Saffron, Bael and Star Anise; 2017.01.31 Newsletter


Hot and dry conditions prevail. It has been a long time between drinks and the ground is parched – no real rain since the beginning of December. The prolonged dry has depleted the sub soil of moisture and the softer grass species have begun to cure. These conditions look set to continue for at least the next week and may be to the second part of February.

Daytime temperatures are currently in the mid-thirties, nights are in the low twenties.

In the Shade House

The warm climate plants really crackle in these conditions. Galangal, Ginger and Turmeric are going off. The same for Indigo, Neem. Gotu Kola, Myrobalan, Vanilla and Liquorice.

Plants returning to stock over the previous month include Galanagal, Vegetable Pepper, Betel Pepper, Costmary, Calea, Japanese Honeysuckle, Japanese Indigo, Boneset, Hop, Myrobalan, Barberry, Vanilla, Samphire, Bael and Liquorice.

Rangoon Creeper returns to our list. Demand for this ornamental species reduced about 10 years ago, but enquiry is now on the increase.

Betel Pepper / Vegetable Pepper: this is an attempt to clarify the confusion caused by these common names. When in doubt as to the actual plant a common name describes, look to the botanical name for clarification. If you are looking for the plant that produces leaves for wrapping food, the species is Piper sarmentosum. If you are looking for the plant whose leaf is used ceremonially and to wrap Betel nuts and lime to produce quid, then the species is Piper Betel.

Kava and Cinnamon are slow to be ready this season. Looking like the end of February, at this time. Those on the Wait List will receive email notification of return to stock.

In The Seed Room

Too warm in our locality to sow seed at this time of year. We are preparing for the cold, moist stratification of some cold climate species. The seed to be conditioned by this method includes Schisandra, Sweet Cicely, Ramsons, Tasmanian Pepper and Turkey Rhubarb.

Fresh seed of Golden Seal should be available in the next week or so.

Star Anise seed will soon be available all year. Trialling storage methods. Will keep you advised.

Seed returning to stock over the Christmas break include Costmary, Ladies Mantle, Madder, St Marys Thistle, Agrimony, Bo-Tree, Skullcap. Baikal Skullcap, Dong Quai, Golden Rod and Saffron corms.

New species added to seed list are Citronella Balm, Coffee Chicory and Chinese Woad.

February is generally a good month in all areas of Australia to propagate by cutting. We will be cutting Chaste Tree, Mother of Herb. Henna, Cows Udder, American Elderberry and Sambung.

Nature Journal

Freshwater tortoise laid eggs in stock garden, about 20m from creek. Previously only seen sheltering on high ground, out of creek, during large wet season fresh.

Lots of parrots about, most notable (noisy) are the Rainbow Lorikeets, from the coast, here for the flower nectar.

Currently in flower are the Leopard Tree, Mimosa, Brazilian Cherry, White Cedar and Native Frangipani.

Nursery Cuttings

● Japanese Indigo plant, transplant now for autumn harvest
Saffron corms, reliable – sow by end of March
Neem plant, strong growing and attractive
Golden Seal seed, fresh seed available during February
● Myrobalan plant, attractive and rare
 Dong Quai seed, fresh seed for autumn sowing
● Galangal plant, suits warmer growing conditions
Madder seed, recently returned to stock
● Vegetable Pepper plant, culinary and shade loving
● Baical Skullcap seed, suits late summer sowing
 Samphire plant, for the kitchen garden, volunteers freely
Costmary seed, sow in the early autumn
Bael plant, good time to transplant
Bo-Tree seed, sow onto warm soil
Betel Pepper plant, rare ceremonial plant
Agrimony seed, good germination
Turmeric plant, establishes well in warm conditions
Star Anise seed, shortly available, join Wait List


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *