As the days of winter gradually grow longer and the narcissus begins to flower, gardeners know that spring is not far away. Daffodils seem to have an extraordinary meteorological ability to influence the temperature, casting off winter’s stony greys with warm yellows that leave their admirers feeling decidedly peppy. Continue reading

Alchemilla alchemists

Interesting plant namesAlchemilla is so named as it was believed by alchemists that the water droplets that ball on its surface were the purest form of water, which they could use in their quest to turn base metals into gold. Source & photo Annals of Botany

Growing bergenia

We moved from Brisbane to Sydney when I was a child. My mother was grief stricken about leaving her Brisbane garden, but began to recover when she realised she could now grow temperate plants that she’d only just read about in books.

We were living in a rented semi in Belmont Road, Cremorne just a block from the Cremorne Nursery. I vividly recall her standing looking at the small, damp, shaded front garden and saying: “I know what will do well here: bergenia!”. Continue reading

The lawn saga

The lawn saga got under way many years ago when I decided that weeds shouldn’t be allowed to grow in our new lawn. So I used to kneel down and yank them out. The kids and their friends would play around me. It got a bit dangerous when they were belting hockey balls against the garage wall. Continue reading

Holus bolus. Or holusscolia? No….

Chinese whispers, that funny thing that happens when information is distorted when passed from one recipient to another, and another, was at play this week at the garden club meeting. One of the bench competition shrub entries drew particular admiration from members, being a string of scarlet and tangerine blooms on long spines. Continue reading


Today’s word is myrmecochory – an evolutionary symbiosis where plant seeds have developed a fleshy outer covering called elaiosome (Ha! – you get 2 fancy words today) which attracts ants. The ants take the seed back to their nest, eat the elaiosome & discard the undamaged seed into the surrounding nutrient-enriched soil. This short dispersal distance leads to higher speciation.

A difficult decision – selling Wychwood

If only I had a dollar for every time someone had said to me in the past few years – “Oh my, you’ll never be able to leave this place!” Their words were hardly surprising – we have created a small garden oasis of huge borders, a heritage orchard, productive potager, a warm, comfy home, with a trout stream as a back boundary etc – all nestled within the rolling hills of the Meander Valley in northern Tasmania. It is, quite literally, paradise, and for many years we couldn’t even contemplate a time when we might be tempted to move on. Continue reading

Acacia cognata and cultivars

As a dedicated plant lover, what I look for first with any plant is its foliage and how it would work in the garden. The plant Acacia cognata is one that seems to fit in well almost anywhere – as either a formal plant or in mixed planting. Continue reading