Event: Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation, Sydney

Event: Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation, Sydney

Learning how to grow mushrooms – the edible kind, that is – could be quite overwhelming for first-timers. This workshop will walk you through the steps!

Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation is a two-day workshop where you can learn how to start farming delicious oyster, shiitake, enoki, reishi and many other mushrooms at home, organically. The program includes a practical introduction into fungi world and lessons on sustainable approaches for home mushroom propagation such as no-waste techniques, permaculture principles and more. You’ll also receive a host of take-home mushroom resources to get you started!

For more information, visit Milkwood’s website.

June 9-10, 9am-5pm | 107 Rooftop Garden, 107 Redfern Street, Sydney

Best Plants to Improve Your Nighttime Sleep

Best Plants to Improve Your Nighttime Sleep

Having trouble keeping your eyes shut at night? As unlikely as it sounds, house plants might be your solution. These plants can help you get your forty winks by purifying the air and relaxing your body. Here are a few plants to add to your bedroom…

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is more well-known for its gel, which can be used to treat minor cuts, burns and insect bites as well as condition hair – but it’s also great to help you get some sleep at night. It produces oxygen in the evening and thus can purify the air as you fall into deep slumber.

 

Peace Lily

This plant has one of the best performances in removing pollution from the air, breaking down harmful gases and eating up mould spores. It also increases humidity in the room, which can help ease sore throat and sinus as well as prevent drying skin.

 

Lavender

Lavender flower not only brings sophistication to the room with its beautiful purple colour, but its scent also has relaxant properties that help reduce and prevent stress and anxiety.

 

English Ivy

Allergies keeping you up at night? Consider stocking up English Ivy, which cleans up the air and remove airborne mold and faeces in just a day.

 

Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus or schlumbergera will adorn your room with its beautiful flowers and, like aloe vera, it releases oxygen at night. Plus point: it’s also not hard to manage at all!

Soils 101: Plants and Treatments

Soils 101: Plants and Treatments

Everything requires a great base, including your garden. By knowing your soil, you can figure out the best plants to grow and the proper ways of maintaining and improving the ground. Read on to find out the various types of soils, as well as the plants and treatments to suit them…

Clay Soil

Clay soil feels sticky and slimy, especially when wet – but it turns rock hard when it’s completely dry. It drains slowly, and thus takes more time to warm up during spring and summer. Clay soil holds a higher amount of nutrient than other kinds of soil. Some flowers like aster and bergamot grow well on clay due to their hardiness.

 

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil is dry, free-draining, and low in nutrients. It’s lighter than clay soil, because sand (which makes up a significant part of this type of soil) weighs less than clay. Make sure to water more when you’re planting with this soil, as it dries very rapidly and warms up quickly during spring. Plants with high tolerance to drought like hibiscus, tulip, broom and sun rose thrive on sandy soil.

 

Silty Soil

Silty soil has fine particles that do not bind easily – therefore, it is more prone to be washed away by rain. However, it retains more moisture and nutrients than sandy soil, making it more fertile. Silt soil is also well-drained with smooth, silky texture. Shrubs, roses and daffodils grow well on silty soils.

 

Peat Soil

Peat soil contains a high amount of organic matter. Its acidic nature makes it unsuitable for decomposing. Peats is water retentive, and may require more drainage support. This dark, spongy soil is suitable for planting shrubs like camellia, rhododendron and heather as well as root crops.

 

Alkaline Soil

Also known as chalky soil, this type of soil generally has a pH of 7.5 or higher. The texture is, as the name suggests, chalky and stony, often with white visible lumps. The use of this free-draining soil may result in stunted growth and yellowing leaves, as the plants could not access minerals and nutrients that they could have from acidic soils. Try growing vegetables like beets, spinach and cabbage on this soil with the help of fertilisers.

 

Loamy Soil

Many gardeners consider loamy soil as the ideal type, due to its high calcium, aeration, water retention and good drainage. It also warms up quickly in the spring, but doesn’t dry out in the summer. Most crops and vegetables can do well with this soil.

Event: 2018 Sculpture at Scenic World, Blue Mountains

Event: 2018 Sculpture at Scenic World, Blue Mountains

Enjoying art and nature together – why not?

Sculpture at Scenic World is Australia’s regional art exhibition which transforms the rainforest of Blue Mountains into an outdoor gallery from April 13 – May 13.

The exhibition will showcase 38 artworks along from the Scenic Walkway to the Jamison Valley, providing a unique sensory experience with interactive installations, guided tours, curated artist talks and weekend workshops.

The participating artists will be in the running for the $20,000 Scenic World Major Award in addition to the $5,000 Artist Peer Award and the $3,000 Environmental Award.

Tickets start from $39 for adults. For more information, visit the Sculpture at Scenic World’s website.

April 13 – May 13, 9am-5pm | Scenic World Blue Mountains, Katoomba, NSW

Best Flower Gardens in Sydney

Best Flower Gardens in Sydney

With the busy lifestyle in Sydney, it can be hard to take the time to go into the nature and enjoy the view. But do not fret – these inner-city gardens will allow you to feast your eyes on beautiful flowers and greeneries without having to trek for hours.

Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

Situated at the heart of CBD, the RBG not only boasts the view of Sydney Opera House and The Rocks, but it also has a diverse flora collection – roses at the Palace Rose Garden, ancient and rare palms and ferns at the Australian Rainforest Garden, aromatic herbs at the Herb Garden, and unique flowers at the Australian Native Rockery. It’s a lovely place to have a quiet lunch, wander around, or even work in the outdoor setting – they have high-speed wi-fi!

 

Fagan Park, Hornsby

Whether you want to have a picnic, walk your dog, bring your kids outdoors or wander alongside the waters, Fagan Park has you covered. Its Gardens of Many Nations sprawl around 10 hectares, allowing you to walk the trail while enjoying their 11 nationality-themed gardens. A local bushland is also available if you’re looking for a longer walk or a bike trip. Otherwise, just stay close to the playgrounds or shelters.

 

Swain Gardens, Killara

Get an English-style garden experience by strolling around the beautiful landscape of these gardens. The quiet bushland setting covers around three hectares, enveloped by tall trees and filled with various levels of terraces.

 

Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn

While its fame could be attributed to its hosting of the Cherry Blossom Festival every August, Auburn Botanic Gardens is enjoyable to visit all year round. Featuring a sunken rose garden, a fauna reserve and aviary, pony rides, petting zoo and picnic grounds, it is a great place for a weekend family excursion.

 

Wendy’s Secret Garden, Lavender Bay

Dubbed as Sydney’s worst kept secret, the garden was created by local Wendy Whiteley at the Lavender Bay Parklands following the death of her husband. Today, it features a variety of plants, flowers and trees, with the highlight being the large fig tree providing shades to visitors and other greeneries. Some Australian-made sculptures are also on display, adding to the uniqueness of the landscape.

What are Air Plants?

What are Air Plants?

Air plants or tillandsia are popular for some reasons – they require no pots, no soil, little space, sporadic watering, and can be displayed in creative ways, from hanging terrariums to the walls. So what are they, and how can we best take care of them?

There are more than 650 types of air plants (Tillandsia sp.) with different colours and leaf thickness. Most of them have funnel-shaped flowers and/or triangle-shaped leaves.

To survive and thrive, air plants need bright, indirect light with temperatures ranging from 10 to 32 degrees Celsius.

In general, you should water your air plants once every two weeks – more often if the environment is brighter, hotter and/or drier. It is also understood that air plants with green leaves require more water than its silver counterparts, as they dry faster. Allow the plants to fully dry after misting/submerging the leaves in water by putting it on top of a towel to ensure that they don’t rot.

Keep your plants healthy by adding fertiliser into the water each month during spring and summer seasons.

Sources: 1, 2

Best Plants for Tea Drinkers

Best Plants for Tea Drinkers

Avid tea drinkers know that great ingredients make great drinks. This is especially the case in tea and tisane, or herbal tea made of various leaves, seeds, roots or barks. If you’re interested in making your own tea from scratch, there are a few plants that you can grow at home to make this happen. Here are the plants, along with some guide on how to grow them.

Camellia (Tea)

The original tea is probably the hardest to grow at home, as they require two to four years until they can yield crop. Plant at least two shrubs, keep the soil moist and watch out for iron deficiency in the plants, which is characterised by yellow leaves.

 

Chamomile

Chamomiles not only make for pretty flowers, but they also have calming and sedative effect when made into tea. Unlike camellia, chamomile requires dry soil. Plant it in part shade, and then move fully under the sun when it grows.

 

Ginger

Helpful in relieving nausea and upset stomach, this tuberous plant can also be used in cooking as a spice. Plant in humid, warm location with partial shade using sandy soil for optimum growth.

 

Peppermint

Not only does it have refreshing taste, but it also helps in curbing bloating and soothing sore throats. It’s also very easy to grow, indoors or outdoors! Make sure to provide the plant with full sun exposure, lots of water and good drainage.

Best Activities to Get You Closer to the Nature

Best Activities to Get You Closer to the Nature

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get closer to the nature, you’ve come to the right place. Getting in the nature not only allows you to breathe in fresh air, but it also has been proven to improve mental health and wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety. For self-described city people, venturing to the wilderness can be a bit daunting – but with the right activities, getting in touch with the nature and enjoying yourself don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Here are the things you should try to up your green game…

Scenic Walks

For those who never hiked before, scenic walks around your city can be a great starting point. Pick your favourite scenery, be it the coastline or the hillside. Make sure to research the distance and trek difficulty of your chosen route before embarking on the walk.

 

Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the waters for all preferences: a relaxing time for slow paddles and panoramic views, or a session to improve your upper body fitness with faster pace.

 

National Park Picnics

Visit your local national park and bring your loved ones for a picnic by a stunning lookout. You can enjoy the lush flora, dip your toes in the pristine waters and have a chance to spot local wildlife – what’s not to love?

 

Glamping

Don’t know how to build your own tent or create a bonfire? Worry not – now there are a lot of glamping options in Australia, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing comfort.

Best Fruits to Grow in Your Garden

Best Fruits to Grow in Your Garden

Growing fruits at home might sound like a great challenge, but it’s not as hard as you think. You don’t need a large space or tons of experience – these following fruits are guaranteed to be easy enough even for beginners! Here are the best fruits to grow in your yard.

Strawberries

Strawberries do not take a lot of effort to grow – besides the ground, they can also grow in containers and window boxes.

 

Watermelon

This big, hydrating fruit does not require a large tree or shrub to grow. However, it does need hefty sunlight for optimal growth.

 

Blueberries

These berries are not only juicy and sweet, but they are also very low-maintenance.

 

Figs

The trees of this fragrant fruit can grow from containers, making them more accessible to people without soil.

 

Apples

Keep the doctor away by growing apples in your yard! If you have limited space, opt for the dwarf variety.

This Is NOT A Drill: Sydney Vegan Market

This Is NOT A Drill: Sydney Vegan Market

Whether you’re a veteran, a sometimes vegan or just veggie-curious, this market will interest, intrigue and possibly make you cry tears of joy. And if you’ve ever wonder why home wares and makeup had ‘vegan’ on the label, well you’re ’bout to get educated!

Coined in 1944 in the UK, those more familiar with veganism will know that being vegan is not just a dietary choice, at it’s core, it extends beyond the food and becomes a conscious decision to lead an existence where animals and their by-products are not forcefully taken by us for our benefit and to their detriment). By extension this care for animals goes beyond the animal themselves and to the environment that sustains them, hence veganism has also focused on lessening the environment impact of living and support sustainable lifestyles. This means that not only do vegans watch what they eat, but also wear and use in their homes to make sure they have a minimal impact on everything around them and are very wary of supporting brands that make participate in animal cruelty (often in the form of testing on animals (cosmetics) or using by-products or the animals themselves (animal fat, insect shells etc) in the final product).

The Sydney Vegan Market is coming to Marrickville on the 19th of November, with more happening on the coming on the third Sundays of each month. You’ll have the chance to experience all kinds of cuisine from cakes, desserts, coffee, burgers, Asian, Middle Eastern cuisine and more! And to make things even better, the market’s not limited to ready-made food – it will also feature stalls that will supply you with fresh produce, home wares, fashion, and more.

If you’ve ever been unsure if you can undertake a vegan lifestyle, or if you just want to see what it’s all about, have a look at the markets as they strive to offer a true vegan experience in every aspect possible!