Farewell To Gardening Australia

I have been very touched by the many messages I received after my last story on Gardening Australia. I also made the decision that I would finish my 25 year stint with ABC radio in Sydney answering gardening Qand A at the same time, given my move to Tasmania.  I am trying to respond to all of those messages, but I am busily in the midst of a tour to China, so have not got to all of them yet. But I can say a public thank you right now, via this newsletter.

I have loved my time on the ABC so much, and it’s been a privilege to be able to share my passion for Australian horticulture, native plants and gardening in general with such a wonderful audience of like minded people and kindred spirits.

I always made it my guiding principle to educate those who tuned in about the science and knowledge that underpins growing plants. I would like everyone that takes the time to read this to know that I am making a very deliberate decision to focus on researching horticultural ideas such as deep planting, large scale worm farming and the use of biochar on my new farm in Tasmania. It is all about finding more sustainable ways to do horticulture at every level, from backyard to farm scale.  In addition I want to spend a lot more time plant breeding and  establishing an arboretum of Australian plants . All of this we will bring you via the newsletter, the website and social media.

Whilst my time as a regular on the ABC has come to an end I want to assure you all that I hope to be able to being stories to them on a casual basis when there is something with reporting. The ABC is a great Australian institution and I have been extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to reach out to its wonderful audience, and to also work with some great people. Peter Cundall and Tino Carnivale are a couple of standout garden heroes, I love this picture from Peter’s 90th birthday celebrations recently.

Interesting Plant Finds From Tasmania

I’m loving making some great botanical discoveries here in Tasmania. I’d like to share this cracking good plant with you – a stunning form of the Risdon peppermint gum. Part of my fascination with plants has always been around exploring the genetic diversity that nature provides.  Every wild species of plant shows us a myriad of different forms,  some of which are excellent for horticulture.

This is a dwarf form of the rare and incredibly beautiful Risdon peppermint (Eucalyptus risdonii) that has obvious potential as a compact garden shrub. The really remarkable feature of this plant is the way its leaves join together to completely encircle the stem (a connate leaf arrangement in botanical terms). The silvery colour of both foliage and buds makes this a stunner for flower arrangements as well as being a great small tree for cooler parts of Australia.  I am guessing it may not work well in warmer, more humid climates such as Sydney and Brisbane.