As I write this in mid January, thunderstorms have hit Melbourne, lightning has started a fire in the Otways and floods and downed trees will be creating yet more work for the indefatigable SES volunteers. The firefighters in the CFA and MFB have been extraordinary in their bravery, dedication and skill, now aided by the military. The bush fires started in NSW in September, QLD followed shortly after and fires hit eastern Victoria, SA and WA in late December. It has been a hellish summer. We are only half way through. If you want to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, 100% will go directly to the affected communities.
As the temperature begins to rise and water conservation continues to impact on gardeners, people are watering less and are looking to find alternatives for vegetation. But by using some simple planting techniques you can help to decrease the heat around your home and in turn reduce energy consumption.
In response to global warming and water restrictions across the country, politicians are suggesting quick fix strategies to combat climate change. The latest suggestion to come out of Western Australia is that we need to get rid of lawns because they are impractical. But as members of the gardening and landscape industry what we really need is long-term solutions.
An exhibition exploring shape and form, predominantly using steel.
Nicola is one of our regular artists, both exhibiting often and commissioned to design and make the sculptural elements which give character to both our Sculpture Garden and the Bolin Bolin Gallery itself.
We now have a gallery full of Nicola’s wonderful sculptures, so come an have a wander through. Perfect to add a unique focal point to your garden.
Long summer evenings, friends over for dinner, weekends reading outside in the shade, gardening with the radio on…..finally summer is here.
I love Christmas because I don’t stress over it. I can always grab a plant from work for a last minute gift, and the current preoccupation with indoor plants and decorator pots has made it soooo easy. You can tailor the choice to the person’s personality: sleek modern, folksy rustic, quirky handmade, its all available. Just slip a plant into the appropriate pot – job done.
This is probably the busiest month of the year for gardeners. Warmer temperatures and the recent rains make for perfect planting conditions. As you can see from the pic above, it is also Tomato Time! Cup Weekend is traditionally the ideal time in Melbourne to get your tomatoes into the ground. In the rest of your garden, plants are either busily flowering or pushing out new growth. Birds, spiders, lizards and ladybirds are feasting on aphids, whiteflies and other sap sucking insects that love to feed on new spring growth. Allow predators to thrive in your garden by reducing or eliminating spraying, planting lots of flowers and creating a diverse and nature friendly garden.
BAAG is privileged to operate in one of the most culturally significant regions for art in Melbourne, often referred to as the Valley of the Arts. The two most important Australian art movements, the Heidelberg School and the Angry Penguins, originated in this area. Heide Museum of Modern Art, which is just across the park from BAAG is an iconic art venue.
BAAG has placed emphasis on the arts and creativity in response to this location, and also the passion of the proprietors and some staff for the arts. This has enabled us to develop a unique identity, atmosphere and experience at BAAG. One way of furthering those aims is shown by incorporating an increasing array of artworks in the structural fabric of BAAG and adopting a creative approach everything that we do.
When selecting the right cucumber for you there are a few things to consider. Regular or burpless, small or large, long or round. The regular cucumbers generally have a bitter skin that requires peeling, whereas you can eat the skin of a burpless and remain indigestion-free (probably best in front of the Queen). The skin is very good for you!
Vegepod Raised Garden Bed Kits give you the best of both worlds and more. You get the size of a raised garden bed with all the benefits of container gardening. Not only that, you also get the benefit of an Raised Garden Bed Cover that extends growing seasons and accelerates plant growth.
Garden maintenance is minimal and watering is only required during the early stages of plant growth. Vegepod Raised Garden Bed Kits are simply the easiest way to grow your own vegetables.
Soil… most people just think of it as dirt, something to grow a few plants in, and maybe something to play in when you are young. However, (healthy) soil is a living, breathing organism, vital for the health and well-being of our precious plants out in the garden. And just as we feed and nurture our plants, so must we feed and nurture our soils. But what determines a healthy soil, how do we achieve it, and how will it benefit us as gardeners?
A healthy garden is full of life, from deep in the soil to the tree tops there should be fungi, bacteria, spiders, insects, worms, and innumerable other living creatures. These all cohabit in a generally harmonious way. Sometimes, however, a problem arises and the balance is temporarily upset. Reaching for an insecticide spray when aphids appear on your tender rose buds will often make the problem worse in the long run. Most insecticides are not prejudiced, they will kill everything, both the aphids and their natural predators. Read more
Beneficial insects are insects you want in your garden, either for pollinating or for predating on pest insects. To encourage them into your garden you can provide them with nesting and hibernating sites, if a garden strewn with dead branches isn’t your thing, you may prefer to add in an insect hotel. These are particularly useful for solitary bees and solitary wasps. Read more
Every garden is its own (or is a unique but connected) ecosystem containing an extraordinary array of living organisms including plants, fungi, bacteria, microbes, insects and animals that all impact on the health and resilience of the living network. We are each the stewards of our gardens, the actions that we take can positively or negatively impact on this ecosystem. Read more
To combat the appalling white fly invasion that was tormenting Melbourne gardeners in summer 2013 we introduced a parasitic wasp and a mite. They are susceptible to certain sprays – so we eliminated those pesticides to give them every chance to do their work. We saw a definite improvement in white fly control.
We used Montdorensis mites from and Encarsia formosa (parasitic wasp)
In 2015 we engaged the services of IPM Technologies and jumped feet first into managing our pests in a sensible and intelligently planned manner. This was a bit nerve wracking as it meant a lot more monitoring of pests and NOT reaching for the spray pack. Angelica from IPM Technologies regularly inspects the nursery and is the source of amazing photos of what is going on around the nursery. At this point we have not sprayed the roses at all (unheard of!) and spray once for Pear and Cherry slug. We introduced a predatory mite (Persimilis) into our poly tunnel which rapidly cleared up a burgeoning spider mite infestation before it became a problem. Apart from that, it has been a matter of watching and waiting and allowing the natural predators which were visibly there, to build up in numbers and control the aphids on the roses and hellebores, and the white fly on the shrubs and trees.
In 2019 Jen and Claire went to an industry training morning on IPM and came back fired up to increase the focus on our natural predators. As a result we have more insectory pots around the nursery planted with native species. These act as breeding grounds and food sources year round for our beneficial native insects.
I have been lucky to have been able to spend much of my working life surrounded by plants; studying and working in the natural environment, in local gardens and in garden centres. Like many of us, I love the opportunity to get out of the city and into the wilderness, regrettably these days it doesn’t happen quite as often as I would like. Fortunately Melbourne has been gifted with an amazing combination of parks and reserves that provide us relief from our increasingly busy lives and a sanctuary for many native species that share our city and surrounds. Read more