Newsletter #38 – October 2017 – Grow Your Own Is Here, The Ravensthorpe Radish

The first copies of Grow Your Own- How To Be An Urban Farmer

After a long gestation period all the hard work has paid off and my latest horticultural foray is here, so I’m pleased to be able to offer them to my newsletter readers first!

This book is a bit of a departure from my usual books about native plants (although some bush food plants inevitably make a cameo appearance), but my interest in growing edible plants stems back (pardon the pun) to my university training in Agricultural Science. My co author on this book is fellow agricultural scientist and soils and potting mix expert Simon Leake. For many years Simon and I talked about doing a book on the basics of growing food plants for all those people who have been inspired by the idea of growing their own nutritious food free of harmful chemicals.

Grow Your Own is a down to earth practical manual on growing food in urban environments, but is also an elegantly illustrated that would not look out of place on your coffee table.  If you would like to secure your own signed copy then please go to our shop and place an order >>>>.  Don’t forget to fill in the section on “Order Notes” at the checkout if you want a personalised message. It is $60 which includes postage.

The Ravensthorpe Radish

Just to tie my two interests of Aussie natives and growing food together, I’d like to show you a sample of this unique bush food plant from a great project that I visited on my recent West Australian tour…..Platysace deflexa, more commonly known as Ravensthorpe radish or youlk. It belongs in the Apiaceae family, as do carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley and the not so edible flannel flower.

Local Ravensthorpe horticulturist Tim Nolen is growing youlk at his farm and I am keen to work with him to demonstrate the potential of some of the amazing bush food plants from the south coast of Western Australia.

Plant of the month

This month I’d like to show you one of the very best hardy and easy care native groundcovers, Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’. The naturally dense habit with coppery red new growth crowds out weeds, and the flowers are nectar rich for wildlife. One of the original and best Grevillea cultivars ever released. Fantastic for banks and as a ground cover, and in large landscaping areas, as it can quickly grow to cover to 6 metres. Flowers winter to late spring with toothbrush red flowers, with spot flowering the rest of the year.  Grows in most areas of Australia except for the tropics. Drought tolerant, fast growing and withstands frost to -8. It’s also available in my shop!>>>>

Botanic and Rare Plant Fair 2017- Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens – 21st and 22nd October

Where: Observatory Precinct, Melbourne Gardens

Open 10am to 4 pm, $15 entry, children under 16 free

Forty specialist plant and gardenware stalls, a program of talks, demonstrations and interactive debates,  activities for junior gardeners and lively family fun, as well as practical and creative ideas about growing food, urban gardens, and nurturing our living planet.

On Saturday 11- 11.45 am and again at 2- 2.45 pm The Cranbourne Growing Friends will be having a plant sale, where Angus will be answering your native plant questions and speaking about his role as Patron of the Friends of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

12noon – 1pm: Angus will be on a panel discussing the topic Searching for Australia’s Garden Identity. There will be book signing after the panel discussion

Sunday 22 October – Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

10.30 to 11.30am, 12.30 to 1.30pm and 2.30 to 3.30pm: Choosing native plants for your garden with Angus Stewart –  Join Angus on an insightful tour celebrating the beauty and diversity of the many improved Australian plant cultivars (with particular reference to Kangaroo Paws) and learn how to select the most appropriate native plants for your home garden whatever its size.

I hope to you can make it to one of these events if you are in Melbourne this coming weekend.