In praise of Pentas

I might just be a tiny bit of a pentas fanatic. I’ve been growing them for about 20 years now, in two different gardens and there’s nothing that beats them for flowering display over most of the Sydney year. Pentas is very variable in form, so when you buy it, it’s a bit hard to tell at first Continue reading

Composting in a small space

Out the kitchen door, to the right off the landing, I’ve positioned the compost bin for easy access. I’m rewarded with views of my back garden and this one of my front. It’s a view ofthe front I only see from this angle so it’s a treat. Today I was rewarded by pink dianthus (cheddar pinks ‘Firewitch’) and pink rhododendron blooming with a bit of the bluish purple nepeta (catmint ‘Six Hills Giant’) and the chartreuse alchemilla (lady’s mantle). Even without the sun shining it’s lovely!

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Environmental weeds

I have always wished for a horticultural equivalent of the joke: Q: When is a cook bad? A: When he beats the eggs. I wish for this because gardening words are by their very nature only gentle or benign, even innocuous. We prune, pollard, dig, churn, plant, nurture, grow, irrigate and pick. We never slap or punch. Nor do we beat. Continue reading

Trees for streets

I live in a small township in SW Victoria with a population of about 500 people. It is a long, narrow town with hills to our north and the sea to the south. The town girdles the Princes Continue reading

A turf labyrinth – a bearable version of grass cutting

Spring has been a disappointment for sun loving human beings in this part of the world so far. It has been constantly cold, wet and dull almost since Easter. Yet, many plants (although not the garden vegetables, which are now severely behind) seem to enjoy this “wettest drought on record”, as long as they are able to hold back their flowering activity. Continue reading


Water restrictions… grrr! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not into wasting water, and sensible Adelaide gardeners familiar with our notorious mains supply have been watering early Continue reading

Choosing plants for tropical hedges

In the tropics, hedges are a bit difficult. However in these days of closely built suburban developments, a sound and sight screen is often desirable. There are not a lot of plants really suitable for a classic hedge, and things tend to grow so fast that you are forever clipping them to keep that nice clean line, so beloved of maze builders, parterre planters and topiarists. Continue reading