The High Line changes, and is changed by, New York

I recently visited the High Line in New York for the first time. I have been referencing this urban regeneration project for years, have seen many photos, but had never experienced it myself. Living in New York in the late 1990s, my building was located only a block away from the old elevated freight railway line, but in those days it did not register for me at all. Continue reading

Greening Grey Australia

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the UK is currently running a campaign called ‘Greening Grey Britain’. And all jokes aside about the English weather (having just got back from a full week of mist and cloud, gosh, there is truth in the jokes!), there is a serious objective here. Over the past decade, the Brits have been paving over their front gardens; so much so that there has been an increase of 39 square kilometres of ‘grey’ within front gardens alone; one in three now have no plants at all. Continue reading

Scrumptious red November

It is the most glorious time of the year in Melbourne (Australia). Our garden is yielding its scrumptious early bounty of red-coloured treats. Delectable alpine strawberries, loganberries, raspberries, mulberries and early cherries – all in mid-November! Continue reading

Canberra’s ‘STEP’ towards a regional botanic garden

The National Arboretum in Canberra, ACT (100 forests each with 100 trees) which opened in 2013 now has one of Canberra’s best kept secrets among its mosaic of fledgling forests – a new regional botanic garden called STEP, short for the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park. This area has been designed to represent the native plants and trees typical to the Southern Highlands. These areas have forests, woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. Continue reading

If the ‘wilderness’ is really suburbia, is it a betrayal?

For years I have worshipped Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, her Pulitzer-prize winning meditation on nature written back in the 1970’s. I keep a copy of it on my Kindle, and whenever the world feels too much with me, I like to retreat into a few of its pages. Her descriptions of giant water bugs and mating wood ducks, intertwined with questions of creation and invocations of the great philosophers and scientists, are beautiful and strange and calming. Continue reading

I win the Allan Seale Award! But who was Allan Seale?

Last night I won the Allan Seale Media Award 2015 from the Nursery and Garden Industry. It’s a prestigious award and a great honour but, although Allan’s name means a lot to me, I’d like to explain for those who don’t remember him who he was and what he did for gardening way back when. So I did some online research and was amazed to come up with…almost nothing. Continue reading

Making a small commercial edible garden for ‘Patch’

Recently we were asked to create a temporary commercial display container garden for the sales area of a new apartment building project called ‘Patch’ in Fitzroy North, Melbourne. Although ‘Patch’ has a range of apartment sizes, it includes a higher than usual percentage of three-bedroom family-focussed apartments. The Patch building, due for completion in late 2017, will have a 4 star ESD rating (Ecologically Sustainable Development). Continue reading

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 highlights

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 Harrods garden. Design Diarmuid Gavin

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 Harrods garden. Design Diarmuid Gavin

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016: the gadget-loving Diarmuid Gavin is back with Harrod’s ‘British Eccentrics Garden‘ full of Heath Robinson-inspired machinery. The designs are fascinating, including for the many different styles in which they are rendered… Continue reading

1080, and a signpost of poisonous plants

These two shrubs growing in the Stirling Range in south-west Western Australia contain the poison 1080 (or something chemically very similar) but the sign is coincidental. They both also have leaves arising in pairs, opposite one another, along the stem. That may or may not be coincidental, but it’s a useful fact. Continue reading

My challenge, the acceptance, and the Jardin du Bois du Puits

In May this year I contacted my friend and colleague Catherine Stewart with a challenge: find me a garden to visit in the middle of France I said. Or, more precisely,

‘We are catching ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg
Then drive to a rented house near St Malo
Then cross country heading for brother’s place in Monceaux-au-Perch
Via probably Domfront, Alençon that sort of direction.
It’s worth a good red!! I will owe you one’

Continue reading