Beige gardens don’t strike a chord

I had a surprising request the other day. My friend Margaret, who lives near Lismore in northern New South Wales, sent me a Facebook message saying she was planning a ‘beige’ garden and wanted plant suggestions. I looked at the message in great puzzlement. Who, I thought, would want a beige garden? All I could think was that as she had just moved into a new house it must be so vibrantly coloured and she wanted the garden to contrast. Continue reading

Herbs for a merry, stress-free party

When we arrive at that season of over-spending and over indulging, it just so happens that there are herbs that help to naturally mitigate the excess, like bay, fennel, sage, borage and rosemary. From a hangover cure to help with indigestion, adding these herbs to your cooking or making some infusions will give you a better festive season! Continue reading

How to make some Christmas spirits

It is always shocking when I see Christmas decorations in the shops. The glittering balls and shiny tinsel are a glaring reminder that the year is nearly over – when it feels like only yesterday we were celebrating its start. In our fast paced city, gardening helps slow things down. Especially when we utilise our garden ingredients in all aspects of our lives – including Christmas presents. Nothing says “I Love You” as much as a homemade gift and even more so when the gift is also home grown. Continue reading

Sneak peek – my next show garden

This sneak peek is something very exciting for me to be able to do. It makes it even more exciting to be able to share it with the public via GardenDrum. We have been working on this project in the back ground for a few months now. We have a lot of the infrastructure either in place, coming together or underway. The companies and people involved are all agreeable and know exactly what we all have to do, so it only seems fair to lift the lid slightly and give a sneak peak to what will be a very exciting project for me and the Candeo Design Family for 2014. Continue reading

Historic Entally Estate, Tasmania

Tasmania and its gardens must be one of Australia’s best kept horticultural secrets. A coolish climate is often coupled with soils that are more often than not based on volcanic minerals that give them much better structure and fertility than many mainland soils. The result is a place where plants developed for northern hemisphere gardens can thrive to create spectacular displays that, in my opinion, rival some of their more famous European counterparts. Having led garden tours through some of the major gardens of Europe as well as a recent tour of Tasmania has given me the opportunity to make such comparisons. Continue reading

Walcott Garden

The Walcott’s garden in Canberra is a perfect example of how a large garden should be designed and planted. Big gardens need larger plants and bold, flowing shapes, as most of the plants and features are viewed from a distance of many metres. It’s quite different to designing a usual quarter acre (1000 sqm) block or a small garden, and it takes skill to both make it a visual feast at that distance but also interesting to stroll about and explore. Continue reading

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon (so good I’m posting it twice). I mentioned this fantastic (in all senses of the word) plant in my late October blog post about Dunedin Botanic Garden. When I returned to Melbourne I found it in flower in my very own Royal Botanic Gardens, and when I bragged about it on Facebook I was told I would have seen it also in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens when that was my home territory. Continue reading

Arranging foliage in pots for winter color

Here in New England, our gardens and entries can get pretty bleary as December slides into the Winter Solstice. We know that the March Equinox is a long psychological distance until we might see some color in the landscape. In my garden it’s the early blooming Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) often in February. Continue reading