Stephen RyanLife since Gardening Australia

I thought that for my first blog on the GardenDrum it would be a good idea to let you all know what has been going on in my life since ABC’s Gardening Australia and the magazine no longer wanted me. In later blogs I intend concentrating on showcasing interesting and rare plants.

Stephen at TuguriumI have gone back to concentrating on my nursery ‘Dicksonia Rare Plants’ at Mt. Macedon in Victoria, which may be a surprise to those of you that watched the show and didn’t know I had a nursery background. In fact I grew up with a family nursery in which I worked from the age of 10 when my dad opened a retail and wholesale business in 1966. I began collecting rare and unusual plants from the pocket money my father gave me and in 1980 opened my own nursery specialising in rare plants, which are my true passion.

Since Gardening Australia I have picked up a job writing for a New Zealand magazine called the ‘Weekend Gardener’ and am doing similar pieces for them that I used to do for Gardening Australia magazine. So check it out if you can.



With spare time on my hands I have also started writing another book, which will be on the development of my own garden ‘Tugurium’ as well as putting into words my history, practices, principles and philosophies.

I am also working hard in my garden, which for those who didn’t know was the set for all my work on the T.V. program. The next opening of Tugurium will be on the 22nd and 23rd of June for Open Gardens Australia so why not come a see me. It will be fun to do a mid winter opening.

Stephen with Emma

With Emma

Community radio with Melbourne’s 3CR keeps me busy every second Sunday, a gig I’ve been doing for something in excess of 25 years, so if you are outside the range of the program why not link into 3CR via your computer and download the podcasts. It is one and three quarter hours of advert free full on gardening and at the risk of seeming immodest is the best gardening talk back out there. With some of the country’s best specialist growers as panellists your questions can always be answered. For those in the range of the station it is 855 on the A.M. dial.

I used to consider myself fairly computer illiterate but have recently published my own website, which will feature a new plant about once a week. You can catch up with the site at or even check me out on Twitter (@StephenGRyan). I am also doing lots of talks for horticultural societies and garden clubs so if you belong to one you may like to consider getting in touch via my website to have me come and speak to your group.

Dicksonia Rare Plants Manual


[Congratulations to Vireya, who has won a signed copy of Stephen’s fabulous book Dicksonia Rare Plants Manual, in the Feb 18 draw.]


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Stephen Ryan

About Stephen Ryan

Stephen Ryan grew up and still lives at Mt. Macedon in Victoria where he has run his nursery Dicksonia Rare Plants since 1980. He was for 3 years host of Gardening Australia on ABC TV and is a regular on Melbourne’s 3CR. Sunday garden program. He has written 4 books and innumerable articles for magazines both in Australia and abroad and is also a sought-after speaker at garden clubs.

38 thoughts on “Life since Gardening Australia

  1. Hi Stephen,
    You are sorely missed!
    We are not so keen on the bearded one (what is growing in there?)
    I will be logging onto your website in the future.

  2. Onya Stephen.
    Nice pooch that is one tail.
    I could not belive it one day you are on the telly the next gone, someone works in weird ways hey .

    All the best G.

  3. Great to see you back Stephen! I always enjoyed your laid back approach and your gentle humour on your Gardening Australia segments and was really dissappointed when I heard they’d given you the boot! (Can’t stand the guy who replaced you!!) Look forward to hearing/seeing more from you in future!

  4. Hi Stephen,
    It’s great to see you here and to catch up on what you have been up to, I was sooo disappointed when you left the ABC gardening and quite frankly I hardly ever watch the show now, I have great respect for your horticultural knowledge and feel that was a great loss to the show, I look forward to seeing more of your posts here.
    You may not remember me (though we have met a number of times) but you might remember the launch of the National Grow Me Instead booklets at the HMA dinner a few years ago. I followed Elwyn Swane into the role of project manager.
    anyway, best of luck for the future.
    kind regards

  5. Hi Stephen,
    Good to hear from you. Beth, Peter and I hope you can make it up to the Collectors’ Plant Fair at Clarendon on April 13-14. Your talk a few years back was very popular. Lots of really interesting plants on offer and the Saunders from Silverhill Seeds South Africa presenting. You seem to be keeping busy, and… the dog!!
    Peta Trahar

  6. Hi Stephen, Wonderful to see that you’re out and about spreading your infectious passion for rare plants. I’ll be keenly watching out for your future posts. FYI: I checked out your website but it took an eternity to load. Could that be something to do with the graphics? Great pics.

  7. Good to know that your life post GA has continued to be very interesting. I’ll download those 3CR podcasts – that sort of advice is just what I am looking for.

    Great to see you on Garden Drum. Hopefully this one will be a long and happy association.


  8. I miss seeing your lovely garden and rare plants on the tv. Glad you are happy and still following your passion. Cute corgi too. From the sands of Fremantle we say hi to your Victorian garden.

  9. Great to catch up on what you’ve been up to in ‘Life after the ABC’ I really enjoyed you presenting the program. Very surprised and saddened when you were replaced. We are up in Sydney, but looking at trying to get down there in June to view your beautiful garden. Good Luck with the book.

  10. Congratulations great background into your practical experience since 10 year old ,I also know from experience that we are lucky to have been introduced to plants at an early age .Like you I learn something every day often from unlikely sources .best of luck for the future . I will keep in touch via your wonderful new web page.
    Regards Tom

  11. Great to hear your voice again & to hear you are writing another book – I shall keep my eyes peeled for it as I am a big fan of yours. I think the ABC toned you down far too much, it seemed you weren’t able to express yourself in that witty, outrageous and fun way that is your signature. – The Stephen we know and love. I’m off to see your website now.

    • Hi Stephen
      What a Lovely surprise. So glad you are BACK and doing okay. You look really relaxed and healthy. Your pup looks like a rascally rascal with those big beautiful eyes.
      I have joined the local bowling club thanks to that christmas party at Middle Park.

      This is a fabulous blog, one of the best.
      Cheers Sandi P.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you, Wendy. I used to answer the emails for the viewers at Gardening Australia and my most favourite were Stephens pets, especially the dogs. Viewers were most concerned about them if they didn’t see them reguarly. Also thought they should have their own spin off segement.

  12. What a joy to find Stephen and all his inspiring information in Garden Drum. Sadly, with so many gardening publications fading from the scene, we gardeners must depend on computer links for our garden “hits” these days. We will follow Stephen’s updates with great interest.

  13. Hi there, so great to know you are still around, even better to realise you will be available on Garden Drum. Your garden was always an inspiration, you have been greatly missed. Looking forward to hearing more on this site and will be looking up your web site too. Thanks for the very many pleasurable garden info you have given in the past.

  14. Hi Stephen,
    Miss you on Gardening Australia but listen to 3cr every Sunday and
    always pleased when you are on.It’s the best garden show on radio
    and even better because I get breakfast in bed.Look forward to hearing more from you.
    Lois D.

  15. Hi! Stephen,I am a tad behind in catching up on my Garden Drum “blog” reading BUT what a lovely surprise now I have caught up, to see you are now to be a regular GD blogger. I had the absolute pleasure to meet both yourself and Jennifer Stackhouse in Sydney at GA’s 20th Magazine anniversary only to find out not long after you were both to be made redundant from the show and magazine. 🙁 SO pleased to read all about what you are now doing I will certainly be adding your garden/nursery opening in June to my “wish list” to visit as we are not far away at beautiful Ballarat 🙂 I also hope we can pick up 3CR on the radio but if not I can download the podcasts and look forward to hearing them, also will check out your website 🙂 I am in a gardening club here in Ballarat (cacti and succulent) MAYBE one day I will be lucky enough to hear you talk at our club (will have to speak to our President he organises all our talks. 🙂
    Kindest Regards… Diane Russell

  16. Couldn’t believe it, Stephen, when suddenly you were no longer there. Good presenters are a rare breed. Very best wishes for all your future plans. I look forward to keeping up with you.
    Garden Drum is so special, it’s great that you have joined the team. Helen

  17. Wonderful that you are now on this website and that you have updated us all with what you have been up to. I miss your depth of knowledge on Gardening Australia but now have a way to follow you as all gardeners love growing or induging in the fantasy of growing rare plants

  18. Hi Stephen – onwards and upwards! Look forward to hearing more about your beautiful Tugurium which I visited as part of the Landscape Conference bus tour in 2011. We from sunny Perth were astounded at the snow in spring experience up there in Mt. Macedon. 😉 It was great to meet you and experience your warmth and wit! Good luck with all your endeavours.
    Sue Torlach

  19. Your depth of knowledge as a true plantsman is widely respected throughout the horticultural industry… but apparently (and ironically) not in media boardrooms where people who know zip about horticulture make decisions about what gardeners want and need! So it’s great to see you here, and all the best with your own website as well!

  20. I am delighted to find you again. I miss you on Gardening Australia and your articles in the magazine. I really appreciate how you communicate your extensive knowledge of plants, specially interesting and unusual ones that I would not normally encounter. I am so pleased that I can continue to read your articles on this website. I look forward to your posts and will certainly be downloading the 3CR podcasts from now on…thank you for the link.

  21. Good to hear from Stephen again and to know that he is so active in passing on his knowledge to other gardeners. I always enjoyed his presentations, particularly those items using his garden,Tugurium as the location and would love to visit sometime. It was good to see that his dogs enjoyed gardening too. All best wishes for the book and all your other endeavours.

  22. Good to hear you are going well. I loved seeing the snippets of your garden on the show, it looks an amazing place. I enjoyed the interesting plants you featured and look forward to your book.

  23. Like others have said, it was a real shame to see you go and the Bewildered Bewhiskered Hedge that replaced you !!!!!

    ……shame Aunty shame….

  24. Hello Stephen – another of your many fans here. I too was so disappointed when you were no longer presenting Gardening Australia. We looked forward to the program every week and to your charming and erudite presence – you were by far our favorite presenter and we would have been happy to go on watching you for years. Don’t watch it anymore – the new presenter is just too annoying so it’s great to find you on Garden Drum and on your new website. I have a number of your books and return to them often so looking forward to your new one and hope to visit your fascinating garden one day! We grew up with a Corgi so loved the shot of you with Emma. All the very best.

  25. Hi Stephen I’m from England I’m gardening mad desperately trying to get my gardening business up and running my gardening website is quint.simple log on to the retford gardener composting allotment news I also want to be a gardening writer so if you know anybody who needs a gardening writer let me know thanks mate yours sincerely keV dale

  26. Hi Stephen Soooo enjoyed your talk at GDO today. Only discovered the 3CR show last year!! and you are right it is the best one. Especially as the commercial Saturday show is lucky to get more that 1 call/30 minutes on.


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