Say hello to the Redlove apple

There’s a new apple in the Aussie backyard. With their firm crimson skin and unique red flesh, these “revolutionary” beauties from Switzerland have already taken root across Europe, the UK and North America. And now, in 2017, they’re available for the first time throughout Australia. Continue reading

Climate change and seed collecting – is local still best?

How plants will cope in a changing climate makes for disturbing reading.  The answer, in short, is not very well at all.  While plant breeders and government scientists have been selecting plants with traits that favour a shifting climate for years (eg. new succulent hybrids and drought-resilient wheat varieties), our local, indigenous flora and revegetated areas don’t have the same luxury.  The idea that local plants suit the local environment has been central to bushland management and indigenous gardening for decades, but in the face of a changing climate, holding onto this idea could do far more harm than good to our beloved local plants. Continue reading

How to inspire ‘millennials’ to garden

As Baby Boomers continue to retire and downsize, a new generation of gardeners – the much-maligned Millennials – is poised to pick up where the Boomers have left off. They’re ready and able to grab a shovel, to grow their own food, and to decorate their own spaces – be it a backyard garden in the burbs’ or a studio apartment in the city – with funky and functional plants.  They just don’t know it yet. Continue reading

Book Review: Good Soil by Tina Råman

I think I can safely say that Good Soil is the only book I possess that has both ‘Pee‘ and ‘Poo‘ as chapter headings. Those chapter headings give you a clue to what sort of book this is: mostly, it is about how to nourish the soil with the macro- and micronutrients plants need to thrive (many of which abound in pee and poo), and it takes a chatty, no-nonsense approach to the subject. Continue reading

Extending the harvest (or avoiding the glut!)

Prolific vegetables – such as zucchini – produce more fruit each season than you know what to do with, but others bear for a short time only. Successive planting of vegetable crops is a reliable way of spreading the harvest through the season, but other tricks are less well-known. Read on for practical tips if, like me, you don’t religiously sow a line of seed every three weeks! Continue reading

Taking a chance on Eremophilas

Eremophilas can be marvellous plants in the garden, but their reliability in a variety of soils and climates is still being established by their many devoted growers. As so many eremophilas have been only recently collected from the wild and introduced into our gardens, they are still a work in progress as garden plants. Continue reading

Review: ‘She Sheds – a room of your own’

If I hadn’t read the introduction to this book by the author, Erika Kotite, I would have been disappointed with its contents. To me a shed has something to do with gardening rather than just being a building in a garden. Erika explains that a ‘she shed’ is a woman’s private space to escape the pressures of everyday life, a place to relax or undertake creative pursuits. Continue reading

A garden for the Queen: Château de Tarascon

In the years of the 15th C before France was consolidated as a nation by a succession of kings the country was ruled and contested by several Royal houses vying for supremacy among them those based in Naples, Provence, Aragon, Savoy, Sicily and Anjou. Between them they parlayed and sought alliances with bigger powers, particularly the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal State. Continue reading

What defines the ultimate garden visitor experience?

Gardens are as much emotional constructs as aesthetic compositions.” Ogden and Ogden

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of gardens with ‘soul’. I’m amazed how a seemingly perfectly designed garden can leave me absolutely cold but another with supposed imperfections here, there and everywhere can have the most profound effect on me. Continue reading