Apr 092018
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

BAAG will once again be supporting the Garden Releaf program in 2018 with Garden Releaf day on Saturday April 14. Focusing on the benefits of plants and gardens to enrich our lives, BAAG will be exploding with colour, plenty of fun activities and informative events across the day (and the weekend). The aim is to encourage people to get into their garden and get planting.

Gardens and colour continue to prove to be beneficial for positive mental health and wellbeing, so Garden Releaf day will be themed around Colour for Health. BAAG will be bursting with colour and beautiful plants, and we will once again support beyond blue through fund raising activities in the lead up to and on the day. Click through to see what’s happening at BAAG.
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Mar 282018
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Our customer base is a pretty savvy and well informed one, and this is always reinforced in March and April as sales of native plants soar. Good gardeners are well aware that this is the ideal time to plant natives, and all of a sudden we are doubling orders for natives as they walk off the bench. The weather can still provide us with warm days in April, but without the hot sun and with rain happening or imminent it’s an ideal time for gardening and planting. Now is also the perfect time to start preparing your winter vegie patch. There’s plenty to do in the garden in April, so put summer behind you and get cracking!

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Mar 192018
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

BAAG was at the Banyule Arty Farty Fest again this year, this time Amy and Harriet were showing the kids how to build and look after their own worm farms. A great time was had by all. Thanks to everyone who popped by to say hello!

Mar 142018
 

Due to a major mistake (and horrible customer support) from our Internet Hosting company (cough cough NetLogistics cough cough) many of our Garden Club subscribers did not receive the March newsletter on time. It is still being delivered! For those that missed out… here it is… Continue reading »

Dill

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Mar 062018
 

Dill

Anethum graveolens

Dill is a a very attractive, feathery herb grown both for its leaves and its seeds. It is also a good food source for beneficial insects. The leaves are best eaten before the plant runs to seed. The leaves have a delicate tangy flavour and a wonderful aroma which goes really well with fish, eggs, and poultry. Best used fresh and added towards the end of any cooking process. The aroma and attractive feathery texture makes it one of the best garnishes in the kitchen. It is particularly good in salad dressings and in oils and butters, or through cream cheese. Smoked salmon without dill is like a martini without an olive.
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Mar 012018
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

It’s harvest time in your vegie garden, and time to think about what you want to plant in winter. It’s also a great time for making changes to your ornamental garden… the soil is still warm but the sun’s heat is not as intense. For those who have been asking, most of our autumn bulb range is now in stock (including garlic bulbs).
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Hazelnuts

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Feb 252018
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Claire’s Hazelnut Tunnel

Four and a half years ago, while pregnant with my second child, my friends helped me dig over two long, south facing garden beds either side of a path. We removed running bamboo from my next-door neighbour, as well as other weeds, then we added manure, compost and zeolite to the heavy clay soil. We mounded up the beds to give better drainage.

Inspired by “The Nuttery” at Sissinghurst in the UK, my long, south facing fence was perfect to recreate this inspirational planting, although with less space than Harold Nicholson’s creation. My entire back garden is edible, except for some floral elements to attract pollinators and good bugs. So, finding edible plants that would do well in the shade was important to me. Hazelnuts are perfect.
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Feb 242018
 

Zeolite

There are a whole bunch of really smart people out there doing amazing research and product development to help improve soils. There are websites, soil clubs and blogs devoted to soils. My 18yo son thinks this is truly pitiful and these people should get out more – while I think this is incredibly useful and what would an 18yo know anyway?

Two products are standouts, both have been around for a while, but are a bit of a sleeper – well known and used in the high end turf industry, bulk potting mix and in the plant production industry, they have yet to be promoted to the backyard gardener.

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Feb 202018
 

Steel and Glass Sculpture

by Tim Read and Rob Hayley

2nd February to 4th March

Tim Read is a sculptor from the Bend Of Islands whose passion is working with steel. He also likes to collaborate with artists in other media. For this exhibition he will be collaborating with friend and colleague, glass artist Rob Hayley.

More pictures and info at http://gallery.baag.com.au/?p=3690

Jan 292018
 

I am VERY glad I installed a drip system two summers ago, all automated, and finally all my pots are now included (well, actually I keep adding more, so another three to add lines to). It has made this summer a breeze, with zero deaths in the garden and a bearable water bill. I need to top up the mulch, have noticed it makes an enormous difference when you are using drippers. My blueberries are ripening nicely, and amazingly the birds have yet to find them. All is good in my world.

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Jan 262018
 

Bulleen Art & Garden is under serious threat from the proposed construction of the North-East Link. We are now asking our community help us to survive. BAAG is an innovative garden centre which provides a visitor experience not found anywhere else in Melbourne. Some people in the garden industry even say we are unique in the world with our focus on art, environment and a wide range of rare and unusual plants.

We have been operating from 6 Manningham Rd West in Bulleen for the past 50 years, and under the current family ownership for over 35 years. BAAG is proudly an integral part of the local community and our approach is driven by a continued commitment to nurturing creativity and community. BAAG inspires, enables and educates our community to live in a more environmentally sustainable way. Please help us by signing this petition and spreading the word to your friends and families. The petition is calling on the NE Link Authority to ensure that the path the new road takes does not impact BAAG.

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Jan 192018
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Hops are the female flowers (looking like very small green pinecones) of the hop vine Humulus lupulus. It is a vigorous herbaceous perennial vine – and will scoot up quickly to several metres high in one year. It dies back each year over winter, but will quickly re-establish itself in spring and summer. Hops flower over summer and are ready to harvest in early to late autumn. One hop plant should produce enough from a home brewer, but two different types will give you a bit of variety to play with when brewing. Victoria is good hops growing country.

Planting hops
Choose a sunny position with lots of vertical space as the twining vine will rapidly climb over 5m up strings/wires/ropes. Improve the soil with manure and compost. If the soil is not very well drained then mound it up 30cm or more to make sure drainage is sufficient. Hop vines can be very heavy, so construct a trellis or wire system that is sturdy and can take 10kg or more of weight. Plant in spring, after the last frost.

Growing hops
Once the hops plant is shooting well, take the best few shoots and twine them up the trellis/wires, they will naturally want to go in an anticlockwise direction in the southern hemisphere, so encourage them in that direction. Trim the rest of the shoots off and let the plant put its energy into the shoots you have selected. These shoots are referred to as ‘bines’.

With such a large leaf mass, the water requirement is correspondingly large, regular deep watering is needed. Drip irrigation is ideal. They will need around 5L a day over the warmer months.

Harvesting hops
You will get some hops to harvest in year one, but the main harvests will come in the second and subsequent years. Hops tend to ripen sporadically, and are best harvested as they ripen rather than waiting for them all to be ripened and harvesting in one go.

To determine if the hop cones are ready to pick, press them and see if they are papery dry, springy and release a good strong ‘hoppy’ aroma. Plus they may leave a bit of yellow powder on your fingers. To confirm, split one open – it should be filled with a rich yellow powder.

Dry the cones in a shady spot (must be out of the sunlight) and when dry store out of sunlight sealed in a vacuum sealed bag. Can then be thrown in the freezer if you are not ready to use them.

Maintaining hops
After all cones have been harvested the bines can be cut back to a metre or so above ground level, or you can leave them in place, but once the first frost has killed them off, cut back to just above ground level and mulch around them. They will now rest over winter in preparation for doing it all again next spring.

Keep an eye on the rhizomes, they can spread and you don’t want hops taking over your garden!

Using hops
The hop flower is used as a flavouring agent in beer, as well as a preserving agent and assisting the foaming.
Can make tea out of the dried flower cones. Leave on vine as long as possible to dry. Brew one cone to around 1L of water. Makes a bitter digestive tea – VERY relaxing (from same family as marijuana).
Also steeped in alcohol such as Chartreuse or Vermouth, to make a digestif.

Varieties of Hops
(we have these, but not all of them, all of the time)

Cascade
An aroma type. Good for aroma and flavouring as well as bittering. Used for pale ales, and IPAs
Aroma Profile: Intense Floral/Citrus/Grapefruit/Spicy
Average Alpha Acids: 5.5-9.0% (moderate to high)

Chinook
For Pale Ales and IPAs
Aroma Profile: Spice/Pine/Grapefruit
Average alpha acids: 12-14%

Goldings
Aroma Profile: Floral/Fruity/Herbal
Average alpha acids: 4.5%

Pride of Ringwood
Used by CUB to bitter all its beers. Strong aroma and earthy citrus flavour.
Aroma Profile: Cedar/Oak/Herbal
Average alpha acids: 9%
Highly disease resistant.

Target
Aroma Profile: Citrus/Spicy
Average alpha acids: 9.5-12.5%

Vienna Gold
All round brewers hop

Württemberg (Tettnanger)
All round aroma and bittering hop
Average alpha acids: 3.5-5.5%

Jan 072018
 

Melons

The burst of flavour from a home grown melon is a lesson in why we grow our own fruit. Couple that with the slightly smug satisfaction in picking your own and it is a glorious summer gift to the dining table. On its own, in fruit salad, with salt (thanks Dad), with sugar, wrapped in prosciutto or naked, melons are the best!
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