Books and Product Reviews October 2009

Thrive Soluble All Purpose Plant Food

Yates ThriveYates Product of the Month for March 2008 was Thrive Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, the fast-acting complete fertiliser food that's suitable for feeding a wide range of ornamental flowers, shrubs and trees, as well as vegies, herbs and lawns.

First formulated by horticultural legend, Allan Seale, more than forty years ago, Thrive Soluble is an Australian-made, fast-acting, economical fertiliser that produces rapid growth results.

Thrive's a blended powder that dissolves almost instantly when added to water. The resulting liquid is a rich soup of plant nutrients that's easily watered over the plant. Some of the liquid moves into the soil and enters the root system (the traditional entry route), but the nutrients also short-cut their way into the leaves, thereby speeding up the result.

But the main reason Thrive Soluble works so quickly is because it doesn't have to waste time dissolving. For example, it takes time for dry fertilisers to convert into a liquid form and then move down into the soil before their nutrients can be taken up by the plant. By contrast, Thrive Soluble travels rapidly into the roots and even more quickly into the leaves. The result? New growth within days.

Thrive has a nitrogen:phosphorus:potassium ratio of 27:5.5:9. This is particularly strong in nitrogen, the major nutrient most responsible for leaf growth, which is why Thrive makes such an effective fertiliser for fast-growing young plants and for leafy vegetables and lawns.

Thrive's flexible, too, because its mixing rate can be adjusted to suit different plant types. For example, half-strength application is recommended for young seedlings and tender plants such as ferns and African violets.

HINT for AFRICAN VIOLETS: Brush leaves to keep free of dust for both appearance and health of the plant

Citrus by Alan Gilbert

Citrus books are few and far between, despite the fact that together with roses, the Lemon Tree is perhaps one of the most widely grown plants in home gardens around the world. This book has it all! If you can't find it here, you probably won't find it elsewhere. Like Allen's other books, this is exceptionally well illustrated and written in a very easy to read style. Allen originally studied horticulture at Burnley, Australia's oldest horticulture college, and has decades of hands on practical experience. He is widely known and respected by both amateur gardeners and professionals for his knowledge of fruit.

Click to purchase a copy

Backyard Buddies

Introduce beneficial bugs to your garden

This new product from Organic Crop Protectants allows the average home gardener (or professional) to buy & bring small animals into the garden to help control the real pests. Check it out at Organic Crop Protectants' website.

Cordyline australis 'Cabernett'

New to the range of New Zealand type Cordylines. Cabernett has a rich red foliage colour and provides impact in the garden contrasting against surrounding greenery. This Cordyline is not as upright as previous introductions such as 'Red Sensation' and 'Red Star'. Cabernett has an upright yet weeping habit and can be used in decorative pots or as an informal border plant. Highly recommended.

New Kangaroo Paw 'Bush Diamond'

A stunning new kangaroo paw as part of the 'Bush Gems' range by Ramms Botanicals. 'Bush Diamond' is the first kangaroo paw to have white flowers with a slight pink colour throughout. 'Bush Diamond' is a great new native for the garden or pots and best grown in a sunny position

More information on Kangaroo Paw 'Bush Diamond' at Ramms Botanicals' website.

Quality Secateurs from Felco

One of the most used tools in the garden are secateurs. Felco a swiss company are dedicated to producing high quality pruning equipment for home gardeners and the professional. Investing in well made tools will ensure longer term use unlike cheaper alternatives that are less durable. If you are considering purchasing secateurs this spring then consider the 'Felco' range for quality.

Queensland Homes - Outdoor Living Magazine

With articles by John Mason

The new annual edition of this lifestyle magazine has articles written by ACS Distance Education principal John Mason. Articles cover water-wise gardening, mediterranean style gardens, splashing water, pots in the garden, ornamental grasses and using rocks in the landscape. Available at newsagents or check out the Outdoor Living Magazine online.

Growing Australian Natives

New Book by John Mason - second edition just released

John Mason, principal of ACS Distance Education in Queensland, has recently had the second edition of his best selling book, Growing Australian Natives released. This book draws on a combined wealth of knowledge, and years of experience in growing Australian native plants.

The variety of Australian native plants is enormous. They are found in just about any situation, from deserts to rainforests to alpine regions. Many are tolerant of saline conditions, some of arid conditions; others make excellent windbreaks, withstand pollution, or tolerate flooding and frost. So it doesn’t matter where you live, there is a wide selection to suit your conditions. The book is divided in to two parts - Part 1 focuses on basic information, including choosing the correct plants, landscaping with natives, caring for them, taking cuttings and tackling problems. Part 2 is an extensive plant encyclopedia that covers all the main genera of Australian plants, their habits and cultivation requirements.

Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’

from Plant Growers Australia

Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ is an aptly named new release because the flowers resemble clusters of tiny trumpets fanning out from the glowing centres. The flowers on this new Gaillardia are just fabulous, grabbing your attention with great performance in the summer sunshine, with numerous repeat flowerings, stopping only in the depths of winter. Whilst Gaillardias have tended to be somewhat straggly in the past, ‘Fanfare’ grows as a dense, compact plant. It appreciates full sun and tolerates dry conditions once established.

This new release will be available in all states of Australia from March this year, with an expected retail cost of $10 - $14 AUD for 14cm pots. For more information visit Plant Growers Australia's website.

Fashionable reliable Cordylines

from Ramm Botanicals

Cordylines are easy to grow and provide reliable colour foliage all year round. These three new releases from Ramm Botanicals provide elegant foliage variation. ‘Kiwi’ has a strong upright habit with lime and dark green leaves edged with a bright red highlight. ‘Rumba’ is very symmetrical with crimson streaked dark leaves. ‘Tango has a well branched form featuring irregular fluorescent crimson patterns against a dark background.

For more information visit Ramm Botanicals' website.

Self Watering Pots

Planter Technology’s container irrigation system consists of self watering pots with an innovative design to regulate water supply to the plant root-zone. The pots consist of a reservoir and self-irrigating apertures that supply water directly to the plant root zone. Water supply is regulated by a vacuum-sensor that precisely monitors the soil moisture level. They are perfect for people who forget to water their indoor plants.

These self-irrigating pots are suitable for all kinds of potted plants, and can be used for home hydroponics systems. Indoor and outdoor models are available, as well as kits to convert existing planter pots to vacuum-sensor self irrigating systems.

The Planters are distributed in Australia and New Zealand by A2Z Planter Technology, 48 Clagiraba Road, Clagiraba QLD 4211, Australia. For more information, go to The pots are manufactured by Planter Technology Inc, 30681 Huntwood Ave, Haywrd Ave, Hayward, California 94544, United States. For more information, go to Planter Technology Inc's website.

Intelligent Mowers from Ariens

A new range of intelligent mowers on the market is offering a greater range of options for commercial mowing operators. The PM272 Z, 31-horsepower, turbo diesel mower is an extra powerful model which features the Eye-Q productivity system. This system keeps a record of who is using the mower, their efficiency, how they have treated the mower and any upkeep that is needed.

The Eye-Q system offers owners potential savings by keeping track of service and usage details. This system comes standard on the 31-horsepower PM272Z, a solidly built model with a 1.8 metre Air-Flo Deck and zero turn performance. I features a 53 litre fuel tank, adjustable height rollers and seat suspension, a hydraulic deck life and a productivity rating of almost four hectares an hour.

For more information visit AllPower's Website