Saturday, June 30

It's time to grow Rhubarb

Rhubarb. Every vegie patch should have one!

Rhubarb is a perennial vegtable that can be grown in sun or part shade. It may be known as an old fahioned vegtable but it is easy to grow and makes the most wonderful sweet crumbles and desserts.

 If you want to grow rhubarb winter is an ideal time as the rhubarb crowns are available bare-root in the garden centre. Start by preparing the garden bed with some compost and blood and bone. If you live in an area where the temperature has extreamly hot and cold weather dig the rhubarb crown in a little deeper about 5cm below the surface of  the soil. If your temperature is mild all year round the crown can be covered with about 1cm of soil. As the plant grows feed with powerfeed or thrive.
 Leave your rhubarb plant undisturbed for the first few years to allow the clumps to establish.
After 2-3 years the rhubarb crown can be dug up in winter and divided and replanted.

Tip: The leaves of the plant are poisonis so never eat them.
Sprinkle a little slug and snail pellets around the plant in spring and summer.
Rhubarb can be grown in pots.

See our rhubarb cooking adventures at the Serenity Nursery here

Thursday, June 21

Kitchen Garden

Tuscan Kale

I'm always reading gardening magazines, books and blogs and today I found a great Kitchen Garden blog, Suburban Tomato. The author, Liz lives in Melbourne and grows her own to feed the family. It shows the hands on process of garden to plate and there is a whole heap of recipes that are tried and true. The Kale pictured above is one example of what Liz grows. Kale is a fab winter veg that teams well with mashed potatoes and other steamed veggies.

Image here

Wednesday, June 20

A modern statement with Aloe Trees.

This garden is amazing. The architectural trees emerging from the decking are aloe trees and we actually have these available at  the nursery and they also grow well in large pots. Surrounding the over sized concrete slabs are cordylines, agave's and a variety of succulents. In the top picture you can see the blue chalk stick succulent, which is a low growing blue statement plant.

The garden accessories are bang on. Love the stark white swing chair, table and single seat.

 This garden works because there is a variety of flooring materials used. Timber and concrete slabs in varying sizes combined with earthy mulch add texture add interest. varying the levels in the garden is a great way to a sense of style to a small space.
Enjoy. Krystal

Grow your own Asparagus

Grow Asparagus
It's really easy to grow asparagus at home and winter is the perfect time to plant them in your garden. In winter the crown of the asparagus is available. Start by digging some composted organic matter into the soil and then dig a large hole. build up a small mound at the bottom for the asparagus roots to sit over then fill in with soil and water in well. This will prevent any air pockets forming near the roots, which may cause them to rot. The patch will be bare until Spring and thats when the lovely asparagus spears will appear. You will have spears for about two months. Wait. Don't harvest for the first year until the crown has established. Just watch out for snails and slugs.

Image here

Sunday, June 17

Soft touch foliage

 Come instore and see our Kalanchoe tomentosa is a wonderful succulent with a velvety fur-like covering. When they came into the nursery the other day I couldn't help but touch them. This succulent will reach 45cm and is a great landscaping plant ( see picture above). Kalanchoe tomentosa is also a good container plant and mixes well with other succulents to create different textures and colours in your garden.
I also love the huge natural stones in this garden. we have similar in now

See you in the nursery soon.

Beat the winter blues!

Geranium " Big Red" in a hanging basket in the garden centre today.

For a splash of colour this winter don't go past Geranium "Big Red". It's a compact hybrid geranium and is said to be the first true deep red geranium around. The flowers are huge and will inject colour into any garden large or small. Ideal to hang from a veranda , plant in pots or use as a flowering hedge. "Big Red" will flower for you just about all year round just make sure it is positioned in a sunny spot.

First image here

Wednesday, June 13

Country Modern

My Teak hanging pendants available here

My dream home. Polished concrete, white, timber and raw finishes. I think I have cosy interiors on my mind. Working outdoors in the cold is getting to me.

The Perfect Pear

One of my favourite pears to eat is the Beurre Bosc . It has a lovely tan brown skin, with a firm yet juicy flesh. It teams well with soft french style cheese. Sometimes I will slice it up, smoother it with honey and bake it, then it can be enjoyed with yogurt as a dessert or stirred through risotto.
But the best way I like to enjoy it is this recipe:

Pear and Parmesan salad.
What you need:
1-2 Beurre Bosc pears
Baby Rocket leaves-You decide how much!
Freshly shaved Parmesan-use lots if you love it.
White balsamic vinegar*- to your taste.

Make it:
Place the baby rocket leaves in a bowl. Slice up pears and toss through rocket.  Drizzle or spray with White balsamic vinegar and massage it into the pear and rocket really well.
Sprinkle some shaved Parmesan on top.
--It is a perfect side to a main meal.

* Select an Italian made White Balsamic Vinigar from a gaurmet shop if you can.

Thursday, June 7

Winter in the Nursery

Bare-root trees line the entrance to our nursery. Plus there are 100's more inside.
Bare-root Mop Tops the ever popular tree that is covered in a mass of tiny green leaves in
 Spring and summer.

Our edible Garden Display. Grapes,  blueberries,Strawberries, bay trees and lots more

Things green up with some rain water!
 Our Potato seed display. It's so easy to grow your own.

Tuesday, June 5

Digging in the Dark!


Tonight Tim and I set up our worm farm.
 While some couples may be watching dating in the dark we are digging in the dark!
The main reason we decided to get a worm farm was to recycle our kitchen scrap waste. It is just horrible to see kitchen scraps go into land fill and pollute the earth. The worm farm we have is the Tumbleweed Worm Cafe from Serenity Nursery. It will turn our scraps into useful garden fertiliser full of beneficial microbes. Worm casting and worm tea will be produced and used as organic soil improver's.

Look what we did:

 There are 4 trays with the kit, but you only need one working tray to start. Keep the others put aside.
Insert the first tray and lay a sheet of news paper into the tray. Soak the soil block in water ( it's provided with the worm cafe). Then lay the soil mixture onto the newspaper.

Top up with some soil from the garden that is  free from inorganic fertilisers.
Use a bucket to catch the worm juice. This can be be diluted with water to the colour of weak tea and watered onto the garden.
You will need about 1000 worms for this worm farm and they will cost around $50 (for approx 1000). May I add that I love worms I think it brings back childhood memories of digging in the dirt.

Carefully place the worms on top of soil and water in.

Place the second tray on top. the tray has tiny holes in the bottom of it so the worms
 can crawl up into it.

Our ceramic compost bin is overflowing with kitchen scraps...

Sprinkle some more dirt over the tiny holes and then spread a layer of kitchen scraps.The scraps will attract the worms up into the second tray and the worm casting will be left in the bottom tray.
Continue the process a few times. It is important to add a sprinkling of dirt over the kitchen scraps every time as worms don't have teeth and need the dirt to help grind the food down.

Every week sprinkle a little dolomite lime or TUMBLEWEED worm farm and compost conditioner ( shown here) ontop of the food scraps. This will help lower the acidity of the kitchen scraps especially acid foods like citrus fruit.
I hope you enjoyed our demonstration.
If you want to find out more visit me in the nursery.I'll be more than happy to talk worms with you.
Krystal x
 First Image via Tumbleweed. Other Images Serenity Nursery

Monday, June 4

Sprinkle your garden with colour.

From this...

 To This!

Winter is a great time to plant flower seeds. Try sprinkling a packet of Yates Cottage Garden Mix through your garden. Some of the mixed varieties are self seeding so you will have a bursting flowering garden with little effort.

Image 1 via Yates. Image 2 via

Today's humor

Winter trees in the nursery.

Dad forks the tree bins into our work area to be filled with soil.

Shortly after Toky-lui was taken into the house for a clean up and change of clothes. Spoilt thing!

Incredibly beautiful bare-root weeping mulberry trees are dug into the soil.

  Rain, hail or shine we are always outside working in the nursery. Mum balances her Plants Plus umrella, clip board and a cuppa!

Every year is the same, every winter our bare-root trees arrive and we set out to display all of the new stock. We order our trees several months before from several suppliers and today they arrived. Murphy's law had it that it poured with rain while we unpacked the delivery trucks and set up our trees (infact it just rained all day today). Even our dog Toky-liu chipped in to help. It was otherwise a gloomy day in the garden centre, but it was great to see some folk out to pick up vegy and flower seedlings. It's a great time to plant while the ground is moist.
More trees and roses are arriving soon, so we will be back into it again.

Enjoy the rain. Krystal.

Sunday, June 3

Step on it.

My front garden is very simple with low growing hedging box plants and a couple of patches of flat mulch. The mulch is fine as it allows the rain to penetrate into the ground and water the plants around it.I have been thinking about amping up the style and filling the mulch voids with some large format pavers and planting some low growing plants in between.
I found these images that gave me some inspiration...
I like this idea as environmentally it allows water to go in between each paver. Don't rule out using pebbles in between pavers either. Pebbles can act as a mulch by retaining moister in the ground and suppress weeds.
I plan on using the pavers  hand made at Serenity Nursery, they are 500mmx 500mm which is a large format paver and looks great in a small space.
Low growing plants that work well in between pavers:
Creeping Thyme
Dwarf mondo grass
Trailing Succulents
Baby tears