Using grassy plants in garden design

For those of you who have followed my posts, you will know that I am an ardent fan of foliage plants. Australian grass-like plants certainly fit into this realm, and are used regularly in my garden designs and landscaping. The late Christopher Lloyd first kindled my instinct for using grassy plants in my designs about 15 years ago. He was particularly fond of the Miscanthus plant group, which I also love. But here the tale is about our indigenous plants. Continue reading

Heads or Kales

James Joyce mentions the florin early into Ulysses, reason enough for Frank Delaney to tell us about the origin of the word in his exasperatingly brilliant Re:Joyce podcast. The ‘florin’ was first used and named in the Italian city of Florence, or Firenze, but according to Delaney the name refers to a flower rather than the city. The first coins, he says, bore a lily on one side. Continue reading


“A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.” – James Joyce Then again, Joyce was a man of ideas. I’m sure no contractor ever said to a client: “Oh, that retaining wall I put in last fall is collapsing now? But of course! How could something so bourgeois hold back the anarchy of our modern age?? Don’t you see?? It was futile from its inception!!!” Continue reading

Itchy and scratchy

Itchy and Scratchy have been living in my garden for over a year now, providing us with about 12 large eggs a week, with dark orange yolks from all the greens they eat. Unfortunately, over the last two months, egg production has dwindled. Itchy has got it into her hen bird brain that she wants chicks. Continue reading

Baboon’s Bottom? Or Drunk Skunk?

The topic of naming new plants for commercial release is always an interesting aside when I talk to people involved with breeding and hybridising – how do they choose a name for their plant? Is it straight from the heart or a more businesslike proposition? Continue reading

Melbourne FS – who dared to be different?

Last week’s Melbourne Flower Show was great fun but there were many similarities between most of the big display gardens. They were all very beautiful, very accomplished and very…..tasteful. As much as that’s lovely to look at, I did hanker after the days of Jenny Smith’s extraordinary 2008 homage to Martha Schwartz with its bizarre parade of painted tyres and gnomes, Rick Eckersley’s black and white garden or the very memorable “musk-sticks and burial mounds” (not my words) of Eco Concepts garden way back in 2004. Continue reading