Archive of: Firewood
Landscaping Tips: Which Is Better? Cultivars Vs Varieties
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‘Cultivar’ and ‘Variety’ are two terms used by gardeners and horticulturalists that form a part of the scientific name of a plant that describes its characteristics. Asking which is better out of cultivars and varieties is a difficult question to answer, as they each have differing characteristics, which may or may not be suited to the gardener or landscaper who is using the plant.
In terms of how often they are used, and which is used more by landscapers today, some horticulturalists believe that there are more cultivars being planted than varieties but this cannot be easily verified. Additionally, when it comes to the naming of plants, sometimes gardeners and horticulturalists can be lazy in how they write this information, so this can be even more confusing. The best way we can assist you in answering this question is to provide an overview of each type, and perhaps you will be able to make a decision for yourself as to which you feel is better for your garden.
The word ‘cultivar’ is a shortened term for a cultivated variety, which is a plant that has not been propagated by seed, but rather through human intervention such as via stem cuttings. The offspring of a cultivar will maintain the characteristics of the parent plant for only one generation. This means that the seeds from this plant are not guaranteed to have the same characteristics of the plant from which they came.
An example of this is if the cultivar has a particular colour of flower that is sought by the landscaper. Rather than being able to save seeds from the plant at the end of the season, the landscaper would need to buy a new plant as the seeds that the current plant produces would not be guaranteed to produce offspring with the same characteristics as its parent plant. The advantage of using cultivars is that you may find plants with characteristics that are desirable, such as a particular colour of flower or aroma, which you would not find in a variety.
The word ‘variety’, which is often abbreviated as ‘var’, refers to plants that grow and reproduce naturally. The seeds of these plants are more likely to produce offspring that have the same characteristics as their parent plant, for example, if the parent variety had purple flowers, the seeds that are produced from the plant will most likely have the same. Because cultivated varieties are patented by the plant developer, they might cost a bit more than varieties that grow and reproduce naturally, which makes varieties often cheaper to buy.
For more information about the different types of plants that we have at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre, come in and talk to one of our experienced gardeners.
How to Improve the Quality of Your Soil for Healthier Plants
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Having healthy soil is imperative to having healthy plants, so no amount of work that you do will assist your plants in being as healthy as they can be, unless your soil is healthy. There are a various types of soil, and each will need different things to improve it to the point where it will be able to give its best to your plants, and keep them as healthy as possible.
Know Your Soil
Knowing what your soil in order to be at its best, means getting to know your soil; therefore, don’t be afraid to get your hands into it. Grab a big handful and really get the feel for it. There are four basic types of soil that you will find in your garden. These are sandy, loamy, silty and clay. They each have attributes that could benefit from adding specific ingredients to the mix.
Feed Your Soil
Sandy soil doesn’t hold on to its nutrients very well, so adding lots of organic matter to it, especially before sowing your seeds will get it in good shape for your plants to grow. Silty and loamy soil are the best in which to grow plants, so they do not need much work, except for some fertiliser. Clay soil is not very aerated so it will need lots of organic matter that has already broken down. If you have clay soil it is best to add the well broken down organic matter at least a month or two before you want to use the soil. If you aren’t sure about what sort of soil you have, feel free to bring a handful into Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre and one of our experts can assist you in getting the balance you need.
Check pH Levels
Depending on what you are choosing to plant, the pH levels of the soil can be an important aspect to consider. Neutral soil will be best for most plants, but some prefer it to be slightly acidic, or alkaline. You can test your soil by using a pH testing kit, which is available at any garden centre. Once you know the pH levels of your soil you can adjust it accordingly to suit whatever plant you are growing in it. Ground lime will make your soil more alkaline and adding sulphur will make it more acidic.
Design Your Own Garden With the Right Gardening Tools
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There was once a time when we did everything ourselves because that was the only way things would get done. Then, over time, as we got busy it became common place to always get a professional in to do work around our home that we need done. We believed that this was the only way to get the job done, but with some things this not always the case. If we have the right tools, we are able to do just as fantastic a job without the hefty price tag that accompanies getting someone else to do it and with the added joy of having done it ourselves.
Computer Garden Design Programs
The DIY movement has made it a lot easier for people to design and landscape their own gardens without needing to get a professional in to do the work. One tool that will be invaluable for the owner who wants a hands-on approach is a design program that you can use on your computer to plan your ideas and work out exactly what you want. It can take you through the whole process, step by step, allowing you to design and build your perfect garden.
Let’s face it, if you’ve got money to burn, there are a lot of different tools you can buy for working on your garden, and if you have space to keep all your gadgets safe and the money to purchase them, go ahead and do it. But often a lot of the things that are advertised are not needed, and will be more likely to be used once and left to collect dust in your shed. But before you go out and spend your cash buying the latest gadgets let’s have a look at some of the tools that you really need, starting with a wheelbarrow. A wheelbarrow will be invaluable for you in moving things around your garden, so make sure you have one of these.
Spade and Hoe
A spade is another tool that you cannot live without if designing and building your garden. It can be used not only to shovel dirt, but is great for churning up the garden beds and turning them over. A hoe is another important tool that will assist you with breaking up hard dirt and allowing air into the soil.
Without water, your garden will not survive, so ensure that you have a good long hose with an adjustable nozzle, to ensure that you can get water to those hard to reach places. Having some sort of hanging storage device for keeping your hosepipe in order, will help to keep it out of the sun when you are not using it, and also prevent it from getting tangled.
At Bacchus Marsh and Redgum Garden Centre, we know all about designing gardens, and what tools you will need, so if you have any questions about tools, plants or design ideas, stop by and have a chat with one of our experienced staff.
A Guide for Gardeners – Soil and Nutrient Management
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In the same way that we test the soil before we lay the foundations of a house, the preparation that you put into your garden lays the foundation for the quality and quantity of your yield. This depends largely on the health of the soil in which you plant your garden, so getting the soil right is the most important step to having plenty of healthy vegetables, herbs and other plants.
One easy assessment that will provide you with some important information about the health of your soil can be done simply by viewing the colour of the soil. Dark brown or black soil indicates the presence of decaying organic matter, which means that the soil is likely to be quite fertile. Pale-coloured or yellow soil shows that there is a lack of organic matter and nutrients so the soil will need organic matter added to bring it up to where it needs to be for growing healthy plants. Red soil indicates the oxidising of iron compounds and although this soil will have good drainage, it will need the addition of organic matter and nutrients before planting.
Healthy soil is alive with vitality and provides food for the plants to ‘eat’ while they are growing. Organic matter is responsible for this life and vitality and this is where the nutrients for the soil live. It also holds moisture and attracts microorganisms and earthworms, which assist the fertility and structure of the soil. Organic matter consists of anything that was once alive such as compost, manure, mulch, lawn clippings and leaf matter.
Testing your soil for nutrients is a good way of working out what it needs and how you can provide it. Different fertilisers have various chemical compounds so testing the soil will give you an idea about which one is needed for the different plants you are growing.
Another way that you can provide nutrients for your soil, apart from organic matter, is through adding water soluble fertilisers. Nitrogen fertilisers need to be added frequently in small doses, so that the plants have time to use them without the fertilisers making the soil too acidic, which will burn the roots of the plant. Organic fertilisers such as manure will release nutrients slowly, and give the plant time to use them.
For more information about getting your soil as healthy as it can be, come in and talk to one of our experts at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre today.
Urban Gardening: How to Begin Composting
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Living on a farm makes it a lot easier to grow your own food and compost your scraps to produce more food – thereby continuing the cycle of growth and renewal. But often it is the case that for those living in urban areas, it is a lot more challenging to have the motivation and know-how of doing these things. The restrictions of space and time often prevent urban dwellers from knowing where to start with composting. However, achieving the dream of being as self-sufficient as possible, no matter where you live, is an attainable lifestyle choice.
Don’t Waste Anything
When someone dies and you attend a funeral, often somewhere during the proceedings you will hear the line “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. This could refer to the idea that organic matter comes from the earth and returns to the earth. In the funeral context we remember that humans are made of organic matter – we are raised from the earth, and return to it once we are finished with our physical bodies.
Every organic item (and some non-organic items) that you come into contact with, have the ability to go back into the cycle and become something else. So start thinking outside the box. Look at things from the perspective of ‘how can this be used’ before throwing it in the bin.
Save Your Scraps
Preparing a healthy meal usually produces a bunch of vegetable scraps that are often thrown away into the bin where they go to landfill, and rot away next to a plastic bag or a disposable nappy. In this scenario, their use is limited and the cycle ends when they rot and become nothing. However, saving your vegetable scraps and composting them allows you to produce something from what would normally be discarded. Compost scraps can become food for your plants, so you can eat again, and again and again, from the same organic matter.
Compost does not need to be something that takes up a lot of space in your garden, especially if you have a limited area to use for what you want to do. Having a compost bin in the corner of your garden provides somewhere for you to throw your scraps, where they can become of use. Composting assists you in turning your vegetable scraps into fertiliser for your plants.
Did you know that worms love to eat your scraps? Worms will eat breads and grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as tea bags and coffee grounds. They turn this organic waste into rich soil that can be used for growing fresh food. You can easily create a worm farm with a little know how, and they do not take up much space, making them the ideal compost buddies for those living in urban areas.
What Is the Ideal Soil for Gardening All Year Around?
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Knowing your soil is an important part of getting your garden right, from the word go. There are many different types of soil, each with their own qualities and attributes that make them perfect for some things but not others. Depending on where you live, and the climate that you experience during the changing seasons, the various soils can have a different affect on how plants grow. Some soils are smaller in particle size, which helps them to hold water, while others are larger and the water drains straight through. The best soil to use for gardening all around is a combination of soils.
Different Soil Types
Sandy soil drains rapidly because of its large particles so it cannot hold water very well, which means that your young seedlings would not get enough water. Silty soil holds water very well, which would be great for your plants but it does not drain well so using this for gardening could cause problems with too much moisture.
Clay soil drains well and is rich in plant food but it becomes too dry during the warmer months of the year. Peaty soil has high water content and is rich in organic matter, but again, it can become too dry during the warmer weather. Saline soil has a high salt content which can stop the plants from being able to take in water, and can cause leaf burn, especially on the younger leaves.
The Winner Is…
Loam soil is the ideal soil for gardening all year around because of its high nutrient content and its ability to drain easily. Gardeners love this soil because it has just the right combinations of elements to be perfect for growing plants. Loam soil is made up of a balance of silty soil, sandy soil and clay soil. It is high in calcium and pH, and holds water but also drains well.
Loam soil is of a darker colour and has a crumbly consistency. If you don’t have loam soil in your garden, you can condition the soil that you do have by adding nutrients, layering compost over the top or spraying the plants’ leaves with a compost spray. For more information about the ideal soil for your garden talk to us at Bacchus Marsh and Redgum Garden Centre next time you stop by.
Tips To Get Your Plants To Grow Fast
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There are few things in life that are as rewarding as planting a garden, watching it grow and enjoying the fruits of your labour. The joy of watching something that you have planted come to life right before your eyes is a joyous experience. As each new shoot opens itself to the morning sun and gradually stretches and grows, you will be able to watch its progress and delight in its journey. Like any new birth, there are many different ways of going about the process, but a few helpful tips can assist you in getting the most out of your plants.
Prepare the Ground
In pretty much anything that you undertake, there usually always needs to be the foundational preparations that create the space for the evolution of new growth. You would not place a newborn baby into a dirty cot, with harsh scratchy blankets, and the same goes with newborn plants. If the ground is dull or lifeless, or has had chemicals used around it previously, it will not produce the best yield that it can. So the first step to growing healthy, fast growing plants is to prepare the ground.
Fertilise the Soil
One way to prepare the ground is to have a look at the soil and ascertaining what it might need, to prepare it for growing plants. If the soil is too dry or too wet, it will not be a good place for the plants to flourish in. Prepare the ground by aerating the soil regularly for a few days and adding some organic matter into the soil. This could be done by mixing in vegetable scraps, mushroom or any other compost, or buying specific fertilisers such as dynamic lifter. Keep turning the ground over and water it regularly until it starts to show signs of life. Once the soil is looking healthy, it will be ready for you to plant.
Grow Your Own Seedlings
Another way of helping your plants to grow fast is to grow your own seedlings. Placing seeds directly into the soil can take a lot longer than if you germinate them inside the house, or in a green area where conditions are monitored closely. Plants that have had this start in life will be strong when they meet the harsh elements of being outside and they will have more chance of flourishing.
For more tips on how to get your plants growing fast or to pick up some healthy seedlings to get your garden started, come and see us at the Bacchus Marsh and Redgum Garden Centre.
Plants That Thrive In Australia’s Hot Sizzling Sun
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There is no doubt that if you are living in Australia you are living in the lucky country. We are so blessed with such wonderful weather that it can be hard to pick your favourite season. For some, summer can be the toughest to endure due to the sizzling heat us tough Aussies are required to withstand. At least we can escape indoors, shaded areas or even the swimming pool.
Not so for our gardens.
There are plenty of plants that thrive in these harsh conditions. With a little love and the addition of protective layers of mulch or rock, you will have your garden singing and offering up wonderful growth.
So what plants best suit this climate and what can you do for your garden to help it cope with soaring temperatures?
Any gardening centre in Australia worth a pinch will tell you that you can’t go past Australian Natives and Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre is no different.
It’s just common sense that if you plant out offerings from your own environment you will enjoy the success and beautiful garden you desire. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great plants that have adapted well to our environment.
For a hardy, flourishing garden you can’t go past :
- The delightful and showy Kangaroo Paw. This stunning plant is available in an array of colours.
- Cordylines are also available in a range of colours, the strappy leaves of this plant offer colour and feature well in any Australian garden.
- Gazanias are also a firm favourite. This native from Southern Africa thrives in our conditions. They flower just about all year round and offer great ground cover to taller plantings.
If you are looking for a vine to grow over an arbour or patio to offer some shade, these plants all work very well:
- Lilac Vine is a delightful draping creeper with showy purple flowers.
- Grapes! Why not grow a vine that will also offer a sweet treat? The bonus to this vine is that is dies back during the winter months when you may prefer to let the sun shine in.
- Bougainvillea is also very popular in our gardens due to its hardiness and beautiful flowers.
If its shrubs and trees you are after then we suggest:
- Callistemon viminalis from the bottle brush family has beautiful 15-25mm red stamens that will appear all year round that attract the birds.
- The hardy Banksia is also a must for any Australian garden for its bird attracting qualities and easy cultivation.
The Environment and You
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We might be preaching to the converted, but we really cannot stress enough that everything we do should involve consideration of our environment.
Now, ‘environment’ can be taken in several ways, two of which are significant.
Environment – The Big Picture
When you consider the big picture in relation to the environment you may think of large factories that are spewing out smog and rubbish into the air, emptying into our seas or just leaving debris in a landfill.
You would be surprised to know that you, the little guy, may be funding some of this noxious industry and you can make a difference.
How would you like to be part of a movement of individuals who make a difference? You don’t have to go and stand on a picket line or donate huge amounts of money. You just need to make good buying choices.
Environment – Bringing It In
When you think of the term ‘environment’ you can also interpret it as to how and where you live. These two alone will control your thoughts and outcomes without you even realising it.
Bringing the term ‘environment’ into your own world can be as simple as creating a space of beauty. A space that is useable—a space to live.
How can you balance this environment, with caring for the outer environment?
Make Ethical Choices
Any self-serving greenie and certainly any business that is enfolded in an industry that contributes to creating homes and communities such as Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre knows and understands we must preserve mother earth and her resources.
There are many products on the market that have been ethically grown and sourced and we stock a wide range of these products. We can help you make choices that will enhance and add value to your property, as well as, that can also work hand in hand with preserving our world’s environment.
Plantation wood and firewood is a good place to start. We provide quality dry wood for building and burning. Other places to search for ethical products are the mulches, gravel, and rock for your gardens.
Is the river rock you like so much ethically sourced or illegally dredged from a creek somewhere? Is there a more ethical, environmentally friendly choice?
Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can answer all these questions and more. Come in, check out our amazing range of products and see for yourself how you can start saving the world today!
Winter Is Coming
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When you hear the term “winter is coming”__ _you might mistake it as a reference to the popular _A Game of Thrones.
In this particular case, though, we really are referring to the fact that winter is coming in Australia. Unlike this book turned programme though we have winter come around every twelve months, so it is important to be prepared for the cold.
Many of us like the idea of a crackling wood fire but most of us do not have ready access to the wood necessary to keep them crackling.
It can be quite damaging to the wildlife that abounds when people think it is okay to go for a walk in the bush and simply pick up logs to put on their fires. We have seen and been told about animals being displaced from their homes or even killed in the process of people cutting wood from roadsides and bushland. This is a selfish act.
So what can you do to get a fire crackling in your living room without destroying some animal or its home?
Ethically Sourced and Dried
The firewood that Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Centre supplies has been sourced ethically and dried appropriately so that you can relax and actually enjoy your warm fire knowing you have done the right thing.
Most people do not realise that to get a good fire you need to have wood that has been cut, split and left to dry until there is very little moisture content. 10%-20% is perfect.
Damp or green wood will certainly burn but it will smoke a lot – which again, is bad for the environment. Green and damp wood does not burn as hot either. This is because the heat is taken by the wood itself as the moisture is evaporated in the fire.
More or Less Heat
The other important fact to be mindful of is that different woods burn at different levels and produce more or less heat.
All wood burns but soft wood burns quickly and does not produce as much heat. This means your fire needs more regular attention and a higher amount of wood. This then means you need to store more wood.
A good solid hardwood such as the plantation grown split Redgum that we supply will burn hotter and slower, which means better warmth and comfort for your home and family at a fraction of the cost.
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