Garlic grows from cloves, the bulb like sections that we split up to eat. You can sometimes start it successfully from shop bought bulbs but these are often sterile or treated with undesirable chemicals. Best bought from organic stores or garden suppliers. In warm areas chill the bulbs in the fridge for a few weeks first before planting. Plant garlic from late Autumn to mid Winter. It grows  best in a sunny spot with good drainage. It doesnt like wet, soggy ground so in these areas its best to build a raised bed. Dig well  aged organic matter through the soil. Plant the bulbs pointy end down into holes that are 2.5-4 cm deep. Feed every couple of  weeks with a liquid plant food such as Thrive Soluble All purpose as this is high in nitrogen which is important for establishing  plants. Reduce to monthly applications through the cool weather. In Spring it may be helpful to add Sulphate of Potash or switch to  feeding with Thrive Flower and Fruit. Watch for thrips and aphids on leaves. Garlic is a slow crop and can take at least 5 months for the bulbs to grow. Harvest when the flowers start to die off and leaves begin to yellow. Pull out the whole plant and hang it to dry.





Drying herbs is quite easy for you to try at home. Harvest herbs before flowering and best cut mid morning before the heat of the  day but free from early morning dew moisture. Remove dirt, dust, dead or diseased leaves. Yellow or spotted leaves should be  discarded. Shake gently to remove any insects hiding. Remove lower leaves by about an inch. Then, tie the stems into small  bunches of say 4-6 branches, with twine or string and hang them upside down in a warm, dry, airy place out of the sun. Make small,    loose bundles and allow for good air circulation. You can hang them inside in a kitchen or pantry. Some herbs that are tough like  Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, Dill, Lavender, Bay leaves and Thyme are easy to dry whereas tender leaf herbs like Oregano, Basil,  Tarragon and  Mints may mould and discolour if not dried quickly. You could try drying these softer herbs in a paper bag. Cut  several holes in the  bag and hang upside down with the end tie closed. Make sure they are not too crowded in the bag. Check in about 2 weeks to see how they are. The herbs will retain more flavour if you store the leaves whole and just crush them when you are ready to use them. Dried herbs are best used with a year as the lose their colour in time which means they lose some of their flavour too. Microwaves can be used as a quick method of drying small amounts of herbs too. Lay a single layer of clean, dry leaves between dry paper towels and place them in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high power, depending on the wattage of the microwave. Let the leaves cool and if they are not brittle, reheat for 30 seconds more and retest. Thick leaved herbs may need to be air dried for a few days prior to microwaving. Conventional ovens can also be used. Spread the herbs on baking trays and dry at the lowest temperature. Home food dehydrators also are excellent. Herbs are dry sufficiently when they are brittle and crumble easily. Separate them from stems and store in an air tight container. Glass, Plastic or heavy duty zip-lock plastic bags can be used. Store herbs in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, moisture and heat.




This is a question we frequently get asked at the Nursery! It really is hard to say! From street to street, suburb to suburb, soils can vary and rainfall can be different even from one side of the street to the other! So how do you work out what will grow? Walk around the local streets and see what others have that are growing well. If you don’t know the plant, take a picture or even ask the owner what the plant is called, or ask for a cutting, this makes it easier when you come into the Nursery looking for it! Its very hard to pick accurately what a plant is from a description like its green with flowers and is everywhere! Bringing in a picture from a book also can be difficult as the book may not be printed in our State or even this country so you may never be able to obtain the look that is printed. Perth is a very hot environment with water restrictions so plants that grow well in Tasmania are not going to do so well here. Plants that are indigenous to Western Australia are a sure choice. Plants like Kangaroo Paws, Albany Woolly Bush, Walpole Wax are all endemic to our state.



Perfumed plants are popular in the garden, planted near a pathway so you can gently brush by them and their scents are released into the air! Strategically placed near a window that opens is a great idea too so you can smell them from inside. Some highly scented plants can ward off insects and flies too. You can cut  many flower varieties and place inside in a vase, thus bringing the outside inside! Cottage gardens tend to have lots of perfumed flowers. Here are some varieties of plants that you could add to bring pleasing aromas to your home garden.

Gardenia, Rose, Mexican Orange Blossom, Murraya Paniculata, Geranium, Frangipani, Stephanotis, Hoya carnosa, Wisteria, Rosemary, Lavender, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Honeysuckle, Magnolia, Sweet Viburnum, Citrus trees, Tuberose, Stocks, Sweet Pea, Herbs, Carnations, Dianthus, Jonquils, Bay tree, Lemon Verbena, Cestrum, Diosma, Boronia, Brunsfelsia, Clematis, Osmanthus, Daphne, Jacaranda, Buddleja, Pittosporum Miss Muffet, Freesias and Hyacinths.



Frangipanis are easy to grow from cuttings. The ideal time to take cuttings is just as the tree is coming out of dormancy and has not produced new growth, so late Winter into early Spring here in Perth. Pick a healthy branch or you can even use a fallen or broken branch that is in good condition. Make a clean cut by secauteurs or saw, remove any leaves or flower buds if they have started, then leave the cutting (which oozes a milky sap) in a cool dry place for about a week or two till it has sealed. A good sized piece to cut  would be about 30cm long. When the open wound has hardened, place firmly into a pot  in a warm sheltered spot. Use a good quality draining Potting Mix. You do not need to use a Rooting Hormone on the cuttings, unlike some other plants you may try and propagate, nor do you need to stand the cuttings in water till they root.  Water well when potting, then lightly, till new growth appears. Frangipanis don’t like wet feet. Stake to prevent movement if necessary then remove as it gets older. Alternatively you can place cut pieces straight into the ground rather than in pots but in a location that gets full sun most of the day. Plants can take dappled shade but won’t flower as much and are more likely to get ‘Rust’ disease.


We have been asked recently by a customer which plants have the ability to cleanse and purify the air inside homes. Yes, there are plants that filter out toxins and pollutants and replace the carbon dioxide we exhale with fresh oxygen. They naturally add moisture to the air thus preventing dry skin, colds and sore throats caused commonly by the effects of constant air conditioning and heating inside. Not only do they add beauty and a cheerful atmosphere inside they naturally clean the air, so bring a bit of nature indoors and place more plants around!

A study by NASA in America in the 80’s concluded that houseplants were able to reduce 87% of air toxins in 24 hours. They conducted tests to investigate ways to purify the air in their space facilities and these findings have also benefited houses and offices. They found that many houseplants filtered out common pollutants, unwanted gases and cleansed the atmosphere. Studies have found that people are calmer, happier and even healthier when living alongside plants and flowers, with a reduction in common illnesses.

Around the home there are many hidden toxins present that we cannot see but can be detrimental to our health if  we are exposed to them constantly over many years especially those who have health problems to begin with. Until recently indoor air pollution was not considered a health threat but people began to insulate their homes and offices to conserve energy and lower heating and cooling costs, and as a result indoor air lingers more, allowing pollutants to accumulate. Outdoor pollution is also welcomed inside when you open the door especially if you live near an industrial area.

There can be Tobacco smoke, Paint and adhesive fumes, Pesticides, Pets and other animals that shed hair, Heaters, Air conditioning equipment, Poor ventilation, Dirty filters, Leaky roofs and water leaks which cause mould, mildew and dampness, Household cleaners, Chemicals, Flooring and resins, Synthetic carpets, Dust mites, man made Building materials, Printers, Fax machines and Printer inks and exhaust fumes from vehicles polluting the atmosphere and escaping inside through an open window. These may cause skin and eye irritations, headaches and allergies. The chemicals emitted are commonly Benzene, Formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene.

These following plants have been proven to help eliminate some of the above:

Rubber Plant – (Ficus Elastica) – Has thick, glossy evergreen leaves, very hardy to have indoors as a house plant. Removes chemical toxins in the air.

English Ivy – (Hedera helix) and Devils Ivy – (Epipremnum aureum) are both fast growing trailing plants. They are good at filtering a variety of polluting compounds in the air. Good for people who suffer from Asthma or allergies. Also good for pet owners as they have been shown to reduce airborn fecal matter particles and spray from chemical ingredients found in aerosol and some household cleaning products. Tackles car exhaust fumes too, so placed near a garage, car port or pegola would be a good idea.

Aloe Vera – An easy to grow, sun loving succulent which help to rid fumes from chemical based cleaners and paints. The gel inside an Aloe plant can also help heal cuts and burns. Place plant near a sunny kitchen bench or near a window inside.

Spider plant – (Chlorophytum comosum) An evergreen, resilient plant. which has lots of cascading foliage. It helps absorb carbon monoxide fumes which are produced by Cars, Trucks, Engines, Lanterns, burning Wood and Charcoal ,Gas stoves and Heating systems. Carbon monoxide  is a colourless and odourless deadly gas. Helps eliminate poisonous gases from rubber, leather or print products around the home also.

Gerbera – An attractive plant with green foliage at the base and colourful blooms. Needs lots of light to keep flowering inside. Can remove toxins from products like solvents, paints, inks, drycleaning fumes and cigarette smoke.

Mother in laws Tongue – (Sansevieria trifasciata) A thick, leathery, tall growing plant with leaves that are sword shaped. Helps to filter out toxins from cleaning products like toilet paper, tissues and personal care products.

Chrysanthemum – A bright and colourful old fashioned, favourite flower. A popular Mothers Day plant which can cheer up a coffee table, office desk or outside on the patio. Loves bright light so place near a window. The blooms help to filter out fumes from Glue, Paint, Plastics and Detergents. Also negates the effects of tobacco smoke.

Azalea – This beautiful flowering shrub helps combat chemicals from foam insulation and plywood. Usually an outdoor plant but can be kept inside for short periods of time especially if its flowering.

Ficus – The common Ficus Benjamina grows well inside in a living area near light. It helps disperse air pollutants that come from Carpets and Furniture.

Dracaena – (Massangeana fragans, Marginata or Reflexa) All these varieties can grow inside or out and help remove residue left behind by varnishes, gasoline and lacquers.

Philodendron – This family of plants are tough and durable with strong, usually green foliage. They are easy to care for house plants that little attention. Have been known to rid the air of toxins from glue and leather.

Ferns – Especially the Boston fern are known not only for their graceful appearance but help rid the air of pollutants found in Paints, Nail Polishes and Glues. Expel moulds as well, that’s why a lot of people keep them in bathrooms.

Orchids -Popular long lasting flowering plants which rid the air of many pollutants found in glues and paints. Make an excellent choice as a gift for someone who had just renovated their house! They give off oxygen at night so are great indoors for short periods of time.

Palms – (Arecaceae) Palms are great for helping disperse the toxins left in the air by cigarette smoke. The Dwarf date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii) Lady Finger Palm (Rhapis excelsa) Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea) are all good choices. Palms need light, so near a window or door is a good spot and they should be put outside for a refresh, regularly.

Umbrella Tree – (Schefflera)  This glossy leaved, sturdy, oval leaved, evergreen shrub is a popular pot plant. Its waxy, shiny leaves don’t appear real! They soak up nasty toxins especially cigarette smoke.

African Violets – (Saintpaulia) These pretty little indoor plant seem delicate but are also air fresheners.

Peace Lily – (Spathiphyllum) and Anthurium Lily These well known planst with glossy green foliage and stunning flowers which appear throughout the year. Remove harmful toxins like acetone and ammonia. Good in office environments where the leaves soak up fumes emitted by Adhesives, Copiers and Printers.

Zygocactus – This tough succulent which grows easily and produces flowers at its tips around Christmas time. Helps reduce general air pollutants.

Hoya Carnosa – This is a waxy trailing plant with delicate, star shaped, scented flowers, at various times of the year. It is efficient in helping to remove carbon dioxide from the air. It prefers indirect light.

Bromeliad – These tropical plants have attractive foliage and colourful flowers. They also have been proven to release oxygen and water vapors during the night improving air quality.  They seem to help with smoke from cigarettes and tobacco as well.

Dieffenbachia – An attractive, tropical perennial plant with green foliage and specks or spots of white. This plant assists with removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing your carbon footprint. They remove toxins from paint, household cleaners, carpets and office equipment.






A good time to cut back Hydrangeas is at the end of Autumn into Winter so May, June or July every year. If left unpruned they have a shorter flowering period. Cut back a few of the oldest branches and any thin or diseased branches. Cut back by between a third or half.

Hydrangeas change colour depending on the type of soil they are growing in. The flowers will colour blue if the soil is acidic and pink in alkaline soil. White coloured  plants will stay white in any soil type.  You can try and change the soil you have by adding chemicals to it but it is a slow process taking several months and many applications. Garden Centres usually sell a ready mixed product called Hydrangea Blueing tonic which has iron and aluminium in it or try adding Sulphate of Iron. If you want the blooms pink you can add Garden lime.


Gee, there are many reasons why plants die! its very hard for someone to guess why this has happened to your plant and sometimes there is no explanations or apparent reason for their demise.

So here are some of the causes, that we have come across, that could help you in determining if any of these are the culprit in your case and you can correct the problem.

  • WATER – Too much water can cause plants to become soggy, rot and get a fungal attack. Too little water can cause them to stress, become dry, crisp and die. Failure to water enough at the time of planting is the most common reason for plants not surviving within the first week! Touch the soil and if it is damp it doesn’t need watering.
  • FERTILISER – Too much fertiliser will burn the plants and too little will starve them making them weak, the foliage will turn yellow and vein and they will not have enough energy to flower or grow. Too much fertiliser is like medicine, the right amount is beneficial but an overdose will make you sick and maybe  cause death. Little plants only need a little fertiliser.
  • SPRINKLERS Incorrect spacing of Drippers or Sprinklers will mean your plants miss out on the precious water you think they are getting. Blocked or broken sprinklers need to be fixed and checked regularly. Wind blowing can mean even though the sprinklers are turned on, the wind is directing the water away! The best time to have the sprinklers going is early morning. During the heat of the day the water is easily evaporated and in the evening as the temperature drops the water is not always soaked up and can sit and cause fungus. Drippers and Soaker hoses do not release enough water flow to adequately refresh plants in hot weather.
  • TEMPERATURE Drought stress is obviously when there is not enough rainfall which in many parts Australia is very often the case. Alot of WA, above Perth has very dry hot temperatures in Summer and in the lower areas of WA the temperatures get to zero so plants have difficulty adapting to these extremes just as we humans do. In hot weather try to protect plants from easterly hot winds. There are products that can be brought, like Droughtshield or Stressguard which can be sprayed on to foliage. House plants and outdoor ferns like water from a spray bottle over their foliage. Humidity is disliked by many plants too so plant selection is important.
  • SUNLIGHT/SHADE – Some plants need all day sun especially ones that flower, others will take part sun/part shade or filtered light, others will grow in the shade. Plant tags attached to the plants when you buy them should indicate the growing conditions the plant likes.The labels are a guide and if you are not sure where to plant your purchase just ask a staff member for guidance, as every state has different weather and they don’t print labels individually for each state.  If a plant has been grown in the shade area of the Garden Centre and you take it home and put it in the sun it will turn up its toes. You can slowly adjust it by putting it out in the Winter sun and try to acclimatize it before the Summer arrives and as it ages it becomes stronger and more used to that position. This will work on some plants and not others so its best to keep it in the same light conditions it is used to. Plants that are in too much shade become leggy and start growing out in one direction towards the sun. They do not flower much and can be prone to fungus attacks.
  • REFLECTED HEAT Plants that are right next to pavers, driveways, metal fences, stones and swimming pools can be burnt by the sun heating these nearby elements and reflecting onto the plants. Hours of full sun can cause the surrounding to become quite hot. If there is not reticulation to cool the garden down the plants feel the heat! Sometimes you may notice that the plants at the ends of the garden are exposed and burn first, as they cop the brunt of the hot winds having no shelter from other plants.
  • WIND –  Strong winds can decimate plants quickly but burning, shredding and breaking branches and leaves. New planting should be protected in their first season as the roots will not be attached firmly to hold them in place and not be moved on a windy day. Using stakes and rubber ties to strengthen them is a must in an exposed site. Near the coast the winds are laden with salt which burns tender new foliage. A protective covering around the plant would give it some protection. Not only hot winds but also cold winds affect plants. Driving along the coast you may see some plants growing on a angle that have been continuously pushed to one side while they were young.
  • MULCH Applying a mulch is a great idea, to give the garden extra protection from heat and wind. It keeps the soil moist underneath and helps to keep weeds under control. So if you feel your plants will be sitting in hot soil, add a mulch. There are many types, ask at your local soil yard or garden supplier for some choices. But the downside is .. if it is applied too thickly, water can not penetrate underneath and may not reach the rootball. The other big mistake people make is by applying the mulch right up to the stem of the plant thereby suffocating it. Insects like slaters also like to hide in the warm, dark mulch so watch for them!
  • INSECTS – There are insects everywhere around us, in the soil and in the atmosphere and they love to feed and hide in our garden plants. Some are beneficial to the ecological process while other seem to just be an annoyance! If you find tell tale signs of leaves having been eaten, by holes on the foliage, you may find the cuplrit a caterpillar hiding underneath or snails hiding among the foliage. There are products you can buy to deter insects, some are poisonous and some are eco friendly so you have choices, also you can try home remedies, as discussed in our Pest website page. Some are hard to find and only appear at night or come out in the rain. If you check regularly and get onto the problem promptly you can sometimes stop the damage before it weakens the plant and maybe cause it to die prematurely.
  • FUNGUS Alot of fungus is airborne so can not be blamed on any one thing or person. It can be cuased by weather too, especially alot of humidity. Plants that are left damp, in a dark spot and do not dry out after watering start to go mouldy and leaves go soggy, black, grey, wilt and fall off. Fungus can move through streets and can be hard to prevent. You can buy Fungicide sprays to apply to foliage and stems. Some plants like Roses are prone to fungus attacks. Insects can start off the process too by leaving sticky secretions on the foliage. Over head watering of the foliage should be avoided and watering in the morning so the moisture is absorbed during the day helps
  • POISONING Be careful when using a poison spray, that its not windy, as this can be carried onto healthy plants and kill them as well as the weeds or plants you were intentionally trying to get rid of! You can purchase a weeding wand which is designed to allow the liquid poison to exit down a long metal tube that you can dab so the poison is not passed onto a bigger area than wanted. Sometimes when spraying for weeds in your lawn you may inadvertantly get poison drift onto plants close by.
  • ANIMALS – Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Birds and any other pets can dig, eat or wee on plants in your garden! You can not usually catch them doing it! It may not be your pet but a wandering neighbourhood animal. Once an animal has left their mark their scent stays there and attracts others to the same spot! Urine is very strong and can burn foliage. Dogs can dig plants out, eat them, sit on them! Its hard to have a nice garden with a pet who may still be young and lively or bored! Cats dig to cover their droppings so this can disturb new plantings. There are some commercial and home remedies you could try, see our other section -Keeping dogs out of the Garden.
  • SOIL – Depending on where you live your soil could be sandy, clay, loam, gravel or a mix. Some plants have certain soil requirements and grow better in these, so ensure if you have for example, an acid loving plant, your soil is adjusted accordingly. There are products you can buy to enhance the ground but this has to be done on a regular basis not just at the time of planting. Remember at the time of replanting to not leave any of the rootball exposed. Digging it in too deep or not deep enough will stress the plant. Its best to plant it at the exact level that it was in when you brought it in the pot. If plants are grafted, do not plant the graft under soil. There may be issues with your soil deep down, this can occur when the house was built and builders rubble is thrown in one spot then covered over. This may be the reason some plants in a row don’t grow as well as others, as when the roots work their way down some can hit limestone, rubble, rocks, bricks etc.
  • DRAINAGE – You may be turning on your sprinklers but is the water penetrating? It may just be sitting on top in a puddle or running off away from the plants. If this is the problem you can buy products that help water soak in. It can be brought as a granule, liquid or crystal. Crystals are good to use at the time of planting and put in the hole. They swell up with water and break open when its hot, to water under the soil, at the roots. If water is running off from the top, apply liquid or granular soil wetter. Also try digging in a soil improver which has compost and peat in, that builds up the body of the soil. Putting gravel in the bottom of pots will help drainage. Check the holes in the bottoms of pots do not become clogged. Move pots up off the ground onto pot feet or on a saucer for better drainage.
  • TRAFFIC – Areas that have lots of traffic, either from vehicles or pedestrians can result in plant losses. People running, biking or walking with bags or bikes can hit branches, run over sprinklers and break seedlings. Kids kicking footballs, Postmen delivering mail, cars reversing, can also ruin gardens. These things can not always be seen at the time. So if you have a corner block, are near a busy road, oval or school,  you could be up for replacing plants regularly. Using hardy natives, rock edging or plants that have prickles may be a deterrent.
  • OLD AGE – Some plants only have a short life span! Annuals usually only live 6 months whereas perennials live alot longer. Some plants like Conifers last years and years but eventually you will see that they have run their course and need to be replaced. Some stop growing, become leggy, start to die off or stop producing new shoots. Some plants like Agapanthus can become overcrowded over time and will stop flowering, that tells you  its time to separate them  into smaller plants. Plants that provide food like Passionfruit use up alot of energy making the fruit and will need to be replaced regularly. Trees, Roses and Natives tend to have a long life while shrubs and Flowers may after a few years, show its time to be replaced.
  • POLLUTION Smoke, Exhaust fumes, Chemicals and Rubbish blowing around the area is not healthy for the plants to breathe in! Rubbish gets trapped around branches, sprinklers and stops water reaching the roots. Smoke and Chemicals pollute the air the plant breathes in, just as it does for humans. This can clog the pores of the leaves and some chemicals can of course burn and kill.
  • DISTURBING THE ROOTS Plants that are young and fresh do not need the root ball  teased or pulled apart when it is removed from the pot to replant! Only plants that appear to be rootbound will need this! Roots can be broken and disturbed if handled roughly! If driving stakes into the ground to support the trunk, try not to pierce any of the rootball. Some plants like Citrus trees have shallow tap roots, that could be damaged.
  • AIR FLOW – If plants are placed too close together they cannot get good air flow around them. This can happen when pots are placed too close and also when dug into the soil. Fresh air is important to blow out the cobwebs! Let water reach all the foliage and not allow insects, birds or spiders to hide and begin breeding, building nests or webs in the branches. Fungus love dark, sheltered, damp places to start multiplying.
  • WRONG SEASON – Trying to grow plants in the wrong season or wrong environment will not work. For example if you try planting Pansies or Azaleas in the heat of the Perth Summer they will not last long, they are suited to cooler weather. Putting Hydrangeas out in the sun also will not work they need shade. If you are trying to grow your own plants from seed read the instructions on the reverse of the packet which tells you the right month to start. If you can’t get the plant you are after it could be because its not the right time to plant it so take the information offered from your local garden centre and leave that area waiting for the plant when it is available or alter your plans and choose something available at the time.
  • TRANSPLANT SHOCK Some plants do not like to be moved, so check first before you uproot an existing plant as there could be a chance it will die. Damaging the roots when digging it out can also cause it to die. Try digging a big area around the plant to be moved so as to keep some of the existing soil so it won’t go into shock. Water the plant all the time whilst taking it out and replanting it, do not let it dry out. Use a product like Seasol which is a root stimulant. Plants like Conifers, alot of Palms and most native plants do not like to be disturbed so consider when you plant that it is in the right spot and won’t grow too big for that area as it further down the track it has to be moved it may not make it!
  • MACHINERY DAMAGE – Physical damage can happen to plants by machinery used around the home, like Lawnmowers and Whipper snippers!  The blades can ringbark and cut into bark and branches causing breaks, wounds and bleeding. Some plants will not recover from this force, or you may have lop sided plants as the damaged branches break until new growth occurs.
  • HYGIENE Having and using clean garden implements is essential. If you have just pruned roses that have Black Spot then used the same secateurs to next shape a shrub elsewhere in the garden you will transfer the fungus onto other plants. Insect eggs, weed seeds, fungus and diseases can be passed on easily. Sharpen the blades of Hedge clippers, Scissors and Secateurs so as not to rip or only partially cut branches or leaves when pruning. Hose off equipment when finished with a hose and use soapy water to clean up. Spades, Forks, Trowels, Saws and Hoes all will last longer if cleaned regularly. You can rub with a scourer if there is any sticky sap left on the blades. This will also help remove rust marks. Sharpen with a sharpening stone or there are places that will sharpen tools for you. Wipe lastly with an oily rag. Saws can be cleaned easily using a nail brush.