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Project Builds (non Car) Here is an area where you can show / discuss other non car builds be they bikes, caravans, boats, BBQ's or whatever.

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Old 11-07-2022, 09:33 PM   #631
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

You’re not one for a dedicated pair of rose-pruning Felco No.2s, razor-sharp and rigorously sterilised?

Quote:
…People tend to get gun shy when pruning roses.
“Oh, don’t cut them too hard, it’s my neighbour’s daughter’s guinea pig’s bar mitzvah in three weeks, and the garden has to look perfect!”
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Old 11-07-2022, 09:52 PM   #632
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

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Youíre not one for a dedicated pair of rose-pruning Felco No.2s, razor-sharp and rigorously sterilised?


ďOh, donít cut them too hard, itís my neighbourís daughterís guinea pigís bar mitzvah in three weeks, and the garden has to look perfect
I use a pair of Felco 8's and a small hand saw if needed. The Felco's are sharpened before each session. I don't sterilize them for my customers roses; however I do have a bottle of metho with me when doing the nursery stock.
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Old 13-07-2022, 09:01 PM   #633
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Chapter 15 Ė Going Commando!

In January 2019 while shopping for some trimmer line at a mower shop, I noticed they had a refurbished Victa Commando 2-Stoke for sale. I was too weak to resist and bought it on the spot!







From what I can gather, this unit is a bitsa. Going by the decals and wheels, the base is late 90ís / early 2000ís steel 18íí cut. The catcher is from a later model as these should have had red rather than grey inserts. The handle locks are also an earlier design.



The engine is most likely the VSX160, owing to the fuel tank/engine cover, the fuel cap and also the larger muffler. VSX engines had a fatter muffler, low-power and all late engines had a flat muffler. For those that donít know, the muffler on Victa 2-Stroke exits down through the deck. Thatís why you will notice them puffing smoke from below and the catcher vents. For 4-Stoke engines, there was a snap in plastic plug to close off the exhaust vent.

Fat Ė



Flat -



Plug Ė



The chassis is showing some wear and tear, to the point where I added some re-enforcement parts to strengthen the area where the handle fixes to the base. The engine on this machine had been fully rebuilt prior to sale. That said, Victa 2-Stokes are famous for being a bit temperamental, and while I have been lucky with my other 2-Stokes, this one has had a few occasions where it failed to start or struggled to idle. Itís a very fine line between getting one of these started and flooding them, if you donít get them going on the first couple of pulls, they will end up being flooded.



This mower gets infrequent use at home and is occasionally taken on jobs.
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Old 16-07-2022, 04:33 PM   #634
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Great info on the mowers DFB I admire your passion.

About to start on the roses at home, lots of rust this year so will have to treat that aswell.
A progress pic on my underwater bonsais, they're starting to grow



I'm going low and slow on these with the lighting and co2 turned down.
This was, at much expense, the last tank I had to switch over to the Micmol lighting system. Great LED unit that gives me individual 0-100% adjustments of white, blue and red spectrums. They also have adjustable ramp to simulate natural light at three stages, sunrise, midday and sunset. I can also program a moon phase and even a lightning storm however the later can be quite startling when, at random, it starts flashing away
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Old 16-07-2022, 06:42 PM   #635
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

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Great info on the mowers DFB I admire your passion.

About to start on the roses at home, lots of rust this year so will have to treat that aswell.
A progress pic on my underwater bonsais, they're starting to grow

image

I'm going low and slow on these with the lighting and co2 turned down.
This was, at much expense, the last tank I had to switch over to the Micmol lighting system. Great LED unit that gives me individual 0-100% adjustments of white, blue and red spectrums. They also have adjustable ramp to simulate natural light at three stages, sunrise, midday and sunset. I can also program a moon phase and even a lightning storm however the later can be quite startling when, at random, it starts flashing away
That looks great, I love it!
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Old 16-07-2022, 07:15 PM   #636
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Chapter 16 Ė Hercules!

In the middle of 2020, I started to get serious about replacing the Rover. Apart from my first mower, the seven-year-old the Rover would be the longest I had kept a mower. While it needed some decent maintenance over those years, it had well and truly earnt itís keep. Ideally, I would have simply bought another one, however by then, Rover had discontinued that generation of ProCutís. The salesman at my dealer said the reason for that was apparently Rover had determined the ďmold was wornĒ.

The replacement Rover ProCuts were different machines. Overall, compared to the old ProCut, the new mowers looked cheap and flimsy. They were still offered with the Kohler or ďRoverĒ engines and single speed self-propel. As a point of difference, these ProCuts had a blade brake clutch, meaning the engine could continue to run without the blades turning. That feature had been on Hondaís for a while and was a something that really interested me. The dealer would actually tell me that they were seeing problems with the blade brake from a few other lawn contractors. That sort of ruled out a new Rover from that point. I think itís telling that Rover have since discontinued the ProCut for range altogether, a shame really as they had a good reputation within the industry.

https://www.rover.com.au/lawn-mowers





This subject of replacing my Rover came up a couple of times with my dealer, they knew I loved my machine and was apprehensive about replacing it. In fact, they convinced me to do another round of drive-line maintenance to give me more time to consider what to do. To be honest, I could have done the same a few more times, but the machine was staring to show itís age overall. I even asked about putting a new engine on it but was told not to bother.

This dealer was also a Bushranger retailer. After again ruling out other alternatives, I started to look very closely at their professional machines. Bushranger offer five commercial grade models, all with alloy bases. There are two push 19inch mowers, powered by either a Loncin or Honda GXV160, and the three self-propel 21inch models. The larger versions again have the option of Loncin or Honda, with a blade brake option added recently on the Loncin version. Strangely, the 18inch steel chassis Bushrangers are actually the old Rover equivalent.

https://bushrangerpe.com.au/browse-products/lawn-mowers

I went on and chose the self-propel 53AH6IMSP 800SP (what a sexy name?!) with the Honda GXV160 engine, although that decision meant paying an additional $410 over the Loncin. Iím glad I did because the GXV160 is a brilliant engine. Itís smooth, fuel efficient and produces more power than the on-paper figures would suggest. And even more since I upped the revs!

https://bushrangerpe.com.au/browse-p...er-pu53ah6imsp



Old vs New -









The drive-line on this mower is different to my other previous self-propel machines, featuring a drive shaft rather than a belt. The gearbox has three speeds and engagement of drive feels quite a bit firmer. I guess the rubber belt systems tend cushion the engagement of drive.



However, the gearbox location would mean some compromiseÖÖÖÖÖÖa half discharge chute.



That was a hard aspect to overcome, especially considering my past experiences. In reality, the catching ability of this machine has been mostly fine. Only the thickest and wettest grass will cause blockages, so nowhere as bad as the John Deere. The four swing-back blade disk would be helping here.







Overall, the machine is built like a tank. The chassis is very robust, the wheels are alloy and the axles are bolted to the frame. The fabric catcher is huge, 70 litres in fact, and really improves efficiency. Itís pretty heavy when full though. The machine overall is VERY heavy with a dry weight of 52 kg. Along with the Rover and MulchMaster, I need ramps to push this mower up onto my ute.













Mulching ability is pretty good too.



Improvements would be minor. I would like more height adjustability, with only 7 positions compared to 10 on a Victa. I would love for them to offer the Briggs 850, despite my love of the GXV160. A little more width of the rear chute would make it just about perfect. Oh, and a longer pull-cord on the Honda to allow fitment on the handle. I actually tried fitting this myself, but the cord is simply too short to start the engine when extended that far. For the price these engines command, you would think Honda could spare the extra few cents by making the cord long enough.







In September 2020, after trade of the Mustang 850, I paid $1599 for the Bushranger. To date, touch wood, itís been faultless. I got this mower three months before I would quit at my largest customer, a wealthy family which I took care of all of their properties. As such it would take a little longer for this mower to pay for itself.









It's strange, I seem to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time with Victa's commercial mowers. Not long after I bought the Bushranger, Victa would launch another large commercial machine with a 21inch cut! And powered by my favorite engine.

https://www.victa.com/au/en_au/produ...850-ic-sp.html



This Victa compares well against the Bushy, weighing noticeably less and offering more grunt. It does lack the 3-speed gearbox and shaft drive though. If I was choosing today, I'm not sure which I would choose. Engine power and a brand I love? Or strength and ability to choose my own walking speed? Either way, I'm more than happy with the Bushranger at this time and it should last me a long time.

Next Ė The most recent addition.
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Old 18-07-2022, 06:07 PM   #637
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Chapter 18 Ė The Current Fleet.

Two years without a new-mower-fix and I was getting itchy feet. I covered most about this latest addition earlier in the thread, having used it for a few weeks now, Iím really enjoying the lighter weight.







The Victa Mustang 750iS is now a discontinued model, which I think is disappointing because it makes a compelling case. Light but durable chassis, decent power and torque from the 163cc engine and the convenience of electric start. I have to say, the price of these is up towards the upper end of the domestic push-mower price point, so I guess a lot of people looking to spend that sort of money bypass Victa on their way to a Honda. After the first few weeks, I have been really enjoying using this machine, and feel just a bit posh using the push button start.





Today I had it on the back of the ute with the Bushranger, allowing me to use the lighter machine on softer ground. Itís also been really good on fuel compared to my thirsty 2-Strokes and big-block Mulchmaster.



And thatís where Iím sitting for now. Far too many mowers for any sane person, but never enough for a nut-job like me. This is the current fleet Ė





Missing from the shot is my País green Victa, it being buried in the depths of the garden shed. I would love to restore is one day, along with my little red Corvette. The old green machine would need a new catcher, it being repaired several times by Pa with whatever he had lying around and itís missing itís ďfull indicatorĒ. One of the wheels is also missing a hub cap.



The engine still ran as recently as a couple of years ago, starting on the first full after sitting for several years. I NEVER witnessed Pa use this mower to its full ability, he would just let it idle along as he mowed, I guess that is why even after nearly 50 years, it was still pretty fit. I remember buzzing it up a few times to see what it could do, only briefly, as I really donít trust all of those rusty bolts holding the blades on. Ideally, I want to strip it right down, repaint the deck, re-chrome the handles, repair the wheels and replace the catcher. The engine I want to strip and re-build too.

In 99% of cases, mowers like my red Corvette would be scrapped. The value of this mower is sentimental, in which case spending the money to strip it down would not be a deciding factor. It really needs new rings, and the carb needs a new diaphragm. Both of these jobs are a ďone dayĒ project for when I have more time.

So, what else do I want in the collection? In terms of the commercial mowers, I think it will be a while before I need to replace those. The Rover was kept as a backup, but has not been used in 18 months now, so it really needs to let go I suppose. Both red Corvetteís get occasional use around my yard, the MasterCut serves a very defined purpose, the Mustang 2-Sroke is for heavy duty cutting and the new Mustang 750 is doing itís thing. The old green Victa is waiting for itís time.

I would absolutely love to find a Victa Twin one day. These were made in the 1970ís as a high-powered mower for commercial use and, as the name suggests, these are a twin cylinder 2-Stroke engine.



These things are famously noisy and horrendously thirsty. They sound pretty nasty too, could you imagine being woken up by one of those on a Sunday morning! They did not make a lot of these 170cc flat-twinís, and the ones that do come up for sale are usually on Facebook Marketplace, a place I donít really like to buy from.









I would also like to get another Razor, this time with the 2-Stroke engine. This mower represents a time where the world was my oyster.



And a MulchMaster 2-Stoke would be cool to have as well. Again, not many of these were made with the 2-Stroke, and any that remain command a pretty strong price.



Writing this recount of my mower history has been really fun, a wonderful escape from reality and a reminder of how far I have come.
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Old 20-07-2022, 08:16 PM   #638
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

It was a -3 start this morning, thankfully I had an indoors job till 10am doing plant hire. The concept of "Plant Hire" is where we rent indoor plants to businesses for their office or public spaces. The service fee includes us visiting on a weekly basis to maintain, water and feed them. When a plant is looking tired, we swap it out. I share the duties with a collogue, these Sansevieria or Mother In-law's Tongue are some of my babies -



When I did get outside, I got indulge in some rose pruning, and as you can see, I have quite a few to do.



The goal here is to maintain the plants at a compact size so that they look proportionate in their pots. As such, I prune them very hard, removing aged timber and reshaping them after their season's growth. At the same time, I top each pot with potting mix and apply pre-emergent weed killer to reduce maintenance. Still about a day's worth of work to go.
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Old 22-07-2022, 08:39 PM   #639
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Putting stock out today, this variety made me smile..............



With a name like that, it would have to be very good!

Digiplexis are a cross between Digitalis (Foxglove) and Isoplexis (Canary Island Foxglove), offering a longer flowering period than either of their parents. Growing best in full sun, the flower spikes will reach 90-100cm in height.





These plants best suit a cottage garden or mixed boarder. They are also bee friendly.
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Old 23-07-2022, 04:27 PM   #640
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Bit of a different question for you...

What is a reasonable amount for pocket money for mowing? I have about 200m2 at the rear and possibly similar amount at the front. Rear is flat and rectangular. Front is sloped and a bit of a bell shape. I'm unable to mow at the moment and now that I have a battery one it's much safer as it turns off as soon as the handle is released.

I offered my 13yr old daughter $20 to do both. Am I around the mark or do I need to reach in to my pocket a bit more??

If you say I'm a bit tight, you won't be the first
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Old 23-07-2022, 04:51 PM   #641
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

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Bit of a different question for you...

What is a reasonable amount for pocket money for mowing? I have about 200m2 at the rear and possibly similar amount at the front. Rear is flat and rectangular. Front is sloped and a bit of a bell shape. I'm unable to mow at the moment and now that I have a battery one it's much safer as it turns off as soon as the handle is released.

I offered my 13yr old daughter $20 to do both. Am I around the mark or do I need to reach in to my pocket a bit more??

If you say I'm a bit tight, you won't be the first
If my kids wanted pocket money they had to work for it so $20 is more than generous.
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Old 23-07-2022, 06:31 PM   #642
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Bit of a different question for you...

What is a reasonable amount for pocket money for mowing? I have about 200m2 at the rear and possibly similar amount at the front. Rear is flat and rectangular. Front is sloped and a bit of a bell shape. I'm unable to mow at the moment and now that I have a battery one it's much safer as it turns off as soon as the handle is released.

I offered my 13yr old daughter $20 to do both. Am I around the mark or do I need to reach in to my pocket a bit more??

If you say I'm a bit tight, you won't be the first
$20 sounds pretty good to me.
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Old 23-07-2022, 06:58 PM   #643
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Very quiet today, so I got on the tools and continued with my renovation of the fernery.









Again, I stripped away stock displayed in front of this section, allowing me to reform the boarder with larger rocks and blending in the gravel path. To display plants, I put flat sections of slate with smaller stones around them to blend it all together. When the warmer weather arrives, I want to add some colour to all of the green via Impatiens and Coleus.

I'm enjoying this job, done all at once I would be hating it, but just chipping away at it when time allows is really fun. And it helps the day go quicker.
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Old 29-07-2022, 07:57 PM   #644
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The first of (too) many trees that will be potted over the next month or so.



The decision has been made to get started a bit earlier this year, starting with surplus trees and roses. This will hopefully reduce the pressure to get it all done in a short period. I did 51 Silver Birch's today, along with about 60 standard roses yesterday.

Traditionally, this work has been done from a tandem trailer, a method that has me stooped over and straining my back. However, tray of a ute is an almost perfect potting bench, offering a better height for my tall stature. And having a pallet lined at the back limits the amount of lifting required. In fact, I actually fill the pot/bag on the pallet itself, I then push the finished bag/pot to the back rather than lifting it into place. Work smarter, not harder!

Still, my back is already sore.
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Old 29-07-2022, 08:06 PM   #645
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

took one look at the pic before reading your blurb and my back screamed... 'oh the pain'
good thinking
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Old 29-07-2022, 08:40 PM   #646
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took one look at the pic before reading your blurb and my back screamed... 'oh the pain'
good thinking
The weight of one of those bags with potting mix and the tree itself is not especially heavy on it's own, about 20 kg. But done over and over and over, the weight adds up over the course of the day.
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Old 29-07-2022, 10:43 PM   #647
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Ive spent 2 days removing formica and 22mm chipboard off an old timber dining table.
Chisels, elec planers, angle grinder with scotchbrite pad(s), nail pullers, flat head screw drivers, and the list goes on. Tonite was expoxy resin fill the holes etc and a hot soaking bath. Back is still complaining.
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Old 01-08-2022, 09:59 PM   #648
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Mower history question. My father's first petrol mower here was a wind-up start two stroke with catcher, for whatever reason I remembered it as a Sunbeam or Victa. But having a surf of Google Images it seems the wind-up petrol mowers are Singers.

Am I mis-remembering? (mad2 will probably say this happens every PM I sendÖ )
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Old 01-08-2022, 10:04 PM   #649
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dont know the name but I remember those as well..
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Old 01-08-2022, 10:04 PM   #650
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Mower history question. My father's first petrol mower here was a wind-up start two stroke with catcher, for whatever reason I remembered it as a Sunbeam or Victa. But having a surf of Google Images it seems the wind-up petrol mowers are Singers.

Am I mis-remembering? (mad2 will probably say this happens every PM I sendÖ )
Victa / Sunbeam mowers did also come with the windup and release starter action.

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Old 01-08-2022, 10:11 PM   #651
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

Some of that looks perfectly familiar. The starter release lever, engine cover shape and catcher hook arms. Don’t think it was that colour though. It was a freebie via my mother’s networking, from wealthy relatives of the academic Peter Singer.
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Old 03-08-2022, 08:40 AM   #652
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

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Victa / Sunbeam mowers did also come with the windup and release starter action.

image
We had one of those when I was a kid, was terrified of it. Sure it was a Corvette model though like pict.

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Old 03-08-2022, 07:05 PM   #653
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Old 05-08-2022, 08:22 PM   #654
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

I find it fascinating how some people are happy to plant something and watch it grow, while others want the results overnight. Catering to the later, we grow a lot of our own advanced stock.

Having the space to allow the growing of high-quality advanced stock is a key component in the mix. The nursery invested a lot of money in setting up a space capable of delivering this.

Not only does this allow us to provide the customers with larger plants at more reasonable costs (no expensive transporting costs for example), it is also more profitable per plant. Think of it like selling a base model Falcon XT compared to a FPV GT; the GT has more margin.

Most of the advanced stock will start from a smaller 140 and 200mm pot. We then put them into 330mm pots accompanied by appropriate fertiliser, stakes, ties and weed control matting.



Today's task was potting up 40 Magnolia Little Gem and 10 Magnolia Kay Parris.



After potting, each plant is put into position, hooked to a dripper line and attached to the wire support.





Took me the better part of 6 hours to process those.

From here, the plants will stay in place until they have grown to an appropriate size. That also applies to the root system, meaning we want it developed so that it pot can be removed and not have it fall apart.

The root system is what separates a nursery from a large green hardware store. Stock from them will often been grown so fast that the roots system has not kept up, meaning a weaker plant more susceptible to root disturbance and transplant shock. This is why you pay so little at the big green shed and more at a nursery that understands how plants grow rather than treating them like a packet of bolts or a can of paint.
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Old 07-08-2022, 06:43 PM   #655
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

A couple of friends like the Bunnings Wilt-o-Rama bargain plants table and will even haggle down on multiple items. They treat it as a personal ďgreen thumb challengeĒ to see how many can be resuscitated.

Speaking of magnolias, deciduous ones are out in force around Sydneyís northern suburbs at present, along with earlier varieties of prunus.

In so many ways the persistent rain has been awful but a few warm days - and longer - have paid a small dividend.
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Old 12-08-2022, 09:20 PM   #656
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

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A couple of friends like the Bunnings Wilt-o-Rama bargain plants table and will even haggle down on multiple items. They treat it as a personal ďgreen thumb challengeĒ to see how many can be resuscitated.

Speaking of magnolias, deciduous ones are out in force around Sydneyís northern suburbs at present, along with earlier varieties of prunus.

In so many ways the persistent rain has been awful but a few warm days - and longer - have paid a small dividend.
My dear mother likes nothing more than pointing to a plant in her garden she "saved" and gloating about paying a pittance for it, as bunnies was throwing it out!

She has 3 sons all career horticulturalists, who wince at purchasing anything other than the very best plant stock.

We all offer to select perfect examples of any plant she desires from our wholesale suppliers. She prefers "saving" unsaleable stock from westfarmers...
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Old 13-08-2022, 07:04 PM   #657
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My dear mother likes nothing more than pointing to a plant in her garden she "saved" and gloating about paying a pittance for it, as bunnies was throwing it out!

She has 3 sons all career horticulturalists, who wince at purchasing anything other than the very best plant stock.

We all offer to select perfect examples of any plant she desires from our wholesale suppliers. She prefers "saving" unsaleable stock from westfarmers...
We have a customer who comes in and buys most of our discounted plants. She has a large property and has no problem giving them a much-needed home.

I try to keep as much poor-quality stock out of public view as I can. Anything not up to standard is removed from sale, discounted or planted in the gardens surrounding the property. One poor looking plant can really bring down a display. It's something I have worked at over the years, getting rid of stuff that will never sell and in the process lifting the expectations of what our stock should look like. This also gives our customers confidence in buying from us.

Another thing that has improved stocking has been the advent of rapid release fertilizers. If a plant is overgrown and needs to cut back hard or perhaps is looking anemic, these fertilizers can revive a poor plant in minimal time, allowing it to be saleable again.

That last paragraph is something a Bunnings does not have the time or space to do. If a plant is looking crap, it's simply thrown in the bin. This is why they are bleeding money from their garden centers and have been for a very long time.
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Old 13-08-2022, 07:13 PM   #658
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

I'm nearly finished my renovation of this display.





This section had been overrun with a plant I absolutely hate, Acorus Gramineus or Sweet Flag. This plant is generally grown in water or waterlogged soil and is extremely tough. It's also apparently edible and extremely nutritious, I don't care because it stinks and is horrible to remove.

Today a dug-out sections of the Acorus that had clogged up the flow of water, reprofiled the edges and topped with more stones.

I only have the small section under the waterfall and a couple of spots to the back of it left to do.
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Old 13-08-2022, 08:14 PM   #659
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Default Re: DFB's Greenthumb Project

you have room to erect a tiny house in there somewhere? I'll take it
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Old 13-08-2022, 10:32 PM   #660
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DFB, youíve worked outdoors forever. Whatís your gut feeling on the upcoming Spring-Summer rainfall and temperatures?
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