Voila! Suddenly it’s turned into Autumn. Cooler nights, warm-ish days and the beginning of those stunning red, yellow and orange hues on many of our deciduous trees. Autumn is a kind season for plants and gardeners with excellent growing weather, harvesting a plenty and there are always plenty of interesting garden events to attend. It really is a pleasure to be in the garden.


I am very excited to be able to show you this picture of my delicious Heritage Raspberry plant from Diggers Club. Gardening in Fremantle, with its 350 or less chill hours, I had always thought that growing raspberries would be out of the question. Some wonderful grower or hybridiser has sourced a small amount of rasberry varieties which need no chilling hours at all. Great news for all you gardeners on the coastal plain or in areas which don’t get those cold frosty snaps. Raspberries need moisture, a fertile soil, some fertiliser, shade from hot summer sun and a cool root run.  


Are you sick of the gloom and doom surrounding climate change? Take heart, there are lots of positive things happening all over the world about which we often don’t hear in mainstream media. Firstly, by simply growing some of your own food, planting a tree and tending a garden has a positive effect on carbon emissions and helps our planet.

I recently read that an innovative company in Mexico is now making bioplastic (or biobased polymers) from avocado pips and other organic waste products. Although bioplastic only accounts for 5% of the plastic manufactured, at least it is a start. Biobased polymers are made from seaweed, vegetable oils, straw, woodchips, cornstarch and other waste.


Did you know that carnivorous plants eat crickets, ants, small beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, slugs, moths, wasps, beetles and ants, mosquitoes, cabbage moths and millipedes?

Red Rock nursery have a staggering array of unusual carnivorous plants for gardeners who want more variety than the small, easily killed ones sold at Christmas in Bunnings. This nursery has regular open days where people can purchase plants or by appointment in Gidgegannup



This year I’m really looking forward to the Perth Garden Festival. WHY? Well, firstly because there will be a few more Show gardens and more sustainable ones at that. Secondly because, after many years of procrastination, Garden Deva has decided to join forces with Alessio’s Gardens, to create a beautiful and quirky eco garden.

Our show garden is designed to give visitors loads of ideas and inspiration for their own gardens. Alessio and I will be there for the whole 4 days – it’s going to be lots of fun! We would love you to pop in and say hello. In addition to the display gardens, there will be cooking demos, interesting talks, new products and quite a few interesting nurseries with unusual plants - all conveniently located in the same place for 4 days. McCallum Park in Victoria Park.


Looking for some inspiration for your garden? Do you and your garden a favour and visit:


A fun day and very worthy cause! Garden Releaf is a national fundraising event encouraging people to get their hands dirty and do some gardening. This wonderful initiative supports Beyond Blue by raising awareness of how just 30 minutes of garden therapy a week (in one session) is so good for your mental physical and spiritual health. Garden Releaf has been going strong for 5 years now and is also a great excuse to support your local nursery instead of the ubiquitous large hardware chains.

I shall be heading on up to Zanthorrea nursery for the various talks, music, coffee and cakes, and a visit from some friendly native animals.


If you like creativity and enjoy clean sea air, venture down to Cottesloe Beach for the 15th Sculptures by the Sea. It’s a free annual exhibition where around 70 sculptures from across the world are displayed on the shore, overlooking the Indian Ocean.


Some less common ways to use produce from your garden include the following:

KOMBUCHA - use your excess home grown fruit to flavour your Kombucha. Kombucha is healthy (though it doesn’t suit everyone) and ridiculously easy to make. For me it is a tasty and healthy soft drink. Mango, shahtoot mulberry, strawberry, raspberry, nectarine, orange, peach, apple and ginger (with a squirt of lime juice just before drinking – divine!) are some of my favourites.

A Kombucha starter, or SCOBY is available at Raw Kitchen in Fremantle, Gumtree or from your local kombucha loving friend.

ALOE JUICE Consider this refreshing drink - simply skin a fat leaf and then place in a 1L jug of water in the fridge to be sipped at your leisure. Aloe has a host of digestive benefits and it is quite palatable drunk like this – optional: add mint and cucumber. Growing aloe is easy - it is water wise and likes some shade in summer to stay green and has gorgeous orange bird attracting flowers in the cooler weather.

KALE CHIPS – got a whole heap of kale savaged by whiteflies? Can’t be bothered spraying? Drown the little beasties by soaking the kale in a sink of water, dry off really well then cook (or dehydrate) yourself some kale chips. If you haven’t eaten them before, you are in for a treat. They may sound a bit yuck but believe me, kale chips are delicious, especially with savoury yeast added which tastes like cheese. Yum.


As promised last newsletter, here is the update on my vertical food garden, pictured. Apologies for the low resolution pic - click here to see a larger image on Instagram. 

It's still early days and I've certainly had a few plants take a trip to the big compost heap in the sky. Not usually one for chemistry, I have had to quickly learn about the vagaries of fertiliser salts and pH variability in liquid solutions. pH is much more changeable without having soil as the buffer. Seasol and Powerfeed are, understandably, very high in sodium so I have been careful using them. Neutrog’s Gogo juice has proven to be excellent – it is high in nutrition but low in salts. This is also a wonderful liquid fertiliser with microbes a plenty, for soil based plants, particularly vegies.

My aim is to design similar systems for my space-poor edible garden loving clients.



This summer was very humid and, as mentioned last newsletter, these conditions lead to increased fungal problems like powdery mildew, which is often still rife in March. I have had success alternating fortnightly between using a foliar spray of Eco-fungicide and wettable sulphur powder as well as picking off mildewy leaves. Pruning to allow maximum airflow and allowing leaves to dry out as quickly as possible is also a good idea. However once powdery mildew has really set in, forget about treatment - it's a waste of time and product! 

Finally, for those who like a good gardening podcast while gardening or exercising or hanging out at home, check out the informative and entertaining All the Dirt podcast with Deryn Thorpe and Steve Wood.

Happy gardening!


Cherise Haslam

0423 385 568



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