Bayside Gardenworld Elwood

419/425 St Kilda St, Elwood VIC 3184

(03) 9531 2666

Bayside Gardenworld in Elwood is a fantastic place to view and purchase a wide range of plants, gardening equipment, fertiliser and potting mix. The nursery has many unique outside displays, including a fishpool with goldfish and water plants. The nursery is dog friendly and allows on-leash dogs both inside and outside, and offers a range of pet-friendly indoor plants.

Bayside Gardenworld  has a great range of succulents, indoor plants, seedlings, flowers, herbs, trees, bushes and shrubs.

They also carry many different high quality pots, tools, fertilizers, potting mixes and a small but niche quantity of oddities and giftware. Bayside Gardenworld is a must visit for any green thumb, with friendly and knowledgeable staff who can offer quality advice no matter what level your gardening proficiency, with seven off-street car parks and plenty more on-street.

Bayside Gardenworld has plenty of car parking space and easy on street access through the main gate and across the road is a park where children can play after a visit. Inside the nursery are toilets.

 

I found my thrills on Blueberry Hill.

By James Wall.

Yes, it was back up the hills on our annual sojourn, to pick up some blueberry plants. This year we are picking up only 101 advanced Brigitta’s in 30cm pots. They would fill the bottom of the truck and some of them are about waist height, so stacking them on trolleys was not an option.

Moondarra Blueberries are about an hour out of Moe, towards them hills. (It’s not open to the public). It’s a windy road that works its way through farmland and forest. Once at the turnoff, its a few kilometres of classic country track, winding through 100 year old gums and working its way up some steep hills.

blueberry farm

Once at the packing shed at the top of the hill, it was obvious the wind was a howler. These plants are sure gonna be toughened up. After loading the truck, it was time to go and checkout some Brigitta’s growing in the field. When we got down there, the crop was amazingly completely protected from the wind by the side of the hill. The sun came out and the jumpers almost came off. These monster plants were 2 metres high and over 35 years old. The industry average harvest per plant might be 4kg, but these giants manage to have 10kg picked off them.

After a lesson in pruning, I have come to the conclusion it still is an art form that I haven’t totally mastered. Remove old unproductive wood, and snap off weak skinny short wood with your fingers. Don’t be afraid to bend wood and tie wood down with Jolly Ties, so pickers can reach them. Promote new red stems and consider removing the odd grey stem. It’s certainly not an exact science. Shhh, a little secret – they love their Felco secateurs and have a few different pruning saws, but the Felco is always the first to go from the shed.

Moondarra blueberry farm

So the plants are now back in our nursery in Melbourne and these 3 year old advanced plants in 30cm pots are going out at $39.95. Each plant has flower buds on them and each bud will have 5 0r 6 fruit this coming season so you can have a taste test. You will love the flavour of these girls – all in all yummy garden produce. Remember to let them fully ripe for best flavour – bird netting recommended.

Growers Notes: Brigitta is a tall, vigorous upright bush to 2, with high production. Very large, medium blue, firm fruit with good flavour. Excellent picking scar and keeping quality. This Australian developed variety Brigitta is now being widely grown world wide. Clusters can be tight and the bloom damaged easily. Ripens two weeks after Bluecrop with similar size berries. Fruit can drop easily so care when hand harvesting is required. One of the best keeping and shipping varieties available. A favourite with exporters. For pollination purposes it is best if planted near another variety.

“Wild At Heart” wins 1st prize in Boutique Garden Competition

Emmaline Bowman is one of the new generation of Landscape Designers. A woman brought up in the Gippsland countryside, Emmaline practices what she preaches. Her belief in using native plants was seen first hand in this years Melbourne International Flower & Garden  Show where she won first prize in the Boutique Garden Competition. Now her company, Stem Landscape Architecture & Design is now going to be in high demand, to create more of her wonderful gardens.

The garden Emmaline designed was all about bringing nature into your own backyard. We can all have our own little piece of nature, no matter how small our garden is. It’s not just about using native plants, although that’s a good start. It is about creating a habitat, and this might include water, little home for insects and the acceptance that insects, birds, and animals are all a part of it.

The garden was aptly named, “Wild At Heart” To enter this competition, the garden had to be 5m x 5m in size. It was a beautiful garden that expressed itself well. It was also well built (all above ground) and was judged to be the best in its category. One of the features was a vertical garden of water plants running into a pond.

Here is what Emmaline’s submission said about the garden:

‘Wild at Heart’ is a garden designed to integrate Australia’s native flora and fauna into a retreat for people to unwind and reconnect with nature. It is a conservation project bringing Australia’s unique natural environment into urban backyards; unifying rehabilitation with the opportunity for people to once again experience nature in everyday life.

Working as a system, it is a place where water naturally cools the air as it trickles down a planted wall into a pond that winds down past the recycled timber deck and where native frogs provide a wonderful symphony of melodic tunes amongst the flowering water plants. It is where misshapen stones and boulders provide homes for skinks and geckos to feast on the insects that are drawn into the garden, and where native bees and insects pollinate the numerous native flowers and edible plants.

This garden provides a space where one can step back into nature, away from the harsh sounds, smells and bustle of city and urban life, to a place where nature works effortlessly. Children can observe and discover Earths own creations as children did in years past. It is a place that allows you to unwind as you relax on a suspended day bed with a beverage and your favourite book.

Gardenworld was proud to provide plants towards this project. Lotus Watergardens also provided the murray river rainbows – a small native fish that lived in the pond.

Link: Stem Landscape Architecture & Design

Garden Event worth waiting for – Geranium maderense

A Garden Event worth waiting for. By Kevin Mankey.

Over the last month I have been watching with anticipation the formation of a giant head of flowers on an old favourite plant in my garden, Geranium maderense. This is a very old species of geranium classified as a “true geranium” differentiating it from the many modern hybrid varieties in cultivation today.

As the name suggests, Geranium maderense hails from the island of Madiera on the north- west coast of Africa. It is a sub-tropical climate with relatively low rainfall and a rocky, craggy landscape. I first encountered this plant whilst touring in the UK back in the late 1980’s. It was growing on St. Michaels Mount, a tiny island land mass off the Cornish coast where an old monastery is now a tourist attraction only accessible at low tide. When I returned to Melbourne I was determined to find this rare beauty to try and grow it for myself but at that time it was barely known here in Australia. By good fortune I was able to get hold of a seedling from a friend who worked in a large private collectors garden in Toorak and my fascination for the plant has continued to grow ever since.

Geranium maderense is a giant among geraniums, growing to a height of 120-150cm tall by 120cm wide. It is a mound forming evergreen perennial (meaning it does not go into dormancy) with deeply divided hand sized lush green leaves. The foliage alone is textural and interesting but it is the huge flower head that is the real head turner. From early spring a giant beach ball sized head of purplish pink florets, each approximately 3cm across explodes like a firework and is a stunning sight. Each little floret has a dark purplish throat and is covered in tiny inflorescent hairs all along the stem which glisten in the sunlight. The anticipation of these huge flower heads is the sort of thing that tests a gardeners’ patience as it takes two years for a young seed grown plant to reach flowering maturity.

Another unique feature of this plant is the formation of props by the lower, older leaf stalks (petioles) which turn downwards toward the ground and serve to prop up the heavy stem whilst also returning water to the root zone around the plant. This is probably an evolutionary adaptation resulting from the poor quality soils where the plant comes from and the fact that it has a surprisingly small root system comparative to the plants’ size.

Geranium maderense makes a stunning addition to a garden and looks especially pleasing when planted in drifts under the canopy of overhanging trees. It does best when protected from afternoon sun and prefers a well drained loamy soil with moderate water requirements.

Unfortunately it is not an easy plant to find in nurseries as there are hardly any growers who produce it. This puts it in the “collectors plant” category so don’t be frustrated if you can’t find it easily. You may stumble upon it one day and I guarantee the wait will be worth it.

A major revolution in mulch is here.

Here is a new mulch that was developed by the proud 4th generation farmer and agronomist Sarah Curry. It was back in 2009 and she was pregnant with her first child at the time and was thinking how messy and time consuming mulching can be. Those bales can also be very dusty – what else could she use – the mind started ticking……..Major's MulchIntroducing lucerne mulching pellets.

They are heat treated to sterilise any weed seeds and compressed into a pellet for easy application. Once wet they swell to 3 times their size and settle around plants and don’t blow away like traditional mulch can. These mulching pellets also act as a soil conditioner adding organic nutrients to the soil in addition to conserving moisture.

Because the lucerne hay is compressed into a small smooth pellet, there is no harmful dust or spores.

100% Lucerne Mulching Pellets are simply 100% organic plant material, which will break down over several months, releasing mineralised nutrients into the soil, enriching natural organic soil nutrient levels used by plants to produce flowers and fruit.

Adding organic nutrients to your soil is recycling the way nature intended

The products are packaged in 10kg recycled paper bags (multi-walled with a plastic internal layer) that has a wax coating to repel moisture. They need to be stored under cover but can handle some moisture. Less plastic means less waste.

Mulching Pellets are also available in 3kg Balcony Bags that have a carry handle which are ideal for small area gardens or mulching a few pots.

Application:

Simply spread over the soil surface so the pellets are just touching, one layer thick, and thoroughly wet to saturation point. Over a few hours the Mulching Pellets will swell to 3 times their size and crumble to form a beautiful fluffy thick layer over the ensuing days. Replenish as required.

Major’s Mulch also make a Complete Compost which is a rich blend of sheep manure, lucerne hay and small amount of wheat straw composted for 4 years. Its is pure organic matter ready to boost any garden soil. 

About the farm:

Majors Mulch is sustainably produced on our family farm “Major’s Point” on The Bland, near Quandialla in South West NSW. If you’ve ever driven from Melbourne to Brisbane, you would have driven quite near it while going through West Wyalong.

The Bland is an area of rich fertile sedimentary flood plain country where the Burrangong and the Bland Creeks meet (and occasionally & spectacularly spread out!)

 Local legend has it, that Major Mitchell whilst surveying “The Levels”, as he called it, became trapped by rising flood water and was stranded on a small rise now known as “Majors Point”, our home.

For more information, have a look at the very beautiful website……… www.majorsmulch.com.au

Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fibre, and land reclamation.

McGain’s Anglesea is more than just a nursery.

It was a pleasant day for a visit to a local nursery and McGain’s was just around a corner. We were of course visiting the coastal town of Anglesea, just 30 mins or so from Geelong, on Victoria’s surf coast which includes the famous Great Ocean Road.

This nursery is actually located in a rather small industrial estate that without it would be a somewhat desolate place. It’s like finding an oasis in a desert. The first thing you notice is that these people like plants, as there are plenty of therm and they look healthy. Surprise surprise, there is also a food store, but we will visit that on the way out. First it’s off to the cafe, as it is lunchtime.

We got a seat in their verandah area, not directly inside the cafe. This is such a homely area, with sprawling grape vines, stephanotis and hanging baskets of geraniums. Its the sort of place that you could use as a ‘local’ if you lived around here, with a big bench, great if you come here on your own. Not long after ordering, our meals came out, which included really delicious salads in the side. They included nasturtium flowers, which we ate with smiles on our face cause it just seems weird eating a flower. The food included chicken and corn pie, chunky sausage rolls, spinach and fetta borek, and a special of the day poached eggs with corn fritters. All in all we left the cafe feeling most satisfied.

The nursery is centred by a large pond. It is actually a very smart self cleaning pond. You see there are actually two ponds, with the upper pond running down into the lower pond. The upper pond is full of a lovely red stemmed milfoil. This plant acts as a a natural purifier, accepting the pumped up dirty water from the fish pond below. The fish water fertilises the plants, and cleaner water flows off the rock back down below. A great idea for a low maintenance pond.

Strewn around the nursery are big chairs made of wood that looks like it may have washed up on shore. It gives the place a real beachy feel, typical of the region. There was also a very impressive espaliered apple along with plenty of fruit trees vegetables and herbs. There are also interesting seed packet, weaved baskets and other such unique goods you won’t find at the big box stores.

Heading back towards the exit, it was time to visit the food store. Here you will find everything from organic fruit and vegetables to wine, cheese, jams, biscuits, meats and preserves, all in the one store. From our experience, these were the best quality fruit and vegetables in Angelsea and it showed that they source stock from the Melbourne markets three times a week. This must be a massive effort for a small business, but well worth it when you see the quality.

The nursery is run by Peter McGain and his wife Pam runs the food store. The McGain’s ran The Albert Park Nursery from 1975 for many years. They set up the nursery at Anglesea in 2000, the food store in 2005 and the cafe in 2012.

What I like about a little nursery like this is that there is something around every corner. It has had 15 years to build up a feeling, a soul. The staff are passionate and the location in this industrial estate actually works. Your not just going to the shops, you are going on a journey, a destination, that is McGain’s

Pansy flowers perfect as a garnish.

If the food in The Gardenworld Cafe was not already delicious by itself, today it was beautifully garnished by our chefs. They have used freshly picked pansies – plants from the viola family. Pansy flowers are actually edible and are sometimes seen in salads,along with other edible flowers such as nasturtiums and calendula. This time they have combined them with sprigs of rosemary, to make the perfect garnish. It is a simple idea for your next dinner party.

The cafe is open 9 to 5, seven days a week and has a huge range of both sweet and savoury dishes, The sausage rolls and gourmet pies are baked in house, along with most of the main meals. The selection of cakes includes an amazingly tasty vanilla slice !

Pansies also make great pressed flowers which can be used on gift cards. Of course the big old phone books used to be perfect for this, but you ca also buy a flower press.

Pansies are in full flower right now, but you won’t find that many for sale in the nursery because the little seedlings are best planted the autumn and winter to be flowering at their best right now. You can buy them in advanced pots for some instant colour.

Update: In 2015 edible flowers are a growing industry and much of the demand is being driven by high end restaurants such as The Fat Duck while it is here in Australia. Read about a successful edible flower grower on the ABC website.

 

Local Tip: Get to the cafe before 12.15 for lunch and you are almost guaranteed a seat. For large groups, bookings are advised. Call Dani on 9769 1019.

 

Nursery Tour To Canberra

By Jason Hilborn, from Gardenworld Nursery in Melbourne, Australia.

What better way to get a taste of winter, than to step out of chilly Melbourne for a day and take a trip up to an even chillier Canberra in the middle of June. That is what myself and 4 other nurserymen or should I say nursery people embarked on recently. The primary purpose of our trip to Canberra was to visit a garden centre known simply as ‘Rodney’s Plants Plus’ to check out their new outdoor undercover area. Rodney’s Plants Plus is owned and largely run by Rodney himself.

Rodney’s Plants Plus has been in operation for over 30 years. The nursery is one of four nurseries, all on the same street and all within walking distance of each other. A unique setup in itself, to see so many nurseries so close. Does it create some tough competition between them all? Not the way Rodney sees it. In fact he says it’s a good thing. It is a destination. It makes people come into the area. Rodney says each of the nurseries offer something different. But if you want our thoughts, Rodney has put himself well ahead of the pack again with his latest construction.

It was great to meet and talk to Rodney and hear his story of why he did what he did. In the past 2 years, Rodney has made a big investment in the nursery to build an outdoor undercover nursery area, making his nursery an ‘All weather nursery’. The outdoor area covers 1500 square metres and is concreted throughout. Rodney says the undercover area makes the temperature 4-5 degrees warmer in winter while making it 7-8 degrees cooler in summer. That factor alone can make all the difference in a customers willingness to shop when the weather is not as conducive to walking around a nursery. This latest construction increases Rodney’s likelihood of getting people in the door on a day when customers may have otherwise stayed away.

Undercover nursery areas are something that are more commonly heard of throughout the UK and Europe but Rodney is now bringing the concept closer to home. This is largely important in Canberra, as the weather can be extremely miserable, especially this time of year. The thought of walking around a nursery when it is raining, is freezing cold or alternately stinking hot can be quite an unpleasant one.

Back here in Melbourne we too appear to be experiencing both cold and wet winters more commonly again. The term we seem to be using more and more again now is ‘a good old-fashioned Melbourne winter’. Winters are now back to the way we remember them being, for the drought is now a distant memory. We now hear ourselves saying, ‘I wish it would stop raining’, whereas previously we were found saying ‘we need rain, when is it going to rain again’. We cannot forget our summers either. They too can be almost unbearable, and especially when the mercury exceeds 40 degrees. These are the challenges that we as nursery people face. The ebbs and flows. The cold and the hot. We truly are in a seasonal industry.

We took to Canberra with the thoughts that we too may look to follow in Rodney’s footsteps one day. The nursery at Gardenworld is fortunate as we already have a number of good undercover areas. We have a large indoor plant and giftware area as well as covered walkways between the different businesses on the Gardenworld complex. Much of the other businesses are covered as well. It would be fair to say we already have it ‘pretty well covered’ mind you a large covered outdoor area would be a further luxury. Who knows, one day we may construct more covered outdoor areas in our nursery too just as Rodney did.

After a quick stop off for a bite to eat for lunch we rounded off our day in Canberra with a visit to Heritage Nursery. Upon arrival a well-known guy within the Horticultural industry called Bruno greeted us. Bruno is the owner of Heritage Nursery and oozes enthusiasm and passion like no other. I always love meeting people in the Horticulture industry who have been doing it for many years yet show the same enthusiasm as if they started yesterday. His nursery is located within 10km of the CBD of Canberra. It is what I would regard as an old fashion nursery. We were there at the perfect time to see them preparing all their bare root plants for sale. The time of year when we as nursery people can literally get in and get our hands dirty. Bruno doesn’t do things by halves either. He had plenty of bare rootstock to sell and it is that confidence that we as fellow nursery people love to see. It was clear that Bruno is in his element when he is out there getting his hands dirty, in amongst all the winter seasons’ stock of fruit trees, ornamental trees and roses.

The battle for these nurseries though, is the cost of freight to get plants to them. This is something I don’t think I really appreciated until I was there actually hearing it coming from both Bruno’s and Rodney’s mouths. They do not have so many of the wholesale nurseries that they deal with, at their doorstep as we do in Melbourne. This fact alone makes it quite commendable that these guys continue to operate and do it as well as they do. I guess it is something that they have learnt to deal with over time.

Meanwhile back in Melbourne, we all love our gardens, I mean, why wouldn’t you. It is just so relaxing, a place to switch off and unwind, it gives so much pleasure and really when you think about it, we are blessed. We are blessed because we get a true taste of all the seasons. There is a season for everyone. The cold winters, the hot summers, the brisk autumn mornings and with it the autumn colour on the trees. Then there is spring, when all the stunning blossoms appear on the trees and the fresh new leaves appear on the previously bare deciduous trees. It’s not bad when you think about it. In fact, time for me to go, I think I can hear the garden calling me now.

The hungry little caterpillars

By James Wall

There are times when some of us want to destroy caterpillars. I know those ones on the broccoli in February are really annoying. There is however a couple of nurserymen who love caterpillars on their plants. In fact they grow them especially to feed the caterpillars. This is what I discovered behind the scenes at the Melbourne Zoo. It is all part of the butterfly enclosure and its ongoing breeding cycle that takes place so we can enjoy these wondrous creatures everyday of the year.

Host plant for butterfly to lay eggs on

What you need to do as a butterfly plant grower at the zoo, is reproduce the 6 or 7 different plants, each one for the 6 or 7 different varieties of butterflies bred. You see they are very fussy and each type of butterfly will only lay their eggs on a particular plant. If the butterfly is a tropical variety, then the plant needs to be a tropical plant, meaning growing it in a greenhouse for many months of the year here in Melbourne. Now it is no good having one big batch of plants ready at once. You need to have some ready for the butterflies, some half ready, and some freshly cut back so they will be ready in a couple of months time. No plants ready equals no butterflies, so the pressure is always on, especially in winter. It’s a bit like growing lettuce all year round in your vegetable garden. You don’t plant a whole lot at once. Eight plants every second week and you will have lettuce all year round.

Some butterflies like poisonous plants like oleander. Apparently the caterpillar themselves will contain some of these toxins, and can make a predator that eats them very sick. They will think twice before eating that same colour caterpillar again. Its sort of weird how this one being eaten now, will save one of his mates in the future.

well chewed lemon

One of the plants grown is the common old Lisbon Lemon. This is used to reproduce the Orchard Butterfly, its caterpillar pictured above. It’s not the most spectacular butterfly, but of course the spectacular butterflies eat the much harder plants to grow. Of course a lemon tree chomped like the one pictured  actually means a job well done.

Plants are placed in the main enclosure which is at a beautiful temperature if you like a 28 degree average. Once the eggs are laid, the plant is taken into another enclosure where caterpillars hatch and begin to eat the host plant. The caterpillar then forms a pupa or chrysalis which is like a cacoon inside which it forms into a buttefly. Often in the wild, this pupa is well camouflaged. At this chrysalis stage they are removed from the plant and hung in their own little box made of insect screen walls so as to protect them from potential predators like rats.

They are then released into the main butterfly enclosure and as we saw, midweek mums with prams, toddlers and lattes emerge in large flocks, all enjoying the magnificence of the beautiful butterflies.  For me there was the extra appreciation, as before this day, I had never considered the laborious horticultural process that helped make the butterflies grow. Each butterfly only lives for about a month, But their life cycle goes on and on forever.

big juicy and happy caterpillar

Chrysalis stage

Protective screened area where butterfly hatches

Orchard butterfly that enjoys lemon tree

LINKS:

TEN STEPS TO A BUTTERFLY GARDEN

BUTTERFLIES OF THE MELBOURNE AREA AND THEIR FOOD PLANTS

Slightly broken butterfly on slightly broken palm leaf

Thermometer showing min max temps in butterfly house

The Grapevine Moth

By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs, first published in her gardeners notebook.

Phalaenoides glycinae, Grapevine moth has been spotted on a few different plants throughout the summer months.

The caterpillars have very distinct colourings and patterns, which makes them very easy to identify.

These little guys grow to a length of 50mm with a black and white abstract pattern on the upper and underside of their body. Their body is covered in small white coloured hairs with fuchsia coloured stripes near their feet and their back end. Their face is gold-yellow with black dots.

Unfortunately these guys are NOT a beneficial bug. The caterpillar will feed on a variety of plants such as Australian natives, Fuchsias, Boston ivy and both ornamental and fruiting grapevines. Usually the caterpillars and larvae will feed on the undersides of the foliage, so if you happen to spot some on your plants make sure to check the underside of the foliage. If a lot of larvae are present on a plant they are capable of defoliating a vine or attacking any developing bunches of grapes on your vines.

I have managed to find up to 10 caterpillars on the one plant. Pupation will occur in any leaf litter that may surround your targeted plants or within the soil.

 After the caterpillar has entered its pupation stage, a small black moth will emerge. The wingspan of the moth is 50mm with yellow markings on both wings and at the end of the body is a collection of orange hairs. Fortunately, the moth doesn’t cause as much of a problem as the larvae and caterpillars.

When it comes to control you can either use a chemical based spray or can try an organic control method.

You can remove the caterpillars and larvae by hand and dispose of them. Otherwise, natural predators will feed on these guys, such as birds, beetles and wasps. One beetle that loves to feed on the Grapevine moth/caterpillar is the Shield bug, which in Latin in known as Oechalia schellembergii. The shield bug likes to feed on the body fluids of the caterpillars and larvae thus eliminating them.

An effective bacteria called Dipel

You can also use Yates Dipel to kill caterpillars. Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis), a naturally occurring bacteria. Dipel does not kill caterpillars immediately. Once a caterpillar eats treated foliage, it gets a pain in the tummy and stops eating, but may take up to 3-4 days to die and drop from the leaf. This is a low toxic, organic soluton. It is safe for bees, ladybirds, birds, fish, mammals & pets.

 


 

 

 

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