Student show gardens, MIFGS 2014

The student gardens at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show always feel so fresh, maybe because they are not constrained by reputation. Although small, these gardens are not without their own difficulties and constraints and those students who take on the challenge are both brave and, I think, the smart ones of their industry. They know that they will learn a huge amount about the realities of constructing their design dreams. So if you want to find a new designer with energy, talent and business acumen, then here’s your list. Continue reading

The coning of the Dioon

To paraphrase the 1843 paper describing this species for the first time, the addition of a new cone to our Cycadaceous collection is indeed a fine thing. Over the last month or so, one of our cycads has been constructing its first cone. Exciting times in the nursery at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. Continue reading

What’s hot & what’s not – MIFGS 2014

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (known to many as MIFGS) is a great place to see what’s trending in landscape design. Sometimes it’s more clear what’s no longer in vogue than what is a developing trend, but here’s a roundup of what was evident in the larger show gardens in 2014. Continue reading

The romantic Garden of Ninfa, Italy

It was May and I was travelling through Italy enjoying a feast of gardens from Sorrento in the south to Lake Como on the north. That’s late spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but the weather was still chilly and, surprisingly for that time of the year in the Mediterranean, it was also wet. But rain didn’t dampen my visit to a garden billed as the most romantic in the world – the Garden of Ninfa south of Rome. Continue reading

Creating a hedge with Australian plants

One of the principal defining features of many of the great gardens of the world is their hedges. European gardens long ago elevated the hedge to an art form with centuries old plantings forming the backbone of gardens such as Versailles in France and Hidcote in England. All sorts of interesting trees and shrubs are used for hedging and topiary, but several species dominate, namely English box (Buxus sempervirens), Yew (Taxus baccata) and Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). Continue reading

The new ikebana – Yuji Ueno style

Not my mother’s ikebana! That was my first response as I beheld the beautiful cover of japanese ikebana for every season by Rie Imai and Yui Ueno with photography by Noboru Murata. You see I lived in Tokyo as a toddler. A US Army Officer’s wife, my mother took classes in Japanese Flower Arranging. When we returned to San Francisco I grew up with her ikebana arrangements of camellias or calla lilies with foliage that grew in our gardens.

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Review: a solar-powered fountain

It felt as if something was missing from our ornamental pond, and after ‘pond-ering’ for a while, I decided that a water feature was needed to make it complete. A fountain, to be precise! I wanted one to add an additional aspect to the pond, to provide light-filled, moving water as well as static. I always love to see fountains when I visit other gardens, and appreciate the way they create an interesting vertical dimension. Continue reading

New Salvia ready to Make-a-Wish

Last year we shared the story behind two special salvias, ‘Wendy’s Wish’ and ‘Ember’s Wish’. Both are aligned with Make-A-Wish Australia and part proceeds from each are donated to this inspiring charity to help fund the wishes of Australia’s sick children.

We’d now like to present the third instalment in the Wish Collection. Continue reading

A growing passion

Throughout Australia there are dedicated and knowledgeable people collecting, propagating, grafting, hybridising, tissue-culturing and nurturing new varieties of plants. These people are modern day plant hunters, scouring mail-order catalogues from suppliers around the world, or travelling to distant nurseries or wild places in search of new specimens. Continue reading