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Jennifer Stackhouse

  1. Understanding root systems

    Understanding root systems
    The mental image we all have of a root system is a taproot that anchors the plant firmly in the soil. The reality is that very few roots systems have a taproot – dandelions and carrots are two plants that do develop taproots. Most root systems, even those supporting large trees, are broad and shallow. Rather than one main central...
  2. Where’s my fruit?

    Where’s my fruit?
    We think flowers are just there to look pretty, but for the plant, they are how they reproduce themselves. If you've got flowers but no fruit on your fruit trees, chances are you're missing a vital piece of the puzzle: pollination.   A bee pollinating a plum blossom. Pollen basics Most flowers contain male and female parts, which are usually...
  3. All about proteas

    All about proteas
    Despite appearances, proteas are not Australian native plants – but they could have been and there in lies a fascinating story stretching back billions of years, to a time when Australia was part of a super continent we call Gondwana. Also part of Gondwana was Africa and it's on this continent that proteas - and their close relatives leucadendrons and...
  4. Water gardens

    Water gardens
    When we found our new house we thought we’d explored every part of the garden so imagine how surprised we were to discover later that an area of lush leafy plants was concealing a pond. We’d viewed the garden in autumn but by winter, when we moved in, much of the growth had died back revealing a large shallow pond...
  5. Vegetable growing basics

    Vegetable growing basics
    Spring is a great time to grow edibles both from seed and seedling, and the warm spring weather makes everything thrive. But, if you’ve never grown vegetables before, where do you start? The best starting point is the sunniest part of the garden away from competing plants such as trees. Start with a small space say one-metre square to get...
  6. Caring for phalaenopsis orchids

    Caring for phalaenopsis orchids
    Phalaenopsis or moth orchids are long-lived flowering pot plants that add style and grace to any indoor setting. They are available year round with flowers that last for months. The flowers are usually purple, white or a combination of both. The graceful arching flower stems grow from a small clump of wide strappy leaves. These potted flowers are excellent gifts...
  7. Why grevilleas might surprise you

    Why grevilleas might surprise you
    Grevilleas are among the most versatile plants you can grow. Use them as a hedge plant, feature shrub or tree, as a ground cover or a weeping standard. Put them in a garden bed or in a container. There are varieties for all soils and climates and they bring in the birds. Grevilleas are also charming as cut flowers. If...
  8. Azaleas

    Azaleas
    I had always thought of azaleas as small plants until one day I visited an old Sydney garden and found myself walking through a tunnel of shrubs. Wondering what they were, I looked up and discovered azalea flowers above my head. These plants, which were decades old and had never been pruned except to create space to walk, had grown...
  9. Gardening for Kids

    Gardening for Kids
    With most of having spent plenty of time inside our homes over the last 18 months, and a little longer to come, we're all desperate for new hobbies and routines to get us out of the house. But while we adults have been busy dealing with cancelled holidays and time away from loved ones, it's important not to forget the...
  10. Bird-attracting plants

    Bird-attracting plants
    I am watching wattlebirds, parrots and a flock of silvereyes having fun in my fruit trees. They are feeding on the ripening apples with a lot of flashing wings and bird chatter. All fruit trees and shrubs are bird-attracting plants but these are the very plants we don’t want the birds to find attractive. Luckily the apple crop is so...

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