Middle Earth Gardens Ewingsdale
Middle Earth Gardens Ewingsdale Helen Hawkes

A rare visit to Middle Earth

HERE'S a rare chance to see a magnificent garden created by Ewingsdale couple Jude and Barry Baxter.

The couple will host an Open Day Charity Fundraiser on Saturday, October 28.

This is a garden on steroids: staghorns, bromeliads, heliconias, Chinese palms and a myriad of other ornamental plants, as well as those in the vegie garden, have grown to gargantuan proportions.

Be quiet and you will hear whipbirds and wompoo pigeons and, of course, the nightly serenade of green frogs. Look upwards and you'll see dozens of butterflies.

A Hills Hoist is now overgrown with a passionfruit vine and, nearby, coffee trees, as well as avocados and bananas, are going wild. An igloo is used for striking seeds for flowers, especially one of Mr Baxter's favourites: marigolds.

In the vegie garden, where some very happy hens and a rooster strut nearby, you'll find corn, lemon balm, pumpkin, cucumbers, grapes, hyssop, sage, lemon myrtle, comfrey, rosemary and more.

As well as a chance to see the garden, there will be a sausage sizzle, stalls from Pets for Life with potted herbs and mushies; an Aboriginal art produce stall from Byron Bay Herb Nursery, charity raffles and more.

Entry is by gold coin donation.

Put it in the diary now!

40 Avocado Court, from 1.30pm to 5pm. Call Jude on 0405 756 877.

Magnificent magnolias

By Angie Thomas

Late winter and early spring are when the bare branches of deciduous magnolias are smothered in stunning large goblet- shaped flowers. They are truly gorgeous and absolutely traffic stopping.

The range of flower colours include burgundy, white, magenta, purple, hot pink and eye-catching yellow. Some magnolias are fragrant and there are also variations in flower type, including the multi-petalled star-shaped stellata.

New varieties of magnolias, like the Jury collection from Anthony Tesselaar (www.tesselaar.com) showcase improved flower colour and size and include Black Tulip, Burundy Star and Honey Tulip.

Magnolias are slow growing trees that do best in fertile, slightly acidic soil. They grow well in cool to warm temperate zones and need protection from winds and frosts. Leaves can be damaged during hot dry weather and so deciduous magnolias will look their best if grown in a semi-shaded position that is protected from harsh afternoon sun.

Credit: www.yates.com.au

Vege of the week

You don't have to be a mad gardener to want to grow something a bit unusual! There is a new variety of capsicum available in the Floriana vegetable range called Mad Hatter, which has the most amazing lobed fruit that look a little like a bell or jester's hat.

Capsicum Mad Hatter is a bushy capsicum that can grow up to a substantial 1.2m tall, so can benefit from some support, such as a tomato cage or stake. The green fruit mature to a delicious sweet red and healthy, well-fed plants can yield dozens of these unusually shaped capsicums.

After planting into a sunny spot in the vegie patch, regularly apply a potassium-fortified plant food.

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