Amanda Mackinnon

About Amanda Mackinnon

Amanda is a freelance writer working from the quiet rim of the world - beautiful Tasmania. Amanda's career has led her on a fascinating journey through marine science, education, horticulture, marketing and communications. Living in a busy male dominated household – chasing around 2 growing boys, a sop of a golden retriever, one cheeky ginger cat, a handful of chickens and even some stick insects, Amanda loves to write in her 'spare' time. With a keen interest in achievable gardens and family friendly projects, Amanda loves to share her experiences of what works well in her coastal Tassie garden as well as tips and tricks handpicked from all corners of the globe.

Making my garden mosaic masterpieces

There are some things in life that are polarising. You love them or hate them. Anchovies, brussel sprouts and avocados all instantly spring to mind. Mmmm, I love all three. But I’ve come to the conclusion that mosaic garden art is also one of these things. People are either drawn to it or they’re not. I love the colour mosaics add to my coastal garden and the whole new level of recycling that they can bring to an old and tired object. Continue reading

Letterbox love

We have just come to the end of a 10 year house renovation. Our little 2 bedroom ‘holiday home’ has come full circle as the family has grown and now comfortably accommodates our family of 4 plus all the furry and feathery members too. Continue reading

Hedge experiments with Daphne and Leptospermum

I’ve been playing with a couple of low hedges in my garden lately – although most of my garden is planted out in what I would loosely call an ‘informal, coastal, and predominantly native style’ I must admit I am partial to a good hedge. Murphy’s Law says that one plant in the hedge will always die and ruin the look, but I think it’s worth the risk. See what you think of these… Continue reading

Spiny leaf insects are great pets

Being an animal lover we have a range of animals at our place – dog, cat, chickens, fish and our latest additions which are 3 spiny leaf insects. Coming across them for sale on good old Gumtree classifieds, they soon turned into an unusual Christmas gift for our two sons. Continue reading

Chauncy Vale – a little Tassie gem

Now our kids are getting older and have the stamina for some longer walks, we have started spending more time exploring the bush again. I hadn’t realised how much I had missed it, as we haven’t had much opportunity for longer day walks in recent years. Although now it’s not as peaceful with a 6 and 8 year old in tow, we are still having a lot of fun. Recently we got wind of ‘Chauncy Vale Wildlife Sanctuary’. Continue reading

Loving my Mona Lavender

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ is one of the unsung heroes in my garden. I can’t explain why, but I always seem to overlook it when asked what my favourite plants are. Can you think of plants like that at your place? Continue reading

My (not so) secret easy-care plant

Can you relate to this – you get to know a plant, and it’s so easy and so good and so versatile that you nearly don’t want to tell anyone about it? Well, I am going to let mine out of the bag. Liriope ‘Emerald Cascade’ is one of those hardy plants that it’s virtually impossible to kill. It looks lush year round, and is great for tricky shady spots. Continue reading

Water lily GIANTS at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, USA is a sheer delight to visit. It’s one of those places that’s so good that it’s hard to pick a highlight. However, one of my favourite displays was the water lily feature. Once you’ve wound your way through the amazing conservatory and caught your breath again (yes, it’s that good), head out the back to find these amazing giants floating silently in their dark pools. Continue reading

Longwood Gardens a garden Disneyworld

The state of Pennsylvania in the USA is a treasure trove for horticulturists. With 30 public gardens within about an hour of the capital Philadelphia, it’s hard to know which one to visit first. Its claim of “more gardens than anywhere on the continent” seemed pretty apt as I travelled around enjoying the lush beauty of America’s garden state. Continue reading

Firestorm – amazing viewing!

Earlier in the year I shared some of my experiences with bushfires. As with many other parts of the country, Tasmania had a challenging summer with widespread fire activity. Clean up and rebuilding continues in many parts of the state, most notably in the small rural hamlet of Dunalley where many homes where lost. This little fishing village is just 20 minutes down the road from where I live and it’s a constant reminder of the threat of fire and how lucky the community was to come through the fire with no loss of human life. Continue reading

Meeting of the minds

The joint IPPS/NGIV conference recently wrapped up in Melbourne. Four days of talks, networking, tours and education has been the focus for approximately 200 industry representatives. For the first time the International Plant Propagators Society and the Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria provided a variety of opportunities for their members under the one roof. Continue reading