Robots in the plant nursery

In late 2015 the International Plant Propagators’ Society (IPPS) hosted its international tour in the south east of the USA. One of the most interesting parts of the tour was watching robots move plants at multiple nurseries. These robots are now part of mainstream nursery production in the USA. Continue reading

The difference a year or two makes in the garden

It’s often said that when planting perennials, the first year they sleep and the second year they creep. How true this is, and a great account of the establishment of my front garden. I’ve written about it previously here on GardenDrum. After one or two false starts a couple of summers ago I decided to throw caution to the wind, renovating and planting out in early summer. After nursing the plants through their first traumatic summer, their second was thankfully mild, which has put them in good stead for this summer’s traumatic but typically Melbourne roller-coaster-like temperature fluctuations. Continue reading

Dan Pearson’s Chelsea garden comes home to Chatsworth

Dan Pearson is something of a phenomenon as a garden designer. When he first appeared on British television in his late 20s, his chiselled cheekbones, floppy curls and focus on naturalistic planting marked him out from the jolly middle-aged men who then presented garden TV programmes, with their interest in chemical sprays and pelargonium cuttings. Continue reading

How to rescue and restore a flooded garden

Five years ago, my own garden was waterlogged but not flooded. All around me was flooded. A lovely garden at the end of my street had gone from a delight to a muddy mess. This was my inspiration to do something. I set up a volunteer group and got to helping “floodies” restore their gardens. Assisted by another lady that I met at the local school (which had turned into a temporary flood recovery centre), we co-ordinated volunteer workers, donations of plants, fertiliser, mulch and gardening equipment and got busy. Continue reading

Minuscule harvests

Hooray, hooray, it’s my first avocado harvest! Yep, that’s avocado harvest, singular. It was delicious – not quite the bushels I planned to give away to family and friends, but at least Geoff and I enjoyed half each as a mid afternoon snack… a small snack, as the avocado was not very big! Here it is: Continue reading

The big squeeze on our citrus trees

It’s hard to imagine a backyard without a good old heritage lemon tree in the corner to make spontaneous lemonade or a delicious lemon meringue pie for dessert. But right across Melbourne and into Victoria, that’s the future we’re now facing as our citrus trees are under serious threat, slowly dying from a pest so tiny you can’t see it easily – the citrus gall wasp (Bruchophagus fellis). Continue reading

So you think you’ve got a garden book in you?

The first stirrings come as a friend tells you that your garden is so interesting that you really ought to write about it. And by Golly, they are right. You have 25 years experience as a keen gardener. Your reputation as a knowledgeable plants-person has grown over time, and your garden has been filmed by the well-known garden show presenter who was once a professional wrestler. So it is time to take the next step; to move beyond the garden gate and take your place under the sun. Continue reading

Strewth! Women gardeners, with no chaperone!

This year, 2016, it will be 125 years since Australia’s first school of horticulture the Burnley School of Horticulture was established by the wise men of the Victorian Department of Agriculture in 1891. In the beginning the school was for training boys however in 1893 women were invited to lectures but they were not able to actually study or graduate. This article is going to concentrate on the development of women in horticulture and admission of women to Burnley in 1899 horticulture, so if you would like more information on the history of Burnley, please refer to Anne Vale’s excellent articles. Continue reading

Book review: Australian Plants for Canberra Region Gardens

It was all very well for the local plant nazi to decree that we should use only Australian natives in our Canberra garden. As all those who have tried it know, the challenges of succeeding with this policy are considerable. Natives, even those endemic to a given area, are not necessarily more robust than exotics. On top of that, Canberra has cold winters by Australian standards, the soils are often heavy, and with coolish nights, the diurnal temperature variation in summer can be up to 30 degrees. Continue reading