Mar 152013

After being away from the nursery for a while I’m always interested to come back and see how the plants are growing around the place, what is in flower, what is fruiting and what is struggling or thriving. So this time after a break, the first thing I noticed was the goji plant (Lycium barbarum) in Edible Alley, the edible garden alongside the BAAG driveway, its pendulous branches positively dripping with glowing, orange fruits.

It is the first time our goji has fruited, as the new growth was pruned in previous years before having a chance to fruit (they are tip-bearers) and because the plant was still young (they start producing after 2-3 years). Now that it is established, we knew not to prune it until after fruiting and have been well rewarded. Feel free to try one when you are in next before they finish. They are small but quite refreshing, not to mention a superfood.

To grow a goji plant, plant it in a sunny position with adequate food, water and drainage. Branches grow as long flexible stems that can be trained to allow the ends to weep and then pruned to maintain a good shape after fruiting or in winter whilst dormant.

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Mar 012013

Saturday 20 April 2013, 9am-4pm
At Minalinka Farm (in the Yarrambat / Diamond Creek area)

View Aquaponics Greenhouses & Wicking Beds in vegetable-production for a family & more – see how to use tubs, baths and water tanks. Fruit Trees & Food Forests (organic gardening along Permaculture lines). There are Water-Savvy Gardening talks by Stephen Onians at 10am and 12 noon (see email link below to register). There is also an afternoon workshop from 1:30 to 3pm on Swiss Flan-making (for an additional $7 cost) Martina will guide you through how to make delicious savoury & fruity flans – afternoon tea is included.

Cost: $8 entry (includes self-guided tour, talk and tea/coffee/lemongrass/peppermint tea) All registration fees are donated to Diamond Creek (Thrive) Community Garden. Contact Stephen at by 9pm Thursday 18 April to register your interest, to obtain the address and for further details.

Feb 262013

We are excited to be stocking these fantastic recycled Vegie Garden Crates direct from the local apple orchard. They are proving to be incredibly popular. The reclaimed crates are very sturdy and are 1.2m square by 600mm deep, making them the perfect size for growing all of your vegies and herbs. You can use them as either a traditional or a No-Dig Garden. Due to their portable nature they are ideal for those who like to change their gardens around every now and then and especially handy for renters who change residence from time to time.

All of our Vegie Crates come lined with a sturdy plastic root barrier, which helps to protect the timber against rotting. Being 100% recycled they are a wonderfully sustainable addition to any garden.

Being so popular they occasionally sell out quicker than we can source them. To check availability call the yard on 8850 3030 or email

Feb 252013

Photo © Outback Sleepers

With quality hardwood sleepers becoming increasingly difficult to source and their prices soaring, BAAG now offers concrete sleepers. Available in 2m lengths and very reasonably priced, concrete sleepers are an excellent alternative when building a retaining wall.

With a variety of patterns and colours available, we’re confident we’ll find an option that suits you. Suitable to use for retaining walls of up to 3m high, these sleepers are super strong and reliable. Of course, we can provide the steel uprights that you will need to use for these as well.

A variety of designs are also available in precast concrete step kits. With size, height and depth options available, give us a call to find one that will suit you.

Given the strength of these, some walls may need an engineers report before building commences.

Feb 212013

March is a great time of the year to immerse yourself in the spoils of your efforts back in spring. Many of the summer fruit and vegetables are coming into season, be inspired by the diverse range of varieties and planting style on display at BAAG, from the traditional vegie patch to the art inspired edible parterre entrance.

Join Angelo on a free walk and talk around BAAG’s working produce gardens. Angelo is a passionate produce gardener who specialises in Permaculture and Sustainable Gardening.

When: Saturday 9 March, 10:00am – 11:00am
Where: Here at Bulleen Art and Garden. 6 Manningham Road West, Bulleen
The talk is FREE but bookings are required. Please phone 8850 3030 or email

Feb 212013

Monday 11th March – 12noon – 2pm

Join celebrity chef Dan ‘Pepperfingers’ Burke as he weaves his magic on the BBQ with a range of fresh Local Produce. This is no snag ‘n sauce on a limp piece of white bread either… your taste buds will be treated to sensational sauces and salsas, fresh herbs and vegies and tasty sausages. There will be vegan and vegetarian options available as well.

Come down for a free feed on BAAG and help us kick off the Autumn Harvest Festival with a bang(er).

Feb 122013

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?

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Feb 112013

Whether you have a large block or a tiny apartment there are many ways to maximise the amount of food you can produce. Angelo is a Sustainable Gardening / Permaculture expert and will be giving this free talk on Saturday the 16th March at 2pm as part of BAAG’s Harvest Festival.

Angelo will be covering strategies for ensuring a continuous harvest from your garden as well as planting techniques to save space in any sized garden. Angelo runs the fantastic website and his suburban garden is truly inspirational. Come along and benefit from his years of experience… and be invigorated by his infectious enthusiasm for produce gardening!

Bookings are not required, just meet at the Information Stand in the nursery a little before 2pm on Saturday the 16th March.

Jan 292013

All plants need a certain amount of water to grow. One of the biggest decisions that home gardeners needs to make is how they plan to get the water to the plants that require it. Simple systems such as a trigger nozzle on the end of the hose can be the most efficient but do take up a lot of time especially for large gardens. Large automated systems work well but are more expensive to set up and can become inefficient if incorrectly installed. Considering all the options available ensures that you will get the best system suited to your lifestyle and needs.

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Jan 252013

Nectarine - Nectazee Standard

Of the fruit trees growing at BAAG, one that stands out as a great plant selection is the Nectazee standard at the front entrance (our north eastern parterre bed). Nectazee standards are part of the Fleming’s Trixzie miniature fruit tree range which is made up of Nectazee Nectarines, Pixzee Peaches, White and Black Cherree Cherries and Pixzee Pears. Like most other dwarf fruit trees, barring dwarf pomegranates which are ornamental anyway, these produce full sized fruit on miniature sized trees.

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Jan 232013

The Friends of Yarra Valley Parks is a group whose primary aim is to involve the wider community in conservation issues and activities within the Yarra Valley Parklands. They believe that the Yarra Valley Parklands has the potential to become one of the great urban conservation parks. Their activities include plant propagation, planting and weed removal. FYVP work with Parks Victoria rangers and focus their efforts in parks along the Yarra River from Burke Rd, Ivanhoe upstream to Warrandyte.
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Jan 222013

The BAAG Bookshop

Be sure to browse through our bookshop when you next visit BAAG, we stock a wide range of books and DVDs that cater to professional gardeners, gardening enthusiasts and even people who don’t like gardening at all!

We have titles covering many diverse topics including native & indigenous plants, art, lifestyle and books especially for kids. If we don’t have the book you are after we are more than happy to order it in for you. Our books also range in price from a few dollars right up to that special coffee table book as a gift for somebody special.

Bulleen Art and Garden aims to deliver a service to its customers that recognises the importance of environmental issues, both local and global. In this respect, we also stock a wide variety of books which promote sustainable gardening and sustainable lifestyle choices.

Jan 202013

Photo by Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design - Used with permission

Ceratonia siliqua in the Fabaceae family

Carob trees feature edible pods, the seeds are not consumed. They grow to become quite large trees when mature, as large as 10m x 10m. They have an extensive network of shallow roots, as well as a tap root to as deep as 20 m. They can tolerate temperatures to -5 deg C and are very long lived. A carob tree can crop for up to 400 years! The pods are like dates, but with a harder texture. They are also chewier than dates.

Why grow carob?
When roasted, the pods taste like chocolate. In the past carob chocolate has developed a bad name because of high palm oil content used, but there are sustainable options available today. Be sure to read the ingredients and look for Certified Sustainable Palm Oil. Carob is very sweet and a good, nutritious snack which is high in calcium and protein. It is an excellent subsistance food, in times of war many have survived off carob along with other wild foods.

The Mature pods, when thoroughly dry, will store for many years and can also be used to make wine or brandy.

Other uses
The carob is an evergreen, rounded, drought tolerant and very ornamental tree. They are sometimes used as windbreaks as well as shade and fodder plants for animal pastures. Carob can be used as a treatment for diarrhoea! They can also be clipped into a hedge.

Growing carob
Carobs are similar to olives in adaptability. They can be grown in a large pot and are tolerant of drought and poor soils, although better crops will be produced in areas of higher rainfall. They are wind pollinated, with flowers in early winter. Pods are harvested during autumn. Fertilise with small amounts of well rotted animal manure

Both male and female trees are required for pollination. Most trees bought for ornamental purposes are seedlings with unknown gender.


Hermaphrodite, self fertile. Medium size, high yield of good quality beans. 50%+ sugar. Early fruit bearer.

Female, needs a hermaphrodite for pollination. Medium sized tree with a high yield of medium beans. 50%+ sugar. Many consider this variety to have the best flavour, it is not quite as sweet as other varieties.

Jan 202013

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Physalis philadelphica 

For those of us who are into our Mexican food, tomatillos are an essential ingredient. Salsa without tomatillo simply isn’t salsa. Distantly related to tomatoes and growing in a similar way, they are much easier to grow than tomatoes, coping with cooler weather, hardier, less prone to disease and somewhat shade tolerant. These are very productive plants, and given you need to have two as they absolutely need a cross pollinator, that will probably be enough for one family. However, the more the merrier and your friends will be happy to share in your largesse.

They grow in a similar manner to tomatoes and can be staked, but can also be left to sprawl, place approximately 1m apart. Unlike tomatoes, they are not heavy feeders so no there is need to fertilise. They also cope with cooler weather than tomatoes and need a shorter growing season, very useful in Melbourrne! If growing from seed make sure you get Physalis philadelphica and not its close relative the Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana). Technically Tomatillos are perennial, but they are generally grown as annuals. Harvest when the fruit has swelled to fill the husk but before fully ripe, when still green (or purple – depending on variety) and firm. The size is similar to a large cherry tomato, but the flesh is meatier. Leave the husks on until ready to use, store in refrigerator for up to 1 month (or freeze). When removing the husks, the fruit is smooth but slightly sticky, wash thoroughly and use.


Toma Verde – A prolific tomatillo with fruit the size of a small tomato. Sweet tangy flavour, fabulous for salsas and other Mexican dishes. Will lose the tangy aspect if allowed to ripen too much.

Tomatillo Purple – Another prolific tomatillo, purple in colour with a sharper flavour than Verde, making a fantastic salsa. An heirloom or heritage variety.