Alison Aplin

About Alison Aplin

Alison is a passionate, multi award winning sustainable landscape designer, Horticulturist and arborist. She has been the owner and designer of 2 Ecotourism gardens that have both won significant awards. Her writing is based on knowledge, empirical learning which is essential to sustainable ethic, and a questioning mind leading to much research. Her articles are often controversial - with a disclaimer that she is responsible for the written matter, and not Garden Drum. A deeply caring person about the natural environment, Alison's writing endeavours to explain why sustainable landscapes are so important. Without people like her, they will be lost and gardens will become merely concrete

Sustainability in garden design

This is a subject that is very dear to my heart. I get quite passionate about the subject so do apologise if I offend any readers. I have been a sustainable garden advocate now for at least 20 years – well before most people even considered what sustainable gardens really meant. So I have put a lot of mental energy into working out why I think the way that I do about how we design gardens and how we manage them into the future. I was also the only owner/designer of a garden that was accredited with Ecotourism Australia for its sustainability credentials. Continue reading

Managing frost in your garden

It is the lack of through-breeze that is probably the most significant factor in whether a frost will settle in your garden. My former garden in the Clare Valley of South Australia is situated in a low lying pocket in a region that is relatively high in altitude. Because of the topography of the region, this garden is situated in a dumping ground for gale force winds from the west. In order to reduce the impact of these winds, windbreaks had to be planted along the western boundary. Continue reading

Using grassy plants in garden design

For those of you who have followed my posts, you will know that I am an ardent fan of foliage plants. Australian grass-like plants certainly fit into this realm, and are used regularly in my garden designs and landscaping. The late Christopher Lloyd first kindled my instinct for using grassy plants in my designs about 15 years ago. He was particularly fond of the Miscanthus plant group, which I also love. But here the tale is about our indigenous plants. Continue reading

Jerome, my (now) 3-legged cat

I must first thank the many people who commented about the plight of Jerome – and they were all such positive cat comments. (The heartache of pet ownership Dec 5, 2012). I was wary initially that I would get people saying that Jerome got what any cat deserved i.e. cruelty, because of the attitude that some in our community have towards cats. But the genuine gardening public didn’t let me down; I feel that all true gardeners have a respect for all animals which I feel was apparent in the many comments shared. Continue reading

The heartache of pet ownership

Reading the eclectic diversity of articles by GardenDrum authors about gardens and gardening, it has become pretty evident to me that a lot of true gardeners are also great animal lovers. It seems an automatic impulse or desire in us that we graduate froma love of plants to all creatures as well. Continue reading

Dalvui – a garden of inspiration

My husband David and I decided to visit the Dalvui garden in Noorat recently, open as part of Open Gardens Australia. What a wonderful treat it was for us both. Covering nearly 8 acres, the garden is nestled in the southern foothills of Mt Noorat. In 1898 Wiliam Guilfoyle was commissioned to advise on the layout and planning of the garden. Continue reading

Plants for shade in temperate Australia

Before considering what plants to grow, we need to look at the growing conditions. You need to ask yourself a few questions, like is the area shady all year or is the shade caused by a deciduous tree? If you answer when the tree is dormant, will there be access to winter sun for the north [southern hemishpere]. This significantly opens the range of plants that can be used. I personally find that if the shade from the tree is dappled or less during summer, then most plants will manage in this aspect, except of course those plants that demand full sun. Continue reading