I review these products during tasks I personally carry out within my garden on a regular basis. Using the right product or tool for the job makes the difference of doing it the easy way or the hard way, so I really value a product which can make my life easier.

I am hoping that garden related companies will send me ‘products’ to test and evaluate. However I must stress that I will not be anything but fair and make no promises to these companies other than to tell the truth. Many of the products here are what I have already purchased for my own gardening use and are happy with.
You may ask, what are your qualifications? Well Judy and I opened our garden through the ‘Australia's Open Gardens’ for
10 years. We now open to support a specific charity.
We had our 18th Open Garden in 2019.
We won Gardening Australia’s 2009 ‘Golden Trowel’, have appeared on the ‘Garden Guru’s and ‘Gardening Australia’ twice and on various other television shows. We have given over 200 presentations to garden clubs on Sub tropical gardening and open our garden for bus tours. What is more important is that we have learnt from our gardening mistakes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Organic Fertilizer

We used to use a chemical fertilizer once a year and that was just prior to our 'Open Garden' it gave the lawns and plants an instant lift and a good colour.
The biggest drawback is that main fertilized company in Australia 'Intec' is now owned by a Chinese company and Judy and I prefer to support 'Aussie' products, that's why I am doing this review.
For the rest of the year we only use 'Organic Xtra' and 'Eco88'they contains all we need for our plants to stay healthy.
Organic Xtra has all the proven properties of
  • composted manure
  • blood and bone
  • feather and fish meal
  • seaweed
  • natural minerals
  • and Sulphate of Potash.
  • This  blend contains scientifically balanced ratios of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and at least 13 essential trace elements. 
Because Organic Xtra is naturally composted, it delivers a slow release of essential nutrients and trace elements, without the risk of burning 
Organic Xtra improves the health of the soil, your garden will be benefit from billions of beneficial micro-organisms in just a few weeks.
Obviously the main component is composted chicken manure and you can purchase it in pellet or powder form.
We always have a bag handy, and it's not too expensive.
When potting we always put a little bit in the pot and it certainly helps.
For a great all round fertilizer with everything you cannot go past Eco88, it is a bit more expensive, but you get more 'bang for your buck'.

Achieve fast growth and long lasting colour with Eco88(s), a quality, balanced fertiliser that combines organic and inorganic elements. This premium fertiliser is suitable for the whole garden and fantastic for lawns due to its balance of nutrients, granular form and added iron.

Eco88(s) was originally formulated specifically for turf but today is now used as a general purpose fertiliser. The added iron produces more vibrant colours in flowers and deep green foliage.
Eco88(s) contains two forms of nitrogen (sulphate of ammonia and organic nitrogen) along with phosphorus, sulphate of potash and essential trace nutrients to ensure fast greening, strong leaf growth, and bright colours.
The added organic material improves soil nutrition and balance and we use sulphate of potash rather than muriate of potash as it is better for the environment.
As with all of our fertilisers, Eco88(s) is quality checked at each stage of processing so you can be assured that it is free of pathogens, low in moisture, easy to apply and delivers long lasting results.
It's a local product made in Queensland so we should all support 'Aussie' made products.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hedge Shears

As you are obviously aware I am a big fan of Fiskars products.
Why, it's really quite simple.
They are very well made, last for ages and are easy to use.
I have recently bought a Fiskars Compost Fork and a Ergonomic Garden Fork both are great to use.
In this article I will review the Hedge Shears.

The best thing is the quality of metal used and the special coating which helps with the cut and sharpness of the blades. 

A lot of thought has gone into the design of these shears and being ergonomic means less blisters and tired arms.
Another great product by Fiskars.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Telescopic Tree Pruner

As I have said previously, I am a big fan of Fiskars products.
They are made in Finland from top quality materials.
Best of all they are not made in China.
I am a person who has learnt from his mistakes and I now will only purchase quality garden tools.
I have had enough ‘lemons’ in my time and do not want any more.
My tools get a lot of use, with over 70 fruit trees than need pruning I need garden tools that work and will not break down on me.
One of the best tools I own is the Fiskars universal telescopic tree pruner; I have had this tool for about 10 years and have only just had to replace it.

For those hard to reach places it is wonderful with a telescopic reach of about 6 metres (depending on your height).
The actual pruner extends from 2.4 to 4.1 metres.

The pruning head is adjustable, so you can angle it to suit your cut.
All you do to prune a branch is slide the orange handle or pull the end knob; it’s safe, fast and so easy to use.
I have seen copies of this tool at Masters Hardware (made in China) of course, I would not touch with a bargepole.
This is a great product and one I can highly recommend.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Garden Soil and Potting Mix

It's been a long, disappointing and frustrating wait to find a really good organic soil and potting mix to use in our garden.
After many metres of fair to really bad mixes we were just about on the verge of giving up until we found 'Green Fingers'.
This firm is based close to Jacobs Well in Queensland and puts out some really good products.
We have only tried two and are very happy with both.
Potting mixes usually are a bit of fine bark, sawdust, sand, not much else.
The 'Green Fingers' 'Eco-Z' mix is a premium mix with added Zeolite, Peat, Silica and Organic Manures, basically it needs less watering and less fertilizing.

The Premium Garden soil is a blend of ash, compost, cow manure, loam and sand, it's a great mix, far superior to anything I have bought before.

They do sell it in bags to retail outlets, it's bagged as 'Rocky Point' soil and potting mix, I believe it's available just about anywhere.
I am not an expert on soil, just know a good one when I see one, so if you want more detailed information you can go to the Greenfingers website, also Rocky Point have a Facebook page.
It's a pity that they do not supply to our local Landscape yards as it means a trip with the trailer to collect a metre.
They will deliver but it works out quite expensive $60 per hour for a small truck and $90 for a large truck, so we are about a 1.5 hour round trip.
We are very happy with the product and can with all honesty recommend it to you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden Lopper

We have over 70 fruit trees in our yard and of course they all need to be kept under control.
That means a lot of trimming, cutting and lopping.
When it comes to garden tools my motto is 'only the best will do'.
That's why I like brands such as Fiskars and Felco.
I have now had a chance to try out the medium Fiskars lopper's and they are up to the usual high quality.
Fiskars say: The unique Power-Gear™ mechanism increases cutting power and distributes it evenly throughout the cutting action. The PowerStep™ technology allows gardeners to cut branches in 1, or multiple steps. It makes the workload easier on young and senior gardeners alike, eliminating strain and pain to increase the overall pleasure of gardening.

Fiskars loppers are made of fibreglass reinforced polyamide, which makes them lightweight and strong. The cutting blades are PTFE- coated for less friction. The loppers are available in three different models:

It took no effort to trim the 'Fruit of the Rio Grande and Gruminchama.

The loppers cut through the branches like a knife through butter, no effort was required.
I have quite a few Fiskars products, I especially like the loppers and telescopic pruners.
These products are NOT made in China, they are made in Finland and are of a very high quality.
Do not buy cheap garden tools as you are not only wasting your money but are using an inferior product that will probably not do the job that you wanted it to do.
Here you will find a small movie of the cutters at work.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stanley Wheelbarrow

My good old rugged Kelso wheelbarrow ended it's life about two months ago after years of really hard work.
What a wonderful rugged and reliable barrow.
Why did I not get another Kelso?
I was stupid, thought more about cost than quality and went to Bunnings and bought a Stanley Wheelbarrow.
To start off with all the nuts and bolts needed tightening and the bearings needed greasing.
Then when I started to use the barrow to cart garden soil it was nowhere as easy as the Kelso to push, also it creaks and groans and is unstable.
I did a bit of concreting the other day and with only six shovel loads of mixed cement the barrow bin started to go out of shape and almost collapsed on me.

As you can see all the nuts and bolts have started to fall off, makes you wonder why they did not put on spring washers, now I have to go and buy new bolt's nut's and washers, not happy.
How cheap and shoddy is this.
I wish I had kept my Bunning's receipt then I could of taken it back and changed it to a better one.
I absolutely hate this wheelbarrow but will keep it as it will only last a couple of years (if I am lucky), then I will get a good, one not cheap Chinese rubbish.
To make matters worse the inner tube split, so that was another $20 dollars for a new tube, not to mention the hassle of putting it in.
Sorry about this Mr Stanley but it's not a good product, in fact it's a load of cheap rubbish.
As of December 2013 over 2000 people have read this post.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cordless Hedge Trimmer Review

Worried about electric cords on your hedge trimmer, well Hoselink have come up with the answer.
It’s a Li-ion battery powered trimmer with a 52cm dual action blade and a handle that rotates.
When fully charged it will go for about 35 to 40 minutes.
It comes with a two year warranty and costs $179.00.
I have trialled it on my Jaboticaba trees and the Mock Orange bushes and it did the task quite well.

It is probably not that suitable for my property as we have acreage and some quite big shrubs that need trimming on a regular basis.
I will certainly recommend it for normal sized backyards and courtyards; it’s probably all you will ever need.
An added bonus is that is very quiet, no neighbours to disturb and it's light enough for the girls to use.
You can view on the Hoselink web site at, http://www.hoselink.com.au/