In a bushfire should you stay, or go?

Steels Creek after the fire. Photo Tom Griffiths

Australia’s national bushfire ‘Stay or Go’ policy is rigorously examined by Tom Griffiths in his thought-provoking essay from this week’s Inside Story. Have deaths been wrongly attributed to late evacuations? Are homes really defendible? If you’ve ever had the whiff of bushfire smoke in your nostrils, you MUST read this. Continue reading

Foraged mushrooms can be deadly

Foraging for food in the wild is growing more popular but don’t eat a wild mushroom unless you’re a fungi identification expert. The tragic death of a young woman in Somerset, UK after eating a poisonous death cap mushroom she found growing in her garden follows similar deaths & poisonings in Australia, USA & South Africa. Continue reading


We have started harvesting our tomatoes. It’s a lovely feeling to see them sitting there red and glowing in my fruit bowl waiting to be popped on a sandwich or tossed in a salad. Continue reading

Suffocating the world

Plastic bags are suffocating the world. Here’s an excellent but disturbing infographic that explains what we are doing to our planet. And did you know how much oil is used every year, just to make your disposable plastic bags? Continue reading

You say Burma – I say Myanmar

Hilary and I have just spent two blissful weeks of the second half of October in Myanmar and we are still dreaming about this amazing country. I guess everyone can recall Aung San Suu Kyi, the charismatic and incredibly brave leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, but little else. We were no different! Continue reading

Urban Air Garden in Los Angeles

Artist Stephen Glassman wants to create an ‘Urban Air Garden‘ in Los Angeles, planting bamboo across an old cantilevered billboard display, left from the 1994 earthquake.

It’s a beautiful project and, of course, brings to mind that great Ogden Nash poem:

I think that I shall never see
a billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.

Continue reading

In defence of orange

“Oh god no, I don’t do orange”.  You won’t believe how often I hear that uttered. There she stands, clasping a pot brimming with the most beautiful foliage, but the moment it is discovered that at some stage in the year an orange flower will appear, all other attributes the poor plant exhibits are forgotten. Continue reading

What exactly is GardenDrum?

OK I’m ready to explain as GardenDrum turns 1 year old, growing from demanding baby to hyper-active toddlerhood. No doubt with lots of teething pains to go. What, who and probably most curiously, why is GardenDrum? Is it a website, e-magazine, or a blog site…….? Continue reading

Replica 1840s mine in garden

John Wiggins in Teesside, UK has taken 13 years to build a 15ft deep replica of an 1840s ironstone mine in his back garden, described by the UK Daily Mail as “accurate to the last painstaking detail”. How delightfully eccentric. John is single but hoping to find a woman who would like to share a ruin and a nature reserve.

The art of abandonment

A few miles south of where I live there’s an old DC prison complex which used to be known as Lorton Reformatory.  Several years ago they shut the place down and transformed a few of the larger buildings into a new “Arts Center” where painters, sculptors, and other creative folks can rent studio space and teach classes. Continue reading