Captain Cook’s ivy a worthy sailor

“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.” A quote by Captain James Cook in reference to him digging for potatoes in his garden? Perhaps unlikely, but the great explorer may have had a greener upbringing than his sea blue finale. It wasn’t my sole reason for heading to Melbourne, but along with the restful Fitzroy Gardens, the ever changing observatory and the house and gardens of the Cook family, the area remains a focal point of horticultural attraction in the heart of the Victorian capital. Continue reading

Gone Gnome

Garden gnomes

For the past 10 years someone, in the darkness of the night, has been planting garden gnomes in the public places and front gardens of Brattleby, UK. Now, an after-death confession has revealed who was the joker. Continue reading

The Body in the Garden

When I was invited to the inaugural South Australian Crime and Garden Writers’ Festival at the Adelaide Botanic gardens, creatively titled ‘The Body in the Garden’, and I wondered how the two genre would blend. Crime scene tape and chalked outlines of fallen bodies are sprinkled around the Botanic Gardens in a clever marketing ploy. Continue reading

How to grow red hot green wasabi

Have you ever tried that dob of green paste that comes with sushi and sashimi? Did you know that the green paste sold as wasabi in the supermarket is actually horseradish that’s been dyed green? Yes it’s got plenty of bite but it’s not wasabi, which is sweeter tasting. While you only need ¼ of a teaspoon of the stuff to get steam coming out of your ears, water running out of your eyes, and the feeling that your nose is going to lift off into space, true wasabi doesn’t have the lingering super-hot after-burn of the inferior substitute. Continue reading

Musk Cottage

It was pouring with rain the day I got to see Musk Cottage as part of the Australian Landscape Conference tour. But it was such a wonderful garden, I couldn’t let that stop me sharing the photos with you – so please excuse the shiny paving and rain slanting across several of the shots. Since 2006 Musk Cottage has been the weekender garden of Rick Eckersley, of e-ga (Eckersley Garden Architecture). Continue reading

Burnley’s new gates

New gates at Burnley

What magnificent new gates! Friends of Burnley designed them and they were built by an artisan in Daylesford for the field station at Burnley. The grand ‘opening’ is in November. (Click the photo for a bigger view)

Happy birthday Cate and Ben

I have two wonderful friends with birthdays in late August. They happen to be dating, and also happen to live together (around the corner from me, yay!). Cate I find easy to buy for, as we have been friends since we were 15. Ben, however, was a slightly different story. I am TERRIBLE at buying gifts for boys. It absolutely stumps me. And since I pride myself on giving thoughtful gifts, this was quite a dilemma. Continue reading

Carisbrook lost in fires

Carisbrook‘, a heritage-listed garden at Mount Irvine NSW (near Mt Wilson) was lost last week in the Blue Mountain’s ‘State Mine’ fire. Our thoughts are with the owners who must be devastated at such a terrible loss.

Top 10 easy to grow edibles

If you are new to edible gardening or just want to grow a few things to eat with minimal fuss, then try my top 10 list of easy to grow vegetables. And if you’ve got kids you’d like to introduce to vegie gardening, look for the ones with a ‘K‘, as they’ll like eating these ones straight from the garden too. Continue reading