Anne Latreille

About Anne Latreille

Writer, editor and journalist. Author of 'Garden Voices' (about Australian garden designers past and present, September 2013), 'Garden of a Lifetime' (Dame Elisabeth Murdoch at Cruden Farm), 'Kindred Spirits' and 'The Natural Garden'. Melbourne, Victoria.

Absorbed by garden detail

When I take time out at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG), there are two major options. I can walk…and walk…and walk some more, relishing the big picture. The history of the garden and its inviting design. The great variety of plant species. The way the big old trees interact with newer or smaller ones and set off the sloping expanses of deep green lawns. Continue reading

Small flowering trees for a Melbourne summer

Throughout January, our Melbourne weather was not what we’re used to. The temperatures swung wildly – 44 degrees on one day and 20 the next – while rainfall came in three waves. Early on was a little bit (not uniform), then mid-month brought 10mm (not to be sneezed at). And then in the last four days the heavens opened, the sun disappeared, and everywhere got soaked. Avalon recorded more than 100mm and the day temperature dipped, in places, to 19 degrees and even 15. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Lessons from Great Gardeners’

Lessons from Great Gardeners‘ is an inviting book. First, in terms of content. Forty ‘gardening icons’ – gardeners, garden designers and/or garden owners – are profiled, many with emphasis on one garden to which each has devoted a significant part of his or her life. You absorb their practical skills in terms of knowledge and experience. You respond to their creative ideas and their passion for gardens. You learn from them. Continue reading

A garden tour of Italy (Part 2)

Travelling in Italy, I am constantly – and refreshingly – surprised at the green planting that defines the gardens and the landscape. So much so that when colours crop up, they’re a kind of embroidery, something that focuses the eye – as with this wisteria at Villa La Foce  – but doesn’t immediately attract it. Continue reading

A garden tour of Italy

If you’re lucky enough to have experienced a high-quality garden tour in Italy, during the wonderful (mostly) sunny month of May when landscapes and gardens are burgeoning with new growth, how do you best share it with others? Do you document it garden by garden, plant by plant? Or do you convey its broad message, and rely on images as much as words? I’m going for the second option, because after a lot of travel I have hundreds of photographs to work with. And seen as a whole, they speak to me about themes rather than specific places. Continue reading

Last Sunday’s rain and shine

Last Sunday was challenging – in different ways. I awoke to thick cloud, lowering skies and welcome rain that had begun falling overnight. By around 10am the gauge showed 27 ml. How lucky is that, in mid-February? And at this time, how unusual for inner Melbourne! Continue reading

Daffodils among the apples

I spotted the daffodil in a vase, at one end of a table where we had stopped for lunch in the Agricultural Society Hall in Batlow, New South Wales. It was sitting amid several other more colourful species, quietly but with great dignity. And it was perfect! Smallish and creamy white, its trumpet and petals exactly matched in hue, the petals each with identical orientation and positioned in two perfect triangles. How often does one see a daffodil like this? Continue reading

A plant sale with a difference

The weather has turned chilly for the first day of the weekend plant sale at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Rain threatens, dark clouds loom. But by midday the sky is blue and the sun shines bright as plant enthusiasts cruise around white boxes, filled with potted plants, spread in neat rows across an enclosed lawn at the top end of the Gardens. Continue reading

42 degrees C is just too, too hot

I hadn’t seen these green, red and gold parrots at ground level in my garden before. Usually they come in flocks to chatter and chomp in the upper branches of our towering Eucalyptus leucadendron. This is almost 40 years old so they’re a long way up. You need binoculars to look at them closely. Continue reading

Apricot best friends – roses not fruit

‘Mrs Oakley Fisher’ and ‘Buff Beauty’ are the best of friends. Tough, resilient roses, they’ve been neighbours in our garden for more than 25 years. Mrs Fisher has graceful single petals around long red-orange stamens, ‘Buff Beauty’ has clusters of double and semi-double blooms. Their buds emerge and open in hues of deepest apricot, then gradually become paler as they age, finishing up soft cream. Continue reading