Hi everyone, my name is Emma, I’m Angus’s daughter and I’ve recently joined the Gardening With Angus team. I’ll be writing the newsletter this month with tips for gardening in drought, updates on deep planting experiments from the farm in Tasmania, as well as some botanical gift ideas and a bush food recipe for the holiday season!
With extremely challenging weather conditions all over the country, waterwise gardening is more important than ever, but with a few tricks and adjustments, we can still enjoy beautiful gardens even during times of drought. Deep planting is a simple technique that we’ve discussed a lot on the website, because it’s an excellent way to increase the survival rate of plants in challenging conditions.Angus has been experimenting with deep planting for some time now, and there’s a section on this subject in The Waterwise Australian Native Garden, the reissue of Angus and A.B Bishop’s book The Australian Native Garden which we talked about in last month’s newsletter. Using the deep planting method, Angus has planted a range of different things on the farm in Tasmania, from eucalyptus trees to tomato plants, and we’ve got some updates on how these experiments have progressed over the last couple of months.
A few months ago Angus started planting silver peppermint (Eucalyptus tenuiramis) and other eucalypts using the deep planting technique. Here are some images of how they’re progressing now.
Another experiment on the farm was using deep planting to get tomato plants established, and this has been very successful! Tomatoes work with this method because the stems tend to produce adventitious roots above ground, which, given the right conditions, will form extra rooting capabilities. Angus planted a number of them, before going away for a month and so not being able to water the plants while away. He came back to find the plants not only growing and thriving, but starting to produce fruit as well! As you can see, deep planting works and all the plants are booming, despite getting minimal care in the last couple of months, so it is a great watersaving method.
You can bring some stunning native flora into your home these holidays by giving plants as presents, and there are a number of native species that make fantastic living Christmas trees too. Woolly bush (Adenanthos sericeus) grown in a pot looks stunning as a Christmas tree, with its soft silvery foliage and bushy growth habit, and you can keep using it year after year! For unique, eco-friendly gifts these holidays, why not try your local native plant nursery? It’s a great way to find beautiful gifts for plant lovers (or anyone, for that matter!), and it helps support our local nurseries. Some natives can even be grown indoors, like kangaroo vine (Cissus antarctica), so you can find the perfect native plant gift for anyone.
There are a number of excellent native nurseries listed on our website, and the ones listed have not only fabulous native plants (plus the best advice), they also all have gift shops featuring great Aussie products, and Angus’s books. If none of those are in your area, try searching for local native nurseries at botanic gardens and local councils (which are usually very affordable too!).
To wrap up the newsletter, here’s a delicious bush food recipe to try over summer!
Strawberry and pepperberry syrup
This syrup is a wonderful way to use summer strawberries and bring some native flavours into your kitchen. The Tasmanian pepperberry (Tasmannia lanceolata), also known as mountain pepper, is a subtle and versatile spice which can be used like black pepper and has a lovely dark pink-purple colour when crushed. Use the syrup to make a delicious soda, add to cocktails, or drizzle over desserts.
4 cups of strawberries, chopped
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pepperberries (adjust to taste)
- Combine the strawberries, sugar and water in a saucepan. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher, then add the pepperberries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has thickened.
- Place a fine strainer over a large bowl and pour the strawberry mixture into the strainer, pressing on the solids with a large spoon to get all the syrup out. Let the syrup cool a bit, then pour into glass bottles or other containers and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.