Jun 132012
 

A treasure trove of fruit growing information has just been made publicly available through the work of Pat Scott to rescue the newsletter content compiled by the members of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia from 1980-2002. Thanks to Pat, Sheryl Backhouse and all the writers for making this resource available. I know where I’ll be spending my spare reading time over winter! Click here to visit their website.

Jun 112012
 

Join local reveg guru Glenn Mansfield, BAAG and the Friends of the Yarra Valley Parks on Wednesday the 18th of July between 9am and 12 noon for a planting day in the park next to the nursery. BAAG has been busy working on the site for over 15 years, creating a healthy indigenous habitat in an area where there was once just weeds.

Come down and find out about the unique and wonderful plants and animals found along the middle Yarra; learn about some of the revegetation techniques used to rehabilitate the site and have a bit of fun getting your hands dirty while having a positive impact on our environment. Kids are more than welcome as well, and they always have loads of fun at these days.

If you would like to join us please rsvp via email to enviro@baag.com.au. (There is no charge, it just makes it easier to organise the day if we know numbers)

May 292012
 

Just arrived in the shop is a fabulous assortment of Fair Trade products, including a range of colourful quirky decorative mirrors and fantastic hand made door curtains from recycled bottles and bottle tops. We also have a great range of animals made from scrap tin which are designed in Australia.

Fair Trade products are great as gifts or as a little treat for yourself. They are sustainably produced and by purchasing Fair Trade product, you are helping to make a difference to the lives of people in developing countries. For more information on Fair Trade Product please click here

May 162012
 

Whilst recognizing that using cultural methods for weed control rather than reaching for the herbicide is better for the environment, there are times when things just get out of control. At this point one tends to look for a herbicide. The shelves of some nurseries are hardware stores are lined with bottles promising all sorts of wonderful results. The trick is to use something which will both do the job and do the least harm, or better yet – no harm.

Probably the most widely used herbicide by the home gardener these days is glyphosate. Originally marketed as Roundup™, now the patent has ended glyphosate is marketed under many names and is readily available in various concentrations and applicators.

Glyphosate is extremely useful to the home gardener. It is considered to be relatively low in toxicity and have no carcinogenic effects, so it is safe to use in the home garden. However it is not necessarily safe for your plants. Just about every nursery person in retail has had a customer bring in a weirdly distorted stem of a rose bush and ask what is wrong – the answer is glyphosate spray drift – and it is not reversible – you are now looking at an ex-rose. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide; this means it will generally kill what plant life it lands on. There are a lot of exceptions, but as a rule of thumb in the home garden, expect it to kill what it hits.

Also be aware that glyphosate is extremely toxic to aquatic life, and when it runs into streams and waterways, it isn’t denatured just diluted and concentrations as low at 10ppm can kill fish. Nor is it good for your soil. It is reported to be quite toxic to the beneficial soil micro-organisms – those very things you have spent so long encouraging and nurturing by digging in compost and manures. Frustrating!

That said, you can still use glyphosate, just use it sensibly. Spray on a still day when no rain is forecast. Spray to the point of run off. Think about this. Do not spray until it runs dripping off the leaves, because then it has run off the plant. Spray until it is like a fine mist coating the plant. This way you get the best coverage on the plant, use the least amount of herbicide and protect both other plants and the soil.

There are relatively mild selective herbicides which can be used to kill broad-leafed weeds such as bindii, clover, oxalis, dandelion, and thistles. These use various active ingredients such as Bromoxynil Octanoate, MCPA (2-ethylhexyl ester) and DICAMBA. Use these with care and take note of any with-holding periods (e.g. keep chooks and pets off sprayed lawns for a certain period of time).

Alternatively you can use acetic acid (main component of vinegar) and salt sprays as a non- selective herbicides – best used for weeds with large flat leaves, also controls algae, liverwort and moss.

When using herbicides, use common sense, use the minimal amount to do the job, use when the plant is actively growing, and spray on a still day. Use protective clothing and wash up thoroughly afterwards.

May 162012
 

Myrtle Rust is a plant fungal disease that was first diagnosed in NSW in Myrtaceae family plants in April 2010

Myrtle Rust is now in Victoria. To a greater or lesser extent (depending on flora and climate conditions) this will change our landscape. It appears that we have no choice but to adapt and learn to live with this fungus. It attacks plants from the Myrtaceae family (list below), some are affected more badly than others (Lophomyrtus, Syzygium and Agonis). Badly affected species are referred to as host plants. We recommend that susceptible host plants be removed in highly infected areas, as re-infection after fungicide application is highly likely. Replace with non susceptible plants, preferably not from the Myrtaceae family.

Rust spores travel very long distances on the wind and may infect stands of susceptible plants many kilometres from the original infestation. Rust spores are also gathered and spread by bees.

Fungicides are effective in the control of Myrtle Rust. Rotation of fungicides between products containing different active ingredients is recommended to ensure fungicide applications remain effective.

Fungicides available to the home gardener for myrtle rust control on non produce plants (i.e. do not use for food plants) are:

Copper oxychloride. Use at 30g per 10L water and leave a minimum of 7-14 days before spraying again.
Mancozeb. Use at a rate of 23g/10L water and leave for a minimum of 7 days before spraying again.
Triforine. Use at a rate of 13ml/10L water and leave for a minimum of 7 days before spraying again.

Do not use any of these sprays more than twice in a row before switching to an alternative spray. Spray to the point of run off. This means just that – stop spraying before the spray runs of the plant – you want a fine mist all over the surfaces of the plant, you don’t want it to run off.

Read the instructions on the label of the product and follow these instructions.

Genus List of Myrtaceae      
Acca Cheyniana Lophomyrtus Pleurocalyptus
Accara Choricarpia Lophostemon Plinia
Actinodium Chytraculia Luma Pseudanamomis
Agonis Cloezia Lysicarpus Psidium
Algrizea Conothamnus Malleostemon Psiloxylon
Allosyncarpia Corymbia Marlierea Purpureostemon
Aluta Corynanthera Melaleuca Regelia
Amomyrtella Curitiba Meteoromyrtus Rhodamnia
Amomyrtus Cyathostemon Metrosideros Rhodomyrtus
Angasomyrtus Darwinia Micromyrtus Rinzia
Angophora Decaspermum Mitranthes Ristantia
Archirhodomyrtus Eremaea Mitrantia Sannantha
Arillastrum Eucalyptopsis Mosiera Schizocalomyrtus
Astartea Eucalyptus Myrceugenia Scholtzia
Asteromyrtus Eugenia Myrcia Seorsus
Astus Euryomyrtus Myrcianthes Siphoneugena
Austromyrtus Gomidesia Myrciaria Sphaerantia
Babingtonia Gossia Myrrhinium Stenostegia
Backhousia Harmogia Myrtastrum Stereocaryum
Baeckea Heteropyxis Myrtella Stockwellia
Balaustion Hexachlamys Myrteola Syncarpia
Barongia Homalocalyx Myrtus Syzygium
Basisperma Homalospermum Neofabricia Taxandria
Beaufortia Homoranthus Neomitranthes Tepualia
Blepharocalyx Hottea Neomyrtus Thaleropia
Britoa Hypocalymma Ochrosperma Thryptomene
Callistemon Kania Octamyrtus Triplarina
Calothamnus Kardomia Osbornia Tristania
Calycolpus Kjellbergiodendron Oxymyrrhine Tristaniopsis
Calycorectes Kunzea Pericalymma Ugni
Calyptranthes Lamarchea Petraeomyrtus Uromyrtus
Calyptrogenia Legrandia Phymatocarpus Verticordia
Calytrix Lenwebbia Pileanthus Welchiodendron
Campomanesia Leptospermum Pilidiostigma Whiteodendron
Chamelaucium Lindsayomyrtus Piliocalyx Xanthomyrtus
Chamguava Lithomyrtus Pimenta Xanthostemon
Apr 272012
 

More than 200 people celebrated growing their own food at home on the 22nd April. The first Home Harvest Feast was held at Edendale farm & Environment centre in Eltham . It was put on by Nillumbik Council , with support from Whittlesea council, local food groups such as local Food Connect, NERP, LETS, and also Village Food Connections, diggers seeds, and, of course, Bulleen Art & Garden (we supplied some door prizes, and take home “party” bags of compost and cow manure).

Over 100 home growers registered to grow the food for the feast, they were helped with seeds and newsletters. Then they delivered the fruits (and vegetables) of their labours for 3 professional caterers to turn into a feast for them and their guests. As well as delicious food, gardeners got to connect.

Apr 162012
 

When I feel blue, or need a distraction from the stresses of life, I head into the garden! Time slows and my mood becomes lighter when my fingers are in the dirt and the intricacies of the world beyond my back door come to life before my eyes. There are many health benefits to be had from gardening. Here are a few of my favourites…

The Sun

The sun does a great job of warming up humans. My house can be chilly but once I venture outside and feel the warm sunrays on my back, I thaw out. It’s also a source of vitamin D (also found in some foods), which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous in our bodies. It helps to maintain healthy bones, and regulates and strengthens the immune system.

For most people, adequate vitamin D levels are reached (without wearing sunscreen) through regular daily activity and incidental exposure to the sun; though to avoid the most harmful UV rays, exposure is recommended before 10am or after 3pm. In winter we may need more exposure to reach a good level. Pulling weeds or giving the garden a drink is a good chance to catch some valuable rays.

Get Physical

A casual stroll around your patch to check on how your goodies are growing is a lovely way to stretch the legs. Gardening is also a top way to exercise. You can pretty much design a workout just by doing some tasks in the yard! Try lifting pots (for strength); stretching to pull out a weed (for flexibility); reaching up or squatting down to check for pests (for mobility); digging, watering, planting, mulching, pruning, turning compost, raking, mowing, sowing and harvesting (for endurance)!

You really know you’ve exerted energy when you can wipe the sweat from your brow, stand back while you stretch your back and arms, and admire your hard work in the garden. It’s very rewarding!

Relax

The birds chirping in the trees, a soft breeze blowing past your face, the smell of flowers, and ladybugs dancing on the leaves – sounds like a relaxing day in the garden! When we turn off the appliances and tune out of the buzz, and tune into the outdoors, we can let our mind breathe. Even just for half an hour, being in a garden is great relaxation. Observing a butterfly’s path across the treetops; the textures of different foliage, flowers, and fruit; a worm’s journey into the dirt; a frog’s peaceful rest on a log; birds supping on nectar; the grace of leaves nodding in the breeze, are all things to help you slip into a relaxed state.

Gardening puts you in touch with the earth’s cycles, its rhythms, and its purpose. Allowing your mind to let go and feel a part of something bigger than yourself, is freeing. Some people achieve this when they do things like surfing, meditation, bushwalking or camping. When you put yourself among flora and fauna, it’s easier to let go of tension and everyday worries. Maybe the extra oxygen in your nostrils helps clear the mind! Designing and implementing a garden is also mentally rewarding: a sense of empowerment and self esteem can result when one can create and control the environment.

Connect

Gardening with other people is a fantastic way to connect and interact. Starting a community garden or joining an existing one is an opportunity to make new friends, swap knowledge and information, and enjoy other like-minded people’s company. Not to mention being able to share and eat the fruits of your labour!

Helping out in a friend’s garden, or giving a family member or neighbour a hand is a valuable and wonderful gesture. Sharing and swapping cuttings, seeds and seedlings creates a rich network of shared resources, and provides an opportunity for those new to gardening to learn some tricks and tips! It’s also a lovely way to hand down traditions and knowledge to future generations.

Getting children involved in your garden is a great way for them to exercise, and learn about and appreciate plants and the cycle of growing! A playgroup (for younger children) focused in the garden is a lovely setting for catching up with other parents and carers. A safe garden that needs a bit of weeding or planting is a good space for kids to get outdoors and get dirty, and learn about teamwork and sharing. Giving kids little tasks to carry out really helps them foster a sense of achievement and pride in their work. The old adage ‘many hands make light work’ also applies here; compare a morning’s work in the garden on your own, with a morning when five mates and their kids lend a hand. The results are usually very impressive!

Produce gardening with kids also gives them an appreciation and experience with where their food comes from, and how.

Growing Your Own

How many times have you heard someone say “it tastes better from my garden!”? Perhaps we can taste the satisfaction when we chew on a bean from our own trellis, as opposed to something that’s probably been in a truck or cold storage for a period of time before it even gets to the supermarket shelf. The reward of knowing you’ve produced something in your own patch of dirt makes home-grown produce sweeter. Apart from being cheaper, more sustainable and better for the environment, growing at least a portion of your own food gives you a better understanding of what you eat. You also gain a real appreciation for seasons, and weather! Mother Earth is a great teacher.

Happy gardening!

Feb 282012
 

On Thursday 23rd of February 2012, as part of Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival, Bulleen Art & Garden and more than 150 guests celebrated the Earth’s life support system, ‘Gaia’, in a night of discussion, performance, song and art whilst raising funds for Sustainable Gardening Australia.

This was an evening to launch a large new mural and open an exhibition, but included much much more – some great speakers – Jane Edmanson, Jason Smith (CEO Heide), Mary Trigger (CEO SGA), Lachlan Plain (mural artist, Director Sanctum Theatre), music, puppets, theatre, gourmet nibbles, walks and much good cheer!

It was a perfect evening – Gaia was certainly smiling apon us!

Read More

 

Feb 202012
 

BAAG is thrilled to be the 2012 state winner of the Nursery and Garden Industry of Australia Environment award.

The NGIA environment award recognises business that demonstrates leadership and commitment to environmental management, sustainability and community participation in relation to environmental issues. It is open to the entire nursery industry, including retail garden centres, wholesale and production nurseries and allied garden businesses.

Continue reading »

Feb 012012
 

How much do I need? Click here to use our handy calculator.

Brick Sand

Brick Sand (Grey)

Sometimes referred to as fatty sand. Mainly used for mortaring brick or stone work and for laying under pool linings. Standard mix for mortar is 6:1 (6 parts sand to 1 part cement). For one cubic metre of sand you will need 8 x 20kg bags of cement. This will lay approximately 1200 bricks. Shades of colour may vary between batches.

Concrete Paving Sand

Concrete / Paving Sand

Mainly used as a concrete sand in a standard 4:2:1 mix (4 parts 14mm screenings, 2 parts sand, 1 part cement).
Concrete / Paving Sand is the main sand used when laying pavers, and is also the ideal sand for a water tank base.

Fine White Sand

Fine White Sand

Ideal for use in childrens’ sand pits. Also recommended as a jointing sand for paving. It can be mixed with brick sand 50:50 to make a general render. (3 parts brick sand, 3 parts FW sand, 1 part cement)

Jan 312012
 

Hidden behind our steel façade is our huge plant nursery, one of the biggest in Melbourne. We have a huge range plants in stock and they are all meticulously sorted so you can find what you need quickly and easily. All benches are sorted in alphabetical order to make life easy for the keen gardener, and in easy-to-use sections to make it easy for the novice. Plants are grouped into Small, Medium and Tall Shrubs, Trees, Ground Covers and Climbers and Screening Plants.

Produce Gardening

Produce Gardening

We have continually expanded our Produce Gardening range over the last few years, and you’ll be amazed at the variety you will find now. There’s nothing better than chomping down on some freshly grown, organic produce, and we are here to help you with everything edible. Herbs, vegies, fruit and citrus trees, berries, vines… you name it! If it’s available in Melbourne, it’s in our Produce Section. We even have a Bushfoods section showcasing some indigenous tasty delights. Our awesome display gardens not only provide ideas and inspiration, but show that we can grow the plants just as well as we sell them! You’ll be amazed at how many edible plants are also great as ornamentals, ask our staff to show you next time you are in.

BAAG Information Stand

BAAG Information Stand

The info stand is the hub of our nursery. All enquiries regarding plants, pests, diseases, gardening advice and customer plant orders are channelled through this point. Although staff are not always seated within the info stand one press of the service button located at the front of the stand will bring a quick response. You’ll also find heaps of info on classes, consultancies, community events and much more on our large display boards. There are also loads of brochures and other info you can take away with you. We have also set up a Large Screen TV for customers to use which displays loads of gardening info from our website. Next time you are in, grab the mouse and take it for a spin.

Aquatic Gardens

Aquatic Gardens

More popular than ever before, water features in the garden require a little extra care. The right balance of aquatic plants and fish can make a big difference to how well your pond keeps. Visit us for the right advice on the numbers and types of pond plants needed and how to care for them. We stock a wide variety of aquatic plants, both native and exotic species.

Habitat Gardening

These are plants especially selected to attract native wildlife to your garden. Enjoy the magic of birds and butterflies as they flit through in search of nectar or seeds; or choose attractive grasses to grow around your pond to shelter frogs in search of a home. Lizards will keep your pest insects under control when they take up residence amongst your plants. Our staff can help you select the right mix of trees and shrubs to suit any garden size.

Indoor Plants

Ferns, Indoor Plants and Shade Plants

Not just for the side of the house where nothing else will grow, ferns provide a cool oasis, perfect for outside sitting
areas. We have ferns that are suited for pots or for planting; and you can rest assured that are the ferns have been cultivated or harvested under strict environmental controls. Bulleen Art & Garden will never stock ferns taken illegally from their habitat. We also have a huge range of indoor and shade loving plants.

Flower and Vegie Seedlings

Flower and Vegie Seedlings

As all gardeners know, seedlings are the cheapest and easiest way to get your flowers and vegetables up and growing. More certain than seeds, which all have a degree of variability, by planting seedlings, you are sure of what you are growing. We stock a huge range of vegetable, herb and flower seedlings, both in the traditional punnet size; or, for the larger garden, the mega punnet is even more value for money.

Display Gardens

Display Gardens

Sometimes showing is far easier than telling. We have many types of display gardens set up throughout the nursery, including Produce Gardens, Cacti and Succulents, Lawn Alternatives, Indigenous Plants, Heat Loving Plants, The Edible Food Forest and much more.

Display Gardens
Display Gardens
Display Gardens

Jan 232012
 

Pea straw is a crop high in nitrogen grown mostly for animal feed. When used as mulch it breaks down within a year and improves soil structure and nutrient levels. It is perfect for vegie gardens, but also great in general garden beds. The bales make it easy to store until you are ready to use it… as long as you keep it dry.

Get together with your friends, family and neighbours to take advantage of BAAG’s FREE delivery of Pea Straw. The minimum order to qualify for the free delivery is 30 bales, there is no maximum order. A bale of Pea Straw will mulch around 5 to 6 square metres.

Click here for more info and ordering conditions.