Gingers

Gingers

Gingers belong to the Zingiberaceae family and are herbaceous plants which all have a rhizome. There are over 1300 species of Gingers. Some are several metres tall, and others are small. Some have ornate foliage and sweet fragrances. Gingers are wonderful garden plants for any garden. Many thrive in warm tropical climates, but there are some Gingers that will grow in southern states. Some are deciduous throughout the winter which brings a special surprise when you see them grow again in spring. Even the deciduous plants can be grown in the Southern states as they die back in the winter which actually protects the plants from frosts. But they must be kept reasonably dry while in dormancy as the rhizome may rot. This also applies to any climate. Flower colours ranges from Lavender blue, Bright red, burgundy red, white, pink, yellow. Gingers can bring colour and any garden to life with there beautiful flowers and foliage. Some gingers are also edible and also used for medicinal purposes.

Here is a list of Ginger species that we grow in our nursery.

Alpinia’s

 

Alpinia Nutans  Alpinia Henryii

 

 

 

 

 

Edible Aquatics for ponds

Edible Aquatics for ponds

Are there any Aquatic plants for ponds that are edible?

Yes, there are so many different varieties of Aquatic plants that can grow in ponds that are edible.  Water is not a problem as some plants require only a boggy area or can be grown in a pot just sitting in a dish of water.

Some are quite straight forward and common to use, but others need special ways of cooking them.

Be sure to do your research on how to prepare these plants for cooking as some of the Aquatic plants can be toxic if instructions are not followed.

There are so many different Edible aquatics, too many to mention, so I have put together a list of Edible Aquatic plants that I regularly use.

Eleocharis Dulcis Water Chestnut

Water Chestnuts have a crispy nutty flavour. Commonly used in stir fries and salads. Water Chestnuts are harvested when the foliage dies down late Autumn. They can be easily grown in bath tubs, pots and I have also grown my water chestnuts in a small tub with just gravel and filled with water sitting on my window sill. Keep the large ones for eating and re plant the smaller chestnuts. For a bathtub size you only need approx. 15 to 20 small chestnuts. Fill the bath tub about 1/3 full with sandy loam or clay soil. Mix in some slow release fertiliser approx. 2 tablespoons and plant your corms. Then slowly fill the bath tub with water and watch them grow.

Limnophila aromatica Rice Paddy Herb

Rice Paddy herb has a citrusy – cumin taste and is used in Vietnamese dishes. It can be eaten raw or used in soups, curries, meat and fish dishes. I use it in my stir-fries all the time. Not only is this plant edible it also can be used as an Aquarium plant, once it is under water it takes a different form. You can grow this plant in a boggy area or I grow it in a pot sitting in water in full sun. If grown in a pond, the Rice paddy herb is a decorative plant that produces pretty blue almost like orchid flowers.

Oenanthe javonica Pink Flamingo

Oenanthe Javonica Pink Flamingo is also known as water celery because of the mild fragrance and taste of celery in the stems. Water celery is used in salads or as a garnish. The stems can also be cooked with rice.  I mainly use it in my salads and for added taste and to add colour and interest to my salads. I grow mine in a pot in shallow water in part shade. The pink flamingo doesn’t do very well in the hot humid summer in Queensland, but come Autumn it loves it. By winter time the pink flamingo has a pink blush through its leaves which also makes it a lovely ornamental and decorative pond plant.

Nelumbo nucifera Lotus

The Lotus would have to be one of my favourites. Just about all of the parts of the Lotus can be used. The seeds are eaten as a snack. Peel the outer casing of the seeds. The seeds have an embryo which is actually an already formed leaf ready and waiting too sprout. This inner leaf bud or embryo can be taken out or eaten with the seed but it does have a slightly bitter taste. The tubers can be sliced to reveal their beautiful pattern and used in stir fries, salads and other dishes. They can also be fried like chips. The leaves can be wrapped with meats or rice and herbs then steamed above boiling water. The stems can be soaked in hot water, dried and then fried in hot oil for a crispy snack. The flower petals can be used for garnish and the stamens for tea. And of course the Lotus pods. They certainly can add beauty to flower arrangements.

Pandanus Amaryliifolius Edible Pandan

I just love Pandan. The pandan has been used in Asian countries for centuries, and used as a flavouring for rice and other dishes. I have mine planted in a pot and sitting in a tub of water under a shady tree and protected away from cold winds. Yes we do have cold winds here in South east QLD. It doesn’t like frosty winters and it can die back if it gets hit by frost. In the southern states, Pandan is best grown in a pot and placed in a hot house or even inside the home through winter and then moved to a protected area in the garden in summer. The leaves are picked and put into rice while its boiling. Pandan has also been used to make woven baskets. Wrapping the leaves around chicken with herbs creates a very tasty flavor through the chicken once it is cooked. There are so many other ways to use Pandan. No garden should be without it.

Ipomoea Aquatica Kang Kong Water Spinach

Kang Kong Water spinach is an Asian Spinach and has a very mild taste. I always use mine in salads or lightly cooked in stir fries. The stems can be sliced diagonally and added to stir fries then adding the leaves. I also lightly steam the stems and the leaves and use it as a side vegetable. Kang kong should be grown in a pot as it does have a tendency to escape. It will grow in boggy soils or in a tub of water and it will also grow on land. Shade or Full sun, therefore it must be KEPT CONTAINED.

Bacopa Monnieri Brahmi

Bacopa Monnieri is known as the memory herb (Brahmi). The leaves and stems can be used in salads or as a herbal tea. I grow mine in a pot in shallow water but it can also grow submerged with leaves just showing out of the water. The small white flowers are decorative and a good nutrient soaker for the pond.

 

 

 

 

Amorphophallus

Amorphophallus paeoniifolius Elephant Foot Yam

The AMORPHOPHALLUS paeoniifolius Elephant Foot Yam has been in cultivation in tropical Asia and India for centuries. Native across Asia, India, New guinea and Northern Australia which the indigenous people cultivated the plant quite readily.  It has been used as their main staple food if rice was in short supply and also used for medicinal purposes.  This would be the most unusual plant that I have ever seen. It flowers when it is mature, about 4-5 years old. The flower emerges late Spring or early summer which gives out a smell of a dead animal but soon disappears. But really, its not that bad. The flower stays open for at least 2 weeks then slowly dies. Before you know it, a single stalk with a rough wort like surface emerges and then the leaves open up like an umbrella. These plants can grow to 2 mt in height with the leaf span which can reach up to 3m across. What an amazing plant.

 

Elephant foot yam   amorpeon

 Amorphophallus Konjac Voodoo Lily or Devils Tonque

The Konjac has been around for centuries mainly through Asia and Japan. It is mainly used for eating and for medicinal purposes. This fleshy looking exotic flower can grow to 1.5mt. Once the flower dies, the single mottled stem starts emerging then branches out resembling a tree.

amorph-konjac3   Konjac seed

Amorphophallus Bulbifer Voodoo Lily Snake plant

The snake plant has been around for while. The large arum-like pinkish flower can grow up to 35cm tall. The stem is smooth and resembles snake skin.

The flower emerges when the plant is mature about 4-5 years old.

IMG_1019   IMG_1077

 

Waterlilies Hardy’s and Tropicals

waterlilies

Waterlilies Hardy’s and Tropicals

 

Waterlilies are such a unique feature for any water garden, with there fragrance, size and diversity in color.

A water garden can provide a place to retreat and unwind from the outside world. The sound of water trickling down a water fall and the frogs croaking or even just the stillness of the water alone, can provide a place of tranquillity and relaxation.

There are four main categories of Waterlilies, Hardy, Tropical, Miniature and Nocturnal.

peach glow   mangala

Hardy Peach Glow                                                         Hardy Mangkala Ubol

HARDY WATERLILY flowers float on top of the water and open for three days in succession, closing at night. The leaves are smaller and a lot more thicker than the Tropical varieties.

The Hybridization of many Hardy water lilies over the years are lasting longer through winter and also flowering earlier in the season than the old varieties of Hardy Waterlilies, they also are standing out of the water, more like a tropical. The colour range on the hardy waterlily is extensive-from white through to many different shades of pink, red, apricot and yellow. The Hardy waterlily is suitable for tropical and temperate climates.

 

star of siam    aGreenburg1

Tropical Star of Siam                                                   Tropical Albert Greenburg

TROPICAL WATERLILLIES will grow in varying depths of water according to variety, but most prefer warm waters above 15-30cm above the crown. Leaves can be up to a dinner plate size and larger, they attain a spread of between 1-5mts.

They are usually more decorative with speckling, streaking and marbling of the leaves. Tropical flowers are large and vividly colored.
The flowers are held on the stems above the water from 15-35cm in height. The colors range from white, many shades of pink, magenta, apricot, yellow and shades of blue and purple and most are heavily fragrant. The tropical waterlily is mostly suited to the sub tropical to tropical regions, but there are some varieties of tropical waterlilies that will grow in the southern states.

hardy waterlily    colorata

Hardy Perrys Baby Red                                              Tropical miniature Colorata

MINIATURE WATERLILLIES are mostly Hardy varieties. The only tropical miniature is the blue Colorata. Colours range from white, yellows, apricot, shades of pink and reds. Perfect for containers for balcony’s and small ponds.

 

nocturnal waterlily    Antares

Nocturnal Woods White Night                                         Nocturnal Antares

NOCTURNAL WATERLILIES have large serrated thick leaves, others have smaller leaves like the Tropical nocturnal tiger Lotus used mostly in aquariums. Colours range from vivid florescent dark pink to red to brilliant white. Some come in shades of pink. The flower opens at dusk and stays open until the next morning until about mid morning. These waterlilies are perfect for people that work through the day and come home and enjoy the tranquilly of there waterlilies.

 

Declared Aquatic Plants

 

Below is just a few of highly declared Aquatic plants in Australia.

  • Aligator Weed
  • Salvinia
  • Combomba
  • Water hyacinth
  • Water lettuce

Please check your local council or local Department of Primary industries for any aquatic plants that may be declared in your state and area.
When cleaning or pruning your water plants, please make sure you throw your pruning of water plants in your garden for compost.
We have also worked closely with ‘Grow me Instead’ ensuring we recognize any invasive or potential weeds.

Visit www.growmeinstead.com.au to see what plants can be substituted.

Garden Pond Fish

A garden pond isn’t complete without having fish. Fish play an important role in water gardening. Not only do they brighten up a pond, they also eat the mosquito larvae and any other small insect that may fall victim by flying into the pond. They will also feed from the bottom and keeps the water aerated thus having a balancing affect overall.
There are number of different aquarium fish that are suitable for garden ponds as long as they can adapt to the various temperatures. Depending on the size of a pond will determine which kind of fish is best.

Swordfish, Paradise Fish, Blue clouds, Gold Fish, Native Rainbow are just a few that are exceptional for small to medium ponds.

Large Gold fish, koi Fish, are large and colourful and attractive in a garden pond, but they can also be a little messy. These fish will also stir up the bottom of a pond, thus making it cloudy and more likely to have to use a filter and pump.

Koi fish, unfortunately for us Queenslanders they are illegal to keep in this state. Check your state to make sure you are able to keep them.

Toads Tadpoles and Frogs

 

Toads Tadpoles and Frogs

Frogs are welcoming to any pond, with the different sounds of croaking. Toads are definitely not welcoming especially during mating season. Frog eggs and toad eggs can be easily distinguished. Toad eggs are laid stringy and Frog eggs are laid in clusters. Toad tadpoles are totally black and secrete toxic poison.

If the Toad tadpoles have hatched out in a pond, usually hundreds, signs of stress will be seen in the fish and will die within days. Scoop the toad eggs out as soon as possible.

Most frog tadpoles are harmless, but there has been many times where waterlilies have been eaten by hatch ling of hundreds of tadpoles devouring the soft crowns and stems and leaves. Some fish will eat frog tadpoles and will minimize the problem.

Native Australian Tropical waterlilies

Native australian

This Native Australian Tropical waterlily belongs to the family of subs. Anecphya. These magnificent water lilies vary in sizes and colors. They are often mistaken for the Imported Egyptian Nymphaea Caerulea also known as the Blue Lotus, which is seen in many waterways across Queensland and NSW. Some people assume that they are our Australian Native, but they are not…


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