Check out the latest nursery and gardening news, trends and new products in the Australian Nursery and Gardening industry from experts, nurseries, garden centres, manufacturers and associations on Top4 News.
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Love Your Garden: Growing mushrooms at home

Love Your Garden: Growing mushrooms at home | Gardening |

Mushrooms are the great all-rounders but at $16 a kilo they’re hard to justify when families are on a tight budget. Well, don’t go without; grow your own. Your home-grown efforts can provide you with beautiful mushrooms when you need them and save you lots of money over time.


We’ve all seen mushroom kits in the nurseries and hardware stores which are the easiest, albeit most expensive, way to grow mushrooms at home but there a few other ways to get great results for less money

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Noosa Council may slash park clean-ups

Noosa Council may slash park clean-ups | Gardening |

An annual $4000 debris collection at the Heritage Park Bushland Reserve and Recreation Area at Tewantin may be stopped under a proposed management plan.


As well, a $5000 a year waterway weed control program, according a report to go before Noosa councillors today, “would not eradicate the weed”.


There is no evidence the water weed is dispersing along the waterway, and there is also risk of translocating the weed to other areas by disposal.


“A maintenance program may improve the visual appearance of the lagoon for short periods, but will have questionable environmental benefits,” the report said.



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Gardening: Repair storm damage to encourage new growth

Gardening: Repair storm damage to encourage new growth | Gardening |

Most gardens along the east coast took a severe battering last weekend. Now it’s time to take stock and apply a bit of horticultural first aid.


Large and tender leaves have been torn by those wild winds. Removing the damaged leaves will not only make the garden look better but will also minimise the risk of infection entering the damaged tissue. Plants like gingers and heliconias can have these damaged stems removed at the base. If there are flowers on the stems, you could enjoy them in a vase inside.


If you are concerned about the health of your plants, take some samples of the damaged leaves in a sealed plastic bag to your local independent garden centre and seek advice from a horticulturist.


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How to live green in a small space

How to live green in a small space | Gardening |
 Advice on home sustainability is often based on unlimited space and a mortgage, with chicken coops, vegetable patches and solar systems among those frequently listed options.

A host of innovative startups are now working to change the industry, inventing new products to suit renters and apartment dwellers.


Australian company Glowpear specialises in gardening solutions for small spaces, giving renters and apartment dwellers the ability to create their own mini gardens. Glowpear’s planters are compact, stylish, self-watering units ideal for growing herbs, fruit, vegetables and flowers inside or out.


The Green Wall Company is an Australian-owned business that has installed more than 5000 square metres of greenwalls across Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

Not only are the walls easy to maintain, the lush greenery is a beautiful way to soften a space and bring nature indoors. 

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Gardening: insider tips for designing the small and perfectly formed garden

Gardening: insider tips for designing the small and perfectly formed garden | Gardening |

Think big. This is the number one piece of advice for designing small courtyards or balcony gardens from garden designer Richard Unsworth, who lectured at the Royal Botanic Gardens Garden Design Series. The rookie error in designing small garden spaces is getting the scale wrong, he says. Unsworth, from Garden Life landscape design firm and shop, works on big and small spaces and while scale is important in both, choosing small pots, plants and furniture only makes a small space appear smaller. Better to keep it simple, bold and scaled up.


 The cohesiveness of repeated plants and surfaces creates aesthetic harmony in a small space, but Unsworth turns his back on minimalism in favour of textural contrast in plants and pots to keep a small garden interesting. On the Balmain balcony, the feathery palm contrasts with stiff succulents and crisp-edged balloons of a cloud-pruned juniper, while the bridge-grey pots are matched with the roughness of hand-thrown terracotta and the sheen of antique brass. And because there's no fun in minimalism for the plant collector, Unsworth also likes to include a display table. "On a great table you can arrange all the plants you love in a collection of pots and tinker as much as you like."

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Why you keep killing your plants and what to do about it

Why you keep killing your plants and what to do about it | Gardening |

Plant killers all know that “oh shit” moment where we realise something isn’t right. The plant starts drooping, and it looks a little yellowish brown. Or is that brownish yellow? Those are often signs of overwatering. The problem is, they’re also signs of underwatering.


So how do you know if you’re watering too little or too much? Here are some symptoms unique to both, based on info from Home Guides and Jain, an irrigation company.



  • The base of the plant stem feels soft and mushy
  • The tips of the leaves turn brown
  • Yellow leaves throughout the plant that fall off
  • The top 5cm of soil is moist


  • The edges of the leaves are crispy and brown
  • The leaves start to curl
  • The lower leaves are in worse shape
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The trick to growing herbs in a pot

The trick to growing herbs in a pot | Gardening |
 Lots of people ask me about herbs and vegies and whether they grow well in pots and tubs? Well the short answer is yes but it doesn’t just happen without some planning and effort.

Some gardeners have to use pots if they don’t have a garden.


Others like pots because they can move them around to change the look or to follow the sun. The good news is that by having pots you can keep the plants’ roots warmer through winter by moving them out of the way of frost.


I let my herbs go to seed only as a last resort because they are tired or not looking their best. However, lots of gardeners have the problem of their herbs bolting to seed too early. This just means that you haven’t harvested them enough.

Marty Roddy's curator insight, June 30, 2016 7:58 AM
#herbs and #containergarden
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Gardening sessions help Qld dementia patients

Gardening sessions help Qld dementia patients | Gardening |

Five older folk sit huddled around a patio table on a sunny Thursday morning. From the outside they look like any group of keen gardeners.


But they are not. They have dementia. And this is horticulture therapy. Horticultural therapist Cath Manuel is using gardening to enrich the lives of patients living with dementia on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.


Once a week she leads a group of up to six patients and two volunteers to plant seedlings or tend to a sensory garden at Carramar aged care facility at Tewantin.


"If they've gardened a lot in the past, we give them pots and tools and they know exactly what to do," Ms Manuel said.

"But some of the others in the group just need that help because from step one to two, they can sometimes forget what step one was."


"I can see the change in them in their face, their smiles, and if there's a bird we'll stop and look at the birds or listen to the birds, or a plane will fly over so we'll talk about that. "It creates opportunities then for other conversations, and I can really see the physical change in them.


"That's where I think that gardening is so beneficial. It's that connecting with nature."

Step-by-step the key to reducing stress
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The Best Low-Maintenance, Pet-Friendly Houseplants

The Best Low-Maintenance, Pet-Friendly Houseplants | Gardening |

As much as I love plants, I’ve never had many for two reasons: I’m terrible at keeping them alive and I have pets. A lot of plants are either toxic to my cats or they just require too much maintenance. Recently, though, I vowed to finally bring some greenery into my space without poisoning my pets. Here are some solid options I found.


The key is to just find a few plants that fit your criteria, then stick to them. The following options are all considered non-toxic for pets according to the ASPCA, and a few of them are even great for purifying your air.


It’s an ideal option if you’re looking for a small indoor tree, as it grows up to 1m tall. They also work well as accent plants, though, as you can see in the above picture.


If you’re a pet owner and you’re looking for low-maintenance plants that won’t poison your pets, these should offer some versatile options. They’re also fairly common, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them at your local garden centre


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Weed removal made easier

Weed removal made easier | Gardening |

Supporting seven generations, the Kelly family farm in Booleroo Centre, South Australia is the birthplace and home to Kelly Engineering and its renowned Kelly Diamond Harrow.


From humble beginnings, the company now offers a range of disc and prickle chain types for its harrows and exports these to multiple countries.


The patented discs that use the same hook and eye design, link together to form the same, unmistakable “chain” configuration of the CL1 discs. This means each disc can be individually maintained, avoiding the need for costly bearing replacement when changing worn discs.


This makes disc replacement relatively simple and cost effective.

Effectiveness in weed control has been just as evident.

The more aggressive discs are achieving even better results than the CL1 when it comes to this area of paddock management.

In most cases customers are seeing 100 per cent weed removal.


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Scientists release bug to kill coral cactus

Scientists release bug to kill coral cactus | Gardening |

A small insect has been released in western Queensland to control the weed coral cactus, after six years of research.


The cactus is a weed of national significance that reduces animals' access to feed and can hinder farm activities, as well as being a danger to landholders and their livestock.


The weed is found in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.



"We have spent a hell of a lot of hours spraying and the cost involved is horrific, so going around and spreading this stuff, which is pretty easy, that will be a lot less onerous than what we are doing at the moment," he said.


"I think it is marvellous that there is something available that has the potential to not only control this stuff but eventually wipe it out."

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Gardening Good for Body and Soul

Gardening Good for Body and Soul | Gardening |

Award winning Maida Vale nursery Zanthorrea will host a ‘Garden RELEAF Weekend’ on the 9th and 10th of April 2016 to raise funds for beyondblue and promote the enormous positive health benefits of gardening on depression and anxiety.


“A recent beyondblue research report titled ‘Beyond Blue to Green’ confirmed that time spent in the outdoors can help tackle anxiety and depression, obesity and coronary heart disease,” said Zanthorrea Nursery Director Ross Hooper.


“Getting out in the garden and open green spaces is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health and wellbeing as well.”

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A botanist calls for funding to research a smoke chemical as weed control in cropping

A botanist calls for funding to research a smoke chemical as weed control in cropping | Gardening |

A chemical in smoke that causes seeds to germinate after fires could also control weeds in cropping.


An eminent botanist from Western Australia wants to test if weeds can be controlled with smoke.


It was discovered about ten years ago that an organic chemical in smoke caused seeds to germinate, finally explaining why the Australian bush bloomed after fire. Chemical giant Dupont estimated there was a $100 million benefit in the same chemical, germinating horticultural crops and native revegetation.


And now the man that discovered it, Professor Kingsley Dixon, said early research suggested it could germinate weed seeds underground, effectively killing them. "We discovered, in 2004, that we could put a piece of smoke chemical onto a piece of agricultural paddock and ... we could get a third of the target weeds.


"It was essentially down to half a teaspoon per hectare, really tiny amounts of this chemical."

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The self-watering herb garden that is completely idiot-proof

The self-watering herb garden that is completely idiot-proof | Gardening |

It’s not always easy to keep house plants alive. Most are self-effacing by nature — they’re background decorations. Spend a few days at a business trip and oops, your basil or cilantro is gone.


Fortunately for you cold-blooded plant killers out there, a new product can stop you from claiming more victims. The Calla, which is currently being funded on Kickstarter, is completely idiot proof. Using hydroponic technology and automated LED lighting, the planter will keep herbs or flowers fresh and healthy, with hardly any maintenance.


The Calla is a hydroponic planter, which means the plants don't require soil. Just fill the water tank in the middle, and an automated system will distribute the liquid, keeping plants' roots wet without over-watering.


The mini-garden also features a mushroom-shaped LED light that can sense lighting conditions around it and adjust accordingly. It dims as day passes into night, simulating a natural light cycle. That allows you to keep the planter anywhere in the house.


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Love Your Garden: A great time for shifting to new digs

Love Your Garden: A great time for shifting to new digs | Gardening |

If you think there isn't much to do in the garden at this time of year, think again.


You’d be forgiven for thinking there aren’t that many jobs to do in the garden at this time of year, but think again. Apart from saving your lawn by raking up the leaves, it’s the perfect time to transplant nearly any plant in the garden. Most people wait until spring but I reckon that’s like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. Spring is a time when plants emerge from dormancy and show off all their beauty.

As a landscaper I move plants all year round because it’s essential to moving on to the next job. Truth be known, I rarely have any issues but if I had my choice of a preferred time of the year to transplant things around my garden, it’s during the next few weeks. Most plants pretty much go dormant in winter and it’s while they are resting and not requiring energy to grow that you can dig them up, disturb their root system and transplant them to a new spot.


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Tips to keep your Potted Garden Happy and Healthy

Tips to keep your Potted Garden Happy and Healthy | Gardening |

Just because you don’t have the big backyard you grew up with doesn’t mean your tiniest of outdoor spaces can’t be a wonderful green retreat whether it’s a balcony, courtyard or pathway.


So here are my tips for keeping your potted garden happy and healthy.


• Most potted plants need to be replanted every two to three years.

• Water your potted plant really well in the morning before you remove it from its pot.  

• Feed your pots every three months with either home-made compost or an organic pellet. This will work as a slow-release fertiliser. Water with a liquid fertiliser. I use Charlie Carp over the foliage and root ball  every two to three weeks for a quicker uptake and healthier plants.

• You need to manage you expectations and know your limits. There’s no use planting a potted garden full of flowering annuals that needs water every day if you’re travelling every other week. Succulents and cactus, however, will thrive for you while you’re away.

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Field Days guests to inspire fitness, green thumbs

Field Days guests to inspire fitness, green thumbs | Gardening |

The Biggest Loser trainer Shannan Ponton and Gardening Australia presenter Sophie Thomson will be at this year’s EP Field Days. The two television personalities will be sharing their knowledge and inspiring visitors to the Field Days.


Ms Thomson recently celebrated her 10th anniversary on ABC television's Gardening Australia and is also a gardening columnist, consultant, author and regular guest speaker.

At the Field Days she will share her passion for gardening including at her own three-acre property in the Adelaide Hills where she has developed a sustainable organic garden with a large vegie patch, more than 100 fruit trees and an ornamental garden.


Mr Ponton will bring to the Field Days his expertise as a personal trainer to put the focus on fitness and wellbeing and encourage people to get active. The EP Field Days will be on in Cleve on August 9, 10 and 11.



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Tips to a Beautiful Garden

Tips to a Beautiful Garden | Gardening |
 I know there are people who don’t like gardening but I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like a beautiful garden. If you’ve never had a garden, you don’t know what you’re missing.

There are lots of excuses but the one that annoys me the most is, “I can’t afford it.”


Gardening is not expensive, in fact it can save you money. Herbs, vegies and fruit are the obvious money savers but there are others, such as the time spent working in the garden which is free and good for you. Compare that to gym fees.


So if it’s cost that stops you from having a beautiful garden, I’m going to give you some great ideas that anyone can do. Not only will they improve your garden but they’ll help the environment at the same time by reusing common household packaging and materials – all for free.

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Herbicide resistance sparks quest for new weed control methods

Herbicide resistance sparks quest for new weed control methods | Gardening |

These days it seems Queensland farmers are not only waking in the morning hoping for rain but wondering how to control species of difficult weeds when rain does fall.


According to Paul McIntosh from the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI), Australia is growing a reputation for having plenty of herbicide resistant weeds in its paddocks.  


“We need to diversify with other weed control measures and most importantly stop seed set in order to reduce resistance,” he said. 

“This diversification drive is not only directed at our cropping rotations and alternating our current herbicide modes of action, we should also examine the different methods of harvest weed seed control (HWSC).”



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Garden tips: cow manure; hibiscus; maple; daffodils

Garden tips: cow manure; hibiscus; maple; daffodils | Gardening |

Bagged manure is composted, and well regulated to have consistent qualities, but it all comes from grain-fed, feedlot cattle. Their manure can potentially contain residual hormone growth stimulants, although research about this is limited.


Paddock manure can vary depending on what the cattle eat and how fresh it is. It can contain weed seeds. Your success with vegetables would be more directly influenced by critical factors such as climate, soils and aspect. The varieties you grow probably need to change to suit a different climate.


Our hibiscus produces lots of buds but they fall off before opening. The leaves look a bit crinkled and have small bite marks.


Tiny hibiscus beetles are difficult to control because they have a hard shell and shelter inside flowers. Attract and trap them with a white or yellow container filled with soapy water, or use a systemic pesticide such as Defender MaxGuard. Dispose of fallen blooms each day. Bud drop also could be from mealybugs. The crinkled leaves could be from aphids. Small holes in leaves could be from caterpillars, snails, flea beetles, weevils or earwigs.

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How gardening is helping people grow

How gardening is helping people grow | Gardening |

When Renée Gardiner lost her mum to suicide, she vowed to make a difference.


“I saw an opportunity to create something that would bring people together.” In November 2014 she launched Growing Change to help people in crisis, bringing them together to create urban farms.

This week, the not-for-profit enterprise began major works at the North Fremantle Bowling Club to transform it into an urban micro-farm.


The farm will grow greens and root vegetables to be sold to local restaurants. Growing Change has formed relationships with community service providers that will refer people experiencing mental illness or homelessness.


“We’ll be running programs for up to 15 people a term and it goes for 12 weeks,” Ms Gardiner said. “Our program is about socialisation and skills training to support people into pathways to employment.

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How to keep your water feature clean

How to keep your water feature clean | Gardening |
I love a good water feature in a well landscaped garden but they aren’t a set and forget thing and require regular maintenance.

You must at least keep the water level up. Then it’s a question of whether you are wanting to look after a fish-friendly water feature with plants or have a fountain that is clean as a whistle like a crystal clear swimming pool.


Either way each scenario comes with different challengers. It is something that has to be tackled because in the end poor maintenance can be unsightly and expensive not to mention terminal for the humble gold fish.


From a waterproof pot to a fountain that splashes water from layer to layer a pump is  essential. It moves the water, adds oxygen and breaks the water surface, which in turns removes the possibility of mozzies  laying eggs and becoming a problem.


Each week or two I also replace between 10 and 20 per cent of the pond’s water with fresh tap water and add a small amount of equalizer to keep the fish comfortable.But most importantly make sure you really want a water feature and are committed to its maintenance because an unloved, turned off, broken, eye saw can be an expensive  mistake.



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What is Green Roof Maintenance?

What is Green Roof Maintenance? | Gardening |

The benefits of planting a green roof are well-documented, but those benefits won't be enjoyed without proper maintenance.


Like any garden, gardens on roofs cannot survive without a gardener. Without a gardener, they cease to be gardens and become wild places.


All green roofs have a purpose, even though over time it may change. Various Australian green roofs are designed to serve any of 40-odd different purposes.


The designer of a green roof is (or should be) well aware of its purpose. Good green roofs are designed to fulfil their purpose with a deep understanding of how this purpose will be fulfilled – of the functions through which the green roof will fulfil its purpose.


In a commercial or retail building, the gardening and cultivation of a green roof is normally the responsibility of a maintenance crew which is managed by the facility manager. In an apartment block, it may be conducted either by a maintenance crew managed (and perhaps contracted) by the building manager, or by the building manager himself or herself. In a house, normally the owner either conducts the gardening or cultivation of the garden on the roof or engages a gardener to do so.

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Choosing crops for better weed control

Choosing crops for better weed control | Gardening |

A COMPLEX raft of factors including canopy architecture, early vigour and allelochemicals all contribute to making individual crops more competitive against weed species according to a Wagga Wagga based agricultural researcher.


Bill Brown, of Charles Sturt University, said there had been work done on the links between higher biomass in crops and lower weed burdens, but added there was more to the science of reducing weed burdens through crop selection than this simple tenet.


“Obviously, above the ground, competition for light is very important, but there’s a swag of things happening below the ground that we also need to learn more about.”


To cut down these weeds seeds farmers need to look at the timing of cutting of fodder, is it the best time for not allowing weed seeds to set?”



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What to plant for autumn and winter

What to plant for autumn and winter | Gardening |

AS the days start to turn a little cooler and night time temperatures also drop, its time to plant autumn and winter-flowering seedlings.


There are plenty of taller varieties that can go in the back of garden beds to give height including foxgloves, delphiniums, larkspurs, Canterbury bells, hollyhocks, cornflowers, cinerarias, nigella and the taller growing snapdragons.


For smaller plants used for borders, mass planting and pots, you can’t go past pansies and violas for the variety of colour and longevity of flowering — they are superb.

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