Hydrangeas – nanna, or not?

Hydrangeas are making a comeback at the moment and the sight of them may prompt you to reminisce that ‘my nanna always had hydrangeas!” Many people equate them with plants their grandmother grew – there’s just something about the flower heads that remind us of old-fashioned powder puffs and those hydrangeas that grew along the shady side of the old house. Continue reading

How to lay a recycled concrete path

When it comes to landscaping, costs can often quickly spiral out of control. By the time hard landscape elements like paving, retaining walls and fencing are built, figures can run into the thousands well before the first plant goes in the ground. I’ve had a lacklustre front yard for almost three years now, and despite previous attempt to spruce it up a bit, one thing continued to stymie my efforts – a distinct lack of time. Continue reading

How to grow cloves

I hadn’t really thought about cloves being dried flower buds until researching this story. And did you know that cloves, Syzygium aromaticum, are closely related to lillypilly and eucalypts? I’m talking with spice expert, Ian Hemphill from Herbies, about the fascinating history of cloves and their part in the fortunes of the Dutch East India Company, as well as their origins in ‘The Spice Islands’ a handful of tropical Indonesian islands in the Banda Sea.  Continue reading

Design for use

Lately I have been designing a lot of gardens with mixed uses. A perfect example was a garden a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne’s inner east that will be packed with all things useful. It will include fruit, vegies, a heap of herbs, cut flowers and even the humble chicken coop ready for some little fellas to come out and play. It will be a garden not just for the couple that owns it but a garden for the whole family to enjoy and grow up with. Continue reading

Aspidistra, not just a ‘cast iron’ plant

Aspidistras don’t seem to rate highly these days with many gardeners. Yet you will find them planted in tropical, subtropical, warm temperate and Mediterranean gardens across the globe. They may be the brunt of jokes and delegated to the back of the garden, but they have many things going for them – for they are long lived, well presented and reliable work horses. The thing these plants do best is to grow in dry shade and look lush and leafy. And there is always a place in a garden for this kind of plant. Continue reading

African eco house and garden

This has been one of the most interesting projects I have worked on for a long time. In the heart of Johannesburg, screened of by some ancient oak trees, is one of Africa’s greenest houses, in every sense of the word. The project won the Enviropeadia eco-logic Innovation award this year for pushing boundaries in green architecture. The design of the house and garden took almost 2 years to complete, with the architecture by Kenneth Stucke with the landscape design by me. Continue reading

Darwin Botanic Gardens in spring

Tropical Darwin Botanic Gardens sits close to the centre of this vibrant city in Northern Australia. The town itself has wonderful gardens established since the devastating Cyclone Tracey in 1974. The gardens are easily accessible and extend over many acres.

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GardenDrum turns 2 years old!

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Happy 2nd birthday

GardenDrum is 2 years old TODAY!!

Each week for the next 4 weeks there will be prizes to win when you click through from your weekly email digest, so look in your inbox or sign up TODAY! You can win $300 hampers of tools, books and ebooks, plant fertilisers and tonics, nursery vouchers and more! Continue reading

The WORST design client of ALL

It has taken ten years of designing gardens to meet my toughest, trickiest and most demanding client. As a general rule, I have been very fortunate in the clients I have dealt with over the years. To the point some have become friends and I even have first dibs on two houses I have designed gardens for if they ever go up for sale. I have a few clients that randomly send me photos of their garden on particular days that they look out and think it looks extra special and feel the need to share it back with me. Never ceases to land a smile on my face. Continue reading

Landscaping with a purpose

One of the problems with planning our own landscaping is that we do not really plan it. We visit gardens, see the gardens of friends or in the magazines and online, and pick and choose with exclamations of how that would be beautiful in that spot and wouldn’t it be nice to have some of those gorgeous red flowers for over there….. In the end we have a long list of ideas, typically one that would require a garden of 10 acres to hope to fit them all and a budget of a small country to accomplish – and then we settle for picking out a few new plants at the garden center. Continue reading