Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Planting a small garden strip

Small strips in the garden as the easiest project in the garden. However, it isn't just strip and plant on the original soil structure. Most of the time, the original soil lacks nurtients and may have weed seeds hidden within. Here are the simple steps that I use.

Original state of the strip


1.Strip out the unwanted plants and loosen the soil

2. Sprinkle compost, manure, NPK and worm cast evenly. This is to bring a well balanced nutrient mix back into the soil biota

Spread the mix in even layers
3. Plant! Here I am planting in a 3 row orientation. The plant, Rhoeo are great for such areas because they require little water and over time grow into dense mass where weeds are unable to grow.
4. Mulch it. I have used recycled wood waste which will breakdown over time to become compost. I have layed down small boulders between the rows to prevent Scrub turkeys from scratching up the plants and soil
Job DONE!

Email: plantvisionz@gmail.com for Free Quotes to achieve your gardening dream.



Thursday, 9 June 2016

Rock Garden by the hill

This is by far the most strenuous build I have ever done. This garden is at the back of the house and has 2 layers of terraces. The owner wanted a garden which didn't need to be mowed yet looked pretty. After much discussion between rock and hard wood mulch, the rocks won. Reasons being
1. They are heavy and don't need to be topped up over time
2. Looks better as a rock garden
3. Scrub Turkey!!!! What are they? Click this link! They wreck the hard work you put into the garden and they are protect bird!

The biggest challenge was moving the stones which were a total of 4 tonnes up hill! Who needs cross fit programme when gardening give you that exercise.
Materials up this hill
Stones went uphill

Construction process

1. Laying down the barriers to prevent weeds from growing
Cardboard
Weed mat and large stones around the boarder to hold the edges down and prevent the small stones from falling over

2. Adding the stones. The larger ones went on first then the finer ones to fill in the gaps
Laying of stone

Path had to be leveled for smaller stones to stay in place when walked on

3. The plants chosen had to handle bright conditions with no direct sunlight contact. The best way describe is semi shade condition. Initially, I chose Grevillea as they were natives and didn't need much care and were flowering plants. After the rocks were laid, these plant didn't fit the scape. Thus the following plants were chosen.
a) Alternanthera Purple Splash
b) Azalea indica
c) Rhoeo
d) Pony tail plant
The arrangement was to alternate green and purple colour

4. Circle section was planned to have benches and chairs. This area has to be pleasant to walk on, sit and relax. Ergonomics was the key to this area. The chairs and table had to be arranged for ease of movement. The large stones below was to serve as an  anchor for the chairs and benches. The small gravel was chosen because they cushion and conform to the steps taken on them. They also fill the gaps in between the border stones.
Looks inviting doesn't it?

Gravel for feet comfort

Comfort when you sit and move around
5. Softening the "tomb", prostrate rosemary was planted to give the overhanging effect and give off a good aroma when you rub when with hanging out at this area. A garden that interacts is inviting.
Before

Prostate rosemary on the edge to overhang

Contact me via email: plantvisionz@gmail.com if like what you see. Free quotes and will do my best to work within your budget and dream.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Tropical rainforest section of Mount Coot-tha



Mount Coot-tha Botanic gardens is a must see attraction for Nature lovers and plant enthusiast. There is a vast collection of Cacti and an extensive collection of Aloe vera types, tropical plant in a done, ferns, in situ native plants and tropical scapes and more. I have often visited the gardens and most of the time wonder around the aloe collection because I enjoy visiting the tropical dome as it reminds me of the plants that are commonly grown in Singapore. Last year, a new extension area was built with a kids playground over looking another water pond. The kids love the playground and I get to hang out with the beloved plants.
Do you see the little bees?
This visit was special. I met up with a German friend who also love plants to go for a wander together. This was the perfect time to explore the densely planted section of the Exotic Rainforest section and the conservation zone. It was a cloudy day and the humidity was high. Quite similar to that of Singapore with a threat of a thunder storm. We walked into the dense 'jungle' with no clue of where we were heading. I like to be pleasantly surprised by the landscape. A native beehive greeted us soon after we entered through the visitors center entrance. The are stingless native bees that are not honey producers but play an important part in plant pollination.

The walk was at a comfortable pace with gradual slopes and dips. What captured us was the waterfall scapes that were within this section. Pictures speaks a thousand words.....




We kept walking uphill and wanted to view some native plants. However when we consulted google maps, it was a longer walk than expected so we back tracked to the National Freedom Wall. This wall pays tribute to those who gave their lives for peace in Australia. It was a solemn place to visit to see the dedications from schools and organization as well as the names of the service men who layed down their lives for this country.



As we exploration continues we stumbled into cluster of bats hanging up a tree branch. They looked very real from a distance but upon closer examination. They were holding musical instruments shaped like a leaf. I was puzzled what the artist was trying to show case. Bats make music to catch their prey? The saying goes  "As Blind as a Bat"....not deaf...hmmm?!

As the wander continued, I finally arrived at a location which I have noticed from a distance each time I drive the Western Freeway. What was this tower that stuck out like a sore thumb like up close. There were no information about what this tower was for. It was made from solid concrete lined with these patterns made from metal.  My German friend said it was the ventilation chute for the legacy way tunnel.


The plants from these sections didn't catch my attention  during the exploration except for the following:

Varigated leaf burgmansia which was a first for me
Heliconia chriswick ( I love large bright red varieties, so majestic and hot)

Salvia unknown which has a spicy aroma. Im sure it can be used in cooking.
Do feel free to comment about my post and greatly appreciate if anyone can ID the Salvia for me.

More pics here

Read about the Japanese and Bonsai Garden here



Sunday, 17 January 2016

Compot your kitchen waste

I saw this product sold at the 2015 Brisbane International Garden festival. There were lots of innovative gardening wares and this product especially caught my eye.
 
A garden on a composting bin


Here are the points 
  1. Simple, just open the lid and throw everything in
  2. Hidden within the garden, did a hole and insert into the ground 
  3. Cooked food waste can be added. This was the clincher many compost bins manufactures do not encourage this
  4. Small and light, exporting them to Singapore would cost less and customers are happy to carry it while they shop
  5. Smell is kept at bay
  6. Push a lawn mower over it when its flushed to the ground
  7. You can grow sprouts on the lid. This is exactly in line with the motto of Plant Visionz  

Me and Vicki
I talked to Vicki, the inventor of this product on how to use it. She demonstrated how the lid opens and exactly what to do. She even included a little cups of worm eggs. She said the worms do live in within the soil. I was a little surprised. I agree they are best in compost so my argument is at rest. I believe black solider flies (BSF) would be the main composting organism. 

Buried 3/4 and covered with mulch

Kitchen waste of all sorts even animal bones and dairy
I took the pot home and found a spot in my compound that has the worst possible soil and it was in a corner of the fence. The ground of was hard and after much digging, I could only insert 3/4 of the pot. It actually should be placed flushed to the soil level so one can actually mow the lawn over it. I added all the kitchen waste I collected at home that included stale bread, vegetables, fruit and chicken bones. I added the worm eggs as well and left. This step took about 30 mins as digging into the hard ground was tough. In looser soils, it should only take 15min to set it up.

Bush Turkey!!!

3 days later, I found the soil around the pot exposed. The family of bush turkey in my neighbourhood found this pot of 'food'. I was very upset because each time I had to heap the soil back in , they would come and scratch it up again. I complained to vicki about this and she said it was a good sign. The turkeys are doing the work of loosening the soil in this area. It can be daily chore to push the soil round the pot but the hardwork is done by them. 

Black Solider fly lava in the compot
Over time the materials in the pot decomposed and sank down. I did notice  flies in the middle of the day when there were fish scraps were left on the to level. When I opened the pot up to add in more scraps, I only notice the BSF lava in there and no earthworms. Maybe the scrub turkeys ate them. There was indeed little smell on the days I went to add more scraps. This was at a 3 day interval. What was left were bones and black mush. You can take them and bury into the ground but I place them into the worm bin for another round of digestion by the worms.



I can't find much fault with this product. The plastic is of good material that it does not crumble in the hot Queensland sun or moisture. There are several optional attachments available so one can grow a garden on the lid.  This items sells at AU$31.50 for the set Im using. It can be mail anywhere within Australia. Click here for the webstore . Self collection is possible for those in Brisbane northside. For those in Singapore and are interest in this, Plant Visionz is now collating pre-orders. The price is not confirmed but will be posted on the website in due time. 
My video demo will be posted here soon. Subscribe to Plant Visionz channel on YouTube to be informed of the latest video updates.









Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Ready to serve Brisbane northside

Having move from Singapore to Brisbane North suburb of Aspley. I sought to continue my passion and methods that I created in Plant Visionz (SG) to start Plant Visionz (AU). It has been a very tough road to getting to Brisbane and juggle what goes on in Singapore can never happen without the support of my business partner and team. The key to having an extension business to grow successfully is to create systems. I hope having read my post over these years, you will get a rough idea on how I design gardens and grow plants.  I went to UQ, Gatton campus to be trained as a horticulturist and fell head over heels with this city. I have always desired to return since the day I left. The time I spend Singapore was a period to hone my skills and experience as a professional.The weather in Brisbane doesn't have too many temperature extremes and there are more edible plants and orchids available at my disposal to create unique landscape.
There are always challenges to each location. There are 3 main issues I need to address.
1. Weeds infestation. This issue is always a problem for any garden. The weed species in Brisbane are very aggressive and will take any opportunity to grow in a bare ground. Thus any hard work put in the weeding will be gone at a blink of any eye.
Solution: Mulch
2. Lack of moisture. The weather in the north side is milder than other suburbs. The rainfall is a little less as well.   
Solution: Mulch
3. Low organic matter content. Sandy loam is the soil type around here. It is well draining but doesn't retain moisture very well. Its good for local natives but not so good for growing veggies.
Solution: Mulch, compost and organic fertilizer.

Here is an example which started late winter 2015

1. Bare soil with weeds pulled out. Potted plants in holes to figure out bed design

2. Plants were planted in desired location with card board and weed mat as mulch


3. Tea tree mulch was added to keep plastic and cardboard in place. Increase moisture retention and prevent weeds from growing

4. After 1 month and good rain, ground cover plants started to flower and all other plants grew bushier. Location has no auto irrigation and not ferilized regularly
5a. After 3 months (late spring): Lavander blooming well.
5b: All plants thriving, no weeds sprouting. Mulch needed to be topped up
These plants do very well in the local climate. Thus choice of plants is important to begin with. It is always hit with full sun and unless cloud cover. The owner was very happy with the results which meant more time to do other things she enjoyed.

My focus suburbs are Aspley, Carseldine, Zillmere and Geebung. All enquires are most welcome with a free first visit and quote.
Contact: Hedrick
Mobile: 0416469692
Email: xhedrickx@yahoo.com.sg


Here are the list of services available
Veggie Box
Weeds control via edging and mulching
Strip + redesign and build
Water efficient irrigation implementation 
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