How to grow tamarillo or tree tomato

The tamarillo (Cyphomandra betacea) must surely be the most under-rated and under-planted fruit tree in my region… and yet it is unfussy, extremely fast-growing and bears delicious fruit (peel the rind after dunking in boiling water for 3 minutes, or halve fresh and scoop out the inside). The red cultivars are tart – ideal for preserves, pies, salads and desserts, whereas the orange ones are lovely eaten fresh as well. Continue reading

Having fun in a GIANT’S garden

I am now living most of the year in New Zealand, and I must be honest immigrating to a new country on the opposite side of the globe is not as easy as one would think. Everyday things are done in quite a different manner, and adapting to the new culture and learning about the do’s and don’ts takes a lot out of a person. Continue reading

Review: ‘The Garden Wanderer’ by Julie Kinney

I received my copy of ‘The Garden Wanderer‘ the day before I set off on a trip heading north of Perth into country that is very different from the Margaret River area south of Perth, Western Australia, featured in the book. Up north, only truly determined gardeners take on the red soil and the hot, dry, seemingly endless summers to eke out a green oasis around their homesteads. I wondered how much a book set firmly in one place would resonate with gardeners elsewhere. The only way to find out was to read the book and, as I read it, I began to appreciate its relevance for gardeners anywhere. Continue reading

Garden Delights of Bayview Heights

Nancy and Ted Shaw moved into an existing house in Bayview Heights in 2001 and have transformed their 0.4-hectare (1-acre) triangular corner block into a horticultural mosaic of garden types. The apex of this triangle sits up the hill behind the renovated house, visually holding the cascade of steep slopes that yield at the front to Pittwater views through the neighbouring trees. Continue reading

A small piece of Australia at California’s Taft-Ojai Gardens

On a trip to California earlier this year I had the good fortune to meet a very interesting Australian expatriate plant lover and horticulturist called Jo O’Connell. She has established an excellent niche nursery called Australian Native Plants at Casitas Springs near Santa Barbara, in order to grow a range of Australian plants. These are currently in hot demand as a result of the severe drought in California. Continue reading

Narmbool heritage garden restoration

The heritage garden at Narmbool, outside of Elaine in Victoria, was severely damaged by a significant bush fire just before Christmas 2015. When the Australian Garden History Society visited in 2012 we thoroughly enjoyed the English-style gardens surrounding the bluestone homestead, and it was hard to imagine more than half of the lovely old garden destroyed. Continue reading

Year-round flowers for shady, subtropical gardens

Living in a hot, subtropical climate means that I feel a great need for shade in my garden. Our summers can be very long, hot and humid so the shade gives welcome relief not just for me but for the plants as well. I tend to find that many plants that might be considered as full sun in cooler climates prefer some shade here. Continue reading