big part in guiding this.” The Queensland Garden Expo is celebrating its 35th year this July, transforming from a one-day event with a group of local nursery industry growers and public talks, to a three-

day event packed with up to 40,000 visitors each year. The event is organised by Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland Sunshine Coast Branch and brings together over 50 nurseries, 360 exhibitors and 40 expert presenters from around the country each year. “We pride ourselves on staging an event that caters to all ages and abilities. Information, inspiration and innovation are the pillars of the event. We have a strong focus on providing practical information,” Marion said. “We also encourage novice gardeners, children and young families to get involved and provide activities and information that hopefully inspires and gives them the confidence to try out gardening themselves.” One of the greatest benefits to visiting a garden expo is the opportunity to connect

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with like-minded gardeners, where each can share their own passion, experiences and gardening know-how. Visitors will not only find information on their own gardening interests, but are exposed to a host of other ideas too. While one person may be highly skilled in growing food and knowledgeable around the incredible health benefits of gardening, another may be an expert in tropical plants or waterwise gardening practices. In an expo setting where all things gardening are melded together in a practical, yet highly inspirational way, new passions can ignite and new information can be passed on. Emerging trends also feature strongly at garden expos, offering visitors the chance to learn more about the latest innovations or updated information on best practice. For example, in Queensland; “The event has always tried to respond to and predict changing trends in gardening and tailor displays and talks around these trends. The introduction of our Kitchen Garden feature over 15 years ago predicted the increasing interest in home grown produce and this continues to remain popular today. Another very popular feature is the living backyard. This feature is about considering the larger environment in an urban setting….In recent years, the health and wellness benefits of gardening have become increasingly important and we will see activities and talks around this continue to evolve in the years ahead.” No matter where you live in Australia, there is a garden event to seek out. Stay on top of your local guides to find out when and where, then book your tickets! A large garden expo, such as the one in Queensland or the popular Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, are also worthy centrepieces to a week away, and well worth the time, effort and money to check them out. 10

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“I think the future of gardening events is very positive. Gardening is a pastime that has very wide appeal. Whilst events continue to refresh and respond to gardeners’ interests, they will continue and gardeners will travel long distances to enjoy them. The longevity of the top events in Australia and around the world is good testament to this,” said Marion.


Stephanie Alexander T H E

C O O K S

A P P R E N T I C E

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tephanie Alexander is one of Australia’s most beloved cooks and food educators who has sold over half a million copies of her last book, The Cook’s Companion. This is the latest how-to cook book for anyone taking a dive into the cooking world. It is filled with tips and tricks for the Australian cook and guides you through a series of over 300 recipes that work alongside her tips for handling chilli, utensils in the kitchen and plenty of other useful information you need. “I can help you become a relaxed and confident cook. I can share what I know about choosing the good, better and best in the marketplace so you can join me in supporting our local food heroes” Stephanie says. With her experience of over 30 years and her reputation as a food educator, her books have become classics within the cooking world. Her emphasis on the use of fresh produce in her recipes allows cooks to overcome their anxieties of cooking and brings out the best in any chef.

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“On the top of my wish list is a desire to make every one of you a lifelong food lover, to enjoy cooking for yourself, your friends and for your own family without anxiety, and to become a supporter of the very best produce we have.” Sharing food around the table is a vision that Stephanie has held and shared for many years and allows chefs confidence in creating and sharing their food to grow. With her experience, Stephanie began the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.


The foundation provides professional development, education and focusses on providing a pleasurable learning experience. Professionals can attend one on one classes to learn about gardening and bringing their grown food to the table with beautiful recipes.

The Cook’s Apprentice is one of her 16 books that have been released, but not only in her writing is Stephanie well known, her experience as a chef and restaurant owner is an attribute to her success. Throughout her book, across 54 chapters, you are guided through different foods, their seasonality, what they pair well with and how to select the best possible produce at the market. The recipes and guidance is an integral part of the new cookbook; however, the design is new and quirky that will leave readers mesmerised and pressing forward in the book looking for the next colourful illustration.

The Cook’s Apprentice is a wonderful start in what can be a long and joyful cook for those beginning. With its simple recipes and some for those looking for more of a challenge, its sure to be a hit. If it’s your first time crossing the threshold into the kitchen, have no fear for Stephanie Alexander is here to guide you through the ins and outs of the kitchen and how to cook amazing meals and share them with your loved one.

For more information about Stephanie Alexander and the work she does please visit: www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au www.stephaniealexander.com.au

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The Health Of Your Soil: H O W K E E P

Y O U R

T O G A R D E N

F L O U R I S H I N G

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Keeping your garden green and thriving doesn’t have to be an impossible feat, because it simply begins with your soil. It’s grimy and dirty but it’s the thing that keeps your plants healthy and green. It may seem very simple to keep your soil healthy, but leave it alone for too long and it can end up harming your garden. First things first, before we get into what to do to take care of your garden, knowing your soil and understanding it is the best first step. What you may find under your fingernails is dirt, whereas soil is what covers the earth in a thin layer. Soil can come in an array of colours from grey, red, yellow and brown. Different natural aspects contribute to the formation of soil such as tree branches,

dead bugs and dead leaves which can help soil to thrive. To care for your soil there are very simple things to look for and easy ways to ensure it stays healthy and keeps your plants alive. One easy way to do so, is to add organic matter to your gardens. Compost is a decomposed type of organic matter that you can buy from the gardening shop. Others include well-rotted manure, peat moss and grass clippings. These are all easy composts that you can find at the store or even in your own garden. Adding this to your soil will keep it moist and fresh so that your plants will keep growing and you can continue reaping their rewards.

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Although soil helps plants grow to feed us, there are foods to feed your soil. Most of the, time soil has all the nutrients necessary to harbour plants, but there are different elements of soil you can implement to balance out nutrients. These nutrients include potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Each of these can be implemented either on the top of the soil or mixed in with it. By adding more of one or the other it keeps your soil from drying out and means that it will help plants grow evenly in the garden. Keeping your soil healthy and thriving means that you can grow a vast variety of plants to feed you and your family. Soil may seem to be a nuisance and is perceived as something we accidently walk into the house, but it is the one thing that allows our environment to thrive. Ensuring it survives also means that other wildlife can live in your garden. Worms are also an excellent part of the soil’s system and becomes an active composter, keeping your soil regenerated and fresh.

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GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR

Potting Mix Like with any product purchase, when you buy potting mix (or “artificial growing media” as the official name goes), it’s important to compare options carefully and be sure you’re choosing something that suits your goals.

YOU G E T WHAT YO U PAY F O R The term “you get what you pay for” is used so often that it doesn’t have as much of an impact these days, particularly with so many goodvalue alternatives on the market now. However, when it comes to potting mix, this is something you really do need to consider. Whether on TV shows, in magazines or on blogs, most gardening experts recommend choosing premium potting mix to ensure your plants to thrive. There are good reasons to spend a little more. Quality products (often indicated by ticks of inclusion in the Australian Standards Mark, requiring the passing of many stringent tests) are worthwhile because they have greater waterholding capacity.

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This means you spend less time watering. However, they also have a good balance of elements enabling them to drain effectively too, so plant roots get the water they need without drowning. Top choices also contain extra nitrogen, which may reduce the need for additional fertilisation. Plus, premium mixes typically remain at peak performance for longer. When using the best potting mixes, you should get more and longer-lasting blooms on flowers, plus quicker growth with the herbs and vegetables you house. People who use top products also tend to notice they have less plant loss with seedlings, and better germination rates.

T I P S F OR C H O O S ING POT T ING MI X When comparing options, apart from looking for inclusion in standardisation programs (where red-coloured ticks indicate premium product), be on the lookout for potting mixes which are as fresh as possible. The longer mix is in its bag, the more the microorganisms within it will start to consume its nutrients, which dilutes its potency for your plants. Buy the right type of potting mix for the plants you’re growing, too, of course. Different plants have different needs, so don’t just get a single bag of mix and expect it to work equally well across all of your pots.

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In fact, it often pays to buy a specialised potting mix formulated for set purposes and plant types. This is particularly the case when you have a plant that might be a little harder to grow in your area, or just fragile in general. Potting mixes designed for these plants will give them the most suitable conditions for healthy growth. Be aware that you can’t tell the quality of a potting mix just from how it looks, either. While dark colours are usually associated with top-of-the-line mixes, often cheap potting mixes, which may only be two to three days old, have some Ferrous Sulphate added to blacken the mixture. In this case, the mix is likely to be toxic to your plants, rather than helpful. On the other hand, good products are composted for two months or so. This additional time allows for the toxic tannins present in the pine bark or sawdust that most mixes are made from to leach out. This makes them safe for plants. While potting mixes can be made from a number of different materials, including pine bark and sawdust as mentioned, plus also coir, sand, bark chips, peat and peatmoss, perlite, and vermiculite, avoid products which contain soil. Soil isn’t used much in commercial mixes because it is heavier and prone to waterlogging. It may also contain pests, diseases and seeds which you really don’t want to introduce into your pots. If you feel totally overwhelmed from the choices on offer, ask an expert at your local nursery or other supplier for guidance.

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Petals

T H E M E N T A L H E A LT H P O W E R O F

Anxiety can be a crippling illness and with statistics estimating that 45% of Australians will suffer from mental health issue at some point in their life, it’s far from rare. Thankfully, in recent years the stigma attached to mental health has been removed and people are finding it easier to open up about their feelings. With mental health awareness at an all time high, many activities have been

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suggested to help those struggling with the illness. In fact, studies have found that something as simple as gardening can be beneficial for those struggling with anxiety or depression. Gardening allows you to connect to living things. Mental health issues can sometimes cause us to feel a disconnection from other living things, so gardening can ease that pain by helping us engage


with nature and gently building up a connection to a living organism again. Watching a plant grow can be a bonding experience for a gardener struggling with depression or anxiety, the beautiful blooming of a personally nurtured flower can help to act as a metaphor for the beauty of life. Gardening releases happy hormones. The basic combination of sunshine and gardening is - quite simply - a recipe for happiness. The gentle exercise of gardening releases endorphins, a chemical found in our body that is responsible for the feeling of pleasure. In fact, a lack of endorphins has been found to be directly linked to depression, so it makes sense that engaging in activities that are found to raise your endorphin levels will consequently, improve your mood. Sunlight has been found to increase happiness because the body’s natural response to light is to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which helps to elevate the mood, as well as melatonin, which helps us get a good nights sleep.

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For many, gardening can be an escape from a racing, over-anxious mind. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of many tasks undertaken in gardening like weeding, trimming, watering and sweeping can be very therapeutic. In fact, a study* even found that participants found gardening even more relaxing than reading a book! Gardening helps you experience the present moment. In recent years, mindfulness has gained a lot of attention for being hugely beneficial for mental health.

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Mindfulness is about being aware about what is happening inside and outside of us in the present moment; being fully focussed on the now, rather than letting our mind drift elsewhere. The peace and tranquility of gardening make it the perfect setting to practice mindfulness because the idyllic experience allows one to truly connect with the outside world and disconnect from our problems, both on both a physical and mental level. For more information or help on mental health, see the Headspace Foundation www.headspace.org.au or Beyondblue: Support for anxiety, depression and suicide prevention www.beyondblue.org.au


Gorgeous

Ginger Warming, aromatic and delicious in sweet and savoury dishes, ginger is a go-to spice for may passionate cooks. We are all familiar with the dry ground version sold in supermarkets, but nothing compares to fresh ginger to make any meal next-level. As well as the astounding flavour the spice imparts into cooking, ginger is also said to have numerous health benefit, including cold and flu prevention, the ability to calm motion sickness, anti-inflammatory properties and migraine relief. There is a lot to love about ginger!

DID YOU KNOW, YOU CAN GROW YOUR OWN FRE SH G I N G E R AT H O M E ? While this plant may not be the usual backyard crop, it is quite easy to cultivate your own and enjoy its many benefits yearround. Ginger grows well in most areas of Australia but favours warm, humid conditions. If you live in an area prone to cooler weather, simply plant your ginger in a greenhouse to mimic the plant’s native tropical habitat.

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You can also plant your ginger in pots so you can move them inside during colder weather, or follow the sun as the days change. Maximising the growing period is also recommended when growing ginger at home to ensure the best possible harvest. Plant yours around September when the weather begins to warm up, giving it a good six months until the days really cool off again.

HOW DO I PLANT GINGER? To get started, purchase pieces of the rhizome (or ‘root’ that we eat) and break it into pieces about the size of golf balls. Make sure each piece has a growth bud on it. Plant these pieces into rich soil in a full-sun area, or into pots that you can move around or keep in a greenhouse. If you are growing your ginger in the ground, it can be helpful to plant it on a mound to assist with drainage. The edible sections will mature underground and be ready for harvest in autumn. You can harvest ginger later in the year for a ‘hotter’ flavour, but risk the rhizomes becoming woody and more difficult to use. The plant itself is a stunning addition to any garden, with long strappy leaves and beautiful lily-like flowers. Keep potted specimens on the outdoor table as a beautiful centrepiece, or bring one indoors to enjoy every now and then.

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HOW DO YOU USE FRE SH GINGER? Fresh ginger will keep unpeeled for up to two months in a ziplock bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator. You can also freeze fresh ginger and simply chop or grate portions as needed. When preparing ginger for cooking or adding to health-enhancing drinks, peel the tougher skin and then julienne, grate or finely chop it. The versatility of ginger is quite astounding. Carolyn Exelby, Tourism Manager at Queensland’s The Ginger Factory, has many ideas on how to use the aromatic spice at home. “Fresh ginger is a must for stir fries and Asian dishes and can be used to make refreshing ginger tea by steeping in hot water and adding a little lemon and honey…delicious,” she said. “It is easy to grow in your home garden, so you can have fresh ginger all year round.”

THE GINGER FAC TORY The Ginger Factory has been showcasing this stunning spice for 40 years at the Yandina complex, but the area has been well-known for producing high-quality ginger since the early 1900s due to the warm conditions, high humidity and plentiful rainfall. Visitors now not only enjoy learning more about ginger and how to grow it at home, but can take time to explore the lush rainforest on site, take a ride on the boat or train, and taste the array of products at the café and ice creamery. The Ginger Factory’s growing and processing arm, Buderim Ginger, uses the spice to create a range of decadent products, including beverages, confectionary, snacks and spreads which can be purchased either online or at the on-site shop. To find out more about Buderim Ginger, visit: www.buderimginger.com/ The Ginger Factory, visit: www.gingerfactory.com.au/ b l o o m sm ag a z i n e . c o m . au

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EDITOR IN CHIEF

Sharon Cooper shares her favourite recipe from

The Superfood Gardener

Tomato Bread Soup Ingredients

Directions

Eight cups chopped tomatoes – very ripe

Saute garlic and onions in the olive oil. Add tomatoes and the leaves from six basil stems. Pour in enough water to cover the tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes start to form a sauce. Puree ¾ of the mixture in a blender and then re-combine with the un-blended ¼. Stir in the bread and heat until bubbly. Serve with a fresh basil leaf and a piece of crusty bread.

Eight stems of fresh basil with leaves Two cups of cubed wholegrain bread One head of garlic, peeled and minced Four medium onions, diced Half cup olive oil

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Autumn Bloom G R O W I N G A N D C A R I N G F O R Y O U R R O S E S

If you already have established roses in

Although winter is the best time to plant roses, it does not mean that you have to wait until then to grow them or to tend to them. Autumn is the perfect time to get in early and start planting roses so that your garden can have a beautiful splash of colour as soon as possible.

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your garden then autumn is the perfect time to tidy up your garden, getting rid of any spent blooms or diseased foliage and do some judicious pruning. Autumn is also a great time to plant a rose.


Here we have prepared a handy guide that will help you to grow and care for your roses this autumn: •

Prepare the soil: Making sure that your flowerbeds are properly prepared is key to successfully growing any plants – especially roses. Spread compost or manure across your garden beds to enrich the soil. Doing this will ensure that that the plant bed has sufficient quantities of good bacteria and active earthworms to provide the optimum environment for your roses to flourish. Soil that is properly prepared will always give you good rewards when planting time arrives!

Select the best type of roses for your particular garden: When choosing the right rose for your garden consider the environment, sun light and irrigation before making a choice. The best thing to do is to do your homework and enlist the advice of the experts. Catalogues can’t speak for all areas of Australia at the one time as colours and growth habits vary widely so your best bet is to do some research and advise. “Rose variety selection is the most important part of starting a rose garden and accounts for 75% of the success,” says John Gray from Brindabella Country Garden Roses. “If you buy varieties that are vigorous with very high genetic disease resistance then most of the hard work will be done for you.”

Protect your roses: It is important to remember when caring for roses that plant disease caused by fungus is much easier prevented than cured so remember to spray your plants regularly

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roses should be blooming – just in time for Easter! To do this, simply prune the roses back to a swollen bud, at a five or seven leaf leaflet, hand span length from the top of the lateral. •

with a variety of fungicides. A regular 14-day spray will keep the regular black spot and mildew under control. If an infection does catch on then simply increase the frequency of your spraying but not the concentration of the solution. •

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Don’t become complacent about insects: People to tend to relax about insects in autumn as they are not generally a problem but there are cases where aphids and thrips can appear in rose gardens all throughout the year. Keep a keen eye out on insects in your roses and use insecticide accordingly. Deadhead your roses: Autumn is the perfect time to dead head your roses ensuring that in seven weeks time your b l o o m sm ag a z i n e . c o m . au

Time your fertilisation: Knowing when to start and when to finish fertilizing is important. Fertilizing of the bushes should cease in early April in order to encourage the rose bushes into dormancy and prepare harder stems for winter pruning. The type of fertiliser you use is important too. “Apply a fertiliser which contains potassium (K on the label) at the same ration approximately as the nitrogen content (N on the label),” advises Gray. “Use one large handful every two months through spring, summer and autumn for more, bigger flowers”.

_____________________________________ For further information, expert advice on growing and caring for your roses this autumn contact the team at Brindabella Country Gardens Roses. These rose enthusiasts and specialists have a wealth of experience and literally know everything there is to know about roses and can help steer you in the right direction! www.brindabella-gardens.com.au


Winter Gardening Editor in Chief Sharon Cooper’s TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR GARDEN INTO SHAPE THIS SEASON

With winter fast approaching and temperatures soon set to drop it’s time to consider what our gardens will need to help prepare them for the cooler, wetter months. Getting your garden ready for winter is pretty simple and if you take the time to do it then it will mean that you have the best chance of enjoying thriving blooms come spring. Here, Blooms editor, Sharon Cooper, shares a few of her top tips to help you prepare your garden for the winter season.

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Tip # 1 PR UNE YOUR PLANTS Winter is the ideal time to start pruning trees, plants and shrubs whilst they are dormant. Pruning your plants in winter encourages them to grow come the warmer months and helps to stop disease from taking hold.

Tip # 2 C LEAN UP As winter sets in its really important to make sure that your garden is free of disease and the best way to do this is by clearing out all the old, dead plants, veggies and anything else that is past its used by date! Give your garden a good weed and if your garden has any bean stakes or wooden trellises then now is the time to give them a good clean with a bleach and water solution to ensure that they are germ free.

Tip # 3 TOP UP MULC H Over the cooler months, activity in your garden may appear to have all but stopped, however don’t be fooled as therewill still be a lot happening underground. Mulch helps to moderate soil temperatures, keeping the roots of your plans moist and cool. This is especially important in the winter months when your plants might be exposed to windy and harsh conditions. Mulch is also a great weapon against soil erosion and by covering your garden with mulch you will be effectively protecting it from the elements.

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Tip # 4 C OMPO ST LEAVE S Winter is a great time to start a compost bin. As the wild winter weather brings dead leaves and various other debris into your garden these can be collected and used as to make compost, mulch and leaf mould. This is a great trick as you are not only clearing and cleaning up your garden but you are stockpiling quality fertiliser for the year ahead.

Tip # 5 TE ST YOUR SOIL To ensure that your garden has the best chance of surviving the winter it’s a good idea to test the pH level of your soil. You want to make sure that your soil levels are balanced and not either too acidic or too alkaline. This can easily be done with a pH kit or an electronic tester that you can purchase from any good garden shop. By making sure that the pH level of your soil is correct you will be setting your garden in good stead for not only surviving the winter but also thriving come spring.

Tip # 6 C HOOSE THE RIGHT PLANTS Some plants absolutely thrive in winter so make sure you choose your winter garden wisely. Vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, peas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts actually grow best in the cooler months whilst root veggies like baby carrots, turnips and radishes also do well. If you want a pop of colour try planting English daisies, cherry pansies and snapdragons. All of these varieties should do well in the winter months unless your garden is subjected to the intense cold.

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TEN Gardening

BLOGS YOU

N EED TO

Garden Amateur

Author of Garden Amateur, Jamie, uses a friendly tone to blog about what’s thriving in his garden and what is affecting it. His blog is great for at home gardeners who can relate to his experiences and learn invaluable advice. gardenamateur.blogspot.com

Garden Larder

Garden Larder specialises in the growth and sale of unique and rare vegetable seed and tubers. At his farm in Casterton Victoria, he breeds and grows seeds specialising in heritage, unusual and old-fashioned varieties of

RE A D

N O W

vegetables. You’ll find inflation about interesting variations of vegetables on his site - from mini watermelons to pink bumblebee (little striped tomatoes with great flavour). www.gardenlarder.com.au

Deep Green Permaculture

At Deep Green Permaculture, their concern is all about sustainability. The informative site contains plenty of information about permaculture, urban agriculture, food forest gardening, backyard orchard culture and organic gardening. Deep Green Permaculture is very hands on in the sense that it b l o o m sm ag a z i n e . c o m . au

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has plenty of DIY guides to help you start your own sustainable garden. From advice on how to build a broccoli box worm farm, to how to make selfwatering plants, it’s a DIY enthusiast’s dream. Deepgreenpermaculturecom

The Balcony Garden

With the rise in vertical living and smaller yards, balcony gardens are more popular than ever. Check out The Balcony Garden for inspirational ideas and effortlessly stylish pot plants that will make your balcony look chic, green and luscious. aussiegreenthumb

Aussie Green Thumb

The Aussie green thumb is an informative garden website that’s perfect for amateur or at home gardeners. On their site they regularly publish new articles which cover a variety of native plant profiles and general gardening advice, as well as tips and tricks to help everyday people improve their gardening knowledge and skills. aussiegreenthumb

Michael Cooke

Featuring whimsical photos of gorgeous gardens, Michael Cooke

is highly inspiring and provides an experience for the senses. It’s hard not to get swept away by the beautiful garden imagery on the site alone, but this is only rivalled by it’s all star contributors. Featuring Michael Cooke - ex garden editor of Marie Claire and Kaiya Browning, an ex employee at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, the team knows a thing or two about plants! www.michaelcooke.com.au

The Garden Girl

If you consider gardening a hobby and a passion that you want to learn more about, then The Garden Girl could well be the right place for you. It’s run by Elisabeth Kingman who is a self-taught gardener and working mum. When she’s not looking after her kids or working, her favourite place to be is in her garden, creating an environment that’s attractive, low maintenance and relaxed. As well as sharing information about gorgeous plants and flowers, Elisabeth also sells some super cute garden inspired homewares. ElisabethGardenGirl

Gardening 4 Kids

Gardening 4 Kids is a great way to get the little ones off their iPhones and out into the real world.


The site includes news related to kids and gardening, as well as countless ideas for little DIY inventions kids can make out in their gardens. It also features a shop where you can stock up on all sorts of adorable gardening tools and toys for kids. gardening4kids

Urban Green Farms

Urban Green Farms are a fantastic company who have created a way for us to keep a vegetable or herb garden without a lot of space. They’ve developed water tanks which can help reduce your waste as well as producing nutrient rich food for the family. They’ve also developed a way to effectively grow herbs and plants in small spaces. urbangreenfarms

1 Million Women

While this one isn’t as directly related to gardening as the others, 1 million Women are an important organisation built to fight climate change, which we all know has a direct result on gardening. Climate change is causing a rise in temperature, which is affecting our plants dramatically. It’s important that we all inform ourselves on this and take necessary steps towards saving our plant life. 1MillionWomen

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Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years. –

Unknown


Growing Winter Vegetables from seedlings in your own backyard

Autumn is the second bite of the spring cherry and with the soil still warm from Summer, it’s a time when plants love to thrive. Feed them up, give them a drink and watch them flourish. Wherever you may live in this amazing country, Autumn is the time for action when it comes to gardening. What better way to kick-start your garden with a nutritional boost of organic mulch, quality potting mix, worm castings or compost. If you don’t have a vegetable patch now’s the perfect time to start. If you want a productive Autumn vegetable garden a good clean-up is a must. Pests and disease love to thrive amongst dead plants, broken stems and dead flower heads, so avoid leaving dying or dead plants in your garden to become host to bacteria or other life sucking critters.

Once clean-up and soil preparations are completed and hilled rows or beds have been created, it’s time to make a selection for your patch. Do your research and find out what grows best in your region so you can ensure they will thrive. When choosing your seedlings, keep in mind you are preparing for yourself and your family to fight off flu and other illnesses that tend to do the rounds through winter. A healthy diet of seasonal fresh vegetables may aid in building your immune system and a great way to save money. b l o o m sm ag a z i n e . c o m . au

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Once you’ve made your list, it’s off to your local garden centre or seedling supplier. Always select healthy plants. Look at the general health of plants in the store. Don’t choose anything spindly and check for pests and disease on leaves. By checking the drainage holes at the base of the pot it can tell you a lot about what’s happening to the root system. Healthy plants will show white roots and perform better in your garden. Before making your purchase it’s important to find out how seedlings have been grown prior to delivery to the retailer. Plants grown in an outdoor nursery should be fine to direct plant into your patch. If they’re grown in greenhouse conditions they’ve been protected from the elements therefore making them susceptible to the harshness of the outdoors. To build up stamina keep seedlings in their container and place under a veranda or similar outside area with filtered light for a few days. Gradually introduce direct sunlight for an hour or so each day for another couple of days. Your seedlings will then be more than happy to face climatic conditions.

After planting your seedlings they will need a good soak of water to avoid transplant shock. Your vegetable patch will need regular checking for moisture and signs of pests for another week or so. A protective cover is also good to have on hand in case the weather turns nasty. These are available at your local nursery, or you could make one yourself. Once your crop is underway, regular weeding is important to avoid attracting pests and nutrients being taken from your seedlings. Don’t let your babies dry out. This causes stress and may result in poorer crop yields. It’s an exciting time when your crop is ready for harvest. The bounty of fresh, nutritious vegetables will provide you and your loved ones with many delicious healthy meals.There’s nothing more enjoyable than making your selection from a home grown plot and enjoying the sweet fruits of your hard labour.


Plastic:

Not So

Fantastic

H O W T O G A R D E N M O R E S U S TA I N A B LY

Now that autumn is here and the weather is starting to cool down a bit, most gardeners are able to spend more time in their gardens. Autumn is a good time to plant bulbs and transplant greenery, as well as spread mulch around, fertilise, do some pruning, and get pots in order. As you go about these tasks, you might want to think about how you can be more of a greener green thumb, and use natural, ecofriendly products in your garden. Many people are keen to practise sustainability in various areas of their lives these days, and your yard is a great place to have a positive impact. In particular, plastic is one of the worst items that gardeners have to contend with. Millions 44

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of plastic pots end up landfill each year, where they sit for decades, not breaking down. Or, plastic gets into rivers, streams and oceans where it harms marine life and other animals. Thankfully, some nurseries now use biodegradable pots which are made from natural fibres or cornstarch, but this is still only a small percentage. If you want to do your part for the environment and tread more lightly on the earth in your gardening work, read on for some tips. PLASTIC POTS As mentioned above, plastic pots end up in landfill because they usually can’t be move up to previous page to finish sentence. They


are not exactly attractive, so aren’t something people want to put on display. This reduces their ability to be used repeatedly. To make a better choice then, buy from nurseries which use biodegradable pots, or choose other more eco-friendly pot options. Bamboo is considered a sustainable material, for example, because it is such a fast-growing plant. Bamboo also looks very attractive and suits all types of décor. You may also be able to find pots made from recycled materials, or from peat, which is both biodegradable and compostable.

the amount of garbage that goes into your bin, since kitchen scraps, paper, grass clippings, leaves and more make for excellent compost. Plus, compost is a wonderful free, organic fertiliser that plants love. Another idea is to look for organic, more natural sprays, available in many nurseries and home depot stores now. You can also make up your own concoctions from natural ingredients.

In addition, talk to your local nursery to see if they’ll take plastic pots back from you and re-use them. This at least means the plastic items aren’t limited to single use. Plus, consider propagating your own plants from seeds in your yard or from friends and family members, so you don’t have to purchase so many plants from nurseries. This will not only reduce the number of plastic pots you attain, but also save you money. CHEMICALS Another big issue in gardening is the use of chemicals. Most of the fertilisers, weed killers and other garden products on the market today are laden with chemicals which are very harmful to the environment. The chemicals affect insects, bugs and other animals in a negative way and also end up getting into waterways and causing problems for marine life and oceans. It is possible to reduce your use of chemicals in the garden though. When it comes to fertilising, compost can be your best friend. Create a compost heap and you will reduce

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Other options include placing barriers around your plants to ward off intruders, rather than using chemical pest control sprays. Furthermore, encourage helpful insect-eating bugs to come into your gardens, so that they get rid of the nasties for you. Ladybugs and lacewings eat aphids, for example, and are typically enticed into yards by marigolds, sunflowers and candytuft. Birds also eat many plant-destroying creatures, such as garden slugs, snails, grubs and caterpillars, so entice them in with birdfeeders, water fountains and nesting boxes. To reduce the need for chemical-laden weed control, use mulch in your gardens, as this helps to smother and inhibit weeds. It also works to prevent new seeds from germinating. Mowing often keeps weeds under control too, plus there are certain types of weeds you can pull out by hand. WATER USAGE Of course, if you want to live more sustainably, you also need to think about how much water you consume. To cut back in this area, reduce the amount of (often thirsty) lawn you have, and plant easy-care ground-covers or lay stones or eco-friendly paving products. Opt for drought-resistant trees, shrubs and flowers, too, which don’t need much water. When you do water your lawn and gardens, complete the job in the mornings or evenings when there is less sun and the temperature is cooler. This will mean less water evaporates, so more is actually absorbed into the soil. Consider collecting water from showers and your laundry to use in your garden too, so and install rainwater tanks so you can harvest water when it rains.


Profile for Read Publishing

Blooms Magazine Issue 2  

Blooms Magazine Issue 2