The end of Open Gardens Australia

Open Gardens Australia Garden for National Arboretum, Canberra. Design Neil Hobbs

20,000 open gardens, 10,000 volunteers and over $6 million raised for charity, plus more for community garden grants, over a wonderful 27 years. From these Open Gardens Australia ‘big things’, a little thing will grow, with the National Arboretum in Canberra hosting a new commemorative garden as OGA closes. Continue reading

A garden tour of Italy

If you’re lucky enough to have experienced a high-quality garden tour in Italy, during the wonderful (mostly) sunny month of May when landscapes and gardens are burgeoning with new growth, how do you best share it with others? Do you document it garden by garden, plant by plant? Or do you convey its broad message, and rely on images as much as words? I’m going for the second option, because after a lot of travel I have hundreds of photographs to work with. And seen as a whole, they speak to me about themes rather than specific places. Continue reading

How to choose and grow kangaroo paws

I don’t have much luck with kangaroo paws!” As a breeder of kangaroo paw varieties for the last 30 years I have heard this statement far too often from Australian gardeners. Having been responsible for a number of the new cultivars available, I would like to give you my perspective on how to choose the right kangaroo paw for your own garden. Continue reading

Shortest day brings on blooming marvels

Winter may have just begun, but we’ve already had the shortest day of the year. It’s all up hill from here. The winter solstice fell this year on June 22. The days are gradually getting longer now as the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later. Mind you, it’s still very dark here in Tassie even at 7.30am. Continue reading

Edible plants to grow in the shade

Want to grow vegetables and herbs even though you don’t have full sun? No problem. You just need to choose edibles that don’t depend on six hours or more of baking sunlight to thrive. So, yes, tomatoes are out, as are peppers, squash and eggplant, because plants grown for their fruit really do need a minimum of six hours of good sun per day. Continue reading

Sid & Bridget’s GOLD: Gardeners’ World Live

For the first time, I’ve (almost) had an insider’s view of what it’s like to design and build a show garden. Garden designers Sid Stratton (from London) and Bridget Robinson (based in Folkestone), both just one year out from their graduation as professional garden designers, had their ‘Slow Burn’ design chosen as one of four winners of the Metamorphosis show garden competition for the BBC Gardeners’ World Live exhibition held in Birmingham on 11-14 June 2015. Continue reading

Whisper of stars: Daniel Spoerri garden

Margherita, I would like to visit something really special before I will go back to Melbourne. Can you help me?” My friend Margherita has spent her life writing about gardens, plants and parks in the Italian magazine ‘Gardenia’. She also founded the Italian Botanical Heritage, an association that gathers well-known Italian gardens and hidden treasures like nurseries, parks and woods, providing specialised itineraries. She knows me, and she knows that I love when art is blended with landscape. Where sculpture meets the garden. Typically Italian, sorry! Continue reading