Beatrix Potter’s garden (and Mr McGregor!)

Beatrix Potter fell in love with the English Lake District when she was a child. When she began to publish her stories for children, along with the charming illustrations she created to accompany them, she finally had money of her own and knew that what she wanted to do with it was purchase land in that part of England. So it was thanks to The Tale of Peter Rabbit that in 1905 she bought Hill Top, a 17th century farmhouse in the tiny village of Near Sawrey. Continue reading

Garden World’s Spring Festival, South Africa

Garden World’s 2014 Spring Festival this year celebrates ‘For the Love of Nature‘ with designer display gardens, revamps of a selection of gardens from previous years, the very popular School Gardens, Box Gardens and activities for children, plus a range of speakers, including David Davidson talking about his Chelsea 2014 garden, Jane Griffiths on container gardening and your Urban Garden, Roy Trendler on Gardening for Birds, and Brêkvis Live Outside Broadcasts from RSG. Continue reading

How to grow kids that garden

Not all kids want to run around an oval or chase a footy all over the field but all kids need to be active, especially when statistics show that kids spend, on average, over two hours a day in front of a screen*. The good news is that gardening is a fun and easy way to get kids moving and since thirty minutes of gardening burns a similar amount of energy as thirty minutes of moderate walking, it’s a very effective form of exercise. Continue reading

Can south-east Australia expect drought soon?

The warning for El Niño is currently rather high. In Australia we all remember water restrictions of the past and their devastating effect on gardens and turf. Well it looks like it’s probable again. We’ve had a pretty good run without water problems for a few years now, but we know that will end one day. Continue reading

Pretty poisonous

I don’t know how often I’m asked if a given plant is poisonous by customers in my nursery and I feel like pointing out that virtually no plant is poisonous unless you eat it! In fact if these some people were to know just how many plants are potentially toxic it would be enough to stop them gardening altogether. Continue reading

Brunsvigia josephinae: Empress of the garden

One autumn a curious set of leaves appeared from the shaggy neck of a very large bulb in my newly acquired garden. The leaves multiplied and extended flat, outward. My guess was a Nerine or Amaryllis belladonna, or perhaps even a cold-hardy Hippeastrum. I was made to wait for flowers; when the full ‘star-burst’ flower head finally unfurled I was stunned. Continue reading

The Tree of 40 Fruits


Artist, grower and conservationist Sam van Aken in New York has created the Tree of 40 Fruits – a fruit tree with 40 different heirloom varieties of stone fruit grafted on to one rootstock. How does he do it? Continue reading

Festival International des Jardins, Chaumont

I have had the pleasure of visiting the impressive French International Garden Festival of garden design for the last couple of years and can thoroughly recommend it to garden tourists from around the world. Those seeking ideas on garden design, new plant cultivars or simply a day in the French countryside with a garden flavour will all find plenty of value there. Continue reading

How to layout, cut & install a paved labyrinth

After designing the paved labyrinth, the next step is to prepare a level area and then there is the all important very accurate cutting of the stones and correctly laying out the pattern. After locating all utilities and getting necessary covenant permission, we were ready to go. First up was removing all plant material and grading of the site with heavy equipment. It was necessary to level a space large enough for the labyrinth to be placed and a retaining wall to be built into the hillside. Continue reading